Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Product Management Search Engine

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Product Management Search Engine

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers 1000+ articles recommended/written by PMs at Google, FB + almost every other major tech co/startup. No videos/books/product placement, just articles. To suggest new articles, comment on this map. Also accessible at bit.ly/pmengine.
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Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Asana, a work management platform, nabs $50M growth round at a $1.5B valuation

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Asana, a work management platform, nabs $50M growth round at a $1.5B valuation

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

Asana, a service that teams and individuals use to plan and track the progress of work projects, is doubling down on its own project: to shape “the future of work,” in the words of co-founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz. The startup, whose products are used by millions of free and paying users, today is announcing that it has raised another $50 million in funding — a Series E that catapults Asana into unicorn status with a $1.5 billion valuation — to invest in international and product expansion.

Asana has been on a funding tear: It raised $75 million just 11 months ago at a $900 million post-money valuation, bringing the total this year to $125 million, and $213 million since being founded in 2008.

Led by Generation Investment Management — the London firm co-founded by former US Vice President Al Gore that also led that Series D in January — this latest round also includes existing investors 8VC, Benchmark Capital and Founders Fund as well as new investors Lead Edge Capital and World Innovation Lab.

Asana has lately been focused on international growth — half of its new sales are already coming from outside the US — and expanding its product as it inches toward profitability. These are the areas where its latest investment will go, too.

Specifically, it plans to open an AWS-based data center in Frankfurt in the first half of next year, and it will set down more roots in Asia-Pacific, with offices in Sydney and Tokyo. It is also hiring in both markets. Asana has customers in 195 countries and six languages, and it looks like it’s homing in on these two regions because it’s seeing the most traction there.

On the product side, the company has been gradually adding machine learning, predictive and other AI features and it will continue to do that as part of a “long-term vision for marrying computer and human intelligence to run entire companies.”

“Our role is to help leaders understand where their attention can be most useful and what to be focused on,” Moskovitz, pictured right with co-founder Justin Rosenstein, said to me in an interview earlier this month when describing the company’s AI push.

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The funding caps off an active year for Asana.

In addition to raising $75 million in January, it announced 50,000 paying organizations and “millions” of free users in September. It also introduced new products and features, such as a paid tier, Asana for Business, for larger organizations managing multiple projects; Timelines for drilling into sequential tasks and milestones; and its first steps into AI, services that start to anticipate what users need to see first and prioritise, based on previous behaviour, which team the user is on, and so on:

Asana has been close to profitability this year, although it doesn’t look like it has quite reached that point yet. Moskovitz told me that in fact, it has held on to most of its previous funding (that’s before embarking on this next wave of ambitious expansions, though).

“We have so much money in the bank that we have quite a lot of options [and are in a] strong position so choose what makes the most sense strategically,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate with investors. The prime thing is vision match: do they think about the long-term future in the same way we do? Do they have the same values and priorities? Generation nailed that on so many levels as a firm.”

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers How Asana fits into the mix with Slack, Box and others

Asana’s growth and mission both mirror trends in the wider world of enterprise IT and collaboration within it.

Slack, Microsoft Teams, Workplace from Facebook and other messaging and chat apps have transformed how coworkers communicate with each other, both within single offices and across wider geographies: they have replaced email, phone and other communication channels to some extent.

Meanwhile, the rise of cloud-based services like Dropbox, Box, Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft’s Azure have transformed how people in organizations manage and ultimately collaborate on files: the rise of mobile and mobile working have increased the need for more flexible file management and access.

The third area that has been less covered is work management: as people continue to multitask on multiple projects – partly spurred by the rise in the other two collaboration categories – they need a platform that helps keep them organised and on top of all that work. This is where Asana sits.

“We think about collaboration as three markets,” Moskovitz said, “file collaboration, messaging, and work management. Each of these has a massive surface area and depth to them. We think it’s important that all companies have tools that they use from each of these big buckets.”

It is not the only one in that big bucket.

Asana alternatives include Airtable, Wrike, Trello and Basecamp. As we have pointed out before, that competitive pressure is another reason Asana is on the path to continue growing and making its service more sticky.

Indeed, just earlier this month Airtable raised $100 million at a $1.1 billion valuation. Airtable has a different approach – its platform can be used for more than project management – but it’s most definitely used to build templates precisely to track projects.

You might even argue that Airtable’s existing offering could present a type of product roadmap for what might be considered next for Asana.

For now, though, Asana is building up big customers for its existing services.

The product initially got its start when Moskovitz and Rosenstein – as respectively as co-founder and early employee of Facebook – built something to help their coworkers  at the social network manage their workloads. Now, it has a range of users that include a number of other tech firms, but also others.

London’s National Gallery, for example, uses Asana to plan and launch exhibitions and business projects; the supermarket chain Tesco’s digital campaigns; Sony Music, which also uses it for marketing management but also to track a digitization project for its back music catalog; Uber, which has managed some 600 city expansions through Asana to date.

“At Generation Investment Management, we’re grounded in the philosophy that through strategic investments in leading, mission-driven companies we can move towards a more sustainable future,” said Colin le Duc, co-founder and partner, Generation Investment Management, in a statement.

“We see Collaborative Work Management as a distinct and rapidly expanding segment, and Asana has the right product and team to lead the market. Through Dustin and the team, Asana is changing how businesses around the world collaborate, epitomizing what it means to deliver results with a mission-driven ethos.”

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Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Management Philosophy

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Management Philosophy

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

This post touches on some of my more controversial and debatable ideas on management and leadership. They stem from 8 years of experience leading engineering teams ranging from 2 to 25. While my experience has been limited to software engineering, I’m fairly certain these ideas apply to just about every trade. My explanations barely scratch the surface and every one of them deserves several paragraphs. They’re meant to provoke thought and precipitate debate.

Please share your thoughts and disagreements below. Which of these should I expand on with examples and caveats? What controversial management ideas do you have?

Lead from behind

Giving credit when projects succeed and taking the blame when they fail is management 101. However, you’re just paying lip-service if you’re giving credit for a project that was entirely your initiative. Start early by providing business context but letting your engineers frame the problem, propose solutions, design the architecture, etc. Mentor your team to develop a framework that helps them arrive at good decisions. Monitor their decisions to provide guidance and avoid disasters, but think of yourself as the safety net, not the lead performer. This approach results in an engaged team that has skin in the game and feels empowered to make an impact. It also prepares your organization to scale by fostering creative thinking and problem-solving at all levels of the organization.

Who’s your boss?

The idea that your direct reports work for you is a common misconception. If you’re a good manager, you’re working for them more often than the other way around. Once you’ve explained business context and provided general direction (20%), your primary responsibilities include clearing their obstacles, keeping them motivated, and helping them grow professionally (80%).

Be Human

Develop warm personal relationships with your colleagues. Let them see your humanity, your shortcomings, your fears, your irrational interests. Learn theirs. Empathize with them and give them a chance to reciprocate. Admit your mistakes. Be human. This helps develop trust and predictability (more on that later). It increases the likelihood that your colleagues will recognize that you don’t have all the right answers and will speak up when they disagree. If your job calls for split-second life-and-death decisions with no time for debate (e.g., navy seals), this advice is only slightly less relevant.

Make Yourself Redundant

If you cannot go on vacation without having your team take a huge productivity hit, you are doing something wrong. Proactively prepare your colleagues to perform most of your activities better than you do. Once you succeed, they’re ready for a promotion and so are you. Promotions are obviously good for everyone involved, but this is especially good for the company because hiring at the bottom is much easier than hiring at the top.

Political Capital

Political capital refers to the professional trust you’ve built up and the influence that grants you. It’s a finite resource. When you take risks on behalf of the company, you invest your political capital. If the bet pays off, you receive a healthy return and pave the way to make bigger bets. As you run out of capital, your ability to build consensus and lead a team deteriorates quickly.

Interpersonal Capital

Interpersonal capital refers to the personal trust, respect, and goodwill that your colleagues and friends have for you. When you go beyond the call of duty to help a colleague achieve their goals, you earn it. When you ask a colleague to work overtime, you expend it. As you get deeper into debt, your colleagues begin to avoid you. If those colleagues report to you, avoiding you means looking for an exit.

Soft Power

Understand the difference between soft and hard power. Wield soft-power frequently and hard-power rarely. Soft-power is both more effective and more sustainable.

Micromanagement

Micromanagement is sometimes appropriate. Your recent hires and fresh grads will learn your codebase and build confidence much faster if you give them detailed direction and set clear expectations. Review their code and provide feedback on everything ranging from structure to style and naming. Build people up before you throw them in the deep end.

Be Predictable

Predictability is a weakness in the context of competition. It’s a strength in the context of collaboration. Being predictable expands your influence by allowing your reports and peers to interact with the virtual you without consuming your time. If people can predict your reaction and understand your mental model, they will have the confidence to make autonomous decisions and operate more quickly.

Break The Rules

There are an infinite number of possible circumstances that will affect your specific situation at any point in time. Knowing commonly accepted best practices and having a mental framework will help you make decisions quickly most of the time. However, remember to maintain sufficient awareness to disengage autopilot and deviate from the rules where appropriate.

If you’re interested to develop as an engineering leader and want to work with some amazing people, take a look at BuildZoom!

https://jobs.lever.co/buildzoom/5d98e8d6-b8be-4871-a1de-109af3cb204d

Credit for the image: http://www.twin9.co.jp/company-profile/management-philosophy

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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The National Risk Management Center Will Combat Critical Infrastructure Hacks

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The National Risk Management Center Will Combat Critical Infrastructure Hacks

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen addresses the DHS Cybersecurity Summit in New York City.

Kevin Hagen/Getty Images

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen addresses the DHS Cybersecurity Summit in New York City.

Kevin Hagen/Getty Images

As the threat of cyberattacks on the United States launched by foreign adversaries grows, the federal government has been slow to respond. But changes announced Tuesday at the Department of Homeland Security, along with a new bipartisan bill aimed at shoring up DHS cybersecurity initiatives, could give newfound purpose to defenses against critical infrastructure hacking.

At a cybersecurity summit Tuesday, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the creation of the National Risk Management Center, which will focus on evaluating threats and defending US critical infrastructure against hacking. The center will focus on the energy, finance, and telecommunications sectors to start, and DHS will conduct a number of 90-day “sprints” throughout 2018 in an attempt to rapidly build out the center’s processes and capabilities.

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