Every year, we explore a broad range of startup topics each with the focused goal of accelerating the success of founders and their teams. Whether we covered the ins-and-outs of tech debt, how to handle stress and distractions, or what it takes to become an effective people leader, there’s something for everyone.

1. There are 3 Main Types of Technical Debt. Here’s How to Manage Them.

When you deliberately incur tech debt, consider not only how much time you’ll save on launching a feature, but also what it will take to repay the explicitly incurred debt. Make sure the stakeholders are aware that this will inevitably slow down other feature launches later on. If it’s not tracked specifically, it’s unlikely to be repaid and will turn into accidental design debt over time. Product owners and stakeholders should be held accountable for the accrual of this kind of debt as it’s incurred by business decisions.

Read the full post here.

2. Ten Questions with Jonathan Stein, Founder & CEO at Betterment

When asked what qualities he values most in employees, Jonathan named horsepower, passion, and openness. He described horsepower as people who have high output and intellectual curiosity. Passion, he says, means people who care deeply and are enthusiastic. Finally, he values openness, which to him means people have an open mindset; that believe they only ever have partial information, and that by listening to others and expanding the amount of info they have, they can make better decisions.

Read the full post here.

3. Bestselling Author Nir Eyal On How To Handle Challenges, Distractions, & Stress

In this interview, Nir shares his unique approach to stress: how he’s actually changed his body perception of that feeling. He used to get nervous on stage. He’d tell himself: “I’ve got to calm down, I’ve got to calm down.” But now, he doesn’t tell himself that dialogue anymore. Now, the dialogue is actually: “What I’m feeling is my body getting ready to perform at its highest level.”

That shift in mindset is a huge advantage because it means you’re not fighting with yourself anymore. You’re using the momentum of what your body is giving you. Telling yourself: “My heart is beating faster because my brain needs more oxygen and I’m breathing quicker to get in more of that oxygen in.” When you realize that what you’re feeling physiologically can become an asset as opposed to something that can harm you, that’s really powerful.

Read the full post here.

4. 6 Mechanisms That Enable Engineering Teams to Scale

Ian Wong, CTO of Opendoor, spoke at our CTO Summit in June and shared a refreshing perspective towards OKRs—one of the most widely used goals setting models. He advises breaking the key results into two categories: aspirational (AKRs) and committed (CKRs) key results. This is a simple and effective way to increase clarity, set clearer expectations for team members, and create a healthier and more flexible planning process.

An aspirational key result is “one that you want the team to really go for” — it’s a big swing—i.e. from a business standpoint, it may be acceptable for the team to only achieve 70–80% of that goal. A committed key result isgenerally more binary in nature (e.g. shipping the product) and where 100% completion is non-negotiable.

Read the full post here.

5. Slack’s Kelly Watkins on the Importance of Setting Team Tone Early + More

The biggest thing Kelly learned during her first management role was how much leaders set the tone for their team, and how things can go off course when this isn’t done intentionally. Teams look to their leaders to calibrate their responses to stress, failure, and adversity, in addition to understanding what celebration looks like. Her experience of managing in a fluid context gave her a more well-rounded sense of what management should be — that you can’t just set vision and direction; you also have to tune the emotional frequencies in which people work.

Read the full post here.

6. How to Design an Effective Startup Internship Program

People leaders from FirstMark portfolio companies have been building and perfecting intern programs for years — so we asked for their advice on designing a program that will lead to talented hires, positive company reviews and measurable benefits for both your company and the intern.

A good test: ask yourself if one of your current employees would accept what you’re offering. If the answer is no, you need to rethink the program. Besides the benefit of helping your intern hit the ground running, studies have shown there’s a direct correlation between an individual’s confidence and how connected they feel to their team.

Read the full post here.

7. How To Design A Magical Onboarding Experience In 10 Steps

The onboarding process is one of the steps in your customer acquisition funnel where a low level of effort and simple optimizations can drive outsized returns. An improvement of just a couple of percentage points drives compounding returns throughout your entire business. But, designing an effective onboarding process is as much art as it is science.

Read the full post here.