Setting Goals, Measuring Impact, Cults and Making More Founders

Your weekly 5 things from the mind of Miles Lasater

Happy Saturday! Here are your 5 things from the mind of Miles for this week.

  1. Setting KPIs. I’ve been advising a nonprofit recently about designing their Key Performance Indicators and internal goal setting.  I might write a longer piece on it but for now wanted to share:

    1. Fast Forward’s Playbook is a great place to start.

    2. Mary Kay and Dean Karlan’s The Goldilock Challenge has a great framework for distinguishing between inputs, outputs and outcomes. (BTW, I will be recording my interview with Prof. Karlan for the Startups for Good podcast on Monday so please let me know if you have any questions I should ask him.) 

    3. When you choose a KPI to focus on, I think best to think about two things: How could this be “optimized” in a pathological way and can I balance that with another KPI? For example, with a quantity KPI, I like to pair it with a quality KPI.

    4. Finally if you aren’t familiar with OKRs, Measure What Matters is a good intro. (Although, I had trouble finishing the book.) We used something like this framework at Higher One.

  2. More Founders. I keep thinking that we need more entrepreneurs both of the startup and small business variety. (And the political kind, too!) I keep coming back to Erik Torenberg’s essay on Why We Need More Founders and I recommend it. How can we decrease friction to starting companies? Right to Start seems like a good framework, too.

  3. Gurus Gone Wild. I’m fascinated by the bad behavior of gurus. One, I want to be able to recognize the signs as I have participated in many personal development workshops and have friends and family in the yoga world.  Two, I’m also intrigued by the question of motivation. At what point does the guru decide to misbehave?  Is it from the beginning or does such power corrupt the mind. Three, why do the followers participate and enable? If you want to join me in this obsession, check out Netflix’s Wild Country on Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, HBO’s The Vow about NXIVM and Netflix’s Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator.

  4. Spanish Stories.  I’m in search of good short stories for the true beginner Spanish reader. Any ideas?

  5. Giving Tuesday. Do you give for Giving Tuesday, give throughout the year or save it all up to the end of Dec? I try to spread it out. And I have been heavily influenced in choice of charities by GiveWell and Dan Pallotta.

As a reminder, my work is:

Until next week,

Miles