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Chapter 5 - Research and Development

This Meeting Is for What?
From: Fire Up Your Startup and Keep It Up
By: James Bennett

James was the VP of Research and Development. Topics include selecting great technical people; relationship between distance and frequency of communication; dealing with cultural differences; offshore development in India; technical debt; cost of options; cloud deployment; API and tools; troubleshooting.

Chapter 5 Excerpt:

“First, we should have sent a few employees to live in India for 18-24 months at a stretch. We tried to make do with quarterly visits of a few weeks duration, but Allen’s curve is fully engaged at this point. There is no substitute for somebody with their butt planted at the site who can be the liaison between matters of product, policy, procedures, and culture. Otherwise you have a communication path that is in 24 hour cycles: An e-mail is sent at 9AM IST (India) time (or 8:30PM Pacific) and since most people are in TV-mode by then, the response doesn’t come back until 8:00AM Pacific or 8:30PM IST. So what would be a 5 minute conversation in person is now a two day ordeal.”

Allen's Curve - Distance vs. frequency of contact