Shapeshift’s the latest crypto project to go through a round of layoffs. This Tweet from Eric Vorhees caught my attention this week -
With a heavy heart, today we laid off 37 people. We've published a blog on this, also discussing some of our missteps and lessons as a company. "Overcoming ShapeShift’s Crypto Winter and the Path Ahead" by @ShapeShift_io https://t.co/1eNT54eyPp #bitcoin— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) January 8, 2019
I scanned the post. Eric cites lack of focus as one of Shapeshift’s fundamental missteps.
As a company, we’ve made a thousand mistakes.
The most thematic has been a lack of focus.
I’ve spoken to at least one other well-known crypto project founder about this too. They cited the same cause, when discussing their project's layoffs.
It’s easy to become distracted when working in crypto. Shiny object syndrome is tough to resist in a space where exciting new ideas emerge daily.
I wrote about this back in September, in the context of motivating #BUIDL’er teams.
The new exciting thing is also the most dangerous motivation type. Jumping to the next new exciting usually means jumping out of the difficult finish, before it's finished. Doing this and not returning to the previous difficult finish initiates idea purgatory.
It feels refreshing to see teams realizing this. It’s unfortunate they had to feel some pain and let people go before doing so.
PM’s Add Focus
Effective project and product managers add focus to teams. Adding focus is fundamental to what we do. We help teams -
- Understand what they should be working on and when
- Stay focused until the work is completed and milestone achieved
- Understand what to do next and how the work fits into a larger context
I feel hopeful that as more teams recognize the importance of focus, they’ll also recognize the value adding a PM to the team brings. Ultimately, this will lead to more projects shipping, validating the value we contribute.
This can create a virtuous cycle can for projects, their communities and PM’s alike.