March 19, 2015

Corporate Sniglets

Corporate Sniglets This might be showing my age, but those who may have watched Not Necessarily the News in the 80s might remember the Sniglets segment that Rich Hall pioneered which spawned a series of short, fun books. Sniglets are words which are not in the dictionary, but which should be. I can remember a couple of examples from years ago that make the point — aquadexterity is the ability to operate bathtub dials with one’s feet; cheedle is the orange residue left on one’s fingers after eating a bag of Cheetos. As is the case with many companies, we have made up some of our own words over the years at Return Path – think of them as Corporate Sniglets. I’m sure we have more than these, but here are a few that we use internally: Underlap is the opposite of Overlap. My colleague Tom Bartel coined this gem years ago when he was leading the integration work on an acquisition we did, as in “let’s look for areas of Overlap as well as areas of Underlap (things that neither companies does, but which we should as a combined company).” Pre-Mortem or Mid-Mortem are the timing opposites of Post-Mortem. […]


January 23, 2012

Scaling the Team

Scaling the Team (This post was requested by my long-time Board member Fred Wilson and is also running concurrently on his blog today.  I’ll be back with the third and fourth installments of “The Best Laid Plans” next Thursday and the following Thursday) When Return Path reached 100 employees a few years back, I had a dinner with my Board one night at which they basically told me, “Management teams never scale intact as you grow the business.  Someone always breaks.”  I’m sure they were right based on their own experience; I, of course, took this as a challenge.  And […]


March 9, 2011

The Art of the Post-Mortem

The Art of the Post-Mortem It has a bunch of names — the After-Action Review, the Critical Incident Review, the plain old Post-Mortem — but whatever you call it, it’s an absolute management best practice to follow when something has gone wrong. We just came out of one relating to last fall’s well document phishing attack, and boy was it productive and cathartic. In this case, our general takeaway was that our response went reasonably well, but we could have been more prepared or done more up front to prevent it from happening in the first place.  We derived some […]