Lightspeed's Jeremy Liew: Five things startups shouldn't scrimp on

Jeremy Liew · April 1, 2008 · Short URL:

Jeremy Liew pictureThe WSJ recently noted something that developers have known for a long time, that bigger monitors increase productivity:

Researchers at the University of Utah tested how quickly people performed tasks such as editing a document and copying numbers between spreadsheets while using different computer configurations: one with an 18-inch monitor, one with a 24-inch monitor and one with two 20-inch monitors. Their finding: People using the 24-inch screen completed the tasks 52% faster than people who used the 18-inch monitor; people who used the two 20-inch monitors were 44% faster than those with the 18-inch screens.

This got me thinking about other areas where buying “cheap” can be a false economy:

1. Large monitors. As noted above.

2. Comfortable ergonomic chairs. Your team spends most of their working time sitting in these chairs. If they are not comfortable, they won’t be in those chairs, and thus they won’t be working!

3. High Quality Speaker Phones. Conference calls are a part of doing business. If the people on the other end of the line can’t hear all the speakers in the room, you risk losing the nuances of the communication.

4. Experienced Law Firms The big silicon valley law firms are constantly involved with negotiating financings, venture debt, acquisitions and other legal matters on behalf of startups. They know which terms are “market” and not worth fighting over, and which are out of the ordinary. Firms that don’t have the same volume of deal flow often want to fight every point. While their zeal on your behalf is commendable, in the end they usually end up with “market” terms but take longer to get there. That results in higher legal bills for all parties, and greater conflict between partners where it wasn’t necessary.

5. Administrative Assistance. At some point making entries into Quickbooks, figuring out which insurance plan to sign up for and finding the cheapest airfare to LA for that conference become a poor use of founder’s time.

What are some other areas that readers think startups should not skimp on?


Editor's note: To read more from Jeremy Liew, visit his blog at

To see previous interviews with Jeremy, click here and here.

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