Leadership in Startups: Upside Down at 150 People

A crash course for startups on leadership, strategy, culture, team building and more (from an SVP of startup marketing).
Rating: 4.3 out of 5 (228 ratings)
7,404 students
English [Auto]
Build startup leadership skills that prepare you for Dunbar's Number
How to define mission, vision, and strategy at your startup
How to design teams, culture, and communication at your startup
Explain “Dunbar’s Number” and how it applies to your startup
Identify the early signs that your startup's approaching Dunbar’s Number
Articulate the major problems startups face when they hit Dunbar’s Number
Start planning & implementing actual changes to the way your startup operates
Better empathize with leadership as your startup goes through its biggest change yet


  • Have some professional work experience (minimum 1 year)
  • Experience at startups (or fast growing companies) is helpful, but not required
  • Leadership experience is helpful, but not required


"Something weird happens to companies when they hit 150 people". This was the title of an article I read on Quartz last year and after reading it, my reaction was:

"Yes! That's it. Finally, someone understands what startups go through!!"

For context, my name's Dinesh Thiru and I run marketing here at Udemy. I joined way back in 2011 when we were about 5 people and have seen us through the whole wild startup ride of ups, downs, sideways, back ups and more. It's been incredible. The learning and leadership experience of a lifetime. But there was one time in particular that no one prepared me for...

In the summer of 2015, Udemy was 150 people... and by the end of 2016, we were 250. And that is when everything went upside down.

All the things that used to work stopped. All the things we thought would work didn't. And in a certain sense, we had to re-invent how we operated as a company.

And I blame it all on Robbin Dunbar.

Who's Robbin? Why did things go upside down at 150 people? What did we learn? And how did we survive?

Well, if your startup is getting ready to pass 150 people and you're looking for a leadership crash course on mission, vision, strategy, culture, team building, org design, goals, communication, and everything in between... please step inside!

Who this course is for:

  • Leadership of startups between 30 and 300 people
  • Team members of startups between 30 and 300 people
  • People thinking about joining startups between 30 and 300 people

Course content

6 sections21 lectures1h 20m total length
  • Welcome
  • Dunbar's Number
  • The Course


SVP Marketing @Udemy
Dinesh Thiru
  • 4.3 Instructor Rating
  • 228 Reviews
  • 7,407 Students
  • 1 Course

Dinesh is an entrepreneur, marketer, karaoke lover, and father of two (1 human, 1 dog) living the good life in San Francisco. He's the SVP of Marketing at Udemy, responsible for sales, user acquisition, and retention with both students & instructors. He was the first business hire at Udemy and has helped the marketplace grow to more than 15 million students and 40,000 courses published.

Prior to Udemy, Dinesh was the co-founder and president of the Viv Biz Club, an eco buying group that drives down prices on eco-friendly supplies for small businesses, and a consultant for American Express. Dinesh graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

  • 4.3 Instructor Rating
  • 228 Reviews
  • 7,404 Students
  • 1 Course