"Who should I look for -- either to join my startup -- or if I am looking to join a startup?
That's a vital issue, you want to get it right. Anything less results in disaster.
It's also a question I often get from first time entrepreneurs.
Here are some responses from serial startup veterans.
- Avoid strangers. Known is best. Unknowns about people are dangerous. Take whatever time is required before making your hire decision.
- Build your people bank before you need it. Get prepared. Invest time getting to know talented people you might need some day for your startup.
- Avoid "I could never fire that person" choices. Friends, siblings, family members may have to go. Can you tell them that before you hire them?
- Seek startup experience. Startups are special children, requiring unusual hands-on skills to do well working in them. Big company people will struggle in their first startup. Experienced startup people are out there, find them.
- Avoid rushing hiring. Making the right choice is more important than filling an open position. Wrong hires are painful, can even sink a startup ship.
- Dig deep. Interview in depth. Ask the personal questions, the hard ones, find out who this person really is inside. How will they cope when all hell breaks out (and it will)?
- Avoid compromising. Serial entrepreneurs stick to this, even when desperate for a human to do the work that is begging to be done.
- Pick strong character. It's going to be chaos out there, often. Will the person get through it well? How do you know?
- The first six are critical. They form your "core team". Shape the company culture. Cost the most (percent of stock ownership). Brand the business. Attract future employees -- or repel others. Pick wisely, very wisely.
BOTTOM LINE: Start right now forming your startup core team. Before you need them to get started. That leads to wise decisions. You'll get the best, avoid the rest. Invest your time now -- get to know people in startups -- talk to them, spend fun time with them. Learn how. It's how those venture people you respect, the ones you hold in awe, did it. So can you. It will be a key to constructing your unfair advantage. Great people make great startups. Get started right now.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!