Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ten thoughts on what matters at a startup: Fit

Why does fit matter at a startup?

You'll likely spend more time with your team than with your family. Each member of the team needs to fit, and a startup needs to hire carefully. At Primal Fusion, we talk about fit in terms of a “three be” approach.

Be Talented: You need to have the skills and expertise to do your job. If you can't help deliver then you're not going to add value. This is really table stakes, isn't it?

Believe: You need to believe in the company and where it's going. If the startup makes accounting software and you think it should make games, there will be friction. Resources are too tight to recalibrate your expectations on an ongoing basis.

Belong: You need to be able to get along with others and contribute to the culture. Make yourself useful, support your team, and get to work.

If you're missing any of the “three be’s” you'll have trouble fitting in and adding the most value to the venture.

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This is one in a short series of posts called Ten Thoughts on what matters at a startup. The thoughts started life as a presentation I made at VeloCity residence at the University of Waterloo. While they're far from definitive, and aren't a top ten, they've mattered to me in my software startup experience.

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