Some thoughts on the building a killer team session from the Silicon Valley comes the the UK held at the Judge Institute.
On Culture and Team
- “There is no one answer to the question. Every road leads to ruin.”
- Team has to be diverse – gender, interests, competencies, nationalities.
- “If you ask average people the companies that they really admire, most come up with companies like Dell, Apple, Virgin, Microsoft, Facebook, all have charismatic founders still in charge.
- “Google made culture a part of their brand and used that to hire the people they wanted.”
- “No one wants a football team made up of Rooneys.” Johan von Holstein (Icon Medialab, LetsBuyIt)
- “Chemistry is important. If it doesn’t feel right I never hire them, regardless of the spec.”
- “Got to get the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus before you get going.”
- “Culture eats strategy for lunch.”
- “I have a, ‘No Asshole’ Rule. A golden rule for me.”
- “I wouldn’t describe Zuckerberg or Evan Williams as impressive charismatic leaders in the conventional sense.” The European East Coast concept of a charismatic leaders is a great speaker who looks like he can do big ticket enterprise sales. The new generation of Silicon Valley leaders are a different type of leader. Zuckerberg for example is not comfortable speaking but is surrounded by people who follow his lead.
- I don’t let startup CEOs use accounting software until they can do the accounting on paper. You cannot ignore the finance piece because you are weak at it. A leader needs to understand their weaknesses and work on ways to cover them off before they, hand them off.
- (Joi Ito, Creative Commons, MIT MediaLab)
- Hiring is stage and context specific. An early stage marketing person does a very different thing to one in a mature business. Often in a startup, the founder/CEO should take on the marketing strategy and evangelism piece.
- Have found myself drawn towards friends. There is a better cultural fit and you enjoy spending time with them. They may not be the best person for a particular role but energy will be better.
- “Company culture transcends national boundaries. It is about a philosophy and a way of working.”
- “Culture comes from the founders in a startup. It is really important that people who come into the company buy into it and reinforce it.”
- (Nick Heller, Google)
On failure, risk, honesty and standing out.
“Would you employ someone with a criminal record for drug trafficking?” Ben Rooney (Walls Street Journal).
“I used to be a DJ. I am also Timothy Leary’s Godson, so yeah.” Joi Ito
“Clearly the person is entrepreneurial and a risk-taker so they have that going for them. I have friends who made mistakes when they were young and I know how much they regret their mistakes and have turned their life around.”Nick Heller
“The risk of taking a job in an early stage business in Europe is huge. Europeans are much more unforgiving of perceived risk – failure, criminal records anything. This is a bad thing.”
How do you get good people to join your company?
“Go to conferences, network like crazy.” Joi Ito
“A people know A people so find as many A people as you can and start networking from them.” Johan von Holstein (Icon Medialab, LetsBuyIt)