September 11, 2005

Assembling a startup team that sticks

BernardMoon of GoingOn Networks, Inc. has some good advice in this AlwaysOn post:

The bottom line is that no matter how good your team appears to investors, what really counts is how your team works together in the trenches. Poor team dynamics and failed chemistry can sink even the most promising companies—a fact many founders and investors discover too late.

...Partner with people you trust. My first piece of advice for any budding entrepreneur, and one I always overstate is, "Trust is essential." If you have any doubts about a potential partner, clear the air or steer clear completely. As John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers puts it, "You must ask, 'Are these the people I want to be in trouble with for the next 5, 10, 15 years of my life?' Because as you build a new business, one thing's for sure: You will get into trouble."

...Keep the communications channels open. Don't horde information. In today's fast-paced technology world, it's important that all members of your company have access to the best and latest information. Establish a culture in which there are no information gatekeepers. When one person controls the flow of information, a fiefdom usually emerges in which that individual plays one side against another to increase his or her own perceived value. This creates conflict and inefficiencies—neither of which startups can afford.

...If your network doesn't present a capable candidate whom you know well, take a test-drive, if the situation allows it.