Hiring and Firing

How You Can Hire 10X Engineers For Your Startup

“I think Greg is going to join us, “ I said to my cofounder and VP Engineering Jeroen. “That would be a huge coup for us.” Jeroen smiled and nodded his head. Then he said, “I know it would be great if Greg joined us.” Then he paused and asked me, “But can we afford…

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What Should You Do With Your Flawed Employees?

When you’re just starting out, you may have some members of your team that have serious issues. Ideally, you’d let the person go and find a replacement. But you may not have that option when you’re just starting out because the perfect fit for a given role may not want to join your startup yet.…

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What Are The 11 Steps You Can Take When A Cofounder Quits?

I started my company with two co-founders: Jim and John (not their real names). I was the CEO, Jim was the marketing guy, and John was the engineering guy. My two co-founders and I had worked together previously.  We understood the plan and direction we were going in. We started pitching VCs after working on…

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How You Can Staff Effectively To Supercharge Your Startup’s Growth

Years ago, I remember a startup CEO telling me, half joking, that his hiring criteria was, “Anything that breathes.” That’s not exactly a sound strategy to grow you startup, is it? I think what the CEO meant was that it’s tough to hire really good people when you’re starting out. The reality is it’s always…

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When Should You Replace Yourself As CEO?

Years ago, I was introduced to “William”, the CEO of newly formed startup. I think our first meeting was a lunch meeting, and William was trying to convince me to join him. I liked William on a personal level. However, I didn’t see him as a CEO, so I passed on the opportunity. That didn’t…

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When Should You Hire An Employee From A Failed Startup?

You’re right to worry about the effect of hiring an employee of a failed startup into your company. Maybe the potential employee will bring all the bad habits of the failed startup to your company. And who needs that? However, you’re missing a real opportunity if you don’t hire people from failed startups. I’ll give…

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How Strong Technically Does Your VP Marketing Have To Be?

Years ago, I had someone who worked for me that was really bright, really intuitive. I thought he had a lot of potential, but the problem was he didn’t have a technical degree. So, I gave Matt the least technically challenging product line in the company to run. Matt did a great job. The businesses…

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What Traits Do Your Worst Employees Share?

“You need to meet your revenue numbers,” I said to our VP Sales, “Tommy”. Tommy had been on the job for about one month and already things were going sideways. “Well, okay,” Tommy responded. That’s not exactly the awe-inspiring response you want from your sales lead. Tommy didn’t seem to care. It was as if…

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How To Keep From Hiring Superstars That Kill Your Company

I was just having coffee with a friend of mine. I’ve known Bill for years and I’ve never seen him this upset. “You wouldn’t believe what my boss just did!” Bill said to me. “What did your boss do?” I asked. “They just promoted someone who has no work experience to my level of Director.…

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How Do You Assign Job Titles When You’re Starting Out?

“I’d like to be Chief Operating Officer,” Randy (not his real name) said to me. We had already agreed on Randy’s ownership in the company and his salary, so all that was left was the title. Randy had over 30 years experience, and he was a true heavyweight. “I think that makes sense,” I said.…

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