Hiring and Firing

Are You Better Off With An Older Team or A Younger Team?

“So, you’re thinking of going the young route,” Bruce Wooley, who was the dean of the electrical engineering department at Stanford, said to me. One of Bruce’s past students had introduced us, and we were having coffee. I told Bruce I was considering a recent PhD of his to be VP Engineering of my company,…

Read More

Why You Need To Build Your Team Before Raising Money

Imagine this scenario. You have a great idea for a new startup. You’ve done the research, and maybe you’ve even talked to a few potential customers. There’s no doubt in your mind that this venture is poised to be a huge hit. So, you start reaching out to investors, and you get a couple of…

Read More

How Should You Decide Who You Should Lay Off?

“That is sacrosanct,” one of our investors, “Raul”, said to me. I had just told Raul that we were going to perform a layoff as part of our next funding round. [Do you want to grow your business? Maybe I can help. Click here.] Raul was pleased to hear me state the obvious. We needed…

Read More

Why You Should Give Your Team Lots Of Equity

“Would you mind telling me your stock option plan at Maxim?” Carlos, the VP HR at Micrel asked me. “I want to do some benchmarking.” I had just joined the company as General Manager of one of three divisions the company had, so I was glad to help. [Do you want to grow your business?…

Read More

Why Cutting The Bottom 10% Of Your Team Is A Bad Idea

“Brett, I know you love Netflix’s culture document,” Jeroen, my cofounder and VP Engineering, said to me. “But I’m not sure I like the idea of firing our worst team members.” “I’m not sure I’m on board with that either,” I responded. “There must be a better way to do that (manage the quality of…

Read More

What Are The Positions You Shouldn’t Hire Early On?

“Great IC design engineers are the toughest thing to find,” I said to Dave. “And to hire great design engineers, we need a world class VP Engineering because great designers will only work for a great VP Engineering.” [Do you want to grow your business? Maybe I can help. Click here.] Dave nodded his head…

Read More

How Should You Divide Equity As Your Company Grows?

“Here’s what I think is fair for your role,” I said to “Ken,” one of my cofounders. Ken smiled, and said, “I was thinking the same number.” We shook hands, and that was that. I had agreed to the equity for my first cofounder. “One down, four more to go,” I said to myself. [Do…

Read More

How Do You Get Great Talent To Join Your Unfunded Startup?

“Let’s meet for coffee,” I said to person I was recruiting. I’d done this a million times before. If I drank any more coffee, I might overdose on caffeine. [Do you want to grow your business? Maybe I can help. Click here.] Let’s meet for coffee. Let’s meet for lunch. Let’s meet for tea. Let’s…

Read More

How Do You Keep Talented Engineers From Quitting?

“Brett, I wanted to let you know I am going to retire,” Dave said to me. “What? Why!” I said getting my bearings. “You can’t retire! You’re too young to retire.” “I don’t want to retire,” Dave said. “But I’m being pushed out by ‘Ted’.” Dave was a cofounder of Maxim. Our revenue was at…

Read More