Hiring and Firing

How Do You Know It’s Time To Hire Your First Employee?

I’ve been working with James for about one year now. James is the CEO of a really cool company. Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of watching James grow his business to a pretty substantial level.  Now, it’s finally time for James to hire his first employee. There’ve been the usual growing pains that any business…

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What Are The Six Rules For Building A Great Team?

“Tell me, who are you going to bring with you?” I asked “Tommy,” the VP Sales candidate recommended by a couple members of our board of directors. “It’s going to be hard for me to bring anyone,” Tommy said to me. “The team is well compensated, so I don’t think they’ll leave.” Do you want…

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What Are The Secrets To Building A 10X Engineering Team?

The first presentation I did about my company for the venture capital fund where I was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) was titled, “Where are the engineers?.” The point I was trying to drive home to the partnership was simple: The success or failure of my company would rest on our ability to recruit elite…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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?…

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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…

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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…

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