Note: This is Part IV in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part I HERE, Part II HERE and Part III HERE. This article originally appeared at Inc.com HERE They smile, they laugh on cue and they have a rehearsed response for every conventional interview question. They profess to be entrepreneurs, but are they actually Wantrepreneurs? A Wantrepreneur is a well-intentioned person who wants to be an entrepreneur, but does not have the skills, personality and/or risk profile to be successful. When the going gets tough (as it always does at any startup) the Wantrepreneurs get busy emailing their resumes to prospective employers. The costs of a mis-hire during the early stages of your adVenture are dramatic. As such, deploy unconventional tactics to separate the ATM Operating Wantrepreneurs from the Bank Robbing entrepreneurs.
As part of UC Santa Barbara’s Distinguished Lecture Series, Jason Nazar, Co-Founder and CEO of Docstoc, recently shared ten lessons that emerging entrepreneurs can learn from superheroes. Jason’s inspiration for this 6 ½ minute talk was a blog entry he wrote in 2008, which went viral within the startup community. You can check out Jason’s original entry HERE.
Note: This is the third installment in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part I HERE and Part II HERE. When hiring ATM Operators at a Big Dumb Company (BDC), assessing each candidate’s ability to execute predictable tasks is of paramount importance. As such, the recruitment process revolves around applicants’ resumes, which highlight what they have previously done in their professional careers. What is important at a BDC, because most duties performed at mature entities are repetitive, structured and involve minimal ambiguity. Thus, evaluating the tasks a candidate has previously performed is a valid methodology when filling job openings in relatively static organizations.
Note: This is Part II in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part I HERE Bilbo’s offer letter from Thorin in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit exemplifies the proper attitude that you must have when joining a startup adVenture. “For your hospitality our sincerest thanks, and for your offer of professional assistance our grateful acceptance. Terms: cash on delivery, up to and not exceeding one fourteenth of total profits (if any); all traveling expenses guaranteed in any event; funeral expenses to be defrayed by us or our representatives, if occasion arises and the matter is not otherwise arranged for.”
Note: This is Part I in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part II HERE Each generation, a few magnetic personalities emerge and generate a mania of public interest. Before Elvis, there was Sinatra. Before Sinatra, there was Bing. Before Bing, there was Caruso and before Caruso, there was Blondin. Jean Francois Gravelot, who wisely abandoned his given name and dubbed himself The Great Blondin, was a true rock star of the 19th Century. On June 30, 1859, at the height of his fame, he stood before a crowd of tens of thousands of people at Niagara Falls.
“If I had to, I could clean out my desk in five minutes... and nobody would ever know I'd ever been here. And I'd forget too.” Ryan Howard, the fictional Intern on the TV comedy, The Office Michael Scott, the fictional head of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton office, hires an Intern for all the wrong reasons. Driven by low self-esteem, the hapless Mr. Scott is seeking a junior person who will adore him and act upon his whims. Unfortunately for Mr. Scott, he hires Ryan, a smart, ambitious and disrespectful young man who is the catalyst of endless subterfuge which further undermines the office’s abysmal corporate culture.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.” Chinese Proverb, borrowed from Scott Dinsmore’s Reading For Your Success In the 1930’s, when Max Fleischmann (of yeast fame) brought his yacht into the Santa Barbara harbor, the local laundry trucks did the sensible thing. They lined up on the dock and patiently waited for the ship to arrive so they could get their “share” of its dirty laundry. This approach made sense to everyone; everyone except a young man named George Page, founder of Mission Linen. Rather than wait, Mr. Page jumped in a rowboat and met the yacht before it entered the harbor. The surprised Capitan, no doubt impressed by the young man’s drive, invited Mr. Page on board. By the time the yacht anchored, Mr. Page had closed a deal which gave Mission Linen the exclusive right to clean all of the ship’s laundry, thereby shutting out all the trucks waiting at the dock.
Reginald Martinez Jackson was a perennial major league baseball all-star throughout most of his 21-year career. Reggie earned the nickname “Mr. October” because of his consistent ability to hit home runs during clutch situations in playoff and World Series games, which contributed to his teams winning five Championships. He was also often referred to as a “hotdog” for his self-promotional antics and lackadaisical on-field play. When teammate Darold Knowles was asked about Reggie’s hotdog status, he replied, "There isn't enough mustard in the world to cover Reggie Jackson.” In addition to his reputation as a showoff, Reggie was renowned for deriding his teammates in the press and initiating clubhouse fights. While it is not uncommon for losing teams to squabble, Mr. Jackson fought his teammates in good times as well as bad. Rick Cerone, the New York Yankees’ catcher during the early 1980s recalled a fight between Mr. Jackson and teammate Graig Nettles, which occurred at a celebratory dinner following the Yankees’ American League pennant victory. “We are going to the World Series and we’re celebrating. But Reggie and Nettles are fighting. Nettles punches Reggie in the face and Steinbrenner is rolling in the middle of the floor trying to break up the fight. And I’m saying to myself, ‘Didn’t we just win the ACLS? We’re going to the World Series right?’”
In 1980, following the breakup of the American band The Eagles, Don Henley was asked when the group would reunite. His response, “When hell freezes over.” Surprisingly, hell froze over 14-years later, when The Eagles launched a highly lucrative tour and TV special. According to Guitarist Glenn Frey, "We never broke up, we just took a 14-year vacation." The story is familiar. A young band gets into music for the sex, drugs and fame. They record a few songs, have a couple hits and then hit the road. The rigors of touring, along with the instant notoriety and unending public scrutiny cause the band to disintegrate, often to the point of declaring they will never work together again. In many cases, once the money (and sex and drugs) run out, the band members forget the days of rancor and only recall the “good old days” when creating something from nothing was fun. Eventually one of the band mates swallows their pride, picks up the phone and proposes a reunion tour. A similar phenomenon occurs in the startup world, without the drugs or drama endemic in the music industry.