I try to be an open person, especially with all of you, but you might not know this about me. When we started Bloomberg Beta, I had strong feelings about becoming a VC — vaguely gross feelings. There were a (vanishingly) small number of VCs I adored. The rest I thought were, as my daughter would say, blergh.
We compare business to war so often, we hardly notice. “Battlefield promotion.” “Let’s go on a retreat.” “More wood behind fewer arrows.” “Captains of industry.” “Alliances.” Even the origin of the word “company” is military. People read The Art of War and think about the insurance company division they manage as if it’s the same as sending armies off to die.
It’s tempting to compare work to war. It takes our daily toil and elevates the stakes, makes us feel that victory is glorious, our work matters. Seeing others as enemies may unite us. Hearts speed, adrenaline flows.
Avoid people whose skills complement yours! Consider the “cell division” approach instead.
Early hiring, yet another area where startups often reverse Muggle business logic. Conventional hiring wisdom says to add people who excel at important skills you lack. “I’m great at product and engineering. We need sales, though, so let’s hire a fantastic salesperson!”
It’s understandable. Founders start out doing everything. As you run out of time in your day, it’s natural to want relief. Wouldn’t it be nice to bring on a person who excels at the things you find unfamiliar? So you hire someone to do that new job — sales, marketing, community management, something. Magic!