Skip to main content

Building Teams: The Importance of Evangelism

I had a conversation last night that reminded me of the purpose and power of evangelism: building teams is much more than "recruitment"; it's more like a mission.

Your product is not your company. All of the passion you feel for your product is important, solving the problem is important, serving a customer is critical.

But putting the same energy, passion, and commitment to building an amazing team will make the difference between execution and not, progress and not, an enjoyable, thriving workplace and not.

Recruit True Believers
So where do you find true believers? You can't simply identify them from a stack of resumes. You absolutely must get out and preach the gospel of your vision, and show that passion that inspired you to build a product without a net, and convince friends and family to part with their hard-earned money.

But the most powerful use of your passion is when you get other people to change their lives on your behalf: to come work for the crazy founder out to change the world, just to be a part of something bigger than themselves and more satisfying than some run of the mill corporate job, or service job serving someone else's vision.

Get Out There
Recruiting is not about getting a stack of resumes. Get out there. Speak at tech meetups and conferences. Organize your own and invite everyone. Say 75 people show up at a meetup. You speak, you evangelize, you froth at the mouth, and you end up with just 1 recruit: that's entirely worth it.

Meaningful Work
People don't show up to meaningful work just for the money. Yes, you need to pay them. Offer extraordinary benefits like 90% of healthcare, but keep the salaries low and the stock options high. Make sure you create a equity structure that doesn't screw them through liquidation preferences and the like (I'll write about that again soon).

Your greatest power is getting people to do what you need them to do, against the better judgment of their friends, spouses, and parents.

Take Care of People
And then treat them very, very well. Your job is not to be held high on their shoulders. It's to turn them into stars at what they do, on behalf of your shared mission. Once you put yourself well above them (psychologically, etc), you create negative incentives and possibly an atmosphere where they will no longer perform with the same zeal they developed when you first got them to drink the kool-aid.

Building a startup is not merely about building a product--that's just the focal point for serving the customer. You have to build teams of inspired, kick-ass employee-partners willing to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous startup life, and you can only do that through the positive, passionate evangelism you already have.

Just remember this: use your powers for good.


Popular posts from this blog

Beta Signup

I've been working for quite a while on a new search concept, though the further in I get, the closer the rest of the world gets to what we're doing. So today I'm inviting you to sign up for the rather modest beta, which will be ready soon if we can nail down a few difficult  details. Jawaya is a way of navigating the web and getting better results. And that's as much as I can say right now, because we're not a funded startup, and things are moving really fast in this space--it's going to be very competitive. I predict there will be about 10 funded startups in the next 6 months doing something similar. One of them will be mine, and we aim to make it the best. We're raising a round of capital to fund the team, and are shooting for early sustainability. This is my fifth company; my fourth in the tech space, and my third software company. I think it will be the biggest and can possibly have a positive impact on the world by reducing the amount of time it takes

Where Innovation Happens

As I get closer to a go/no-go decision on a project, I've been thinking about the difference about my vision for the project and the supportive innovations to enable the core innovations The vision combines (in unequal parts) product, core innovation as I imagine it, the application of that core innovation, design, marketing,  developer ecosystem, and business development. The core innovation enables everything else, but it's the application of the innovation that makes it meaningful, useful, and in this case, fun. This week we're testing initial approaches to the implementation for our specific application, and that's where we'll develop the enabling innovations, which is basically where the rubber meets the road. The difference is that the enabling innovation happens at the source of real problems only encountered in the making of something, and in a project like this just getting the essence of it right isn't enough; it also has to be safe, the compone

Disqus Digests

This morning my phone dinged with a fresh notification--a new email! What oh what could it be?  I rush over to check while thinking "I need to unsubscribe to a lot of stuff so I get fewer non-urgent dinging notifications." Well shoot, that's disappointing. It's Disqus Digests, one of the biggest wastes of dopamine anticipation ever.  It simply sucks.  Disqus itself is great as a commenting system. I've been there since the beginning and have mostly enjoyed its evolution.  And then they did this interruptive, irrelevant email. Well why does it suck, you say.  Every one of these "Digests" sends a few comments from a blog conversation in which I've already participated. That means it's very, very likely that I've seen the comments before.  So I open the mail, see something I've already read, and curse Daniel and Company for enticing me into wasting my time, and cursing myself for falling for it.  So I unsub