Companies change. Products evolve. Approaches get thrown out the window. The centrifugal force alone of that kind of rapid development is enough to throw anyone off center. Throughout my experience, one guiding rule on team building in fast-moving companies has emerged: hire people, not skills.
It can be tempting when you’re first growing to hire someone specifically to fill a gap in your company’s skillset. If you hire someone for skills alone, however, they may lose balance as the company grows, when those skills are no longer as central or get placed into a different context. Each time I have built a team, personal traits – not professional skills – have been what propelled the company forward.
So, what traits matter? The answer is going to vary by company and founder, but I look for the following:
Cultural Fit (45%)
Fit is arguably the most important of any qualification. Start-ups can be very hard, and they become impossible if you don’t love the people around you. Getting the culture right is critical. No matter how stellar a candidate’s skills are, if they don’t fit well with your team, it won’t work out for anyone involved. Be careful here though: fit should not signal conformity. You do not need 12 identical personalities. You need a mix of people with differing perspectives but shared values. You need at team that is cohesive because of its differences.
Scrappiness and Drive (35%)
At Performable, we include scrappiness in the job description. We seek out people who have toppled challenges with very limited resources. This is not just about being lean. It is about the character of the team. The four most powerful words coming from a new hire are: “I’ll figure it out.” Find someone who you can trust to say that and follow through on it, and you’ve found a true asset.
This kind of drive is different than traditional ambition. Ambitious people will succeed at any task laid before them. They will personally excel, quickly rising from manager to director to vice president. A scrappy person who is driven does not rely on titles or defined responsibilities. He or she will push the company forward even when no one’s looking. Driven people move through the responsibilities on their lists, but also keep a constant eye on how the company as a whole can do things smarter and better.
Intelligence and Experience (15% and 5%, respectively)
Intelligence and experience are valuable, but a scrappy person who fits well on the team can learn fast. In a start-up, jobs are always changing. So when you think about intelligence and experience, make sure you are thinking about it in terms of a genuine hunger to learn and level of life-experience that enables the candidate to easily adapt and evolve.
Discovering these traits in candidates may come down to a gut feeling for many, but some of it can be illuminated by carefully posed questions and by getting a candidate outside of the typical interview set-up. Whenever possible change the setting, meet candidates outside of the office, at events or out for coffee. Get them talking rather than answering. Find out what it is that makes them tick.
5 Days in 5 Minutes – a video showing the inside story of the students’ process
with real briefs from real clients in a 5-day project assignment. This is Hyper Island.
Biophilia is an iPhone/iPad release of Björk’s latest album created in collaboration with Scott Snibbe and her longtime design collaborators M/M (Paris). Comprising a suite of musical pieces and interactive artworks, Biophilia is released as ten in-app download experiences that are accessed through a three-dimensional galaxy, the album’s theme song Cosmogony. The first single Crystalline, is now available, others soon to follow. (Read more)
Björk Biophilia app intro narrated by David Attenborough.
Not an entire new thought but absolutely relevant these days and well-done executed.
INFLUENCERS is a short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment.
The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach.
Written and Directed by Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, the film is a Polaroid snapshot of New York influential creatives (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment) who are shaping today’s pop culture.
“Influencers” belongs to the new generation of short films, webdocs, which combine the documentary style and the online experience. Read more here.
1) Start on time and finish early. It shows respect for peoples time.
2) Skip long introductions. If you like to give contextual background information, do it at the relevant part of your talk.
3) No intro slides at all. It feels wrong but it works great.
4) Before you even say hello, give your audience something of value. A nugget of information.
5) Don’t sacrifice content for jokes or funny slides. It’s the real meat of your presentation.
6) Don’t dumb down information. Your audience is not stupid.
7) Reference specific work examples.
8) Do not make any editorial notes during your talk (“sorry, this slide is hard to read”). Avoid editorializing. It just takes focus away from the content and will interrupt peoples experience.
9) Avoid phrases like “…more in detail later”. It pulls the audience right out of the talk. And the current becomes less interesting and important. Another form of editorializing.
10) Stories make great talks. If something is boring content, build a story around it.
11) Stop anticipating questions your audience might have. Leave it to the Q&A. Don’t include answers in your presentation already.
- HOW TO: Get Tweetable Moments from Your Presentations (mashable.com)
They want to profile uses of radio frequency identification technology (RFID), outline one new use each business day for the next 100 days.
I hope Thing Magic can keep up for the next 5 month and 95 more to go. No matter how many they are on display at the end it’s a great survey of current RFID usage and a nice first look at the Internet of Things. You can follow Thing Magic on Twitter as well.
The current 5/100
- Hospital Inventory Control with UHF RFID – What if Your Goods Could Talk?
- Enhancing the Patient Experience with RFID – “It’s Like Angels Singing”
- The Batteryless RFID Imperative in Healthcare – Patient-Centric Applications That Are Changing the Healthcare Landscape
- The Next Revolution in Wireless and Mobility – How RFID and Sensing Is Automating Identification, Data Collection, and Location Systems
- Race Timing with RFID – How Rosie Ruiz Changed an Industry
(illustration by technabob.com)
Light Blue Optics just announced Light Touch. A laser projector that turns any flat surface into an auto-focused and image-adjusted 10-inch touchscreen with WVGA resolution. The Holographic Laser Projection (HLP™) is a revolution in display technology. Light Touch runs Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 and includes WiFi andBluetooth radios. 2GB of on-board storage and a battery capable of about 2-hours worth of runtime.
Texas Instruments is a leader in the market of digital light processing chips.