The Single Biggest Lesson of a Venture Backed CEO (or come see my recruiting talk at #sxsw)

Got this note from an entrepreneur I know the other day:

"The single biggest lesson I have learned in 2 years as a venture backed CEO is the importance of having the right people in place, particularly at the executive level.  The reason you've seen [this company] start to turn the corner in the last 3-4 months really boils down to 4 people... all [of these people] joined the company in Q4 last year... The four of them bring a lot of experience to exactly this stage of a startup.  They know how to go from a product in market that has some sales, but is all over the place, and figure out how to scale it.  They have brought a level of structure and discipline that we didn't have before, and they have made every discussion we have about product, marketing, sales, engineering, whatever, better and more thoughtful.  I know you can't see it that much yet, but [the company] is getting better every day because of these guys, and it's very exciting."

Hiring great people--there's nothing more impactful that you can do at a startup company and it's not always the easiest thing to do. 

One way I think about it is whether or not it would be a bigger detriment to the company if you left sometime in the next 3-6 months, or if everyone who reports to you left over that time--even if you could find replacements.   When you become less important than all of the people on your team, you are well on your way to building a sustainable machine of value creation. 

If you want to hear more about the topic, feel free to come see my talk at the GE Garage at 2:30PM on Sunday.