Pornography has painted a world by which women have disproportionally large breasts. With startup porn, we have the same problem with almost everything. I want to talk about "hiring the best" today.

Every CEO, including myself, claims to hire the best in their company. Statistically, that cannot be true. For the sake of honesty, I dare say that I have the best talent in the core team. I cannot imagine having a better CTO who is ruthlessly honest (in a good way) and competent. Nor can I imagine a better CEO running LandX because he is a much better deal and compliance person than I am. And LandX needs that. But everyone else is a rough diamond, and some of them are not that great.

Hiring the best is bullshit

A while ago, I met an angel investor who talked pedigree up. He said that a founding team should ideally be comprised of ivy league scholars. Because historically only such teams succeed in raising a seed round. I am no ivy league, and I assume most people with entrepreneur dreams are not ivy league scholars. How then do we hire the best without funds? And without the best team, how do we raise the next round?

This chicken and egg paradox is why I call such "advice" bullshit.

I refuse to accept that there is only one way to skin the cat.

Polishing rock into a shinier rock

Most people (like myself) cannot afford class A talents, so the only choice you have is to grind that class B talent into class A- ones. Thus I present my case: Most companies (note I did not say startups) are not able to hire the best Harvard marketers or MIT software engineers.

  1. They are expensive. As a startup, you should scrimp every cent.
  2. There are not enough talents to fill a 200 man team.

So I have accepted that sometimes I will make poor hiring decisions.

Because I have accepted that I will make mistakes, I make sure to include the cleanup process in the journey to develop our staff. In my experience, true colors emerge no later than three months after the hire begins. And in these three months, I will do my best to nurture the individual.

  • In the first two weeks, I onboard every employee research tasks, process scriptures, and lessons
  • Then, I provide the problem statement of his/her role, and the company culture to work smart.

I was introspecting today and honestly, the second step is where my staff development process begins to fail because I notice most hires failing to perform at this stage. It does not help that I seek to be hands-off as much as possible as I expect most staff to be self-motivated in tackling their problem statement.

With this, I enact an additional step. I will adopt weekly performance feedback in point-form for every direct staff that I manage. With this, I hope to inspire the introspection process as a routine in every employee.

The large breast problem

Startup mantras are bullshit. Make a million dollars. Hire the best. Raise a seed round. Why are the community leaders even spouting theses nonsense? How about we practice this instead: if the advice is not reproducible, do not propagate it.