April 8, 2011
The hot Q&A startup Quora has been growing at a rapid level since its launch in 2009. A large portion of the early adopters appear to be entrepreneurs, tech geeks and business people, you know, the Silicon Valley types. The variety of questions on Quora range from the best marketing ideas to suggested movie sequels. However, there is one particular question that appears to be buzzing throughout the startup world: What does the perfect startup team look like?
The Key Players
Everyone is chiming in on the question, from venture capitalists to serial entrepreneurs and CEOs, all of whom are considered experts in the industry. Because answers and comments that are listed on Quora are posted according to popularity, it becomes easier to identify the most popular responses. Therefore, here are the key individual types that you will need to create the perfect startup team:
The Business Person: An experienced business individual who understands sales, marketing, business development. This person must be able to easily and accurately convey the value of your product or service to potential customers, investors and partners. This person must also be able to properly communicate the technical team members. This becomes critical for product development when user feedback begins pouring in.
The Developer: A technical person who can create anything that the founding team can dream. This person must be well-versed in programming so that changes can be made to the product on a moment’s notice. It would best serve the startup if this technical person also was familiar with the technology of server environments, because we all know how expensive IT help can be.
The Designer: The creative mind who understands how design affects user experience. This person must be able to turn an idea into something that people will enjoy using and will enjoy viewing. The success of some startup’s has become heavily weighted on that company’s ability to attract and retain users because of the fact that users like the website. Very few companies can still succeed with a design like Craigslist.
Follow the Leader
A team with more than one of these individuals wouldn’t be a negative either. I think that three people would be the ideal number because it becomes increasingly more difficult to start a company with more people. Of the three founders, one must clearly be designated as the leader, which is more likely to be the business person. However, each of the previously mentioned characteristics should overlap between founders so that no one person is solely competent in any one area. Startups are all about being flexible and without well-rounded individuals, it may become increasingly difficult to pivot during rough times.
As an aside, based on popular consensus, it appears that the best example of someone who demonstrates all of the above named competencies is Steve Jobs. Since most of us are not like Steve, we should make sure that we have all the pieces in line that will increase our opportunity for success.
Clearly, any question that is posed with the adjective perfect is subject to a variety of differing opinions. However, based on the suggestions and responses of experts in the industry, there is a tremendous commonality in opinion that is shared on this topic. If you have a different opinion, please share it below.
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