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Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by Brad Feld, David Cohen

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Chapter 18. Hire People Better than You

Will Herman

Hire People Better than You

Will is an angel investor and entrepreneur. He is one of the founders of TechStars in Boston and has been a mentor since 2009.

 

If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.

 
 --David Ogilvy

You've worked your asses off, had some success and have decided it's time to start expanding your team. Surprisingly, this turns out to be one of the most difficult tasks that startups take on. Some do it too fast, hiring the first cool person they meet without thinking of the big picture. Others, painfully, wait forever until they find someone who not only meets every preconceived criterion, but can also turn water into wine. Both are common mistakes but are not nearly as problematic as the biggest hiring mistake entrepreneurs can make—hiring those less capable than themselves.

There's an old adage that A-players hire A-players while B-players hire C-players. This refers to the notion that while great performers prefer to be among high-performing people who are similar to or better than they are, mediocre (and poor) performers often want to avoid having their weaknesses exposed and their efforts and abilities challenged. As a result, they often hire people who don't threaten them.

While this is frequently the ...

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