I was asked by a friend this week who is thinking of leaving an impressive career in a corporate business for a startup, what I thought about the making such a bold move.
Beyond working for great people, a product or service you believe in and getting a good package, I thought the final piece of advice should be to go ‘all in’, commit and not look back. I think this is important otherwise when the going gets tough it will be easy to become concerned and give up, and ultimately letting yourself and your team mates down.
Flipping this on its head, when choosing your first hires for your startup, I think it is key to look for people who demonstrate this mentality. A bit like a rock climber. I was reading the FT article below about the CEO of Danone who demonstrates these skills and also watched the Ted talk of climber Alex Honnold who demonstrates that a focused and direct approach with the ability to solve challenges along the way is key.
Reid Hoffman made the comment in a recent Masters Of Scale podcast (here) with Aneel Bhusrii of Workday that “your first 150 hires are your cultural co-founders”. Personally I’d search for the rock climbers who apply for these roles...
Born and raised in the French Alpine city of Grenoble, Mr Faber practises rock climbing at least once a week when he is in Paris, and says the discipline influences his management style. “Climbing involves huge mental focus, commitment, risk calculation and a sense of here and now,” he says. “It helps me with everything I do and also at Danone. It is about making judgment calls under pressure. You can’t lie to yourself when you climb and you can’t lie to yourself in a job like this one.” Mr Faber, who worked at Bain & Co early in his career