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Recruiting a Great Team for your Startup by Dan Olsen
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Recruiting a Great Team for your Startup by Dan Olsen


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Talk I gave to Startup Leadership Program with advice on how to recruit team members for their startups.

Talk I gave to Startup Leadership Program with advice on how to recruit team members for their startups.

Published in: Business, Technology

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  • 1. Recruiting a Great Team for Your StartupDan Olsen, CEO, YourVersionStartup Leadership ProgramMarch 9, 2011
  • 2. AgendaYourVersion StoryRecruiting Team MembersStartup AdviceQuick poll of audience Stage: Idea, coding, private beta, public Background: engineering, business, other? Looking to hire? Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 3. My BackgroundBSEE, Northwestern & MSIE, Virginia TechStanford MBA19 years of Product Management Experience 5 years managing nuclear submarine design 5 years at Intuit, led Quicken Product Management Cofounded consumer web startup in Madrid, Spain Led Product Management at Friendster PM consultant to startups:, YouSendIt, Epocrates CEO & Cofounder of YourVersion, startup building  “Pandora for your real‐time web content” Will post slides to Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 4. Problem: Amount of Relevant ContentFar Exceeds How Much Time We Have Amount of new info created each day that’s relevant to you Hours per day you  have to consume  content Time Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 5. YourVersion: the Best Way to Stay on  Top of the Topics You Care AboutMost Personalized: add any topic to profileBrings you latest news, blogs, tweets, webpages, videos, Quora Q&ADelivers Best Blend of Relevance with RecencyEasiest to Use: innovative user interfaceMost Complete Discovery Solution Sharing: email, Facebook, Twitter Link shortening: Bookmarking with auto‐tagging Mobile apps: iPad, iPhone, Android phone & tablet Browser tools Personalized email digests & widgetsHarnesses Collective Intelligence Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 6. YourVersion iPhone App
  • 7. YourVersion Android Tablet App
  • 8. Praise for YourVersionLaunched Sep 2009 at TechCrunch50, won People’s Choice Award Complimented by Marissa Mayer & Robert Scoble Also won awards at Berkeley Digital Media  Conference, FailCon, SF NewTech, & SF BetaiPad App: Apple featured us as “New & Noteworthy” app Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 9. Recruiting Team Members
  • 10. Deciding WHAT type of people you need Skills Experience level Full time vs. part time Local vs. remote Eligibility to work Personality fit Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 11. Team ChemistryMyers‐Briggs Extroverted vs. Introverted Sensing vs. iNtuitive Thinking vs. Feeling Judging vs. PerceivingMotivationWork ethic, schedule preferencesAttention to detail Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 12. YourVersion PhasesPhase 1: “Food equity” phase Friends on weekends Cofounders or not? PHP vs. Java Private beta milestonePhase 2: After incorporatingPhase 3: After public launch, winning TechCrunch50 People’s Choice AwardPhase 4: After angel round Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 13. Resources for Finding PeopleYour Network LinkedIn, Facebook Ping more than once over timeLocal events Meetups Startup matchmaking Specific technologies: iOS, Android, PHP, JavaScript Plancast Startup orgs: SVASE, TiE, etc.Coworking spaces: Hacker Dojo, Office of SVIncubators / angels Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 14. Resources for Finding People cont’dUniversitiesJob fairs: JobNobJob posting sitesJobs section on your websiteYour user base Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 15. Evaluating CandidatesWrite job descriptionAgree on evaluation criteriaDefine your process Step 1: review resume (also check on LinkedIn & Google) Step 2: phone interview (check list of questions) Step 3: in‐person interviewResume reviewInterviewing is a skill, need to practice to get good at itPhone interviewIn‐person Interview Work samples are best Behavioral interviewing, real‐time exercises Ask where your company stands in their mindCheck referencesTrial period Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 16. Success with InternsIn interview: Really probe motivation & thought process Cover logistics Set expectationsMay be their first jobFor them Make sure it’s a real job, give ownership Ensure dedicated manager/mentor Identify & clearly define projects Learning experience: ok to stretch, grunt work bad Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 17. How do I Motivate my Team When I don’t have Cash?Stock optionsT‐shirts / schwagPositive feedback / recognitionTraining / learningResume builder, be a future job referenceLaunching/using their work, accomplishmentPositive feedback from customers, pressPride of a job well doneAdvice, skills barterFood, Fun Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 18. Startup Advice Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 19. 1. Focus on the Customer Problem First
  • 20. Problem Space vs. Solution Space Problem Space Solution Space A customer problem,  A specific  need, or benefit that the  implementation to  product should address address the need or  A product requirement product requirementExample: Ability to write in space  NASA: space pen (zero gravity) ($1 M R&D cost) Russians: pencil Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 21. Iterating Your Product Vector Based on  User Feedback in Solution Space Problem Space Solution Space (your mental model) (what users can react to) Help user Help userbook travel plan travel Mockups / Code Customer Feedback Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 22. 2. Go After a Big Opportunity
  • 23. High Importance + Low Satisfaction =Importance of User Need Opportunity High Competitive Opportunity Market Not Worth Going After Low Low High User Satisfaction with Current Alternatives Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 24. 3. How Will Your Product be Better?
  • 25. Kano Model: User Needs & Satisfaction User Satisfaction Delighter (wow) Performance  (more is better) Need Neednot met fully met Must Have Needs & features  migrate over time User Dissatisfaction Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 26. What is Your Value Proposition? Which user benefits are you providing? How are you better than competitors? Competitor A Competitor B YouMust Have Benefit 1 Y Y YPerformance Benefit 1 High Low MedPerformance Benefit 2 Low High LowPerformance Benefit 3 Med Med HighDelighter Benefit 1 Y ‐ ‐Delighter Benefit 2 ‐ ‐ Y Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 27. 4. Design & Ease of Use Are Critical What most people see and react to Visual Design What good product people Interaction think about Design Information Architecture Conceptual DesignRecommended reading: Jesse James Garrett’s“Elements of User Experience” chart, free at Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 28. 5. Prioritize and Stay Focused Limited resources 10 high priorities = FAIL What’s most important? Manage scope Avoid feature creep Bread down big items Strategy = deciding what  you’re not going to do Must say “no” Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 29. 6. Launch so you can Learn & Iterate
  • 30. 7. Listen to Your Customers
  • 31. “Ramen” User Feedback for StartupsAnyone can do it!Ingredients: Solution‐space product/mockup to test 1 customer (with laptop if testing code) 1 desk 1 person to conduct the session Pen and paper Optional note‐taker and observers Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 32. Typical Format for Customer Session5 ‐ 10 min: Ask questions to understand user needs and solutions they currently use30 ‐ 50 min: User feedback Show user product/mockup Non‐directed as much as possible When necessary, direct user to attempt to  perform a specific task5 ‐ 10 min: Wrap‐up Answer any user questions that came up Point out/explain features you want to highlight Ask them if they would use the product Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 33. Dos & Don’ts of Conducting UsabilityDo Explain to the user: Their usability test will help improve the product Not to worry about hurting your feelings “Think Aloud Protocol” Ask user to attempt the task, then be a fly on the wall Ask non‐leading, open‐ended questions Take notes and review them afterwards for take‐awaysDon’t Ask leading questions “Help” the user or explain the UI (e.g., “click over here”) Respond to user frustration or questions (until test is over) Get defensive Blame the user Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 34. 8. Startups are like Roller Coasters Exciting with scary moments Find at least 1 cofounder:  1 + 1 = 3 High highs, low lows Get through the dips, share the highs Challenging turns & dips Enjoy the ride! Copyright © 2011 YourVersion
  • 35. Try it out at: Free apps: iPad‐hd iPhone‐appAndroid phone‐apAndroid tablet‐tab Copyright © 2011 YourVersion