by Nick Rodriguez
The IMSA student population is a startup company’s dream. Filled with an abundance of diverse and high quality talent, IMSA is the right place for a start up to mine early employees. But, is picking the right people one of a startup’s first priorities? Isn’t it all about the idea? The answer is that the idea will go nowhere without the right people. It is the people that define the startup and most directly determine its success.
The founders and first employees of any company are essential to establishing a viable future. With the wrong people, even the best of ideas will fail. However, with the right people, anything is possible. Though a startup is an inherently uncertain and risky endeavor, the proper foundation of people adds a degree of stability, a trait sought after by investors. Without financing, few startups can survive.
Moreover, the early employees define the culture of a new company. The variation of company culture is extreme – ranging from the cubicles and rigid infrastructure of massive corporations to the four college dropouts working and living in a one-room apartment. It will be up to the founders and first employees to create the culture that best suits them, the idea and their vision.
A critical function of the early employees is to drive intelligent and meaningful product development. Experts differ on the best skill set of early employees necessary to facilitate this product development. Many experts believe the early employees must possess deep expertise in diverse areas. For instance, a product visionary and a technological genius could make a tremendous coupling. Other experts theorize the early employees must be composed of multi-talented individuals, who can be flexible and each contribute in multiple ways. Andy Swan, founder of LikeFolio, replied to the question “What roles should the first ten employees of a tech company be?” with the answer:
1. jack of all trades, master of a few
2. jack of all trades, master of a few
3. jack of all trades, master of a few
4. jack of all trades, master of a few
5. jack of all trades, master of a few
6. jack of all trades, master of a few
7. jack of all trades, master of a few
8. jack of all trades, master of a few
9. jack of all trades, master of a few
10. someone who can sell ice to Eskimos
Fortunately, at IMSA, there is a plethora of talented individuals, whether deep expertise or “jack of all trades” is a startup’s prevailing theory. IMSA has the whole spectrum — technology whiz to visionary to jack of all trades. To build the proper foundation for the next Apple, Microsoft or Apple, look no further than the people living down the hall from you.
The Entrepreneurship column is run by the board of eleMENT, a student organization that helps high school students build confidence with entrepreneurship.
Featured Image by Copyshoppy