14 thoughts on “Stop hiring people to do YOUR job!”

  1. Hmmm, I don’t know if I get your point. At first you state that no employee can replace a founder when it comes to a (cohesive) vision. Later you seem to recognize that hiring people is a necessity if you want your company to grow.

    I agree with your conclusion — that you should build your organization carefully because rushing may destroy it. I just don’t see how “build carefully” can imply not hiring salespeople, designers and technologists, which seems to be your advice in your first paragraphs.}

  2. I think that wil stated that no matter who you hire for your startup, the founder always play an important role [By having the vision and by glueing all the parts and people together].
    Think of a founder as the mother of a baby, you can hire a very professional babysitter with plenty of experience, her mother will always know [by instinct] whats best for her baby and [emotionally] do a better job than the babysitter.

    I don’t always think its true, and i dont think that a founder always need to be the CEO of the company, sometimes you need someone who has enough experience and connection to take your business to the next level and having a professional CEO doing that while you’re in the backstage supporting him and supporting the employees might be the best thing to do.

    I do think that the founder need to stay at the company for a long time. he knows its business better than anyone else. He also give always a morale boost to the employees [if the founder is still around that means he has faith in the idea, if he leaves to found another idea, that can impact the company aswell].}

  3. @ Tim – I wanted to point out that while hiring the next round of management is a necessary step, you need to be careful about leaving the critical role of vision, and to some degree “heart” (for lack of a much better term) with the Founder.

    Of course there are cases where the Founder has left and the next round of management proceeded wonderfully. Jack Welch comes to mind in that capacity.

    But what we’re talking about are startup companies here, so in the formative stages the Founder is much more likely to be connected with the company at a deeper level, which frankly, I took for granted.

    @ Adam – I wish I had thought of your babysitter analogy when writing the piece. Thank you!}

  4. I do think that non-business CEO’s often are susceptible to doubting their abilities and focus on what they lack. While you may not be able to crunch numbers, often you have unique insight into the customers, the market and the product. Self-doubt can lead to poor choices, and a MBA does not an executive make.}

  5. Really interesting article. My experience has been that it’s too many senior outside hires that causes problems. Many young companies seem to be become top heavy very fast, when what they really need is focus from the founders on creating a fantastic team of line-level staff to execute on the vision.}

  6. Good article, I can read the attitude is lot bold ‘I’ statements,

    I dont think the founder need to be there ( ex: cisco ) for a company to grow. On the other side Apple and Microsoft are other examples.}

  7. @ Unnikrishnan – we’re not talking about the Founder of publicly held companies. We’re talking about the Founder in a startup. Much different point of evolution!}

  8. Excellent article.

    One of the reasons so many first-time entrepreneurs try to “outsource” too much too early is that they simply lack the confidence in their own abilities.

    As you pointed out, more often than not, passion trumps experience and skills.}

  9. Hi Wil:
    You have presented the real management phenomenon. I have few observations:
    1. Employee loyalty is never 100%
    2. Culture of engaging employees in management and handling the issues independently should be started at the very first stage of your startup. As it go farther, you can not change so easily.
    3. If you are in loyalty trap of employees, either you reengineer the organization process workflow or layoff the unloyal employees as soon as possible.
    4. Trust the employees but keey yourself in loop as well.

    Rajesh Shakya
    Helping Technopreneurs to excel and lead their life!}

  10. Not I am trying to equal myself to you, but I have the same situation like when you started your blue diesel. I am 19 years old student right now and trying to run a company. I am not much technical, I am like a founder. We’ve already done some projects for offshore clients and some are just in hand. Since we are getting some more orders I wanted to hire some more people, I told my designer partner to find one. Like you, I did not take wrong person to find a programmer but he is never 100% serious, finally I found myself finding the right person to work for.
    One problem I’ve always faced being an young is they never believed me easily which hurts.}

  11. I don’t agree with your conclusions.
    You’ve stated ‘Only you’ can do all these jobs, because of your ‘passion’.
    How did Google grow? Or EBay?
    The problem of “how to grow a great company” needs to be analyzed deeper.

    The problems seem to me to be
    (a) a better candidate selection system.

    (b) Better communication on your part.
    If your sales team isn’t converting sales, is it because they don’t have the understanding of why your product is better? Or, more relevant, do you have a strong quota system in place where sales conversion equate to revenue for the salesperson?

    Your conclusions are the exact opposite given in many startup/entrepreneur books.

    Your conclusions may be correct for your situation. But i don’t agree that you can generalize the correct answer for all situations based on your one experience.}

  12. @ Bob – of course you can’t grow by never hiring anyone!

    The point was that you shouldn’t overlook how important the Founder’s “touch” is on every aspect of the organization.}

  13. Great analysis, I have been through a few startups and I have seen similar things.

    @bob – In my first startup (I was 21) we had the same problem with the ‘professional sales’ people we hired. They were unable to be effective, but when a founder was part of the sales pitch the results where usually the opposite.

    Was it because we didn’t prepare the sales people to communicate the benefits or give them enough incentive? If we took the time to hire someone giving them incentive and preparing them is the fun part.

    What we eventually learned, was that in a startup you are selling an ‘unproven’ system and in our market (electronic ticket for sports franchise) – ticketing managers are relatively conservative group. While the customers might have liked the product benefits unconditionally, they weren’t buying on the product benefits alone and needed more to make the leap and that meant interacting with the founders directly to see the passion and commitment that was backing the product.

    Until a product reaches a ‘proven’ point in their respective industry the founder is a necessary part to closing deals.

    Ultimately, we changed our sales approach where we had a much smaller sales team to do lead generation, get the pipeline going and loop in founders and account managers for face-to-face pitches. This way the prospective client got the benefits pitch, the founder passion commitment pitch and also was interacting upfront with the person who would be their day to day point person for the relationship moving forward.}

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