Eleven lessons for Startup teams from Ocean’s Eleven

Creating a startup is like giving birth to a baby. Sustaining the baby you need a team of concerned protective disciplined and skilled people. Skillset and mindset are the operating words. The skills and the minds of the diversity in the team must gel.

Danny Ocean had an excellent idea to repay his debt to society. He set up a team of skilled hackers and scientists to achieve a common goal. No birds were hurt in Danny’s startup. Even the bad guy won his money in insurance and the French guy lost his money in the sequel. But this not about Ocean’s Twelfth  where clearly Danny and his merry men went overboard and hired a bridge too far. This is about the original play on the original startup. So here are the eleven lessons.

  1. Skillsets should be complementary- The grease monkey and the smooth talker are different skill sets.
  2. Team members should have cross-functional skills. In a crisis you need backups. In terms of volatility you need options. Suppose your Hadoop guy called in sick. Cross train your tech team into different technologies and cross train your business team into different skills like leads. deal origination,
  3. The big guy who lends his name to the team needs to have Charisma to do the recruitment for first few chaps
  4. You need a smart guy to handle the Operations like Rusty and you need a guy with a lot of money with nothing to lose like Ruben. Ops and Finance are the first few hires you will make Danny Boy.
  5. Leader needs to have integrity. If that is questioned Leader needs to be flexible. If Leader has a secret personal reason to do the op in a startup, it goes better if that is known to the top guys in the startup team, but not all the members in the startup team have the same need to know.
  6. You need young men who are hungry and eager to prove their mark in the world like Matt Damon. Young men who are skilled but not known well enough are easier to recruit to your startup team . With a limited budget you need a few good young men in your team.
  7. Diversity happens by karma not by design. Choose people based on skills and mindsets. Ethnic orientations should not paly any role in positive or negative decisions in the recruitment. If the startup idea is good, the black guy and the chinese guy and the jewish guy and old man and the young man will play fine. If the idea is bad, not all the liberal books you read can set it right.
  8. Be ruthless when dealing with ruthless situations but be classy always. Class shall always count. You may think of your startup idea all the time but it is most probably not your first and not your last job. Most of us dont get the luxury od dining on the Job like Steve Jobs did. your classy behvaiour will help you in your career beyiind your startp team and even in your personal life.
  9. Dont forget the little guys. The little guys help with blueprints, intel, product design and product delivery. Dont forget them.
  10. Be open to hire more.
  11. Be loyal to the team, and dont fire your people when you are down. Dont crap on your team when the shit hits the fan. Take the shit and swallow it and smile back. that’s what a fearless leader does.

You be good to your team, and your team will rob the casinos and get you girl. BE nice and BE Kind to your team. In case of doubt, watch the DVD again. It’s excellent motivation.

Author: Ajay Ohri

http://about.me/ajayohri

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