From the Startup Mixology Conference – Recruiting and Building a Team

June 17, 2011

9:26 am

Finding the right team to help you grow your company is a must as you go from Alpha to Beta to live.  Peter Corbett, CEO at iStrategyLabs, has been there and very humorously shared his experience on what it takes to build a team that loves working for you so much they don’t leave.

iStrategyLabs has huge companies as clients – ABC, PBC, Marriott, VW, Pinkberry, Disney – and it’s because they trust the iStrategyLabs team.  iStrategyLabs has hired more than 300 contractors in 3 years; 20 “assassins” who are awesome and can crank out great work quickly; a core team of 14 people (a year ago, they were 4), and they are hiring like 1 person per month.  Most hires happen in 30 minutes.

Of the 300 contractors, none of them have f***ed up.  Of the 14 team members, none were bad hires.  They match talent with opportunity, and they do not hire out work overseas.

This is what he looks for:

  1. What is your passion?
  2. What can you do?
  3. Will you fit the culture?
  4. Do you have the X factor?  Peter doesn’t know what the X factor is, he just knows if you have it.

Epic teams start to crystallize around a person first and around a culture second.  Being a CEO can be really seductive, so you have to remember that it’s not about you, and it’s not about the money.  You want to build a culture that is about “us” and that encourages good work that is going to get seen and appreciated.  Culture is measured in turnover and fails.

Your startup will succeed if you think about the full ecosystem.  You need to build a community, and as the community grows, your company will grow.  The value you push out to world, comes back.  One of his slides said: “I work for you.  You work for each other.  You work in pursuit of your dreams.  Our work enables all of our dreams.”

If you do this, great talent will stay with you.

Peter’s last thought: Kickoff then fuckoff.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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