By: James Kashmer (LinkedIn Profile here.)
For a product person like me, walking through a research institution is like a kid going through a candy store. Visiting with brilliant people and listening to them talk (while they show their life’s work) is an uplifting and motivating experience for me. So how do people like me choose with whom to work?
Personalities And Assembling A Team – What Is The Personality Of The IP Generator?
Personalities play more of a role than they should (and I do admit it). I, for example, do not waste time trying to get someone who has been working his or her entire life in pure research to sit down and prepare a detailed 100-page business plan. It’s NOT that they can’t do it–it’s that they choose not to. I also recognize it is not usually the best use of their time.
The same can be said about getting “researchers” to help get their “product out the door”. Recognize that implementation is not usually what interests (motivates) these people, and the person who created the IP (basis of your company) might not be the best person to do this.
In a startup situation, everyone needs to wear many hats and minimizing time to complete tasks is of the important for success. Some people can “flex” to do tasks they do NOT enjoy. It has been my experience a person who actually does (is able to) “flex” is a rare bird.
Greed – Drinking Your Own “Kool Aid” – Rewarding Those Who Actually Contribute To The Company Moving Forward
I have written previously “your IP is not worth much until you start eliminating unknowns” . Another way of putting it is that your IP becomes more valuable when you are able to answer questions, and replace assumptions, with facts.
So how much do you compensate (with salary and equity) the IP Generator on day one of your NewCo? What’s the idea premium really worth? Usually going through this exercise on (or before) day one of your NewCo tells you everything you need to know about the people who you are choosing to start working with. Even though it is true that you would not even be talking about NewCo without the IP Generator, the IP IS NOT WORTH VERY MUCH until things start to get accomplished and the unknowns have answers. Shouldn’t the people making the contributions and enhancing the value of NewCo be as generously rewarded as the IP Generator? I think so.
Getting The Message Out: Be Pro-Active
Just because you think you have a better “mouse trap” does not necessarily mean people will be “beating a path to your door”. Often the answer to fulfilling your funding needs is getting your succinct and targeted message out to where the people that can help frequent. Kudos to the present generation for creating and using powerful networking tools to help get the message out.
Getting the message out also implies people will respond. Critically analyze responses to see that the message that you thought you sent is being heard and / or understood by your targeted market (people). If your targeted market is responding and engaged to your message it is an excellent opportunity to choose “early adopters” willing to work with you to refine your initial product offering. This, in part, is the basis of that well-described strategy of “getting out of the office” to create the Minimum Viable Product (or MVP). For more on the MVP, look here.
Questions, comments, or feedback? Let me know. And keep the ideas coming!