The Types of People I Wanna Work With At My Startup

7/20/11

As I talked about in my last post, I believe people are the absolute biggest factor on if a startup will succeed. Not the idea. Not the market. Not the competition. It’s about the people on the team.

I’ve been talking to a handful of folks who are looking to work with me. As I meet with them and speak with them, I find myself repeating the same things.

Skill sets and talents aside, these are the types of people i’m looking to work with…

People Who Want To Win
I grew up playing sports and in a house of four boys. I’ve always had to fight for that last slice of pizza. I’m competitive. I hate to lose and I love to win. Simple as that. Everyone on my team must have this attitude. I want people who are driven to succeed. People who are motivated and hungry. People who strive for excellence. People who push to be the best.

People Who Get What They Want
I want people who are used to getting what they want in life. People who take the bull by the horns and kick the crap out of it. This is the first thing I ask of candidates. I want examples of when they got what they wanted… whether in work, school, dating or other. I want scrappy hustlers who simply find a way to succeed. It doesn’t matter how big or small the task, these types of people deliver. They refuse to lose. Startups are hard. We get knocked down. We get discouraged. We get beat up. I need to know that my team will stand with me and keep at it until we collectively get what we want: victory.

People Who I Can Trust
It’s critical that the team be completely open, honest and transparent with each other. We have integrity. No secrets. No politics. No drama. We’re an elite squad of special forces who move swiftly as a cohesive unit and we always have each other’s back. We inspire, support, teach and train each other. We don’t care who gets the credit, as long as the team wins.

People Who Aren’t A-holes
I want people who aren’t jerks. We will spend more time together in a given day than we will with our loved ones. It’s a “No Douchebag” zone. Life is simply too short to be working with these types of people. No matter how amazingly brilliant these people might be, they are not worth keeping around.

People Who Are Curious
I want people who are constantly learning and growing. They like to challenge themselves. They like to improve themselves. They are spontaneous. They explore and discover. I want people who are willing to try something completely new and adventurous, even if it means looking silly or being embarrassed. I want people who are not afraid to fail.

People Who Work Hard
I want people who are productive. They get an insane amount of stuff done in a short amount of time. It’s not about hours or time. It’s about being smart, organized, and disciplined. They are ruthless in their prioritization. They don’t make excuses and they always deliver when they say they will.

People Who Are Passionate
I want people who are passionate about what they do. When you talk to them, you can feel their fire. It’s contagious. They’re bouncing off walls. They’re so high energy that you wonder if they aren’t a little ill. They’re happy with who they are and what they do. They love life and they love challenges.

People With Imagination
I want to work with people who dream big. They imagine themselves doing great things and building amazing products. As entrepreneurs, it’s normal to be a little bit delusional. Our sense of reality is distorted. If we knew how hard the path, we wouldn’t begin. I wanna work with people who imagine doing the impossible. They see it in their mind and they believe they can do it.

Conclusion
I’m fine running solo for as long as necessary. I won’t rush the people decisions — they are everything. :)

If you think you meet the criteria above, let’s talk.

  • Ethan

    Thanks for the post, Mick. Very accurate. If There’s a chance for a fit over there I’d love to talk about it.

  • Nate

    Hey Mick, I’d love to talk with you. I spoke at the Orem Tweet Up with you awhile back and am the one who got Shaq to follow me on Twitter based on a bet with a friend. (People Who Get What They Want & People Who Want To Win) I started GetJimmered.com – vendor of “Officially Licensed Jimmer Shirts” – because I love basketball and Jimmer’s story – and we’ve made good $$ in just a few months (People Who are Passionate).

    • http://www.mickhagen.com/ Mick Hagen

      Yeah I definitely remember you. Shoot me an email and let’s chat.

  • http://www.danielsemmens.com Daniel Semmens

    Great read!  It’s like I’m reading my own thoughts.  This is the kind of person I believe I am, and the type of person that I want to work with.

    • http://www.mickhagen.com/ Mick Hagen

      Well goodness, maybe we need to work together. :) I’m working on a new startup and as the post describes, only looking for great people. We should connect.

  • Lance Ellsworth

    I heard you were doing something interesting.  Your summary definitely resonates.  If you still have room on the bus love to at least connect and explore.  Are you launching this in SF or UT?

  • James Ingallinera

    Hi Mick,

    I think I’m exactly that type of person. I am always on the hunt for people who fit the mold that you described. Would love to connect at some point – james@huwami:disqus .com or 203.803.3612. Here are some examples off the top of my head that back it up…

    – Got my first job in high school with a $6BN real estate development firm by hunting down the CEO of the firm and pitching him on why he should hire me with zero connections beforehand.
    – Founded my Alma Mater’s (Notre Dame) student-alumni association for Wall Street, grew to over 200 students in first year, backed by Notre Dame’s board of Wall Street Alumni and the CIO of the school.
    – Have had five jobs in finance (at 22), got (arguably) the best job in my graduating class at Bain Capital, just left that job to pursue my startup (Huwami) full-time and am hell-bent on being a serial entrepreneur until I become a billionaire.
    – Recently flew across the country (Boston to Palo Alto) to meet with Mike Moritz, without an invitation. Did it to get his attention.
    – Two long term goals: 1. Create a real alternative to the traditional eduction/career trajectory, a platform that provides young people with maximum incentive to focus on creating new companies at the earliest age possible. (have detailed plans for this). 2. Establish a methodology & society that teaches people what causes success. Have developed this methodology over last 6+ years, using it to become a billionaire by being a serial entrepreneur, want to use my success to validate my methodology and teach as many people as possible how they can do what I did to get whatever they want in life – single biggest impact I could have on the world.

    Sincerely,

    James Ingallinera

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