Few people are as important to the future of any venture as the first few hires. These tech giants are no exception.
Adzuna’s Stephen Pritchard sent us this infographic detailing some of the most influential first hires of many of the biggest names in the tech industry. Most of these people are not big names by any means except among industry insiders, but it’s important to understand what they were able to do that allowed them to profoundly affect their start-ups’s bottom-lines — as well as our lives.
- The most successful first hires often complement or complete qualities and abilities founders lack.
- Compared to late hires, first hires are far more often on the fast track to advancement, just by virtue of being there, not necessarily because they’re better.
- Of course, being good at what you do helps.
- Tumblr’s Marco Arment‘s quip about being the “idea editor” is pretty much on the money on what great first hires can be expected to do, even if they are not explicitly meant to do this.
- First hires should ideally have their founders’ backs.
- Wendell Weeks, though not a first hire, offers some insight from his rise from COO to CEO at Corning: “[There has to be]true partnership, in every sense of the word…because there are those in the organization who are always seeking to drive wedges if they can.”
- Luck is a very critical factor in finding the right first hires. One lesson to be learned from the experiences of these first hires is that building the right kind of networks pays off.
- While Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Jean-Luc Picard might be able to get away with a simple “make it so”, founders and top managers often forget their people aren’t psychic. Enterprises that have self-aware founders or first hires that can tolerate and work through this will have far better chances than those that do not.
While the founders may have the vision, the first hires help make that vision reality– or at least make something out of it. The first few hires of any start-up often find themselves not just the executors of the founders’ ideas, but shapers of the same.
What are your start up experiences?