Hiring and building culture

Ben Silbermann is a co-founder of online pinboard Pinterest and Patrick and John Collison are co-founders of payment service provider Stripe.

In the talk below, they share their thoughts on hiring and how to build a culture. Here are my key takeaways:

  1. When you hire the first 10 people on your team you’re actually hiring much more than those 10 people. Each of those 10 people will subsequently hire 10 more people so you’re actually hiring 100 people. This is why it’s very important to get your first hires right.
  2. When a startup is hiring, you’re looking for talent that is undervalued on the market. Big companies are home to a lot of talent but by the time these people land at a big company they’re very likely to be properly valued so it’ll be hard to convince them to join your startup. And even if you can convince them they’ll be expensive to hire. What you want to be looking for is talent that hasn’t been identified yet.
  3. You want to hire people who are genuine, care a great deal about what they’re doing, and get things finished. The first creates an environment of intellectual honesty that makes them straightforward to work with. The second makes them take ownership of what they’re doing and do it to the best of their ability even when no one’s watching. And the third ensures that the startup executes at the fast pace necessary to outperform competition.

You can watch the full talk below.