Founding Team Structure

Posted on May 18, 2012

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I was recently at an event near London’s new building, the Shard, and it made me think about the elements required in a startup team, and which are most important.

– the key elements –

The Shard needed an architect to design it.

Then a construction team had to build it.

And then a sales team has to fill it.

So it is with a startup.

You need someone designing what your product looks like, how it functions.

You need a development team to build that.

And you need someone to fill it up with customers or users.

The structure of a founding team is important to its short term success. The team needs to combine product development, engineering and sales. It’s easier to find excellence in these three areas if there is a person dedicated to each, so three people start up teams work well. But equally it’s not unusual to excel in a couple of areas. Being awesome at all three happens, but is tough.

– the order of importance –

But are all these areas created equally?

The Shard looks lovely, and i’m sure is built to the highest standards. But if no one moves in, it would just be a very expensive monument…

So clearly sales is most important.

Then again, the fact it is such an iconic design means that rates will be much higher, and it will sell itself, really…

So maybe design is most important.

Of course none of that matters if it falls down (ok, dramatic) or has construction delays.

So I guess engineering is most important…

The answer is it depends.

It depends on what your start up is doing, what it’s trying to achieve.

Some products win because they are the most beautiful.

Some because they can’t and won’t ever fall down.

And some win because they sell, sell, sell.

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Posted in: Start-ups