Brett Fox, an entrepreneur I respect, was thinking about hiring a recent Ph.D. of Stanford University to be his VP of Engineering for his company. When doing his due diligence, he made this known to Bruce Wooley, the Dean of the Electrical Engineering Department at Stanford.
It was what Bruce said that worried Brett.
He said, "The experience of your VP of Engineering or CTO will directly determine the experience of your team."
Though Tim, the candidate for VP of Engineering, was exceptional and brilliant, he only had five years of work experience.
Brett thought that maybe Tim's brilliance would be enough to attract talent, which the fact he was making that observation was a tip-off that Tim was likely not the perfect person for the position.
Brett knew in his heart of hearts that the Dean was right. If he hired Tim, he would have a team of inexperienced engineers. There was no way Tim was going to attract the talent he wanted from experienced engineers with his lack of experience.
I began thinking about this in other areas of business and sales based on my own experiences of running businesses, and I would concur.
However, in some industries, especially emerging industries, a young team of talent is advantageous. The young team isn't held back by old rules. And like, Mark Zuckerberg's famous motto: "Move fast and break things," where disruption and failing forward is the prerequisite.
Likewise, in some industries, a young team can be the kiss of death where breaking things won't work.
Look at the trade-offs and decide how to build your team.
You may not need experience.
The experience might work against you.
If that's the case, go the inexperienced route.
Jeff's Must Reads
The Ideal Team Player - by Patrick Lencioni, I have been thinking about for a long time about writing a business novel. I love reading good business novels. There aren't many of them, but Patrick Lencioni has 10 of them, and they are all good. The Ideal Team Play is one I'm reading now, and it's hard to put down.
Trade-Off - by Kevin Maney, This book doesn't go with the article, but when I mentioned trade-offs in the article, I immediately thought of this book. It's a great book to help you understand why we buy and why things catch on or don't.
If you feel like you don’t have the complete picture of what your business should look like or you have a business or marketing problem that you need a solution for, then a consultation with Jeff Payne is what you need.