Startups, Tell Me About Your Operators

It seems that even come 2016 and the so-called death of the unicorn, we’re caught up in the startup superstar story. The analogy in history is the concept of a charismatic leader, a stage of historical evolution that was replaced with institutional leadership and controls when things simply got out of hand with charismatic thinking (With no offense or direct comparison to startup superstars, history buffs will know charismatic leadership is code for leaders that gave rise around the world to fascism — fueling irrational emotional thinking and a desire to serve and support a single figurehead in society, at the expense of the good of the whole).

It does start with ideas, leadership and vision, but great companies are built line by line (or brick by brick) by operators (by this, I don’t mean Startup CEOs vs VCs, but internal growth talent, the daily do-ers that never make the headlines). So where are they and why aren’t we talking about them? A handful of strong sources, like Danielle Morrill’s Mattermark Daily (Nick Frost thanks) will share focus on tactical, general/adminstrative side of how to run a startup business, but elsewhere, most of the content appears to stay way up high in the funnel around valuations, exits and lifestyle, fueling frenzy and fuss — not focus.

With no offence @Inc magazine, I saw this overview of the startups to watch in 2016, (many of whom I follow and admire), but so little was said about the way they achieved success.

What I’m saying is, can we report on the internal talent, the operators already? Their personalities, their motivations, their stories, their reasons for being in the ecosystem. This year, as I work to nail and begin to scale my own business, it’s them I seek to learn about. (Hint, hint, Inc.)

I imagine the startup leaders to watch in 2016 got there because they already spend most of their time thinking about how to support and grow their awesome operator/talent base.

Do you agree and do have any comments to share with founders seeking to build a strong foundation for their businesses in 2016? Ryan Hoover Bastian Lehmann Kevin Gibbon Danielle Weisberg Meredith Perry & more.