People First, Ideas Second

prioritize people over ideas and opinions.

Before becoming a founder, I assumed that when I had the right idea, I would know it was time to, “go for it”. I spent my first few years in Silicon Valley cutting my teeth and gaining as many skills as I possibly could. I worked on variety of side projects, met a ton of interesting people, and had a ton of ideas that I thought were interesting. When push came to shove though, I was still a wantrepreneur and that killed me.

Towards the end of 2012, I knew it was my time. After a fated conversation with one of my mentors, I realized that there was no way to prepare myself for being a founder other than by founding a company. Quickly thereafter, I joined up with 3 of my close friends and we set off to do something crazy. February 1 was my last day at Google and we were off to the races.

Founding a company is more about finding the right people than it is about finding the right idea. After enduring 3 pivots and starting on a fresh code base 4 times (sorry, Andrew) this is more clear to me than ever before. In the early days, ideas are a medium for communication more than anything else. They are a way that people are able to express their beliefs, opinions and assumptions about the world in a way that others can digest and respond to. The right team enables a foundation for many ideas to be explored rapidly until one sticks.

So, if you want to start a company, focus on building your team first and your product second.

Written by

Data-informed dreamer. Building Plato, a a software-enabled design agency for startups. Formerly of Pinterest, URX, Google, Yahoo and UCLA.

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