Hiring from the community

Many startups in our portfolio hire their early team by focusing their recruiting efforts exclusively on their community.

In the early days, Twitter and Tumblr heavily favored hiring folks that were active and engaged users of their respective products.

It’s one of the best filters around as far as I’m concerned.

Today I had yet another example of the opposite scenario.

A startup came into our office today and one of the members of the team was a former Microsoft guy. He gave his presentation on a MacBook. In fact, pretty much every former MSFT person that comes to present at Spark uses a MacBook.

I realize that many/most entrepreneurs use a MacBook these days – but in this case I think it’s important to point out an important difference. 

These are folks that worked at Microsoft and built competing products, and upon leaving they switched. That tells me they didn’t love the products they were building.

And in my mind that’s a big reason why MSFT hasn’t been able to keep up with new insanely great products. Their own people don’t love their own products.

I’m clearly overstating the point but hopefully you can see where I’m going.

I think it’s a good reminder to hire people that love your vision and product. 

Hopefully you can keep hiring from your community as they company grows and grows.

(oh, and one more thing. the same logic holds true for your investors. I’d encourage you to bring on investors and board members that truly understand, value and love your product. it will make a difference in good times and in tough times.)