If there is one common theme among all the stories I’ve heard entrepreneurs tell about their ventures (and my own experiences as well), it’s that you have to get the team right or you’ll struggle–or worse–fail. I could talk all day about teams but I want to focus on a major issue that leads to big problems: an incomplete or mismatched team DNA.
My good friend and distinguished biomedical engineer Dr. Gerald Loeb once said that the quickest route to Chapter 11 [bankruptcy-reorganization] is 3 PhD engineers and a good idea. He was serious and he should know since he’s in the throes of start-up with a new technology and a company he founded called Syntouch. What he quickly learned as he began to think about the company’s business model and potential markets for the application of his technology, he realized that the team was not diversified in its experience and knowledge, and the business side of the house (did I mention they were starting a business) was not represented at all. He knew that had to bring on some business people or the company was going nowhere. In the run-up to the dot com bust in 2000 people like Guy Kawasaki would proclaim that all you needed for success was three PhDs and a scalable idea – well, we all know how that turned out. Trouble is, some people still believe that’s true.