How To Build A Strong Startup Team Ross | April 19th, 2011

Many entrepreneurs have heard that 90% of startups fail within two years. Looking at the number of startups launched every month and the many that hit the deadpool, that’s not a shocking number.

There’s research suggesting that the failure rates are actually smaller. However, this is a disctinction without a meaningful difference for companies that are unable to build strong teams. With very few exceptions, successful startups share a common trait: they build very strong teams.

I am very proud of what our small team at crowdSPRING (14 full and part time people) has accomplished over the past three years. Our community has grown to over 125,000 people (more than 90,000 designers and writers now work on crowdSPRING). We’re fortunate to have built in that short time, one of the largest creative crowdsourcing marketplaces in the world.

In building our team, we’ve looked at many different factors, but five factors ultimately stand out:

1. culture – does the person understand and share our company’s culture?

2. passion – are they passionate about their work and importantly, about their hobbies?

3. flexibility – are they flexible to help in areas outside of their immediate comfort zone?

4. transparency – are they transparent about their work and opinions?

5, vision – do they understand and share the company’s vision?

In this 4 minutes video, I offer 5 tips based on my experience building the team at crowdSPRING and discuss why we believe those five factors are so important to building strong startup teams.

We’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way – here’s your chance to learn from those mistakes.

Do you have other tips to add or your own story to tell? Please do so in the comments…

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  • Co1ette

    I wish I knew what he meant by “hire by culture.” Does he mean hire people from many different cultures-different races of people? Does he mean he hires people just like himself-youngish wearing graphic tee-shirts? He stresses culture, but doesn’t really explain what he means by that.

  • Mjou812

    Great post glad I faved it. I wish I could see the vid. Vimeo is all good normally, maybe you guys need to chk a setting, just a tip I have it on plus playing high quality out of premier for HD here’s a link actually. http://vimeo.com/m/#/21138337 if you are in need we r geared up in the film department, building a main site and team has been a winter long playbook and it is the getting anxious time, thinking your falling behind. I always feel It’s not good enough, so I guess that way, there is always something to improve on and take to the next level, staying cutting edge and you def have to go after your base plan or your bread and butter as I call it, with a solid strategy and key things you will do to keep moving forward even if its a half inch, you gotta get there someday its against the laws of physics, however money doesn’t count there. Your plan is likely to change from what it was originally as you learn and test re deploy and test again, make necessary tweaks. Always keep in a positive direction as well as frame of mind, You may just surprise yourself and accomplish exactly what you were constantly positively envisioning. And rain or shine weather the storm, cowboy up and do what it takes. I ate bologna sandwiches, pnj and pasta for 10 months, cause I had to live at 39th n 5th for tactical reasons, I’m alive and it worked. Polaroid was replaced by kodak systems, nationwide in malls for santa pictures and a new market or niche in the industry was born with instant digital photos, as we moved through tackling every job big or small free or not, head on while in development continued. Try taking pics at The White House for the Presidents Xmas Gala and your software has boot issues or the camera drivers mysteriously disappeared when it all worked fine minutes ago. I don’t get nervous anymore these days I think my nerves took off long ago.

    I am in the long hard process of building a strong team just like the ones beside me in those past ventures, that def is the ticket to success, this is my second go at it having developed the software as I mentioned 5 sentences back. It was in testing and operation as well, that’s corporate Kodak, go go free, discovering what more to do with the system and update it while a work was in progress and a serious one most often, but we finished strong proving it’s value and place in the market and sold to Kodak. We continued dev and support, training and sales exclusive as well as continualy Representing rednyellow at The White House the Olympics hundreds of corporate and private events. Stars n sport stars famous n infamous

    Team work is where it starts for sure and they all need to be in it to win it and for good while at least. Whatever it takes. You must put in your time that is def not an option if you are starting any type of business and be ready to put in time for a solid experience and hands on learning throughout. Also utilize the network you have at the time, most times it is who you know not what. Be a giver and make yourself available. Helping others will more than likely make them more inclined to helping you. Last, never burn your bridges, many of the connections and people, businesses, I met and workediii with or gave something free to have oddly come right into play with some issues this time around making it very simple to navigate certain issues as well as to speak with anyone I may need, Like if I need to call Obama and talk about a startup for tech with schools cause he is all about it, I would just call Kodak climb to the top and it would not be a problem.

    I would say it is like using twitter today to tweet whoever except back then we had to be important or you never got a hold, you had to be verified blue check mark and all. Looking back it was all a blast with one def up side, corporate work flow has nothing on the active entrepreneur.

    So you will be viewd as a machine with a team. Good luck and I may need a bit as well, if there was such a thing. Make your luck make it happen. m

  • Daylon

    1. culture – does the person understand and share our company’s culture?

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