I gave the above response via Twitter off-the-cuff and as I continued to think about what I shared it caused me to pause a moment and evaluate if I believed those remarks to be true.
Vital skills? Concepts? Preparedness for a startup? Huh. Again, I replied:
Humility and willingness to be wrong. Expect ass-kicking, embrace failure. Feel great about ambiguity and be excited about tension.
These are all “soft” things that you can’t really appreciate nor understand until you’ve been dropped right in the middle of it; and even when you’re in the middle of it “feeling great” about a lot of things can oftentimes be few and far between as most of the time you are getting your ass completely kicked.
It probably leads you back to the humility part and the willingness to be wrong. In fact, those are good hiring principles, to be sure and as I’ve grown the team @ The Iron Yard (we’re looking for talented and motivated people to join us!) it’s been very clear that those who are capable and humble are much preferable to those that are capable and arrogant.
I can work with the former but cannot (and will not) work with the latter.
Hah, “preparing” for a startup? I’m not sure there’s really anyway to do that and even after the first one totally bombs (and the second, the third… perhaps the fourth too…) then you’ll have enough learnings to at least avoid some of the obvious and major pitfalls.
But there is no preparation required, necessary, or even possible – but those that do, will do and they’ll survive and with a little bit of luck do something extraordinary. It’s always worth the risk.