James Carville, Bill Clinton’s chief strategist when Clinton ran for president in 1992 famously described their pitch to voters in one simple phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Clinton and Carville’s relentless focus on the economy. Clinton’s opponent, President George Bush, didn’t focus on the economy and he paid the price, losing to Clinton.
If you just substitute team for economy, then you can mirror Carville’s single minded focus and win. Say it with me, “It’s the team, stupid.”
When you’re building a tech company, you need to relentlessly focus on your team to innovate and win.
It doesn’t matter what else you do. You will not be able innovate unless you have a team capable of innovating.
So, your job as CEO is to put everything in place to build and nurture a team capable of consistently innovating. The first piece is obvious:
You need to recruit a team capable of developing innovative products.
Again, say it with me, “It’s the team, stupid.”
Your first job as CEO is to recruit, recruit, and then recruit some more. You obviously want to hire great technical talent.
In addition, you should be looking for people that have the ability to come up with innovative product ideas. Sometimes these people will be your engineers, other times these people will be your technical marketing people. But always be on the lookout for innovators because they’re hard to find.
You need to put your team in an environment to consistently innovate.
My favorite meeting was our monthly “Crazy Idea Meeting.”
Once a month on Friday, at around 1:30 PM, we had the Crazy Idea Meeting. Jeroen, our VP Engineering, and Adolfo, our VP Marketing who was also very strong technically, were always in attendance.
The average revenue of a single Analog IC product was $500,000 per year with a product lifetime of at least five years. We had a goal of growing our company to at least $100 million per year in revenue, so we had to…