It's hard to believe that I joined Rivalry just six months ago. I recently wrote about the difficulties business oriented founders can have in hiring technical talent. On the surface, Rivalry has many of the characteristics of an undesirable spot for a technically oriented talent. So what convinced me that joining Rivalry was the right way for the future?
Jon trusted me to be the CTO of his company. Gaining and extending trust is very difficult when the two people involved come from different business backgrounds, have different personalities, or work habits. This divergence is often the cause of the majority of friction between sales and engineering teams. Jon and I were able to gain a rapport early by focusing on topics where we shared commonality and letting our personal networks validate the attributes where we didn't.
Giving that much responsibility to someone from day one is a huge risk. It is also a decision that can pay off handsomely when the decision goes well. Knowing that my role was bigger than cranking out the next feature, Jon and I were able to quickly get to the most important questions facing the company. In six short months, we evolved the product, strengthened our branding, and put ourselves in great position for 2015.
If you're a business founder struggling to find people to fit a critical role, you should first start by reevaluating your commitment to trust the person in that role. If you are unwilling to do so, then you are doing all parties and the startup community as a whole a huge disservice.
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