Posted Jul. 11, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.

David Gardner: Why startups should recruit superstars

Published: 2017-07-11 09:00:00
Updated: 2017-07-11 09:00:00

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In a blog published at ExitEvent, serial entrepreneur and investor David Gardner dedicated an entire chapter of his book to recruiting superstars. Here's why.

CARY - I worked for a while once at a staffing agency. It was just a placeholder job for me at the time, so I had no idea how extremely valuable that experience was going to be for my career as an entrepreneur.

I am often asked why I included a chapter on recruiting in The Startup Hats. This may be a hat you didn’t expect to see in the entrepreneur’s wardrobe but I assure you that this is one of the most important hats to master. In fact, if your venture is very successful then you may find that you are spending the majority of your day under this hat.

David Gardner As an entrepreneur, I was always amazed at how much time I spent each day finding, vetting and hiring superstars. This is how you build a company beyond its humble beginnings. Before you can lead, you have to successfully recruit. And yet, of all the entrepreneur’s hats, this one is the least appreciated.

At one point early in my career, I had nearly 200 software developers working for me. I discovered something extremely important. As I assigned projects and reviewed deliverables over time, I discovered that the productivity of my few coding “superstars” was up to four or five times greater than that of my average coder. It occurred to me that paying my superstars a third or so more salary was a great value.

The superstar phenomenon seems to hold true across all disciplines. It is a commonly-heard axiom that in sales, 80 percent of a company’s revenue is generated by only 20 percent of its sales team.

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