What is the ideal composition of an early startup team? What attributes should you look for in your first five hires?

Evan is the CEO and co-founder of Abnormal Security. In this class, Evan breaks down what a functional and effective culture of leadership means at enterprise startups, and the best ways to foster that culture. Prior to Abnormal, Evan most recently led product and machine learning teams at Twitter after co-founding successful companies including Bloomspot, acquired by JPMorgan Chase, and AdStack, acquired by TellApart.

Evan: So I think like the perfect, like founding team for enterprise software company, it's probably be different depending on the exact product and the exact set of founders.

I think over there, there are, although there are some kind of, commonalities right between I think the best enterprise software kind of founding teams. I think one is that you, you want to have people that actually want to be at a startup, right? They want to beat a startup because they know what it is.

And they're almost internal compass is pointing them in that direction. They're not driven for extrinsic reasons like fame or fortune, but they want to work in a small team. They want to build things and take them from zero to one. So you've got to find people with the right mindset. I think you also need to find people that can be really role models for the future team, right?

These, the, the first 10 employees, there'll be put on a pedestal in many ways, By the future thousand employees, If the company is successful and to really making sure that you have the right cultural qualities, That you want to have in those people.

Work ethic, their mindset, their Buddha customer, focused on [00:08:00] customers, their level of accountability and responsibility, Their ambition and their standards of what excellence looks like, whatever that team has, That will be as influential right. to the next, 10, 20,000 employees then than the founders themselves.

Evan: So I think it's really important to find people that can be,a role model for the future team. And the final thing I'll say is you need to find people that can really move the needle, independently autonomously,with high levels of ambiguity, from day one. So I think that the best kind of founding teams are people that can just run with stuff. They don't need a lot of supervision or directive. they have a huge kind of figure it out ability. and they're, they need to have some sort of, customer passion, some sort of empathy for customers to really make sure that whatever they're doing, Whether it's engineering or marketing or sales. Is very focused on getting early signals, product market fit from customers, finding out what the holes in the market are, bring that back inside the company, building the solution, then taking that back into customers to validate it, that kind of feedback loop, this kind of [00:09:00] product market fit exploration mode.

That's really what everyone's job is and the early stages of a startup. And so you really need to assemble a team that can execute that really well to get you to product market fit. Then ultimately we'll help you tee up the company and the product and the organization for, the next half of the journey.

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