What qualities should you look for in your early engineering hires?

Kevin is the VP of Engineering at Abnormal Security, overseeing all aspects of growth and execution. In this class, Kevin describes the requirements for building a well-rounded and highly functional engineering team from both a technical and cultural perspective. Kevin spent time at eBay and Quantcast prior to becoming an early-stage engineer leader at TellApart, then a Director of Engineering at Twitter.

I think there's two different dimensions.

Kevin W: I really think about, for this one, the first is what is technical skillset and a competency that this candidate or engineers bringing to the company. And the second one is just culturally who they are and what they're going to [00:05:00] do right on the team as well. I think on the first one, technically early on in the company, I think the most critical thing to do is find people who are very versatile.

You're looking for a generalist here who are able to, do a wide variety of different types of problems and probably more importantly. Willing to and want to do that. And there's no task too small or too large for them along the way. And the reason why maybe obvious that you have to do this because early on, you're not quite sure yet what you will need to build and what types of pivots or turns you're going to be taken on as you talk to more customers and really discover the market more, Working with your early design partners are giving you a lot of critical feedback about. What's delighting them what they're okay with and what they don't like and what you've actually built. And until you have a lot more of that confidence, That just comes from, more repetition, more customers, more design partners.

you have to really think about building in that versatility, into your early team. So I think that's one that's just really important from a technical perspective of what someone can. The second one. I think that's really important. Just culturally, who are the [00:06:00] right type of people you need to bring in.

Kevin W: And I think, every startup is a roller coaster. There's a lot of ups and downs. And I think probably more so early on when, you just don't have a lot of sample size yet. If the idea and the market you're going into is a credible one, that's viable right. In the enterprise space, in the longterm.

So I've always found that you have to find that people. ultimate trust and conviction in there. They are a believer. They are here to be ultimate owners and do whatever it takes to help this company survive. And it goes back to, I said earlier, no task too big or too small in,to do there's no one else to delegate any work to when you're starting out a startup, you just have to look in the mirror and do it yourself.

And I think you have to find people who are completely okay and thrive in that high ownership, environments, because that's what it takes right early on to, to really build and bootstrapping.

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