5 Things You Should Know According to Eric Schmidt When Building a Startup [The Opportunity Cost]

Eric Schmidt has an impressive list of everything he has accomplished in business. One of the things that is striking about him is his ability to lead people.

Eric talks about hiring at a tech startup, and he points out that it is important to hire people who love what they do.

These people are usually those who don’t seek out “work-life balance” but instead look for “work-life harmony.”

Hire Creative & Intense Workaholics

In other words, the people you want to hire are intense.

They love what they do, and that means they tend to work a lot.

They enjoy things like spending time with family, etc., but work is front and center.

He admits that this is sometimes seen as a negative thing, but it doesn’t need to be.

When you’re building innovative technology, you need people who are dedicated to the mission and willing to give it their all.

When you're building innovative technology, you need people who are dedicated to the mission and willing to give it their all. #startup #tech Click To Tweet

Hire Generalists

In the early stages of a new business, it’s better to hire generalists with less experience than specialists with a lot of training.

During the early stages of a company, the team will face many challenges—from engineering to design, marketing, legal, recruiting, raising money, etc.

If you hire highly specialized people as part of the early founding team, you will end up with people who can’t think outside the box to solve problems.

They’ll always look at problems with their “specialist” lens, which may not be very helpful in the early stages of a company.

If a person is looking for a 9-to-5 job with a 4-day work week and doesn’t wake up every day excited to solve problems, then they should look for a perfectly good job in the government sector.

Use Ambitious “Divas” to Preserve & Scale Company Culture

Eric is also a master at keeping the culture of an organization intact as he scales the organization in terms of headcount.

He shares some extremely valuable insights on this topic.

He says that startups that recruit correctly always have what he calls “divas” on the team, who are intense, driven, and ambitious people.

These people are responsible for preserving the culture of the company, and they’re usually pretty intense.

But it’s important to work with them.

Smart founders create an environment that helps “divas” thrive by giving them the freedom and autonomy they need to have a sense of ownership so they can make astute decisions.

Work Efficiently & Quickly on What Matters Most

Eric Schmidt says that startups usually make mistakes when they take too long to work on an initiative they know will move the needle for the company, or, on the flip side, when they work on ineffective initiatives for too long and waste time.

He points out that the highest cost in a business is the opportunity cost.

What are the opportunities that are being missed? What can a startup do to truly make a shift?

Motivate Your Team by Changing Hearts

In closing, Eric shares some advice on human behavior, and he says that one can change human behavior by changing people’s hearts.

This is great advice for founders and also something to look for in a founder from an early-stage investor’s perspective.

Investing in a founder or founding team that understands how to make people want to be a part of their mission and come to work every day excited to be there can dramatically increase the probability of success.

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