The title above may seem to be a mistake, a typo- maybe. Rest assured:it isn’t (I typed it in capslock so that you’d realise that this was done intentionaly).
Firstly, I’d like to point out that there is nothing wrong with being the smart guy, the overachiever, Mr Perfect … Steve Jobs. Centuries and centuries of Validictorians have resulted in modern-day philosophy, evolution, the helicopter, the light bulb, the atomic bomb… Freedom- so it is clear that perfectionists are indeed a necessity… or are they?
I’m here to tell you that when it comes to your startup team: a room full of avergares can result into a break-through, successful product. The genius is in the idea. The idea that made you decide to start this thing in the very first place. That’s the only genius you need. After that, you can be the genius amongst all geniuses and find yourself wasting 8+ months “trying to better the product”. Or you can accept that this idea needs to honed, get about 3 dudes that will verify that your idea is cool and through their own coolness, diversity and passion for your idea- they aid you into bringing the product to the masses.
At the end of the day, two minds are better than one. Whether both these minds are smart or not, they’ll both offer a range of perspective to whatever it is you are trying to achieve. We all go through life differently, we don’t all read The Lord Of The Rings, we don’t all live in three-storey houses- yet, when we come together and truly open our minds to solving a problem: we can have the BSc guy come up with a sick plan for an app, the street guy makes sure this thing looks fresh, the BComm guy handles the marketing then you got your 18year old sister as your brand ambassador; going door to door trying to get someone to test your shit.
Truthfully, having a crowd of smart-asses doesn’t guarantee that your startup/idea will succeed (look at a Cancer research lab…). So instead of trying to look for the smartest people to do the job; you look for people to do the job- period. We shouldn’t concentrate on how well they can do their job but more so: do they want to do the job? Can they do the job? Are they excited about doing the job? Will they truly do it to the best of their ability? Will they dedicate themselves to the job?
This is a startup. Determination, optimism, passion and drive is all that you really need (and a great idea, of course). Other than trying to get the best people to do the job, I’ve taken it upon myself to create the best people for the job.
I give them opportunity. A platform to do what they are passionate about. If they don’t know how to do a specific task; they learn. There are tons of websites that offer free college grade education
(follow the link for free MIT classes) so simply accepting “not knowing” has just become the fruit of a lazy tree.
Embrace the ‘A-student’ and cherish the ‘up-and-coming A student’.