(2012-07-24) Kraus If You Don't Think You Need It, You Haven't Seen Greatness

Joe Kraus: If You Don't Think You Need It, You Haven't Seen Greatness. One thing I can hear with some regularity from a small founding team is something like “we don’t think we need a marketing person” or “we’re not going to hire a product manager”. Those aren’t the only positions I hear that statement for. I hear it for PR, marketing, HR and sometimes BD.

What I think is going on here, and what my guidance in general is, “If you don’t think you need a position and that position has a well-known title (like product manager, product marketer, etc), it’s far more likely that you’ve just never seen or worked with greatness at that position.” (A-Player)

I have my own example that I remember vividly. When I was co-founding Excite (how could that have been 19 years ago?), I knew we needed a lawyer.... In short, he opened my eyes to greatness at the position of legal counsel.

It made me wonder. How many other positions was I de-valuing because I hadn’t worked with someone who was amazing at their craft?

Product marketing was the next one to fall for me... About four years in, I met a fantastic product marketer who helped me realize that Product Marketing, done right, is actually a huge part of the design process. They taught me the exercise of ‘writing the ideal press release’ first (PR/FAQ), before you even write a line of code. They taught me some of the principles of picking one, max two, things you can describe about your product (and allowing the rest to be discovered).

So, if you find yourself saying that you don’t need a {product manager, product marketer, pr person, marketing person, etc}, ask yourself the question first if you’ve ever seen greatness in that position before you really make that decision.

But then don't settle for a mediocre version.

But then it could take a long time to find/hire. How do you manage that?

And when you find them, you probably have to redesign the org around them.

And be prepared to redesign if you hire an excellent person and then they leave.

Edited:    |       |    Search Twitter for discussion