Chapter 8 Partnering Up: The J-Curve They Don’t Teach You About in Business School

“If I have been able to see farther than others, it was because I stood on the shoulder of giants.”

Sir Isaac Newton

So what types of things do you look for in an employee?” asked the young man across the table. Victor Oviedo was introduced to me by Eric Lane, who is now cohead of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Victor was 28 years old at the time.

“What do I look for in an employee?” I shot back. “That’s good question. . . . What do I look for in an employee?” I asked again of myself, this time more as a rhetorical question.

“Do you have a pen?” I asked. “And a piece of paper?”

While he handed over the necessary supplies, I continued, “Are you familiar with the ‘J-curve’?”

“The J-curve?” Victor replied. “Yeah, I know it.”

“I’m sure you know the standard definition, but we define it a little differently here at SkyBridge,” I said.

The open position was for director of business development, but what I was really looking for was a jack-of-all-trades type of person. Start-ups don’t have the luxury of hiring people to fit specific job functions. They typically lack the money to fill specialized roles. Instead, start-ups look for people who are problem solvers. People who can do a little bit of everything. When your company reaches a billion dollars in revenue, then you can afford to assign staff specific roles. Until that time, it’s all hands on deck. You want people who will do anything and everything ...

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