Your First Ten People

For their book In the Company of Giants, authors Rama Dev Jager and Rafael Ortiz, interviewing Steve, asked him about putting together a team. He told them that “in most things in life, the dynamic range between average quality and the best quality is, at most, two-to-one.” But in advanced fields—he used the example of hardware design—he observed that “the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1.”

When Jager and Ortiz challenged Steve by pointing out that a manager, especially in a start-up, may not have much time to spend hunting for talent and interviewing candidates, Steve came down heavily: “I disagree totally,” he said. “I think it’s the most important job.”

He told them, “When you’re in a startup, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not.”

His conclusion was that you must find extraordinary people: “the cream of the cream.”4

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