THE (NOT-SO) SECRET FORMULA
Over the years, this formula has been proven true regardless of industry or era.
People = 5x Culture = 10x Process = 100x Tools
Even in the tech industry where technology stacks, tools, and products seem to be more important than ever, this formula is undeniably accurate.
THE RISE AND FALL OF GIANTS
I have seen some small and lean teams build amazing things together with limited resources – they innovated and invented, they zapped and ignited, they sparkled with ideas which transform into compelling products.
Look at the founding team of Instagram team with a mere 13 people team, they created an photo-sharing social network which attracted 50M users before acquired by Facebook for $1B. And not to mention WhatsApp, with just 55 people the team created a product which serves an amazing customer base of 420M monthly users, and in turn, was acquired by Facebook for a mind-blowing price tag of $19B.
And I have also witnessed large teams with hundreds or thousands of team members, but all crashed and burnt with their big projects. Who can forget Yahoo, Nokia, BlackBerry when in their heyday used to employ hundreds of thousand employees. Yahoo ended up being sold for less than $5B while BlackBerry lingered around $5B valuation, and Nokia is sold to Microsoft for $7.8B but ended up as a failed experiment.
It also explains why when you approach any VC and asked what they treasure the most in their investment, their universal answer would be “the team”, “the people”, “the founder(s)”. The key ingredient for success is always the human factor and no single investor would care to ask “what programming language do you use?” (unless it is FORTRAN or VB).
Note to self
A question follow up naturally: “what does it take to get the right people?”