Too many chiefs, not enough indians

Before I dive into this post, I want to apologize to those who may be sensitive to the non-PC nature of this. Anyway, as always, I have met and spoken with a number of startups during the past week.  There are obviously all different types of companies with different funding needs but the ones that have stood out negatively for me are the startups that come in with a pre-baked senior management team and no product.  In other words, I have major concerns when I see SVP of this and SVP of that and I wonder to myself who is going to do all the work if everyone is a Senior VP.  When there are too many chiefs and not enough indians, I worry about how decisions get made and wonder if egos and titles are more important versus getting product out and customers on board.  Sure, some of these teams were quite impressive but in a startup environment keeping your burn low until you get your product in the market and refined is imperative.  In addition, more often than not, business models may change slightly or drastically and what you initially set out to build and deliver may not be the same in the future.  What that means is that your SVP of Marketing may not the be right person 12 months from now.  So do yourself one favor when starting a company-get the right people on board to get the product delivered and the first few customers and as you get feedback from the market and your team, figure out your next hiring needs.  Don’t worry about titles and focus on building an insanely great product.  Having too many chiefs and not enough indians can burn lots of dollars and also scare away potential investors.

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