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Key Start-up Hires

November 2, 2011
In the web-startup world, and to a certain degree in brick/mortar startups as well, product comes first then all else follows if you are lucky enough to get the product right and gain traction in the marketplace.  Your early days are about countless hours of your own and trusted contributors you call upon to get the product right.  It’s organized chaos that no org-chart can depict.  Everybody is a utility player and titles don’t exist.  But job 1 is gaining an intimate understanding of the problem you are trying to solve in the marketplace from the perspective of the ‘buyer’ you are hoping to sell, then iterating on the product until the prospective buyers jump out of their shoes to buy.  
As your New Market Entrepreneurial exploits succeed, the day-to-day dynamics will become more complex and you will need to surround yourself with the right people and skills that complement your losely-defined team of product builders while also lubricating the expansive wheels of progress.  At first you can get away with contracting out for these skills on a part time basis.  In time, and with further growth, you will feel the need to bring them on board full time.  Therefore, it’s important to have a gameplan in mind and a full understanding for the key hires that come with New Market success.
Two such important senior hires are in the areas of Finance/Accounting and Dev/Engineering.  If you are new to the web start-up world or just not quite sure of the difference between a CTO and a VP, Engineering, or why you would need both a VP, Finance and a CFO– here are two brief primers that will make it all clear written by a prolific-blogger-VC who’s worth following.
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