What do we need in a team?

Our market environment is a classic technology startup environment: We’re pursuing a set of opportunities that have only come into existence recently, as a result of a relatively new set of technological, business, and political changes. Our business environment is fast-moving and highly competitive. There are dozens of other teams — both startups and larger companies — working on related problems and solutions.

Rewards like market share, revenue growth, access to cheap financing, and PR tend to accumulate to one big winner in markets like these.

How do we become the single dominant platform for security management in this environment? By testing hypotheses, taking risks, learning from the outcomes, and trying again — and doing this faster than anyone else. When we talk about how to find Product-Market Fit, we use the simple Y Combinator model: “Talk to customers and ship product.” In terms of Team-Mission-Market Fit, you might rephrase that as “learn, do, and repeat, quickly.”

What characteristics do we need in team members then?

  • Strong understanding of how we create value for users and customers
  • Strong motivation to create impact (by providing the most value)
  • High tolerance for ambiguity
  • Pragmatism (find and do the 20% of the work that has 80% of the impact)
  • Shipping fast and often (everything, not just product)
  • High motivation to get the team dynamics right

When we think about intentional culture design, we look to Netflix for inspiration, with its emphasis on “people over process,” and building a “dream team” of “highly effective people” who value collaboration and impact:

On a dream team, there are no “brilliant jerks.” The cost to teamwork is just too high.
Succeeding on a dream team is about being effective, not about working hard.

At Aptible, we have a relatively small team (50 People) of high-performing individuals who make a big impact together ($17M+ ARR). We seek to increase talent density faster than the increase in business complexity as Aptible grows.

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