Last week, I was talking with few of my colleagues on the challenges that we faced to build and grow our company, kind of people we choose, our product road map and how it was changed 500% from what it was original etc. I was explaining how we tried to build trust in the employees and why it is important for us have our own culture, social bond etc.
When I started my company, I was looking at couple of points and we tried not to deviate from them. We had cases that went wrong, when we deviated from these principles. So we stick to our principles and basics now.
One of the factors for success for (my previous employers) Infosys Technologies, India or Murex S.A.S, France is, their founders hired quality people & retained them, while Employees commitment and customer focus helped the company to grow. These company’s culture and bond is so strong and learning opportunity is immense. Many of my former colleagues (including me) are very proud of these companies and its founders.
So what is important?
When you start a business, you take lot of risks, work under uncertainty, spend long hours, struggling to acquire customers etc. You tried to hire and build a team that’s dependable and who work with you shoulder to shoulder, fighting and dousing fires, think out of the box and make things happen etc. During this long process, you start believing them and they start believing you. This is where the bond builds and company culture starts.
“Important is, these people trust you and are with you, when you are “NOTHING” “.
For me this team is valuable and not those who come later once you are successful. This trust and social bond is built over time under different circumstances and not at coffee shop or meeting at an entrepreneur seminar. So promote the people from within the ranks and not from outside.
“If you are NOT with me during my troubled days, I don’t need you during my shining days. My team is with me now”.
This is where the example of Paypal Mafia came into our discussion. “PayPal Mafia” is a term used to indicate the group of former PayPal employees and founders who have since founded and developed new technology companies.
At PayPal, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk had such a supporting and an aggressive team, who believed in them. They went out of their way to make things happen under tremendous pressure and competition. Most of them didn’t believe in the bureaucratic way of running business, but confrontational one that’s quick to the point of problem and begin work.
PayPal built an entrepreneur’s team who went out and built so many world class companies like Telsa Motors, LinkedIn and Yammer (Microsoft bought both these companies), Palantir Technologies, SpaceX, YouTube (Google bought this nearly 10 years ago), Yelp etc.
“Interesting to note that one company (PayPal) culture and bonds helped few of its employees to start multiple BILLION DOLLAR companies and it’s amazing. Personally I don’t know any other company could be given such a credit“
What are the attributes of this PayPal Mafia? You can also build your own Mafia. I tried to put few points, please add more.
- Most of these employees wanted to change the world. They recruited people who knew each other for a long time and believed in each other.
- No “Business Transactional” friendship, but a trusted friendship was built here.
- Dedicated and fierce Customer focus. (Read more here)
- Founders encourage social bonding among each other that continues for a long. They trust and support each other.
- Belongingness: An intensely competitive environment and a shared struggle to keep the company solvent despite many setbacks contributes to a strong and lasting friendships among them.
- Always promote your internal team members and not from outside.
- “Class A” people always hire “Class A” people, so the company grows. (Read more here)
- They are not afraid to fight or argue over a subject and that’s not personal. Learn to separate work related issues and personal issues.
- Team members unlearn and learn new things fast. Don’t care for educational qualifications, but your ability to adapt to people, situations and execute. This is where the stars are born.