You want to hire that VP you saw at an event, that was a VP at that hot company, that did it all there
But first, they probably didn't do it all
And second, if they did, they probably don't want to do it >all< again
It's probably a mirage
— Jason ✨BeKind✨ Lemkin ⚫️ (@jasonlk) September 15, 2020
Ok, this is a simple post, and one we’ve touched on many times before. But it deserves its own post because it’s a mistake so, so many of you will make as you go to hire your first VPs. And even your second VPs.
Don’t hire the “Hot VP”. Not until you are equally hot, at least.
What do I mean? So many founders, especially first-time founders, fall in love with That Great VP They’ve Heard Of. The one at SaaStr Annual at Home. The one that worked at Dropbox, or Slack, or Twilio. The one on the podcast you listen to. The one on Twitter. The one that won the VP of the Year awards.
And if they did all that at, say, Twilio in early days … and your product is a little like Twilio … well, they’d do magic at your start-up! Won’t they?
It can be true. But, 99 times out of 100, even if you get to that Hot VP, get her to meet with her, and closer her … she’s just not that VP anymore:
- They don’t want to be so scrappy again.
- They don’t want to do it all again.
- They need a much bigger team.
- They don’t do as well without a brand behind them.
- They are convinced their way is the right way.
- And more often that not, they weren’t even that Amazing VP you think they were back then. Being part of a Hot Startup made them seem like a magician.
Lighting does strike twice in great VPs — but even when it does, it doesn’t strike the same way.
None of us can go back in time. If you hire that great, “Hot VP” today, that did it all, remember you are hiring her as she is today.
Not as she was.
It rarely works out.
If nothing else, at least do more diligence. And not with VCs, or other Hot VPs. With their old bosses. With their direct reports. And make sure you are at least aware of who you are hiring. Not what you want to believe, and see.