Part 3: Why you should run your startup like a sports team

by Jeff Hilimire on March 19, 2014

In Part 1: Why you should run your startup like a sports team, I talked about the importance of having a Common Goal and how that applies to both startups and sports teams. In Part 2: Put the right person in the right position at the right time, I talked about, well, that :)

Part 3: Passion and Drive

To be a great sports team, no matter what the sport, you have to have intense passion to win and an insatiable drive. What else can motivate a person to put in all the hours required to be great?

They say Michael Jordan’s Bulls practiced with an unrivaled intensity (more on that here). Many say it wasn’t until Lebron James started playing with more passion and intensity that he started winning championships (and by many, I mean “me”).

Startups are similar, though I’d say more on the passion side. The odds are so overwhelming of a startup being successful (sub 5%, and that might be generous depending on how you define “successful”), that if you don’t have a group of inspired and passionate people then you can pretty much fold up your tent.

I was asked on Monday night at the Startup Grind event I spoke at what I look for when I interview people. My answer was candid: I very much dislike interviews. I’d much rather just take a walk with someone and get to know them. I’m looking for less tangible aspects related to who the person is in order to determine if they are going to be a good culture fit and if they’re passionate about what we’re doing.

When we started Dragon Army, one guy did this to get the job. That showed us he really was into what we’re doing. I’ve heard similar stories about David Cummings’ people at Pardot. The culture he built around passionate people was unrivaled for a while in Atlanta.

Startups and sports teams. The odds are overwhelming to be successful in either. Stocking your team with passionate, driven people is one of the best ways to succeed.

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