Guest Author: Pierre-Simon Ntiruhungwa (@pierresn) is a French student in ESCP Europe Business School, currently interning in Ifeelgoods in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the co-founder of the student organization Silicon Students and the summer program Startup Dream Team.
Ideas are cheap. They are often stolen and copied easily. Simply having a good startup idea doesn’t guarantee success for entrepreneurs. What matters is the ability to execute that idea and transform it into a real company.
This statement is common sense in the startup world and this is why Startup Dream Team, a 9-week summer program created by Silicon Students for young aspiring entrepreneurs, decided to focus on “the team” which many often consider as the most important aspect of a startup. Indeed, building dream teams will be our goal this summer from June 18th to August 12th.
So, what is a “dream team?” Some great entrepreneurs, teachers, VCs and startup experts gave their views on the topic. Even if the actual structure depends on the industry, Steve Blank states a good team generally needs “great technology skills (hacking/hardware/science), great hustling skills (to search for a business model, customers, and market), great user facing design (for web and mobile apps), and a long-term vision and product sense.” One person simply can’t have all these skills. Many laud the model even if the definition varies among many.
The “Hacker, Hustler, Designer” trio often gets recognition, Jeff Clavier calls it the 3D rule (Development, Distribution, Design) and David Weekly adds an “Operator” to that trio. Sean Parker, who comes up with the same structure as David Weekly, adds that at the end of the day, he assesses a team on its potential to create and execute a vision.
Even if we can argue for hours over the definition of a good team, as we have just seen, there are definitely some really efficient existing models. Furthermore, the hardest thing is not defining a good team but rather actually building one. You have to identify your needs and most importantly find the people.
Indeed, you have to surround yourself with great people who have complementary skills and can work efficiently with you. Last but not least, as any ambitious company should aim at being around for several years, the team should have people who get along very well and have possibly known one another for a long time.
Moreover, luck is often not enough. You also need spend time in the right places to find people. Schools and local tech communities are some of them as they generally gather people with many common interests, different set of skills, and who are about the same age. Once you are in one of those environments, you have to be aware enough of the fundamental importance of teams in startups to realize that you need to enjoy this situation to build real and meaningful relationships with people you can work well with and who share your visions. Startup Dream Team’s goal will be to create a perfect environment for aspiring entrepreneurs to build great startup teams by:
- Gathering people with the same dreams and aspirations: 30 entrepreneurially-minded students willing to stay in the Silicon Valley to intern at a startup
- Having them live together in an entrepreneur-friendly environment during two months: the Startup House in the heart of San Francisco
- Inspiring them with talks of top entrepreneurs and startup experts: Robert Scoble, Hiten Shah, and Aaron Levie
- Fostering teamwork: every week, a team of five interns will actually organize the logistic of the talk and a hack day on Sunday
On a daily basis, the students will work at their internship job. Therefore, they will learn a lot about the startup life and Silicon Valley ecosystem.
As a way to assess the interns at the end of the program, we will have them create teams based on efficiency and affinity at the end of week 8. They will then work during the last week on ideas pitched by entrepreneurs and VCs and present them in front of a jury on August 12th. If it seems like a program for you, you can apply on Startup Dream Team website until May 26th 11:59 PST.
Startup Dream Team is an attempt to create a perfect environment for team creation while enabling aspiring entrepreneurs to have an amazing Silicon Valley experience.
This is Silicon Students answer to the question “How to build dream teams?” But this is a really difficult question with several possible answers. What’s your opinion?