A company is a band
A startup is a band.
About 10 years ago, a “legend” at my company entered as an advisor. He was an expert who had created a certain software, and he was an extremely famous person. At the time, he had the desire to grow young startups as a post-retirement career, so he joined us.
Although he had joined us as an advisor, I felt that his way of thinking was outdated with every little thing, and it irritated me when we had meetings. I was still okay, but the engineers started to complain too.
Our cultural differences soon came to light, with people saying,
What that person is saying is a sound argument, but he doesn’t understand our development direction at all. The old way of doing things doesn’t suit us at all.
The legend spoke
Performance is not good. You are even later than planned. Let’s plan the method properly. How many lines of code have you written? If you keep doing it like that, you definitely won’t be able to.
This is what we were told when we added new functions.
How many lines of code have you written???
As one would expect, I couldn’t quite bear it. “I’ll confirm how many lines I have written by the next meeting,” I said evasively. I immediately did some refactoring and reduced my code by a tenth.
This is what I said at the next meeting.
On the topic of coding, I have improved, and it has reduced by a tenth. Performance has doubled.
Also, we don’t need Mozart in a rock band.
That became our last meeting.
Musicality makes culture and strengthens bands
Recently, I had the chance to talk about employment with a young engineering initiative startup. We were both of the opinion that culture is important, and just because you pay them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that good people would come to you, but of course, the most vital thing for tech startups is being a band.
A band means that if you put someone in who doesn’t suit the culture, it won’t come to anything.
With musical differences, they will definitely end up disbanding. There are directions and genres in music.
In this context, there are various kinds of music including folk songs or pop, hard rock bands, and if somebody from a totally different genre joins, everybody will stop working. When you have a band, it’s fine to say “Guitar player wanted. Drum player wanted” but if you don’t just want any old drum player and you are “looking for a drum player who wants to play rock music,” you must state that.
However, the most important thing is whether or not you agree on what you are aiming for. That is a major factor in making a company culture. The thing that is more important than having a suitable skillset is whether or not you suit the culture.
Suppose that you want to make rock music, but without a bassist, a guitarist has come to audition. You are in a situation where already have two guitarists, and you don’t need a third, but if that new person really loves the band’s music and if they are somebody who wants to play the same rock music, they might join you, going as far as to switch to playing the bass, which they aren’t used to. That will be your strong point as a startup.
In other words, whether or not you want to be together
We have, of course, different positions, strong points, and skillsets. It is even more important, however, that you put people in the team who can relate to the culture and the vision at the core who say, “I want to be in a band with you. I want to do concerts with you”. If they don’t, disbandment due to musical differences is waiting.
Mozart is great. He makes great songs, but there’s no first violin here, no second violin either, and there isn’t even a conductor. The practice time is also limited. People aren’t necessarily living in luxury, and there are only a few hackers. Even if Mozart has a good musical score, he can’t perform it, and now, that’s why I wonder if that song would be at the top of the Spotify chart to begin with?
This is because you don’t need Mozart in a rock band.