Jun 11, 2021 • 7M

Dreaming about Team

I want my team to be my product

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David Gaynor
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The other day I was talking with some friends the source of our, respective, passions.

Many of us have worked on startups, so building a good product came up.

However, as we discussed further, it became clear that a product, as a source of passion, only went so far.

One friend commented that he used to dream about hockey stick shaped usage graphs. But now, he says, none of that is exciting anymore. He has lots of users, at least compared to before. The dream feels accomplished.

The dream that is never accomplished, for him, is building a great team. For him, his team became his product.

The phrase "dream team" seems more apt now.

That idea really resonated with me. Certainly, I have dreams of building a super impactful product, used by millions of people. But, at this point, my more compelling goals are almost all around working with great people. Whether I build that team from scratch, help one develop, or join one that's already vibeing, being part of a great team feels more important than building a great product.

It's fortunate that a great team is also likely to produce great products. In fact, in today's world, where so much of a product's success comes down to rapid, learning focused, execution, team is actually more important than any specific iteration of a product.

VCs know this. When investing in early stage companies, team matters most. The product is just evidence that your team is great.

Yet, usually we focus on products or founders when we celebrate success. Our shared stories focus on heroes and the results of their actions. As a result, when aspiring entrepreneurs dream, they usually dream of fame and product usage.

I wish there were more stories about amazing teams coming together and working together. Or, specifically, I wish I had watched more movies and read more books about this.

In college my friends and I used to alternate between watching Star Trek and The Social Network. Late at night (or early morning) after finishing a project we would put one of these programs on the TV we salvaged from the dump. That was what we dreamed about when we finally entered a pizza induced sleep— an amazing team coming together to explore space or a brilliant founder giving up everything for success.

Visions from The Social Network won out over Star Treks dreams for a while, but I just watched them both for the first time in years, and Star Trek really resonates.