This is an email I posted on the newsletter for The CEO Library, as part of a Startup Founder Reading plan. Here’s the entire 16 books list
Once you kinda know what you’re getting yourself into when you start your own business, you understand you can’t really do things on your own. You will need a team, even if it’s contractors and not employees. If you’re building a tech company and you’re not a developer yourself, you will also need technical people to help you.
The best book in terms of how tech people think and how to convince them to work with you is Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent by… Joel Spolsky, obviously.
Joel Spolsky is kind of a legend on the internet, after he was one the initial bloggers – even before blogs were, well, blogs. He had the Joel on Software website that was the Bible of developers wanting to make money online. He then started a project called Stack Overflow and another one called Trello. You might’ve heard of the last 2 ones since they are huge projects and quite known online. Trello was sold in 2017 to Atlassian for $425,000,000. Not bad at all, right? :)
Anyway, back to hiring your team. The first employees of your company are the most important ones because your survival depends on them. While later mistakes in hiring people can be managed, early mistakes have a tendency to kill the company, only because you don’t have the resources and time to hire someone else.
This is where Smart and Gets Things Done comes into the spotlight. It gives you a general idea of how an interview should go when you hire a tech person, it makes you understand why you need the best team you can get and what to do about it.
You will also find out what you need to do to get people to apply for the positions you have open at your company.
Of course, this is not gospel. You shouldn’t just follow what Joel Spolsky says, just because. Understanding the logic behind all these decisions will help you anyway, even if you choose your own path.
So here it is: Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent. Read it and have fun with it.
P.S.: as usual, if you have read the book or you’re a fast reader, here’s another book until next month: Remote, Office Not Required, by the guys that founded Basecamp, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. It was the first book we’ve read at The CEO Library book club and it gives you an idea on the challenges and advantages of working with a distributed team (as we are at The CEO Library).
P.P.S.: One more thing: if you read any of the books, let me know through the Contact Form on the site or at email@example.com. Or reply to this email. I want to hear from you, to better understand what you want to read and if the books are interesting for you.