The three ingredients to build a great start-up team
Dtac Accelerate gave me the great opportunity to join the Blackbox program in Silicon Valley. I learned a lot from classmates, mentors, founders and investors there. I think the ecosystem in Silicon Valley and Thailand is quite different in terms of investment, markets, culture and policy. In Silicon Valley, the policy and culture fully support start-ups even though investment has turned south, having peaked in 2015.
Thai start-ups need to look region-wide rather than focus on one country.
The Southeast Asia region is perceived as an emerging market with high growth potential – this has resulted in significant increases in investment, while policy and culture lag way behind.
As I exchanged ideas with many successful founders in my Silicon Valley trip, I found something common to their success – a great team builds a great company.
Before this, I had questioned what makes a great team and how to build one. I now understand the idea and find it interesting. It is a link between the BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), strategy and culture.
Firstly, BHAG is the summit of the peak you are climbing. It is a single long-term goal which is audacious and likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible. For example, the SpaceX BHAG is “to revolutionise space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets”.
Secondly, strategy is how to win, perhaps best thought of as the staging posts that get you to the mountain summit.
Finally, culture is how to behave if you want to win.
As a founder, co-founder or entrepreneur, you picture your summit and your staging posts. However, the most important part is the way to reach each post – it’s all about execution. As we know, it is people who execute the strategies – and this is why culture is so important.
In our class, Alex said: “Culture is a social control”, a pattern of behaviour that is encouraged or discouraged over time by people or a system. I truly agree.
I was asked, “What behaviours do you need in your startups to reinforce your key success factors and deliver on your strategy?” It was so clear to me how to set the culture. I started to write down the summit, staging posts and key factors for my own project, Freshket – the specific tasks to complete the strategy. Then I listed the behaviours I needed.
The thing to remember is this: you, as a leader, are a ginormous signal generator and you need to be aware of what signals you are broadcasting to your team. Are you consistent with the behaviours that you need? I now apply this concept to Freshket and it gets me excited to see the team evolve. I believe that it will build a great company.
Ponglada Paniangwet is CEO and co-founder Freshket, dtac accelerate batch 4. With thanks to Alex Tauber, Blackbox’s speaker.