Who should I surround myself with at the start?

Shows, theater companies, technology companies, etc. are all the same.

They tend to start with one person’s idea.  Maybe that idea is birthed in a dressing room or a dorm room, and then hopefully it grows beyond those walls, and turns into a billion dollar business.

I was talking to an associate recently who was about to birth a new theatrical concept here in the city. It was in its embryonic stage and he was looking for people to hire to help blow up this start-up.

Should he hire the best PR firm?  The best lawyer?  The best designers in the world?

While surrounding yourself with the best of the best is usually a great concept at any point in a company’s life, there is a price tag attached.  And yes, I’m talking about a literal price tag that most emerging companies and artists can’t afford.  But there’s also a price in whether or not the best of the best, who have a zillion other clients (probably bigger than you), have the time to devote to your new idea.  Will they have the passion to work through the night?  How important is it to them?  Will they work harder than you?

Maybe they will, and you’ll get the best of both worlds.

But in my experience, at the genesis of an idea, it’s better to surround yourself with people like you, whether or not they have the fanciest stationery or the longest resume.

Zuckerberg, Gates, etc. started their companies with the people that were in spitting distance of them, who they knew would work harder than anyone to learn what it takes to create a great company.

They chose sweat over style.

And when things started to get real, yo, they brought on the best later, when they could afford it, and when they could demand the attention they deserved.

What do I look for when I hire a marketing person?


My answer?

I look for someone who wants to be a Producer.

And now that I think about it . . . what do I look for when I hire a Company Manager?

I look for someone who wants to be a Producer.

What do I look for when I hire someone to run errands for the office?

Yep, I look for someone who wants to . . . you know . . . produce stuff.

I was talking to a wise business owner the other day who put this theory to me very simply.  “Ken,” he said, “I always think 3 positions ahead when I’m interviewing someone for a job.  You want someone who wants to grow.  You want someone who is hungry.  You don’t want someone who wants to be comfortable.”

A lot of people are scared to bring on employees that want to do what they do, that could compete, that could rip-off ideas, etc.

But from my perspective, these are exactly the people you want working for you.

And when they are ready to move on and do their own thing, I’ll be happier than they will be.

Because I will have helped produce a Producer.

– – – – –

I know I mentioned that I’d have a juicy announcement today, but we had to delay 24 hours to tie up a couple of loose ends.  But an announcement is coming.  Tomorrow.  And if you’re a fan of this blog, and of doing things a little differently, then I think you’ll like it.  Tune in.

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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