Startup Lessons From 17 Hard-Hitting Quotes In “Moneyball”
I’m an idiot. Not all of the time, mind you, not even most of the time, but every now and then, I’m an idiot. Like the time my friend and co-founder Brian Halligan asked me to read the book “Moneyball”. This was back when we had first launched our startup, HubSpot. “But, I’m not a baseball guy,” I said. “It’s not about baseball. It’s about data.” And, I put it on my reading list, and then still failed to read it. I even bought the book, but still failed to read it That was a mistake.
I just got done watching the movie “Moneyball” for the second time. The first time I watched it was last night. It’s the only time I’ve watched the same movie twice in two days. It’s not just because it was a great movie (it was), but because I felt I missed so much the first time, that I had to watch it a second. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you should stop reading this article and go watch it. If you get distracted and never make it back to this article, I forgive you.
So, without further ado, here are some great quotes from Moneyball
Brilliant Startup Lessons From Moneyball
1. He passes the eye candy test. He’s got the looks, he’s great at playing the part.
Spectacular startup success often becomes a game about scouting and recruiting. A common mistake entrepreneurs make is recruiting team members early on simply because they look the part. In the long run, it doesn’t matter if on paper, someone’s perfect. You want people that can actually do the job. That VP of Sales candidate that has 15 years of experience at Oracle? Likely not worth it for you. They’ll look the part, but they’re not guaranteed to be able to actually do the job. And, like Johnny Damon, they’re going to be expensive. Get good at seeing talent where others don’t.
For example, at HubSpot, most of the early team did not look good on paper at all. Most of us had little or no prior background doing what we were setting out to do.
2. You’re not solving the problem. You’re not even looking at the problem.
Identify a fundamental problem and then focus, focus, focus on solving that problem. Don’t get distracted by all the the things that are swirling around the actual problem. Don’t listen too closely to those that have deep industry expertise and are emotionally attached to the status quo — it’s possible that they’re part of the problem. Figure out what the actual issue is, and solve it.
For example, look at Dropbox. Drew set out to solve a really hard problem — getting data to synch across different devices. He had many people (including me) that were telling him that this particular idea had been pursued so many times before. He didn’t get distracted by all that noise. He dug in and fixed the problem. Today, Dropbox is valued at billions of dollars and has millions of happy users.