What if your startup were a sports team?

There’s a reason business leaders are always talking about the importance of company culture—it will make or break your venture.

In fact,  team dynamic is so critical to success that David Brown, the President of Techstars, describes the 5 criteria for acceptance into a Techstars program as “product, market, team, team, & team.”

But knowing your team has to be the best won’t do you a lot of good. Knowing what kind of people you need will.

This is what makes hiring for a startup just like recruiting for a sports team. In order to hoist the championship trophy on the field or in the office, you have to identify the different kinds of players you need, and recruit one of each.

Except you don’t have to identify them, because I’ve done that work for you. You’re welcome.

If your startup were a sports team, here’s the perfect lineup:

The Cheerleader

Every team needs an energetic kick in the pants at just the right moment. The Cheerleader is the first one out of the dugout to congratulate a teammate after a home run, and a die hard optimist during a slump. Cheerleaders have a tendency to be spontaneous and even a little erratic, but a little chaos in a controlled environment is a good thing.


The Superstar

Your human highlight reel, this is the one the crowd has come to see. Every team has a star forward who plays up front even if they’re unruly or a weirdo because their performance is nothing short of spectacular. Day after day, this is the guy who racks up a stupefying number of rushing yards. Just don’t let all the attention go to his head.


The Captain 

The Captain leads by example and sets the tone for the team in every situation. Calculating and committed, Captains keep calm and think ahead whether you’re up by 2 goals or down by three. And while every other player should be just as talented and committed, the Captain is the reason that your team hangs together.


The Setup Man

Every great score starts here. For every glory hogging Superstar, there’s a Setup Man who creates an environment where backboard shattering dunks are possible. Fans won’t go home talking about an assist at the end of the day, but without them, your team’s a GONER! The best Setup Men have the field vision of a Captain AND can give Superstars what they need to bring the pain.


The Wildcard

Bottom of the 9th, tie game, the weight of the world is on his shoulders. Not shaving for an entire year or swearing by a whole laundry list of superstitions probably doesn’t help—but if he thinks it does, so be it.  Because when the game is on the line, the wildcard can focus with an intensity that would impress a Jedi.


The Enforcer

The Grinder; the Muscle; the Goon—the Enforcer has many nicknames. This is the meaty backbone of your team. You need the blinding pain and searing clarity of constructive criticism? Look no further. Your Enforcer keeps haters from bruising your team so that HE can PERSONALLY keep them in line if they’re slacking. So don’t make him drop his gloves, cause he will if he has to.