Home Hunch’s Caterina Fake On Fusing Ideas With Teams

Hunch’s Caterina Fake On Fusing Ideas With Teams

In our recent discussions of branding for startups and entrepreneurs, we’ve mentioned that marketing and branding is always harder to do when what you’re trying to sell isn’t a quality product. Successful startup products tend to fit into an equation involving the ideas and the people who are executing those ideas. Caterina Fake, co-founder of Hunch and previously Flickr, says that it wasn’t just the idea that attracted her to Hunch; the people behind it were just as important.

“The idea is just the starting point, just the first step. You also have to find the right people to help you do it,” writes Fake in BusinessWeek’s Entrepreneur’s Journal. “No successful company has have ever been the product of just one person.”

As Fake describes, a great idea is nothing without the right team to make it a reality. In the hands of the wrong team, an amazing idea for a startup can fail, whereas the right team with the right idea will ultimately have a higher chance of success. An example for this is the rush of online video startups in the last several years, a great idea that only the best teams, at YouTube and Vimeo among others, have succeeded with.

“The entrepreneurs [at YouTube] were able to raise the capital they needed to build and scale it,” says Fake. “Obviously, it was a good idea, but the combination decided who the winner was.”

Often the most successful startups aren’t the first players in their field, they just had the right people who could execute the idea the right way. At Hunch, Fake says the dichotomy of the MIT grads’ engineering prowess and her knowledge of communities from Flickr created a perfect ying and yang combination, and a successful product.

“When they decided they were going into the user-generated content direction, they knew it was not their strong suit. That’s what I do,” says Fake. “I had a lot of experience with building, designing, social software, getting a product integrated in other pieces of software–that kind of thing. It was a great combination of our two skill sets.”

There is certainly more to a successful startup than the right people and a good idea, but Fake believes these are the two most important factors. What else is important for startups apart from the ideas and the people behind them? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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