Every time I meet a potential employer, I ask myself this dead simple question:
If I had 1 million to invest for the 5 next years, would I bet on that guy regardless of the product and team?
If you’re working for a government or a large company, this question does not apply to you. Despite a few corporate missions, I’ve always worked for 40 people max young companies. When you join such a venture, you soon realize your boss is at least as much important as your closest colleagues.
To answer that question, I make my future boss pass the mountain guide test.
I love hiking in the mountain. I can walk alone for days, not talking to anyone, and I can hire a guide to discover new places. Sometimes the walk is easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. Your legs hurt like hell. The backpack braces cut your shoulders. And every single step becomes a challenge harder than climbing the whole mountain.
In difficult times, I expect the guide to be the one who awakens the group and takes it to the next summit.
That’s what I expect from my future boss. I expect a startup CEO to show me the highest summit and tell me:
Look, this is where we’re going. I don’t know the path yet, I don’t know how hard it will be but that’s where I want you to come with me.
Indeed, it’s not the only thing to weight before you join a company. You need to check the team, the market, the product, the technology, the company core values. But it’s a crucial one.
If all lights green but I find myself unable to share his vision and passion. If I feel he’s not a true leader who’ll open the way to a world changing adventure, then I won’t invest my million and follow him. It’s a no go.