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.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.