1+1 Should Never Equal 2

If it does, you’ve hired the wrong people.

Hiring is about leverage.

If you do it badly, you get negative leverage. 1 + 1 = 1.9

(I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs do this to themselves by hiring a part time VA as their first hire)

If you do a mediocre job, you get arithmetic leverage.

1 + 1 = 2 (maybe 2.5)

If you do it right, it creates exponential leverage.

1 + 1 = 4 (maybe 10 if you’re both exceptional and your idea is in the right moment in history like Microsoft and Apple)

Your first hires can make the difference between several years of struggle or building the next billion dollar unicorn.

EVERY client that I’ve had that was sub $1MM and had been in business for more than 2 years had weak first hires.

They hired in hopes of getting 1 + 1 = 2. Most got 1.9.

They didn’t even believe they could get someone exceptional to work with them. So they didn’t try.

I think this is the biggest difference between bootstrappers and Silicon Valley startups.

The SV startups BELIEVE they and their idea are inherently worth so much that exceptional people will want to be a part of it.

Bootstrappers believe they must earn their way to affording anything exceptional.

Nearly everyone in this group has some form of team.


Be honest about your hires.

Do any of them add exponential leverage to your business?

How many of them are just 1 + 1 = 2?

How many of them equal 1.9?

Fire all negative leverage employees, contractors and vendors — immediately.

Figure out how you’ll replace them afterwards.

Make a replacement plan for all arithmetic leverage employees, contractors and vendors.

Systematically replace them with exceptional people.

For any exponential people you have, nurture them, guide them and they may go from being worth quadruple to 10X.