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In many years of start ups, I've noticed some truisms of potential value for the start up CEO. I just wish I could tell them to myself 20 years ago.
1. Customers with the biggest issue with price tend to be the customers with the biggest issues. ( including pretty much everything -- payment, product support, upgrades, etc.)
2. Software Developers, Salespeople and Lawyers tend to overstate their accomplishments, potential and value. No real need to ask, they'll tell you.
3. Accountants, HR people, and administrative staff tend to undervalue their accomplishments, potential and value. Here you have a real need to ask, they won't tell you.
4. People are who are going to be very difficult to deal with will make a point of explaining to you upfront how reasonable they are deal with. Very reasonable, in fact, in their opinion and their opinion only.
5. The world has some incredibly talented liars and thieves. They will make a point of not self identifying and are most indignant when their character is questioned. You will meet at least 2 or more per year. Keep count.
6. Stress displays character, it doesn't build it. And serious stress will often tell you more than you want to know about someone.
7. Everybody-- during every day -- acts in economic self interest in almost every way. Good employees try to align their economic interests with yours. Bad employees don't. Don't assume though that your economic self interests and those of your good employees are always aligned. Or that your economic self interests aren't ever aligned with your bad employees.