By MH Staff - Posted on 26th November 2013
32-year old Tough Mudder founder, Will Dean, on the secrets to his success
I ask this question in job interviews: how many computers are there in Manhattan? I want to see evidence of the ability to form a hypothesis and defend it. We're a three-year-old, $70-million company, and we often have to make decisions based on incomplete data – I did the same thing analysing information on terrorists when I worked for the British government. So you're making an informed guess, but you've considered all the options. Being comfortable managing that kind of risk is an essential skill.
One thing I learned at Harvard business school is the power of marketing. It's practical problem solving. It doesn't matter how good your business idea is; 99% of success is execution, 99% of execution is good marketing, and 99% of marketing is empathy. You have to know your audience.
That's my rule: if you're building a company, you need to like, trust, and respect the people you hire. Otherwise it's no fun and you won't succeed. But that doesn't mean you should always be a team player. Sometimes it pays to challenge the norm and go against the flow.
One of the tiebreaker questions I ask potential employees: tell me about a genuine setback that you've overcome. The first couple of answers are often scripted, like, "I'm a perfectionist," so I cut them off and repeat the question. If you push, you gain insight into the person's character.