Building an A-Team

Leaving ego at the door and building a team (of employees, friends, consultants and partners) better than yourself is a sure fire way to increase your success by an order of magnitude.

C-team members will pull you back, B-team will slow you down. But the A-team, they are going to drag you forward. Finding those A-team members is a challenge – one that requires you step up your own game so that you’re A-team worthy.

In a Tim Ferris podcast with Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame, there was what was practically a throw away comment about how to hire good people (apparently Matt’s superpower) –  This is an effective formula for finding your  own A-team.

[Hire for the things that are unteachable] … “work ethic, taste, integrity, and curiosity”.

In there are values and core motivators that interlink in a special way to create someone A-team worthy.

Remember these with the acronym CWIT (like quit, as in quit working with shit people).


Nothing kills human potential more than that enemy of curiosity; apathy. An interest in a wide range of topics – from the history of sub-Saharan political dynasties, fantastical ideas about faster than light travel to how Kim Kardashian built a multi-million dollar empire – all pique the interest of the curious. A natural curiosity is not focused on just one subject. Curiosity is a desire to break down complex ideas into bite sized chunks. To make the world understandable. It’s insatiable and can usually be found on obscure sub-reddits and Wikipedia’s unusual article list.

It’s always asking the question – why?  (Just like any good 5 year old).

Work Ethic 

A-team’s live their work. Not in the #thegrind sense. There are no awards for being the person who sleeps the least. Work ethic is about not having a distinct barrier between what I do for work and how I live my life.

Life throws too much inspiration your way to ignore it until “work time”. A curiosity about everything enables a work ethic that’s 24/7 while still (hopefully) understanding how to enjoy life.

In the more traditional sense of the word; a discipline is needed that allows A-team members to know when it’s time to crack open the laptop, and when it’s time to kick back and watch a movie.

Work ethic is always asking the question – when?


Doing the right thing because it’s right. An A-team needs integrity – it needs to put being good people, to each other, above all else. At some point in every A-team’s life there will be big worries, big bills, big pressures and hopefully bigger pay-cheques. If those can’t be dealt with in a way that puts the team’s best interests at heart, then don’t even start.

Integrity is always asking the question – who?


The reason I wanted to write this article. It’s because you may think taste is just about knowing which colours go together. Which art piece to hang on the wall. It’s something for the designer to worry about.

Taste is more than that.

Taste is very ability to know what people want, even when they don’t know it themselves. And this ability is what an entrepreneur is. If you can build an A-team of people with taste then your products will define your market.

Taste is the superpower that let’s someone tap in to the zeitgeist of the day. If you have taste you understand what standards are expected by society and then can out perform them.

Taste is knowing when to say – wow.