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Pete Heslop
Pete Heslop

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The Smart Creative.

Based on a study of 101 post-mortems, 23% of them concluded that the primary reason behind their startup’s demise did not have the right team.

That was the third-highest behind, no market need and ran out of money.

When you dig a little deeper, it’s clear why having the correct team dynamic is critical when working in a fast-moving and lean business.

If your team is lean and agile, adding in a new person into the mix adds new layers of complexity, cost and changes the dynamics within your organisation.

If you asked 101 startup owners how easy they find hiring the right person; I expect you would find that nearly all business owners struggle to recruit the correct talent for their team.

So, what do we look for at Steadfast Collective?

We look for Smart Creatives.

Here’s how Google defines a Smart Creative:

A person that doesn’t chase compensation; they pursue the ability to cause change and disrupt industries.

When you dig a little into their book, How Google Works, they expand on this.

  • A smart creative has technical knowledge of their trade, hands-on experience, an expert in their field.
  • They’re analytically smart.
  • They’re always referring to data to drive home a point.
  • Quick to iterate on their ideas and flex to the data’s results.
  • They create technical solutions to business problems. They understand the user and what the user wants. They don’t design and build for their ego; they look at the business case and user feedback.
  • They’re a firehose of new ideas which are actually good.
  • Often hard to manage.
  • They’re the person in the meeting who’s often frustrated because they’ve already come up with a solution before the agenda is readout.
  • Self-directed, they don’t like to be micro-managed although happy to collaborate and can articulate ideas to team members.

When thinking through the ideology around Smart Creatives here was how I summarised the traits:

  • Technically
  • Driven
  • Business

A smart creative is someone who is technically able to do their work, Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth, would use the phrasing Technician.

As part of this technical mindset, they care about the data surrounding their tasks and role. They’re not going to jump into a task without first analysing the facts.

A smart creative isn’t only technically gifted; they’re driven , self-motivated, hands-on and able to articulate.

One of the key differences between a person who is solely technically gifted and a Smart Creative is that a Smart Creative is able to articulate their ideas and processes to other team members, often making them excellent at delegation and leading teams.

Finally, a Smart Creative has a hybrid mindset; Creative and Business. Everything they work on has to help the business, and they’ll be creative in achieving those tasks.

This means the Smart Creative is often results-focused, full of ideas and interested in success outside of their silo.

Leading the Smart Creative

Sergey Brin and Larry Page make this clear. Their plan for building the world’s best search engine was this; hire as many talented software engineers as possible and give them freedom. Jonathan Rosenberg, who was hired from Excite@home had degrees and proven management record, but he was in for a shock when he presented Larry page with a business plan.

Larry hated it and said. Have you ever seen a plan delivered early? Have your teams ever delivered better products than what was in the plan? No? Then go talk to our engineers.

As Larry spoke, it dwelled on Johnathan that then engineers he was talking about weren’t engineers in the traditional sense. Yes, they were brilliant engineers but along with a business savviness along with a healthy streak of creatively.

He realised then managing them with traditional structures would not work.

At companies experiencing hyper-growth, we see talented people who are not confined to specific tasks departments. We see engineers starting companies. These smart creatives are taking risks and are having an impact on the entire business regardless of their position or role.

Smart creatives are trying new strategies, products and ideas, not keeping quiet when they disagree, happy to push ahead with new business ideas.

They blur the line between business and creative.

As it happens, we’re looking for our next Smart Creative! If you’re a web developer, looking for a new role in the Southampton area; get in touch!

If you enjoyed reading this article; we think you’ll really enjoy The Digital Product Playbook. A monthly playbook full of insights, ideas and plays on growing your digital product.

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