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The ten times as many rule

Once a startup begins to get traction, it becomes easier to raise money and with that comes the expectations of scaling. While scaling a startup, the number of employees can grow 3-5x over a year in the early stages and 0.5-1x over a year at later stages. The biggest challenge during these periods of scaling is to hire the right people. Because mistakes on that front can set the company back by many months, and can easily turn fatal.

Patrick Collison from Stripe has the following advice when it comes to hiring. "Before you make an offer to someone, think about whether you’d like to have 10 times as many people like them in your company.”

This is because the ones who get hired tend to attract others like them. This happens both when they personally reach into their networks and refer people and when they interview and select future hires. While at the same time, prospective candidates that look up the current employees before deciding whether they ought to apply will look for people like themselves in this exercise.

All this makes the case for hiring the right people. If we don't want 10 times as many people like the one we are considering now, then it is best not to make the offer.

Now, we don't all startup and we don't all make such hiring decisions very often. But, the same dynamics plays out in two other aspects of our lives - people and habits.

The friends we make and the people we hang out with can bring ten others like themselves into our circle. The habits we form can bring ten others like that into our routines.

Patrick Collison's advice, can thus be applied to our own personal lives as well. We only ought to introduce such people and things in our lives that we would like ten times more of. If we don't feel that way, it may be best to pass on the opportunity.

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