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Congratulations, you’re the legal department

Startups are (by necessity) filled with generalists; big companies are filled with specialists. People underestimate how effective a generalist can be at things which are done by specialists. People underestimate how deep specialties can run. These are simultaneously true.

Patrick McKenzie (@patio11)

Your organisation will be small, building and searching (i.e. a startup) for a while.

You will not have separation of financial procedures and approvals into eight separate silos.

You will not have a legal department; you will not have HR procedures; you will be creating your own filing system. You will not have a fundraising and social media team.

You are unlikely to be able to leave developing the product – or customer service – or recruitment – or possibly even payroll – to a well-qualified person or team.

These things will be down to you, and the people you find to join you.

Look for committed, energetic generalists and a finance person – and choose well.

Then when everything seems half-baked*, tell yourself:

This is the way. For now, at least, this is the way.

*Try to bake your HR policies a little more each time you revisit the Googledoc.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...