In February, I wrote an article around Silicon Valley's team structure and how I believed Pied Piper would see their demise if they didn't focus on hiring in this season. If you haven't seen the new season, be warned, there are spoilers.

In my original piece, I stated that Richard should have made Jared a co-founder of Pied Piper when he poached him from Hooli. While he's not technically a co-founder, Richard has recently promoted him to Chief Operating Officer and things are already looking up for the company's future.

While Techstars focuses on the founding team when determining which startups are accepted into our programs, the executive team (founding or not) is the real backbone for a solid company.

Bringing Jared on has COO has allowed Richard to step back into his developer role for a massive code sprint. From there, Richard's commitment to the company's success brought back all of the poached engineers. And now Richard has a personal assistant to handle his calendar and make him nice little sandwiches--all thanks to Jared.

The topic of Chief Operating Officer has played a big role in the new season of Silicon Valley, starting with Richard's near poaching of the COO of Quiver. If you're like Richard, and need to hire someone to make your company run a little more smoothly, here are some of the qualities you should look for in a COO:

Beyond Organized

COO's manage the day-to-day operations of your company. If there's something they've missed, then your company misses out too. Whether that's ensuring contracts are up-to-snuff, the marketing department is utilizing the new info the data team pulled, or your all-company meeting goes on without an issue, this person needs to be a master organizer.

Some tips for find these people:

  • They have a constant running to-do list, with highlights, circles, and scribbles everywhere
  • They send action items to team members after every meeting to make sure the team is on track
  • They send calendar invites immediately after you've locked in a time for discussion

A Process Person

We've all heard the phrase "work smarter, not harder." This statement should always be floating in the back on your COO's mind. How do we get this done, and how do we do it faster?

COO's are master strategists and can pull a plan out of thin air. There's always a process that needs to be implemented, and each process comes with a step-by-step guide on how to get it done. If there isn't, then your COO may need to ramp things up.

They Know Metrics

COO's need to see that each department is not only getting things done, but that their work matches the overall company goals and KPIs. They will push each department to draft actionable goals before kicking off a new campaign, and then will ask for your proof points as soon as the task is completed.

If your COO has never asked for a report, then it may be time for you to have them report to your office.