I’ve been one or another of these at some point. The only insight I would add is that eventually everyone becomes the first example and it’s telling how many cry ‘foul’ when it’s their turn to get the sack.


Cindy Alvarez directs user experience at Yammer. At the Failcon conference this week she did an insightful if uncomfortable talk about the five types of people she should have fired sooner.

She did not name the people she fired. Instead, she classified them according to five different categories:

The Early Hire: These are the people who begin working at a startup in its early days before the company knows what it will become. Over time, the business changes and suddenly that early hire does not quite fit in. It’s a tough situation for both parties but if the person is not the right fit anymore then it is even worse to put off the inevitable.

The Artist: The artists are common in startups. They are passionate and enthusiastic. They have great ideas. But when things don’t go their way, they drag their feet. They stop turning work…

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