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Entrepreneurship advice: Over-invest in hiring top talent



cesar carvalho gympass
Take a leap of faith, says Cesar Carvalho,

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  • One of the best pieces of entrepreneurship
    advice has to do with hiring top talent.
  • Instead of looking for people who can do the job today,
    look for people who will still be successful two or three years
    from now.
  • That’s according to Cesar Carvalho, the cofounder and
    CEO of corporate fitness program Gympass.
  • When he first started Gympass, he hired people with the
    skills for a small startup, rather than for the large company
    it became.

When he launched Gympass
in summer 2012, Cesar Carvalho never imagined that the company
would one day scale to include 38,000 fitness facilities across
the globe.

That was a problem.

Gympass is a corporate fitness program similar to ClassPass.
Once a company signs up, its employees have access to a range of
gyms in different locations, at a discounted rate. Current global
clients include Uber, PayPal, and Deloitte.

When Carvalho, the company’s cofounder and CEO, started building
Gympass, he was a student at Harvard Business School; he dropped
out soon after to work full-time on his business.

Carvalho told Business Insider that his inability to envision a
bigger future for the company — which currently employs about 800
people worldwide — negatively influenced his hiring strategy.
Specifically, he made the mistake of looking for people who could
do the job that day, as opposed to people who would still excel
in their role years into the future.

“The hiring decisions that we made in the beginning were not
optimal,” Carvalho said. “We had to continuously bring more
senior people to the company. And what I learned from it is that
being able to plan for the next two to three years helps a lot on

Today, he seeks candidates “who are going to be great [working
on] not what has to be done today, but two to three years from

You probably won’t regret over-investing in hiring top talent

Carvalho’s observations about hiring recall those of Patty
McCord, the former chief talent officer at Netflix. McCord

previously told Business Insider
that managers should always
be considering whether the team they have now will still be able
to push the company forward in six months. If not, the manager
may need to replace some people on their team.

To be sure, a stellar candidate may not necessarily want to join
your fledgling startup.

“It’s actually super challenging to make the decision to hire
someone for what the company needs three years from now,”
Carvalho said. “At the point in time that you’re making the
decision, you might not have at the bank the cash that you need
to support that person.”

That means “taking two leaps of faith on the future of the
company,” Carvalho said. Not only are you assuming that this
person will still be a good fit in three years — you’re also
assuming that the business will still be successful in three

That said, Carvalho wishes he’d invested more in the people
running his company from the outset: “Had we done it, we would
have been at a much better stage today than we currently are.”

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