John Doerr's Startup Manual

Fast Company visited John Doerr in his Sand Hill Road office outside Palo Alto in 1997 and asked him to put his web of personal experiences to work advising us on the challenges of startup life. His answers still ring true today. For instance

"Let's say you're advising a 28-year-old engineer or marketer who's worked at a successful high-tech company for a few years and is moving up the ranks. Then one morning, his pals say, "We're all meeting at the House of Pancakes at 9 p.m. We've got an idea for a startup. Do you want to come?" Should he go?

Absolutely. Remember, Compaq was conceived at the House of Pancakes. But before throwing in with the group, I'd advise the 28-year-old to think carefully about the business opportunity, the markets, and the technology. And think hardest about the team.

Why the team? Doesn't the best technology and product win?

In the world today, there's plenty of technology, plenty of entrepreneurs, plenty of money, plenty of venture capital. What's in short supply is great teams. Your biggest challenge will be building a great team. There's enormous change underway in every facet of the world. Some is technology driven, some is market driven. All that change creates unprecedented opportunity. But to take full advantage of those opportunities, focus on the team. Teams win."

Read more in John Doerr's Startup Manual