Opportunity Spotters vs Squatters

In my experience working across various sectors and stages of startups, I’ve learned that successful companies need a balance of visionaries who can conceive new ideas and track industry trends, as well as doers who can execute these ideas. Have too many visionaries who think of imaginative ideas every hour, you’ll end up with a company that has a longer list of ideas than the number of users for a long time. Conversely, a team dominated by executors might find itself fixated on a minor or irrelevant problem for an extended period.

Individuals typically possess innate skills that allow them to excel as either visionaries or executors. Recognizing one’s strengths is crucial. While opportunity spotters are indeed rare and often struggle with execution, over-indexing on them will adversely affect the company. A blend of both skill sets is essential. It’s challenging to find a Product Manager who excels equally in both areas. Opportunity spotting demands a free and creative mindset, distinct from the hyper-productive gurus on Twitter. One way could be to leverage your strengths while addressing your weaknesses. If you’re an opportunity spotter, take the time to personally validate your ideas before delegating. If you’re an execution expert, occasionally step back to see the bigger picture. A team that combines these two types of individuals, supported by engineers and designers, is formidable. These roles should work together and appreciate each other’s strengths.

If I ever run a company, I would assemble teams comprising both these types of individuals to pursue and achieve user-centric goals. The opportunity spotter would envision the possibilities, while the executor, would bring these visions to life. Both personas complement each other’s strength and need to respect the value they bring to the table. One needs to zoom in more to zoom out. The other needs to zoom out more to zoom in.


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