PopCap Founder John Vechey: The Most Important Quality for Your First Employees

Here is an excerpt from article written by Donna Fenn for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.

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John Vechey launched PopCap in 2000 with co-founders Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka. Since then, the Seattle-based company has taken the casual games market by storm, selling more than 50 million of its most popular game, Bejeweled, and posting more than $100 million in revenue.

“I think everyone, when they’re hiring their first employees, is looking for intelligence,competency, and experience. You want to hire great people. But there’s another trait that I’ve come to appreciate in early employees. When I look back at our first 20 hires, the ones who are much more valuable now are the ones who also have the ability to be pretty dynamic.

The hardest part of a startup is that it will evolve. To be successful, regardless of how you started out, your core values must stay the same but the company itself is going to change a lot. You have management changes, you mature in how you think about the business, you have to invest in new types of business, and walk away from old things. And so when you interview those first employees, you have to ask yourself, are these people really going to be able to evolve as the company evolves? Are they going to be able to handle the unknown, and the ambiguities? Are they going to be able to think about the world one way now, and in five years have the ability to think about it a different way and accept that, and embrace it?”

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Donna Fenn

Donna Fenn is the author of Upstarts: How Gen Y Entrepreneurs are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit From Their Success and Alpha Dogs: How Your Small Business Can Become a Leader of the Pack. She has more than twenty years experience writing about entrepreneurship and small business trends as a contributing editor at Inc. magazine, an expert on Business.com, and a featured expert on SBTV.com. From 1988 to 1992, she lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she was a correspondent for The Associated Press and covered business, culture, the economy, and the Gulf War.

She invites you to visit her website: UpstartsRock.com and to follow her on Twitter: @donnafenn


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