12.10.19 - Nick Potts Generalists and Specialists — Building a Successful Startup Requires Both

As a startup grows, a natural occurrence happens in which it moves away from a team of generalists to become a more refined team of specialists.

If you view this transition as necessary (I believe it is) and incremental (it has been for us), then ScriptDrop is 50 percent of the way on that continuum.

Beginning with Generalists

In the early days, each team member at ScriptDrop would wear multiple hats as generalists. They wore these hats with the confidence of seasoned specialists. If they hadn’t, the business wouldn’t have progressed.

Today, we are a team of generalists who handle a myriad of projects and business initiatives, and specialists who focus on improving a specific problem. Over time, we will have fewer generalists and more specialists, as we continue to grow and scale.

We are careful to not establish arbitrary timelines on this transition. I compare it to the simple metaphor of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. From day one, the caterpillar is taking consistent and incremental steps to become a butterfly. However, different caterpillars take varying amounts of time to get there.

ScriptDrop is the same.

We know we will be stronger with a team of absolute domain experts in customer success, engineering, data science, management, and beyond.

Transitioning to Specialists

However, this transition isn’t something that is completed overnight. Some of the generalists on our team amaze me on a daily basis. They are domain experts on ScriptDrop, rather than a given field. That’s not necessarily what we optimize for, it is more the evolution of a startup.

Domain experts on the company culture, strategy, business, engineering, and history are able to assist in hiring for the specialists. That group can then share the pertinent knowledge with the new specialist, which allows them to “hit the ground running.”

Our “OG generalists” don’t go away. They become the leaders of the company’s future. They help to amplify the mission and vision of the company.

Our mission is no small task. Helping 1 billion patients will take the perfect mix of both generalists and specialists.

Do you have questions about what it’s like building a startup? Check out our Facebook Live every Monday at 12 p.m. EST & chat directly with our team.