Last Updated May 7, 2010 12:26 PM EDT
But starting the 70-employee enterprise came with painful lessons that are wonderfully documented in the recent Harvard Business School case study, Curt Schilling's Next Pitch ($6.95). Schilling, a life-long athlete, was a business novice needing a steep immersion in Business 101. For example:
- Vacation. As a baseball player, Schilling was expected to show up to work Monday through Sunday. "The whole concept of vacation was foreign to Curt," says Brett Close, who Schilling brought in as CEO. "He actually said, 'People get weekends off, right?'''
- Office Hours. Schilling once considered making his developers work 14 days straight followed by five days off, figuring it would get them on a good roll. He hadn't considered working parents in his plan.
- When Pigs Fly. Employees look to the founder for cues, so when Schilling offhandedly mentioned in an e-mail an idea for a scene involving mounted combat on flying pigs, the developers immediately dropped all their tasks and spent the next week developing a flying pigs scenario. Schilling says, "I didn't realize when I sent out that type of e-mail that it is not like Joe Junior game designer saying it and everybody responding, 'Are you an idiot?'''
The case costs $6.95, but I'd recommend it for its lessons on building effective teams and dealing with a famous or high-intensity founder.
(Schilling image by Eric Kilby, CC 2.0)