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

Last Updated Apr 22, 2011 7:49 AM EDT

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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