"The Hardest Thing To Get Right" - Lessons from Web Summit 2022

"The Hardest Thing To Get Right" - Lessons from Web Summit 2022

Last week, Augment's co-founders (Dan, Saurav and Jordan) were at Web Summit 2022 - the world's largest tech conference - for a very exciting reason: we were invited to talk - twice!

First, we had the honor to present Augment AI to the crowd at the Centre Stage area - Web Summit's biggest stage. (You can check out our pitch - the link will be at the end of this post).

But, in this post, we want to tell you about the incredibly insightful keynote-speech Jordan, our CEO and co-founder, gave at the Growth Summit on November 3rd: "The Hardest Thing To Get Right - Sharing critical lessons learned from a 20+ year career in building successful startups from the ground up".

Jordan is an accomplished software architect and serial founder, having founded Napster, Cloudmark, and Servio. As you know, Jordan is now building the future of AI assistants with us. So, if you're starting a company (or thinking about it), you should probably take the chance to listen to what Jordan has to say.

You'll find a link for the video of the whole talk at the end of this post - just 10 minutes of pure wisdom. But, first, here are some of our favorite takeaways:

1. Culture is a thing that derives straight from the top.

Whatever the highest people in the hierarchy of the company do is going to be the culture of the company. Jordan is very clear on how it doesn't matter how well-written your values are on the employee handbook or how hard-working the culture committee is. It's the attitudes of the high-ups that will dictate the culture. And he had to learn this the hard way.

2. When starting a business, the most important question is: do I have the right people?

People are the most important thing - nothing is accomplished without a very well-matched team. But…

3. “It’s better to suffer alone than to suffer with fools!"

People are the most important thing, yes. That's why it's better to stay alone for a while instead of compromising and hiring people who aren't the right choice for the company.

4. Don't be afraid of doing everything by yourself for a while.

Jordan has a somewhat controversial piece of advice on this topic - which we love. Many people say things like “find the best 3 things you're good at and find someone else to do the rest". Well, to that, Jordan says: "How can you hire someone into a job and know they'll do well at that job if you don't know what the job takes?"

While looking for the right people, don't be afraid to do the work yourself for some time. Get to know what the job is about.  

5. Skills have nothing to do with Great teams - it starts with values. Figure out yours as early as possible.

“I think the way we do recruiting, 99% of the time, is completely messed up.”             - Jordan

Great teams, with capital G, start with values.

Usually, people who are hiring worry about job knowledge and skills first. Do they have the necessary set of skills? Do they have enough experience? What should a Product Manager's resume look like? How's their LinkedIn profile? All of that is important at some level, but it shouldn't be the first thing to look for.

Great hires are like any other great relationship: they start with a strong set of shared values. Stop now and think of what values you want to be your company's. Here's a tip: it's what you have in common with the people in your life with whom you have the strongest connections. Write them down, learn them, use them, and incorporate them in hiring.


In those 10 minutes, Jordan has given us a lot to think about. If you want to see the whole talk, the link is right below.

After all those lessons about how to improve your company and your business culture - you might be feeling like you want to also improve yourself.

Augment AI is the personal digital assistant that helps you with your hectic day, allowing you to be the most productive self. We've recently opened the wait list for our Private Beta and will be happy to welcome you:

Our talks at Web Summit 2022:

  1. The Hardest Thing To Get Right (10 min)

  1. Augment's pitch (4 min)