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We recently hired a really talented software architect who has a degree in law – his name’s Faiz. Like most lawyers, Faiz is highly articulate and fun to banter with! We started debating one of my favorite quotes within Chowbotics – “we should have only superstars on the team”.  Faiz said, “How do you define a superstar?”

It wasn’t a simple question to answer. I’ve been mulling over it for days. Our team has some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with in my career. But it wasn’t simple to get here. We sometimes had to correct our hiring mistakes. We sometimes had to say “no” to average interview candidates and instead work 18 hours a day to handle the workload with fewer people. Is there a good formula to tell the amazingly talented people from regular people?

Here’s what Steve Jobs had to say on the subject. Its a pretty interesting video – check it out!

After much thought, I ended up agreeing with Faiz’s definition of a superstar. In his opinion, a superstar is someone who completely owns what they are doing. They love their work so much that they are not limited to what they are asked to do. They define their own projects. They come up with non-intuitive leaps which take their projects and companies forward in a big way. These sorts of people make me excited to come in to work every day. Secure in the knowledge that I will learn something from them and make myself better.

Someone who is not a superstar needs to be given specific tasks, they need follow-ups, they need detailed schedules, they need a lot more guidance and they never end up making the big contributions a superstar does.

I know what sorts of people I love working with…