Gaurav Munjal, CEO and founder of edtech unicorn, has announced that they are hiring for leadership roles at the company. He also announced the five traits that they look for in potential candidates.
But, what is strategic thinking? What are p-type and s-type loonshots (no, it’s not a typo for moonshot)? We break that and everything else down for you below.
An “ability to design systems & do strategic thinking”
A strategy is a plan to do an action. The best strategies are those that take into account the company’s capabilities, the abilities of the individuals that will be executing the plan, and the most efficient way of executing the plan.
Strategic thinking in a startup is important to help build processes from scratch. In an established company, there are already rules on how to build products and services. Banks already have processes for discovering and converting new customers, but Paytm had to learn to do it from nothing.
While Unacademy is already a unicorn and one of the largest startups in the country, there will always be a place for strategic thinkers in startups.
But, how do you develop strategic thinking? Harvard Business Review has four simple steps.
First, observe and seek trends in your industry. Don’t just look at what kind of examples the physics classes in a competitor are using, look at what new subjects they are teaching their students, and what kinds of jobs will be attainable with that knowledge.
Second, ask tough questions. Don’t just ask how to build a product, ask why it needs to be built.
Third, speak the language. Jargon is not just complicated language to confuse outsiders, it also helps experts communicate quicker and more efficiently. Learn the jargon of your chosen profession and industry.
Fourth, embrace thinking more and conflict situations. Spending time with your thoughts to understand next steps is more important than looking busy. Being open to debates and alternate viewpoints is more important than being correct.
An “ability to execute p-type & s-type loonshots”
The term ‘loonshot’ comes from the book “Loonshots: How To Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries” by Safi Bachall. It is a play on the word moonshot, but for ideas that sound too crazy to ever work.
An S-Type loonshot is a strategy or business model that most people would think crazy. When Walmart, the giant American superstore retailer, opened in 1962, founder Sam Walton focussed on small towns in heartland America instead of metros, much to the bemusement of his competitors. His loonshot worked with Walmart becoming the biggest offline retailer in America.
A P-Type loonshot is a product or technology that seems nobody believes will be useful towards progress or profit. Many investors at the time thought the telephone was nothing more than a toy, and passed on the Bell Company. Today, nothing could be more important to our daily lives than our phones.
An “ability to hire an Iconic Team”
This one is simpler to understand. A leader is only as good as the team he nurtures. Without the ability to find, hire and grow a smart set of employees, you can’t be considered a great candidate for a leadership position at a small startup, a unicorn, or even the biggest companies in the world like Apple or Amazon.
An “obsession towards speed AND quality”
Mark Zuckerberg famously declared during Facebook’s early days that his team was asked to “move fast and break things.” This meant that he wanted them to keep building and experimenting, and show no regard towards tradition or existing competitors. Innovate and invent, and don’t worry about the consequences.
However, this was taken too far when Facebook, now Meta, started breaking things like global democracy and misinformation controls. While the world agrees that being innovative and inventive is not a bad idea, an understanding of how your actions affect the world is necessary as well.
An “ability to deliver outcomes”
This is self-explanatory. Delivering on promised outcomes, and ensuring that the promised outcomes are reasonable, are step one of any job. If you can’t do that, then it will be tough to convince a recruiter that you should be hired for the role.
Now that you know what Gaurav Munjal was referring to, you can work on the skills you don’t have and apply to Unacademy or any other startup when you are ready!