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Kevin Rose says key for startups is to 'edit your team'

The Digg founder and current Google Ventures partner says the best business advice he got was from Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey: prune employees who don't fit.

Digg founder and current Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose, at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco today.
Daniel Terdiman/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--As a serial entrepreneur, Digg founder Kevin Rose no doubt had a lot of people telling him how to grow his businesses. But the best advice he ever got was to get rid of employees that don't fit.

At TechCrunch Disrupt today, Rose -- who also co-founded Revision3, Pownce, and Milk, and who is now an investment partner at Google Ventures -- told interviewer Colleen Taylor that Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey gave him the best business suggestion he ever got: "Edit your team."

Dorsey told him, Rose said, "'You're just going to make bad hires [and] you just have to trust your gut [and you] have to constantly be editing and pruning your team."

This may sound counter-intuitive at a time when most tech companies are struggling to find good people, but it does acknowledge the reality that not every new hire is going to mesh with their new team. And companies can suffer by trying to make such situations work since poorly situated employees suck up management resources and cause disruption within teams that otherwise run smoothly.

During his talk with Taylor, Rose also trotted out some of his own best advice. First, he said, startups should be wary of bringing in too many board members, and he also cautioned founders of companies that are making money to think very carefully about taking new investment cash too early and as a result giving up too much control. And Rose said that some of the entrepreneurs he counseled not to take investment money later came back to him when the time was right and allowed him to be a major investor.

Prior to joining Google Ventures, Rose was a longtime tech star. His first success was at TechTV and he subsequently became better known on various Revision3 shows. But at Digg, a once high-flying service that allowed Internet users to rank stories' popularity, he became a tech superstar.

Google Ventures likely sought to hire Rose (which it did by buying Milk) due to acumen as an investor. According to his page, his investing success includes Foursquare, Gowalla, Ngmoco, OMGPOP, Path, Square, Twitter, and Zynga.