When it comes to building a startup team, incorporating diversity within your startup can provide an incredible advantage. Diversity of intellectual capital built into the power of swarm intelligence can help solve any problem, especially any startup problem you may face in the future.
I recently wrote about the power of startup team diversity and pointed out that in today’s digital era, experience and age can become a huge advantage. In fact, no matter how cool your startup, even if it is composed of a group of young 20-something-year-old founders, try to find a 70-something-year-old to become a member of your startup management team or your advisory board.
There is another type of team member you should consider for your startup team. It is someone with dyslexia. There is a lot of misunderstanding about dyslexia. People who don't understand it classify it as a learning disorder. Dyslexic people usually have difficulty reading which can create problems in the learning process. Their brain is configured differently. I wouldn't call them people with learning disabilities.
Dyslexics are gifted with diverse mental processes. From an entrepreneur and venture capitalist perspective, it is complete nonsense to put them in the learning disability category. People who are dyslexic provide an incredible advantage to the startup team with the following traits:
(1) Ability to see patterns of any kind: Dyslexics see patterns in anything and everything before most people. If they have a market analyst background, they usually see market patterns and the various evolutions of the patterns weeks, months or even years ahead of time.
(2) Ability to think outside the circle. Dyslexics don’t bother trying to think outside the box because most innovators (with any type of thinking process) think outside the box. Dyslexics go way beyond the box. Their method of thinking changes the paradigm because they have a gift to see the world in a completely different way. They are able to generate disruptive ideas because random events, things, words and actions create the trigger effect in their mind to come up with a spectrum of ideas that are beyond the logical, and even creative, way of thinking.
(3) Extremely persistent and disciplined. Dyslexics are forced to become persistent and disciplined because the traditional learning process does not enable them to learn at their own pace.
(4) Extremely resilient. Dyslexics, on the average, have had to deal with the negative consequences of slow learning. The traditional learning environment made sure that their learning weaknesses were exposed and amplified. As a result of the negative feedback from the external environment, dyslexics have thick skin when it comes to negative emotions affecting the psychology of their entrepreneur mind.
Startup diversity only makes your startup stronger. When you incorporate various cultures, races and demographics on your startup team, and then build harmony between each member of the startup team, you’re providing a management platform to compete on a global level. The innovation game has become a global game. If you want to scale up globally, the natural thing you want to think about is building a team that consists of all types of psychological and physical demographics.
I was watching a show on HBO that inspired me to write this article—The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. I highly recommend watching it because you never know whether your children, family members or even current members on your management team have dyslexia. They discuss dyslexia and how dyslexics deal with the environment in much more detail. It is very inspirational.
The first thing I thought when I saw the show was this, in terms of being startup selfish, “Cool! Including dyslexic people on the founding or management team can provide a startup an incredible competitive advantage." Because dyslexics have the ability to jump through various disconnected trigger points, they have the gift of coming up with unusual ideas that can give a startup a huge competitive advantage.
Think about it. Wouldn’t be awesome if you had Richard Branson or Charles Schwab on your startup team? Both are dyslexic. Do I need to say anything more?
© 2016 entrepreneurdex
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Damir Perge, author of Entrepreneur Myths: The Startup Reality, is the founder of entrepreneurdex, a startup studio using complexity science to fund, launch, accelerate and scale startups and growing businesses.
An entrepreneur and investor, with more than 25 years experience, he's worked with ventures in the technology, internet, media and publishing, entertainment, energy, and manufacturing sectors raising more than $300 million in capital for various companies and investing more than $50 million into startup and emerging ventures. He's sat on the boards of 11 companies, served as editor-in-chief of Futuredex, a private equity magazine. Follow Damir on Google+