The three Hs: The hacker, the hipster and the hustler

The Hacker, the Hipster and the Hustler

When it comes to startups (or internal innovation projects at larger companies as well), there’s a famous adage that to succeed, you need the three Hs: the Hacker, the Hipster, and the Hustler.

This trio forms the foundation of many successful ventures, each bringing a unique set of skills and perspectives that drive innovation and growth.

Let’s see how these key players contribute to a startup’s success.

The Hacker: The technical maestro

The Hacker is the technical genius of the team.

This individual is responsible for the development and maintenance of the product. Their skills in coding, system architecture, and problem-solving are crucial for transforming ideas into functional, scalable solutions.

This is the role that is the furthest from my strengths, even if I do have a lot of technical knowledge and also experience in leading developers, it’s not the same thing as actually being the “hacker”. But I do know some people that fit the description.

Here’s why the Hacker is indispensable:

  • Innovation and development: The Hacker creates the core product, ensuring it is technically sound and user-friendly. Their expertise in the latest technologies allows the startup to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Problem solving: Startups often face technical challenges that require quick and efficient solutions. The Hacker’s problem-solving abilities ensure that these hurdles are overcome without derailing the project.
  • Scalability: As the startup grows, the product must be able to handle increased demand. The Hacker designs the system architecture to be scalable, ensuring long-term viability.

In essence, the Hacker is the backbone of the startup’s product development, transforming visionary ideas into tangible products.

The Hipster: The creative visionary

The Hipster is the creative force in the trio, responsible for design, user experience, and branding. This role is essential for making the product appealing and ensuring it resonates with the target audience.

This description is closest to what I can contribute with to a startup. Even if I don’t exactly identify with the term hipster.

The Hipster brings the following to the table:

  • Design and user experience: The Hipster crafts a compelling user experience, ensuring the product is not only functional but also enjoyable to use. Using UX/UI and product design. Good design can be a significant differentiator in a crowded market.
  • Brand identity: A strong brand identity helps a startup stand out. The Hipster works on creating a cohesive and attractive brand image that communicates the startup’s values and vision effectively.
  • Market insight: Understanding the target audience is crucial. The Hipster’s insights into consumer behavior and trends ensure the product aligns with market needs and preferences.

The Hipster’s role is vital for creating a product that not only works well but also captures the imagination and loyalty of users.

Also read Innovation Designer: What is it?

The Hustler: The business driver

The Hustler is the business-savvy member of the team, responsible for sales, marketing, and overall business strategy. Their goal is to turn the startup into a thriving business.

This is an area I have been working with a lot but might not be my main strength. It’s also from my experience quite hard to find people who are actually good at this in a startup context. They are usually the CEO of the company or the main product owner at an internal startup at a larger company.

Here’s why the Hustler is essential:

  • Sales and marketing: The Hustler drives customer acquisition and revenue growth. Their strategies for sales and marketing ensure that the product reaches the right audience and achieves commercial success.
  • Fundraising: Securing funding is often a critical step for startups. The Hustler’s networking skills and business acumen are key to convincing investors to back the venture.
  • Business strategy: The Hustler develops and implements the business plan, setting goals and ensuring the startup remains on track to achieve them.

The Hustler’s ability to navigate the business landscape and drive growth is crucial for transforming a startup from an idea into a profitable enterprise.

Why investors look for the three Hs

Investors are always on the lookout for startups that have the potential to succeed. The presence of the three Hs in a startup team signals to investors that the team has a balanced skill set necessary for success.

Here’s why investors value the three Hs:

  1. Balanced skill set: A team with a Hacker, Hipster, and Hustler covers all critical areas of a startup—technology, design, and business. This balance reduces the risk of failure due to skill gaps and gives investors confidence that their investment will be managed wisely and has a higher chance of yielding returns.
  2. Execution capability: The three Hs demonstrate that the team can execute their vision. The Hacker builds the product, the Hipster ensures it appeals to users, and the Hustler drives growth and revenue.
  3. Innovation and adaptability: Startups need to innovate and adapt quickly. The combined skills of the three Hs enable the team to innovate continuously and adapt to market changes effectively.

The trio of the Hacker, Hipster, and Hustler forms the ideal team for a startup, combining technical prowess, creative vision, and business acumen.

Each role is critical for different aspects of the startup’s journey, from product development to market success.

And you shouldn’t think of the three Hs just when it comes to convincing investors but as much for actually succeeding with your startup or product. If you don’t have a full team of the three Hs go out and get them now.

Also read The perfect startup doesn’t exist