After studying teams on our platform, we realized there was a common pattern amongst the ones that built breakthrough products.
Those teams had a CxO-style leader who served as the mastermind, setting the product vision and brought the team together to get the job done.
Today, we're launching a new CxO Network to bring your product vision to life.
What makes for a great team?
At A.Team, this is a question we’re obsessed with. Our platform brings together over 7,000 of the world’s top independent product builders as teams custom-designed to tackle the mission at hand and build breakthrough products—think of it like Ocean’s 11, but for product initiatives instead of a heist. We constantly study those teams: What makes them gel? Achieve 10x results? What do the ones that build truly transformative products for our customers have in common?
As it turns out, every great team needs a George Clooney.
As we’ve studied the hundreds of teams of highly-skilled product builders that have formed on our platform, we discovered a pattern: The most successful teams—the ones that built breakthrough products, like McGraw Hill’s hit ‘Tiktok for Studying’ app Sharpen or Blank Street’s beloved order-ahead coffee app—were captained by an accomplished product leader from our network who served as the mastermind, setting the product vision and brought the team together to get the job done.
This shouldn’t be surprising: As humans, we crave a clear vision for our work. Research has shown that a shared, superordinate goal helps us trust each other’s intentions and take the risks we need to make progress—which is key to innovation and building breakthrough products. We also crave a clear story about what we’re building—and a leader who will help craft that story. Neuroscience research by Dr. Paul Zak has even found that stories are what compel us to care about a cause and inspire us to take action—increasing oxytocin and dopamine production in the brain. This is in part why mission-driven teams are often more productive, profitable, and happier in their work.
Over the past two years, we identified a few key scenarios in which it made the most sense to bring in a George Clooney-style ‘Mastermind’ to establish the vision and bring the perfect Ocean’s 11-style team together.
Startups: A “builder” to form the founding product team from scratch
Take Blank Street Coffee for example: Founders Vinay Menda and Issam Freiha had a vision for a tech-enabled coffee shop, but they needed help refining it and making it a reality. We brought in a product leader, Martin Strutz (founder of and.co, later acquired by Fiverr), to craft the product vision for their delivery app. Strutz then built out a full team to bring that vision to life — powering Blank Street raising $67M in funding and expanding to 60 locations from NYC to London.
Growth-stage companies: A “scaler” to grow from one product to multi-product
Many tech companies want to go from single product to multi-product to accelerate growth, but they don’t have the bandwidth and right talent internally to pull it off. Take Apprentice: As the push to distribute COVID-19 vaccines ramped up in early 2021, Apprentice discovered it would need to build new versions of its product in just 45 days if it wanted to power the distribution of 400M vaccines. With our model, they were able to pull it off.
Enterprise: A “transformer” to disrupt and innovate
Too many digital transformation initiatives end with a multi-million-dollar consulting deck that never gets acted on. That’s why a new class of innovation leaders are choosing a different path. Take McGraw Hill: they came to us with a mission to take studying into the social media era. We brought in Jared Cocken, a renowned product designer, to help build the initial prototype for its “TikTok for studying” app, Sharpen, before building out an A.Team of 27 to help build and launch the full product this past month, helping transform how thousands of students study.
With these learnings in place, we decided to productize this model for success and launch a new offering at A.Team: the CxO Network.
Fractional CxOs—CMOs, CPOs, CTOs, etc. who advise and lead part-time—have exploded in popularity in the remote work age, as startups and enterprises alike look to infuse their growth initiatives with executive-level expertise. Too often, though, the strategy they recommend never gets acted on. Our CxO network is different: They’re able to be your own, personal George Clooney, not only setting the strategic vision, but deploying an expert team in under ten days to bring that vision to life. They don’t just advise; they help you execute.
We’re starting with an exclusive group of world-class leaders that were drawn to A.Team’s vision for reshaping the future of work, featuring industry luminaries such as former Walmart Chief Product Officer Meng Chee and former US Air Force CTO Jen Snow, as well as renowned product leaders like Jared Cocken and Martin Strutz.
We’ve already seen how powerful this model can be, and we’re excited for how it will unlock new kinds of teams, new kinds of products, and new kinds of careers—as CxO-level leaders are not only empowered to strategize, but to build.
If you’re interested in learning more, head here. In the words of Danny Ocean, it’s time to play the game like you’ve got nothing to lose. With the right team in place, you’ll have a great chance to win.