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The Smart Creative

March 3rd, 2022

Based on a study of 101 post-mortems, 23% of them concluded that the primary reason behind their startup’s demise did not have the right team.

That was the third-highest behind, no market need and ran out of money.

So, what do we look for at Steadfast Collective?

We look for Smart Creatives.

Here’s how Google defines a Smart Creative:

A person that doesn’t chase compensation; they pursue the ability to cause change and disrupt industries.

When you dig a little into their book, How Google Works, they expand on this.

  • A smart creative has technical knowledge of their trade, hands-on experience, an expert in their field.

  • They’re analytically smart.

  • They’re always referring to data to drive home a point.

  • Quick to iterate on their ideas and flex to the data’s results.

  • They create technical solutions to business problems. They understand the user and what the user wants. They don’t design and build for their ego; they look at the business case and user feedback.

  • They’re a firehose of new ideas which are actually good.

  • Often hard to manage.

  • They’re the person in the meeting who are often frustrated because they’ve already come up with a solution before the agenda is read out.

  • Self-directed, they don’t like to be micro-managed although happy to collaborate and can articulate ideas to team members.


When thinking through the ideology around Smart Creatives here was how I summarised the traits:

  • Technically

  • Driven

  • Business

A smart creative is someone who is technically able to do their work, Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth, would use the phrasing Technician.

As part of this technical mindset, they care about the data surrounding their tasks and role. They’re not going to jump into a task without first analysing the facts.

A Smart Creative isn’t only technically gifted; they’re driven, self-motivated, hands-on and able to articulate.

One of the key differences between a person who is solely technically gifted and a Smart Creative is that a Smart Creative is able to articulate their ideas and processes to other team members, often making them excellent at delegation and leading teams.

Finally, a Smart Creative has a hybrid mindset; Creative and Business. Everything they work on has to help the business, and they’ll be creative in achieving those tasks.

This means the Smart Creative is often results-focused, full of ideas and interested in success outside of their silo.