Some good discussion in this thread at Hacker News about how to evaluate people with a business skillset if you've got technical skills already.
I reckon "a knack for getting money" is probably the most key thing to look for in a businessperson. Some people have a knack for getting money.
All the business skills in the world without the knack for getting money doesn't fly. Well, maybe for employee #7,632 once a company's made it. But not for starting something up. You need to hustle and get money of some form real fast early on. A business guy who can't get money is probably worse than useless - if he wasn't on board, you'd be worried about solving the money problem yourself. But since he's supposedly the business guy and seems to be doing business guy stuff, you think things are cool. But things aren't cool. Go long enough without money, you die.
So, where do you get a knack for getting money? We're not born with it. It's acquired through action somehow. What's it take?
I love Lewis Quartey's Bucket List - it's a set of goals he's got. It's massively inspiring. Here's his list of things he wants to do:
Give A TED Talk
Make £1000 a day for a week
At one point in my life, have a six pack
Live in another country for a year
Do a cart wheel, hand stand, front flip or back flip with no assistance
Write a book and have it published
Complete a 26 (or more :-s) mile marathon running/jogging the whole thing
Bench press 200kg
Complete a comedy stand up routine in front of a crowd of more then 10 people (who I don’t know)
Own a restaurant or hotel
Own a car worth more then £50,000 (Ideally a used Audi R8 a few years down the line)
Be featured in a movie or TV show, or record my own film
Learn to ride a 250cc or more motorbike
Now, when I see a list like this, the gears start turning and whirring in my head. This is the sort of thing I love, figuring out how to systematically do and achieve things. I mean, that's basically what a strategist is, y'know?
I start thinking, hmm, what's required to do these things? What could Lewis check off first? I wonder if there's any ways I could assist at all, hmm. I like assisting virtuous and enterprising people. It's what I do instead of play video games, and Lewis seems like a strong and enterprising dude.
So I think, hmm, what's required for each one of these goals? All of them might require a bit of skill, but additionally there's primary things that are needed - connections, resources, or consistent application of time. Let's categorize a little -