Sarah Dean at Design Taxi posted an interesting piece today about whether you should employ your friends. While the situation isn't exactly the same, having just come off a three day intensive working session in the Oakland hills with my former boss at W+K Shanghai, I can wholeheartedly say yes - hire your friends.
The general rules (be transparent, be professional, define roles etc) need to be put in place, but once those rules are understood, by all means, go forth! Working at W+K was a life-changing experience for me, and during my time there (and since I left), I have met a countless number of incredible, intelligent, challenging, amazing people. As the years go by, more and more that family network becomes stronger and more important, and I see my social feeds full of people collaborating together in new and exciting ways.
For a couple of years, I went by the rule of "we don't have to be friends, we just have to work together", and it's still true - we don't have to be best friends. Coming off this last week though, I'm starting to wonder. The level of comfort and honesty you're able to have with people who ARE your friends - that's when the best work happens. You're not afraid to take risks, you know and love the people around you, the ideas that come forth with your collective minds can only be better than the work of strangers sharing mutual respect. Yes? No? I'll need to think more on this.