Wanna Get Hired? Be an Entrepreneur!

Time was that if you had a great work record, were talented, highly regarded and accomplished, you'd get a job for big bucks.

Sorry, not any longer.

Now, at least in the tech space, if you want to get hired for big money, you need to have started up your own firm - and have it bought by one of the Big Boys.

Only what they're buying isn't what they used to buy.  Now they're buying you.

Because in the "time was" category - like a very few years ago - whether it was the companies or the VCs, they were looking for products.  New technologies.  New capabilities.

They're still looking for that - but they've gone to the core and are now looking at where those technologies come from.  And that's talented engineers.

To get that talent, they go direct.  They buy the company - then they dump the product.

There's even a hiring strategy named for it. It's called "acqhiring."

This raises some interesting questions for you - whether you're an entrepreneur or inside an organization and looking for talent.

For the entrepreneurs, the biggest difficulty will be seeing your product jettisoned.  Sure, you have lots of money - and stock options and the potential for more - but the question of how much you believe in your product really comes into play.

If you believe that strongly in your product and its potential, I suggest that you get yourself some seriously great legal support and have, as part of your employment agreement that if the company drops your technology within a specified timeframe, that that intellectual property reverts back to you.

That way, the Big Boy gets you for as long as you want or need to stay - but you still have the option of doing something with the baby you created.

For executives, you've got problems unless you've got seriously big bucks on hand that your company is willing to spend on acquisitions for products they don't want.  Just the people involved.

If you're a Facebook or a Google, it won't be a problem.  It's the way it's being played in the Valley.

If you're anything else, this won't sit comfortably, won't fit with your culture and has far more risks involved than in the technology space.

But it's definitely something to consider.

Because, no matter the industry or size of your organization, innovation is key - and innovation comes from people.  But it also comes from the systems inside your organization that lend themselves to people making those contributions - and someone being willing to listen.

Many of the engineers who were part of the acqhirings are not staying with the Big Boy buyer.  They're not happy there.  So they leave.

Probably to create new start-ups.

Who's leaving your organization?  Moreover, as the global economy improves, who are you worried might leave?

It's time to start looking at how you're using the skills you have - as well as buying what you need - to keep yourself ahead of the competitive curve.

Who Should You Avoid?

There's an absolutely wonderful article on the CNBC NetNet site about the "25 Guys You Want to Avoid on Wall Street."

When I first took a look at the title, I thought it would name names.  It does even better.  It describes the exact behaviors to look for - and why you need to run like the wind in the other direction whenever you come across one of these types.

This is definitely worth the read.

Even better, start figuring out your own list - then post it here.  That way we can all live by the Boy Scouts' motto and 'Be Prepared.'

Somehow, I have the feeling that, as a group, we'll come up with WAY more than 25!


25 Guys to Avoid on Wall Street (CNBC NetNet)

Entrepreneur or Executive: The Importance of Being Both

Entrepreneur or Executive? The Importance of Being Both. from Leslie Kossoff on Vimeo.

This is the first of the videos I'll be putting up on this blog - and it takes on an issue that I think is most important for all executives and entrepreneurs today:  If you're going to succeed, you have to be both.  Simultaneously.
Here are the key points:

  1. To build a new idea from inception - whether in a start-up or legacy enterprise - you need to have an entrepreneurial spirit and the courage to pursue your vision.
  2. To build that vision, you need an executive's view and talents to create an organization which is designed to achieve your goals.
  3. To create long-term success, you have to be both:  An executive with the vision and talent to design a beautifully strategized enterprise that operates in your image with an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and culture.
Case Studies:  Facebook (Zuckerberg); Apple (Jobs)


Executive Thinking: The Dream, the Vision, the Mission Achieved (Kossoff)

Staying on Message

Executives who have to face the fire on programs such as CNBC's "Squawk Box" are well trained to stay on message.  That's why they're always worth watching.

Think of it like a free post-doc in how to get your point across in difficult circumstances...no matter what anyone throws at you.

So, whether it's in preparation for your first media appearance or you're going in front of your friendly local VC, C-level executive or Board members - you want to know what your message is and then keep to it.  Through thick and thin.

An excellent example was when Cisco's CEO, John Chambers faced the CNBC fire to give a very different perspective than the one the analysts had chosen to adopt.  Even though, as he was speaking, his company's share value had taken a 12% drop in morning trade.

His key message throughout:  We control our own destiny.

By stating and re-stating that - supported by all sorts of data for all the different markets in which Cisco plays - his purpose was to allay fears that market forces would drive the company's valuation and performance down further.  And then further.

I don't know if it will work over the long term.  After all, it has most recently resulted in the shut-down of the Flip video camera and laying off of 550 people.  But it is a great example of the messaging art.

The resource below will get you to the All Things Digital page with the video.


John Chambers Plays Defense as Cisco's Shares Tumble (ATD)