How to hire your employer

18. October 2016

Published on October 12, 2016

Featured in: Big Ideas & Innovation, Careers: The Next Level, Editor’s Picks, Entrepreneurship, LinkedIn

, Professor at Harvard Business School

My new book, Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, debuted this past week, but it’s work that’s been nearly two decades in the making. For years my research has focused on understanding why good companies so often fail, a quest that led me to write The Innovator’s Dilemma years ago. But as I tried to answer that question, a new and pressing one emerged: how can companies know how to grow? The answer, I believe, lies in getting at the causal mechanism of customer choice – knowing why consumers make the choices they do to pick one product or service over another. To understand this, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a critical question to ask: “What job did you hire that product to do?”

For me, this is a neat idea. When we buy a product, we are essentially ‘hiring’ it to get a job done. If it does the job well, when we are confronted with the same job, we hire that same product again. And if the product does a crummy job, we ‘fire’ it and look around for something else we might hire to solve the problem. Every day stuff happens to all of us. Jobs arise in our lives that we need to get done. When we realize we have a job to do, we reach out and pull something into our lives to get the job done. When we ‘hire’ something to get a job done, we’re striving to make progress where we’ve been struggling. Jobs are not just functional – getting something done. They have critical social and emotional dimensions, too. Framing the question in this way has been a key to growth for companies as diverse as Intuit’s TurboTax, Khan Academy, and BuzzFeed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Microsoft Bought LinkedIn

15. June 2016

Date: 14-06-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Microsoft and LinkedIn are a natural fit, and the deal may fare better than Microsoft’s past acquisitions

NadellaMicrosoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella has said that LinkedIn will be allowed significant autonomy after the acquisition.

Microsoft Corp.’s planned acquisition of LinkedIn Corp. potentially is a very savvy move, though you would be hard-pressed to discern that.

There are lots of reasons for skepticism. The price tag, for one. At $26.2 billion, it is by far Microsoft’s largest acquisition ever. The size alone is a reason for caution, given the sorry history of such large deals.

Then, there is Microsoft’s own checkered history with acquisitions. It has recorded write-downs exceeding the $9.4 billion it paid for the handset unit of Nokia Corp. in 2014. Earlier deals for Skype Technologies and Yammer Inc., designed to bolster Microsoft’s digital and social credentials, did little of either.

But this deal can succeed where the others failed.

Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »


Job Hunting in the Network Age

20. July 2014

Date: 20-07-2014
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Hoffman CCThe LinkedIn founder says you are no longer in charge of your résumé in an interconnected online world, but neither is your boss.

For a stretch of asphalt that has seen trillions of dollars of wealth creation, Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Calif., the Main Street of venture capital, is rather unassuming. A few bikers heading for the fog-covered hills, a Tesla passing a Prius, low-slung office buildings. One building houses Greylock Partners, where I sit in a conference room with entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, who has been in the middle of this wealth creation and now sees some of its destruction coming soon. “If companies haven’t embraced that they are operating in a networked age,” he says, “then they will probably be on their way to not surviving.”

The 47-year-old knows networks. Mr. Hoffman built his reputation by founding the business social-networking platform LinkedIn and serving as chief operating officer of the e-commerce site PayPal, both billion-dollar powerhouses. He was an early investor in YouTube, Yelp, Flickr, Zynga and, oh yes, Facebook.

He has a theory on what makes ventures work: understanding that information is no longer isolated but instantly connected to everything else. Call it the move from the information age to the network age. Mr. Hoffman thinks that the transformation is just getting started and will take out anyone who stands in the way. Read the rest of this entry »


Executive heads hunted by new tribes

5. March 2013

Date: 05-03-2013
Source: The Financial Times

The obvious threats are the crowd and the cloud

In Jo Nesbo’s thriller Headhunters, “king of the heap” search consultant Roger Brown has to fund his extravagant lifestyle by stealing art from the walls of candidates’ homes while his colleagues are interviewing them.

Real-life headhunters are also diversifying. Heidrick & Struggles, seeking to offset falling revenue and volumes in its search business, recently bought Senn Delaney, a “culture-shaping” consultancy. Heidrick’s US rival Spencer Stuart offers “board counsel” and executive assessment alongside search. Egon Zehnder, which in the 1960s pioneered the business in Europe, also sells advice to family businesses and newly hired CEOs. I also detect a surge in self-justifying comments from search consultants, the sort that begin: “There will always be a role for face-to-face advice?.?.?.”

Sound the disintermediation klaxon! Technological tools, new rivals and structural change have swallowed travel agents, insurance brokers and brick-and-mortar retailers. Executive search is next. Read the rest of this entry »


How the Web Has Changed Job Searching

19. August 2009

As social networking sites explode in popularity, they have become the prime avenue for many job hunters

By Jordan Golson

The Internet has changed a lot of things over the past decade or two—including how we search for jobs. Sure, the basics are the same: Find an opening and apply for it. But the Web has permanently altered the employment process. And with more than 1.2 million info tech jobs lost this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a lot of people are going to be using every tool they can get to find their next job.

While networking is (and has traditionally been) the best way to find a new job, the second-most effective tool is another type of networking: sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, according to a poll released Aug. 17 by placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Old-school employment search tricks like attending job fairs and reading newspaper classifieds got the lowest ratings. Here’s how the Web is changing how we look for jobs. Read the rest of this entry »