Venture capitalist Fred Wilson has written a piece in his blog entitled Greed isn’t Good, when you’d expect someone who regularly deals in millions and billions of dollars to say quite the opposite. I find that refreshing.
A Lesson in Leadership
For more than a decade, we have recruited for some of the hottest venture-capital-backed-startups out there. When VCs invest in a company, they look for startups capable of reaching a billion dollar valuation. So when the managing partner of Union Square Ventures stops to caution us against greed, it is worth paying attention.
Fred Wilson’s comments appear to be pointed at the financial services, technology, real estate, and crypto currency sectors. Bitcoin Cash is up 50% today. Mr. Wilson observed it was up 100% a couple of days ago, making it “a thing”.
But no matter what the context, the VC’s anti-greed commentary is designed to challenge the Gordon Gekko stereotype we hold in our minds from the movie Wall Street where actor Michael Douglas uttered the memorable phrase, “Greed is good.”
VC Fred Wilson posits that greed is not good for business, especially when there’s “a lot of money sloshing around”.
I would add that greed is one of the 7 deadly sins for a reason. Greed, which is also known as avarice, lays the groundwork for all sorts corporate malfeasance: Trickery. Maniupluation of authority. Cooking the books. Theft and robbery. Even violence.
While it makes for memorable scenes in movies, greed is capable of destroying companies and the people who work for them. It is also capable of destroying families. I witnessed the greed of a sibling destroy the family my parents built. It was utterly heartbreaking.
So how do you know when your desire for material possessions is tipping over into greed? Quite simply, it is when you want more than you really need. That is the definition of greed.
Advertising is a talent-driven business and demand for top advertising executives is on the rise — a trend that is being fueled by the resurgence of the advertising industry. Total spending by the 100 Leading National Advertisers has topped pre-recession levels — it reached a record $108.6 billion in 2013, passing the previous spending peak set in 2007. Spending for the U.S. advertising is on track to top the 2007 record in 2015. (more…)
The New York Times has an urgent need for top digital talent. According to a leaked internal report, it is “winning at journalism”, but losing readers at an alarming rate. The New York Times has seen readership “fall significantly” on its website and through its smart phone apps. Traditional media giants like The New York Times are losing market share — along with some of their best talent — to emergent digital competitors that are growing much faster. The leaked report recommends recruiting top digital talent in a sweeping digital talent initiative aimed at enabling the Times to survive.
Social Media Gurus Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake get Twtter hashtags better than most social media marketing professionals who get paid for their expertise. That is why The Good Search’s has included them among the Things We Love. They’re our favorite combination platter. When it comes to social media optimization, no one does it better. The Good Search is a retained search firm that specializes in social media. Doing what we do, we have the good fortune to rub elbows with and vulcan-mind-meld with the thought leaders of the digerati. But if anyone gets it, these two entertainers do.
At a Timberlake concert I attended at Madison Garden, the pop star had his fans send him tweets while waiting for the show to begin. Timberlake now has 30 million followers on Twitter — that’s million with a capital M. Not to be outdone, Fallon serves up weekly Late Night Hashtags. On Twitter, he weighs in with a respectable 11 million followers. But when the two get together is when the real tweet-magic begins. Check out the genius of their Hashtag video.
Of course, Justin not only gets social media, he starred in the motion picture. The Social Network written by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin tells the story of how Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created the social network that became known as Facebook. However, Timberlake puts his social media savvy to use in marketing campaign promoting his work, as this blog details as marketer Stephanie Frasco’s blog details. In fact, he’s invested in social media, putting up a major stake in the purchase of MySpace from News Corp.
Social media serves as regular fodder for Fallon’s comedy bits. Fallon unearthed rare footage of The Beatles after their Ed Sullivan Show performance proving the Fab Four were really, really ahead of their time.
Amber Whiteman blogging for the digital marketing group Metia Group this month highlighted 5 social media trends of which we should be aware. Hashtags, complete with Fallon’s and Timberlake’s hashtag video, made the top five.
Executive Search has undergone a revolution. The Good Search Highlights the latest executive search trends in our list of What’s In and What’s Out in for 2014. Executive search buyers are seeking stronger slates of candidates. Employers want smarter data-driven executive search. Companies don’t want to be nickel-and-dimed by search firms billing indirect expenses. Increasingly, employers are seeking flat fees instead of percentage search fees that have a build-in conflict of interest. Last, they want the candidate research as an audit trail. They want transparency and what to know what a search firm is doing.
Executive search trends on what’s in and what’s out in in 2014.
Since the market dip and round after round of layoffs, executive recruiters have served on the front lines of the jobless recovery. We’ve born witness to the devastation that downsizing brings. Due to Occupy Wall Street, we have become preoccupied. Recruiters have sensed the desperation in our dealings with candidates who have been unemployed far too long. While recruiters do not make jobs, we fill them. And so I wonder, with this Great Unfilling, is there a “there there”? Where is the collective response from the very professionals who specialize in jobs, jobs, jobs?
A group of Americans have gathered to occupy Wall Street, in large part due too massively high unemployment — particularly for young people. An article by Noreen Malone in New York Magazine entitled The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alrightdetails the stark statistics.
14 percent of college graduates from the classes of 2006 through 2010 can’t find full time work. Half of people ages 16 to 29 don’t have jobs — 55.3 percent. That’s the lowest level since World War II (1945). College students are graduating with bone-crushing debt, which for the class of 2009 averages $24,000. USA Today reports that at some point this year, student loan debt will exceed $1 trillion, surpassing even credit card debt. Total student loan debt is rising as other debts are tapering off. Delinquency has increased, too, since the height of the financial crisis.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has turned us into preoccupied recruiters. Many recruiters do what we can ad hoc to introduce people to the career-saving opportunities they need. But the work is solitary. It lacks scale. It helps but a handful. I would like to think that we, the recruiters who stand at the epicenter of the jobs crisis, would have something constructive to say and do, together, to fix what appears to be so very broken. I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
Sir Richard Branson has an intriguing idea on how to lower unemployment to a rate of 1.6% . Branson claim we can lower unemployment in three easy steps:
Talk to the 10-20% of the work force who want to work less.
Then give those hours to the unemployed to get them back to work.
Sir Branson made the suggestions on how to lower employment recently during an appearance on CNBC. He said, “If I was running America, I would make sure that the 10% of people are out of work were given jobs and the way I would do that was I would say to companies, ‘talk to your work force, find out how many of them are willing to work 50% of the year rather than 100% of the year. How many are willing to job share? How many more would be willing to go part time?’ And you will find that in every company there’s something like 10% to 20% of the work force who would actually like to work less hours. . . .” Branson believes as many as one out of every five workers would choose to work less if they did not fear losing their jobs.
Now, Sir Branson’s plan doesn’t create new jobs or new revenues to grow the economy. But it does hold the potential of making people happier and of preventing foreclosures and bankruptcy. Stressed out workers who want to work less than 40 hours a week would have the chance to dial it back a bit. In addition, unemployed people would then have the chance to get back to work, reducing the financial devastation that chronic unemployment brings. As Sir Branson noted, it is a simple solution and it is one that can be implemented very quickly. Sir Branson estimates it will reduce unemployment to 1.6% overnight. That rate would be lower than it has ever been in our lifetimes. So why not give it a shot?
Venture capital backed startups are creating a staggering amount of jobs, but interestingly they’re more focused on sales and marketing and less on technology these days. As NYC entrepreneur and investor Mark Birch pointed out in a recent blog post entitled “Don’t Look to Tech Startups to Fill the Jobs Gap“, fewer engineers are needed to build something really cool because our technology is oh-so- much smarter.
More intelligent computing lowers barrier to entry and increases the number of early stage companies battling it out for market share. Consequently, while it may seem counter-intuitive, tech startups generate non-tech job growth in sales and marketing roles. That, in turn, creates a need for more support and administrative staff. In other words, the smarter technology becomes, the fewer technologists we need for tech startups. But tech startups still need sales and marketing people to win.
Consequently, the soldiers startups need to win are not so much engineers, but rather sales and marketing people, executives who are commanding increasingly higher salaries due to increasing competition in the labor market and record-high valuations in venture capital funding. So, the irony is tech startups are not so much for tech jobs anymore . . .
If the unthinkable happens, if the “never has happened before” actually happens and the U.S. defaults on its debt, 640,000 jobs would vanish. That’s just one of the really bad things that centrist think tank The Third Way suggests will take place if our nation hits the legal limits of its debt.
Of course, defaulting on our nation’s debt would be a black swan event. Because the default would be a first, because it involves so many interlocking parts, and because the federal government touches so many of us economically in so many direct and indirect ways, the domino effect is extremely difficult to predict. And while we are stuck on the tracks and can see the train a-comin’ in August, it remains a strangely random event because it is so hard to predict what it is that Washington will do. It’s like trying to forecast the weather. Meteorologists frequently get it wrong because there is such a freakish amount of variables. They get it wrong even with the help of monster computers that do in hours what it would have taken a whole lifetime for a weatherman to calculate. Only, this isn’t a twister or a hurricane that, though devastating, is over in a few hours or days. This wouldn’t be over for a very long time.
So, as someone who advocates for career optimization, as someone who advocates for bringing great talent together with great companies, I am keenly aware the tearing apart that would occur would be tragic.
Just as employers are finding it increasingly difficult to fill job openings, their own employees are thinking of leaving in droves. The results of a March 2011 Deloitte survey of 356 employees at large global companies indicates two out of every three employees are considering exiting, stage right. Among employees surveyed in March 2011, only 35% expect to remain with their current employers. What makes this alarming is the timing: the mass exodus could come as employers are finding it harder to fill openings they already have.
Deloitte’s survey ﬁndings also suggest that companies may be at a greater risk of losing women than men. Women appeared more likely than men to be actively looking for new employment in the next 12 months (55% of women vs. 41% of men). Men, on the other hand, were more likely to be passively looking (24% of men vs. 12% of women). Women’s dissatisfaction is more related to feeling overworked. That isn’t so surprising as layoffs increased the work loads of colleague left behind and women dominated the survivors. This economic downturn is what put women in the workforce majority for the first time in recorded history.
The Conference Board reported this month that labor demand has increased to the pre-recession monthly high of 4.5 million advertised vacancies. It is a trend that is being felt most acutely in mission-critical and highly technical positions and well as at the senior executive levels. That’s due in part to hiring managers taking longer to make up their minds. On average, hiring managers invited a half dozen candidates for second round interviews last year, twice as many as before the downturn. In other words, while one might think with all the available talent that time to fill would go down when the exact opposite is true. In fact, now it appears we have the makings of a perfect storm – a pre-downturn number of openings, time-to-hiring that’s quadrupled, and pent up desire to make a move in two out of every three workers. It promises to be a long, hot summer . . .