Software & technology
The crowdsourcing site Kickstarter just turned three years old, and the New York Times has a niceprofile that explores how the company has evolved and how its changed the way entrepreneurs, artists, and anyone else with an idea can raise capital online.
Much as the introduction of cheap Web services lowered the barrier to entry for people seeking to create a start-up, and as offshore manufacturing gave entrepreneurs a chance to make products without having to build a factory, Kickstarter offers budding entrepreneurs a way to float ideas and see if there’s a market for them before they trade ownership of their company for money from venture capitalists.
Tapping into the wisdom of the crowd is nothing new. And now that Kickstarter has beaten the path, there are a few similar, and niche-focused, alternatives to Kickstarter. One interesting development to consider, though, when thinking about the online fundraising space, is the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, also known as the JOBS Act. As Talking Points Memoreports:
Kickstarter and other crowdfunding websites are also facing something of a watershed moment in the wake of passage of new bipartisan legislation, the JOBS Act, that would specifically allow for private startup companies to solicit investors with stock options offered online, something previously not allowed under Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.
When you’re a corporate business, and you take the big decision to move part of your recruiting, talent attraction and sourcing efforts to social. Most of my work involves working with businesses at this stage. Over the last year I’ve worked with Hard Rock Café, Oracle EMEA and APAC, and most recently the BBC.
Integrating social takes 4 key stages to make things effective, and I’ve picked up a few learning points at each that I want to share with you. The 4 stages are:
- Social places
For the next 4 weeks I’m going to be covering the key considerations in each of these stages, concluding with a webinar (date to be announced), where I will be using case studies from companies who are at different stages of the journey. In this post I will be covering stage 1: Technology.
In last week’s blog, I wrote about Pitney Bowes and internal social networks being a great catalyst for creating greater engagement and communication within the company.
That leads to better teamwork, and retention, since the employer is building stronger relationships. Being the CEO of an HR technology company that builds internal networks for the purpose of engaging employees to recruit via referrals, and the author of Social HR, I have seen great case studies on how companies build winning strategies for internal networks.
It’s best to pilot an internal social network with a sample group of employees to see if it’s a good fit for your culture, like Pitney Bowes did with IdeaNet, before rolling it out to the entire organization. However, you should use a combination of computer savvy and non-computer savvy employees as a test group to attain an informed dataset that measures both ends of the spectrum.
If you get good participation rates and quality ideas coming out of the network, then gradually expand it to more employees. It’s also important to get support from the executive level and, for most large organizations, set an agenda for the network.
On April 17, I attended a presentation, “How to Build a Real Social Recruiting Process,” by Ed Newman, Chief Analyst of Inside TMT. He spoke to an audience of professionals involved in corporate leadership recruitment. This meeting was sponsored by the Recruiting Affinity Group of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). I was familiar with social media, but curious what “real social recruiting” was. Here are the highlights of what I learned.
There is a talent war going on, as corporations compete against one another for talent, particularly for managers and leaders. While there has been a plethora of new social media products and services to aid corporate recruiters, the value proposition, “quality of hire,” hasnot been achieved consistently. Why? HR and corporate recruiters have been using social media to identify and contact potential employees but not to initiate and sustain relationships.
Mr. Freeman asserted that HR and corporate recruiters need to adopt “real social recruiting,” defined as long-term scouting for potential future hires, initiated and sustained by social media and complemented by periodic face-to-face contacts, driven by third-party referrals. This allows recruiters to build a long-term relationship with potential hires, evaluating them and confirming the validity of referral recommendations. This is a networking model supported by relationship management with the goal of achieving “quality of hire,” selecting the rightcandidate for the right position in the right company. What do all of these “rights” mean?
First, a potential new hire must fit very well the company’s mission and organizational culture. Second, the potential new hire’s skills, knowledge and goals must match very well the position into which she is being placed. Third, the quality of the match will reduce the likelihood of a quick turnover, that is, the new hire will stay with the firm long enough for the firm to recoup it’s initial investment in hiring and training the new hire. Unfortunately, traditional HR recruitment efforts only yield a 50% success rate at this matching process. This is very costly for US firms.
The recruiting ecosystem is changing, led by professional social networks like LinkedIn and Viadeo and companies like Jobvite and BranchOut, which are building Facebook apps for hiring and career development. This report examines that new ecosystem and how the above and more companies are changing the way businesses find and retain their employees.
Congratulations, you’ve done it! You started with an idea, launched a company, and now your product or service is selling well. It’s time to grow. But as you know, growing a business isn’t simple.
“The media plays up the overnight successes like Instagram,” says Jay Turo, co-founder and CEO of Growthink, “but for the vast majority of entrepreneurs, it is a long, slow, and gradually upward growth process.”
From an HR perspective, in particular, there’s a lot of work to be done, and it’s up to you. I recently connected with Turo and Dan Roitman, Founder and CEO of Stroll–two entrepreneurs who have successfully grown their businesses from scratch–and posed the question: What does it take to grow a company from startup to small business?
Here are five must-haves they identified to take your business to the next level.
1. A Culture that Supports Your Purpose
You need to decide what kind of culture you want your company to have. That depends, somewhat, on what you want your company to look like down the road. Start with the end in mind. For many entrepreneurs on the cusp of growth, it’s still go-go-go (and likely will be for a while). But stop working for a second and reflect on what aspirations you have for your company. According to Roitman, “Your long-term game plan should be supported by a culture that will take you there.”
For Stroll, the goal was to be a high-growth company. “We defined what values people need to embrace to make sure our employees are accelerating the business.”
Since the mid 1990s, Melbourne has experienced significant population and employment growth, and there has been substantial investment in the city’s industries and property market.
So where does that leave start-ups?
There’s no shortage of notable Melbourne start-ups, including daily deals site Catch of the Day and its group buying subsidiary Scoopon, which last year landed an $80 million investment.
Founded by Melbourne brothers Gabby and Hezi Leibovich, Catch of the Day was launched in 2006, while Scoopon launched in 2010.
“The Melbourne start-up scene has improved immensely in the past 18 months, particularly for tech start-ups,” says Andrew Birt, co-founder of Melbourne-based start-up incubator AngelCube.
“A lot of this maturity in Melbourne’s eco-system wouldn’t be possible without people like Guy King and Bevan Clark [RetailMeNot], Lorenzo Grollo [Grollo Foundation], Mark Harbottle [99designs], Tony Glenning [Starfish Ventures], Simon Baker [Future Capital], Adrian Stone [AngelCube], as well as others.”
“The more successful entrepreneurs who decide to reinvest, mentor and teach the next generation, the stronger chances Melbourne start-ups have in making it on the world stage.”
Birt says Melbourne’s start-up scene also benefits from the work being done at accelerators such as AngelCube.
“Accelerators shine a spotlight on what’s happening in a local start-up community and bring together a diverse group of mentors… We could do with another in Melbourne,” Birt says.
Amir Nisssen, founder of Student Entrepreneurs at Melbourne University, agrees the start-up scene in Melbourne has been “coming of age” in the last 12 to 18 months.
US cloud-based talent management software firm Cornerstone OnDemand has released its Recruiting Cloud product.
I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to recruit friends of mine to come work with me at my super early startup. In doing so I’ve had to educate a lot of my friends on what it’s like to be at a startup, and why you might want to join one. This blog post is a summary of all that advice. Oddly enough, I wrote a similar blog post my senior year of college while interning at Redfin. And since college I joined Cloudera before they were funded and left when the company closed its Series C, or third round of funding. The advice below mostly comes from my experiences at Redfin and Cloudera.
1) Responsibility, accountability, impact: at a startup it’s unavoidable to have lots of responsibility and accountability. There’s no doubt, too, that being at a startup will put you in a position to make a huge impact. If you do amazing work the entire company and all of its customers will benefit from it. And you’ll be loved for it. You’ll get notes from the CEO and other leaders complimenting you on how awesome your work is. On the flip side, if you make a big mistake, the whole company pays for it. But keep in mind that most startup cultures prefer agility and speed to cautiousness. It’s likely that your mistake won’t actually get you in trouble, as long as you were trying to do the right thing.
2) Risk: working at a startup is riskier. The startup likely isn’t profitable, and probably only has at most 12-18 months worth of money in the bank (this is called the startup’s runway). If the company does very well, the CEO will raise more money and extend the runway. You’ll still have a job and each round you’ll get a salary closer and closer to market rate (more about this later). If the startup doesn’t do well, you’ll be out of a job when the startup runs out of money. But you’ll be forewarned if the CEO is transparent — most of them are in earlier stages. A startup is risky because you’re building something from nothing. You’re doing something ridiculously hard because you believe in it and want nothing more than to see it succeed. You’re not failing even when all the odds are against you. You’re the underdog in many ways.
And by the way, if you’re a good engineer you’ll have zero issue finding another job. Zero. Every company in software, big and small, needs more good people. This trend won’t change for a long, long time, either.
Thomas Edison once said that “genius” is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. In the world of technology startups, that 99% involves a heck of a lot of coding and wireframing. If you’ve got an idea for a startup, that’s great — but odds are that an idea is all you have. (Well, maybe you have passion and some savings, too.) But you’ll need more than that to bring your idea to life — you’ll need a developer who can transform your vision into an elegant app or website.
If you’re just foraying into the land of entrepreneurship, you may wonder where the to even start looking for such a person. And even if you do find a developer, how will you know the extent of his talent and whether he’s a good fit for you?