Episode:
3

What I've learned about talent exiting 2 statrups over 3 decades - Rooly Eliezerov

Show Notes

I think another point we wanted to touch on is talent. And this is this is, I feel like always a hot topic, but just, these last couple of months here in Israel, it's been crazy. founders, complaining about lack of enough talent in the crazy competition that pushes salaries a higher, all the time, every day.

What are your thoughts on this? Having gone through, recruiting so many people what do you think specifically would help founders to maybe stand out or be almost like a go-to market for getting talent in an efficient way

so first I think that, we hear a lot to this kind of statements in "the market is crazy". The market, the only crazy part of the market is maybe in evaluations of the company, but once the money is there, I think that the fact that the salaries are going so high and the expectation of the employees they're justified.

I think it's not crazy. I think that the people that make the company worth that much are these people and therefore they should be compensated in the same in the same way. So I, first of all, it's a kind of an understanding that we need to get and not feel that They're crazy. And, related to that just reminds me, when I hear sometimes from people, either entrepreneurs or executives, that they feel that it's a headache for them to maintain their required expectations or requirements of their talent.

He's like I'm quoting, "he's a great talent, but his high main maintenance. On the expectations." I'm not talking with general, high maintenance people and that too, executives and entrepreneurs need to understand that this is a big part of their work. Again, these are the people that are making your company and you don't need to see it as a friction point to deal with this employee that wants more equity.

You need to understand that, maybe they deserve it. You need to give it the time and to understand that it's your job to make them happy. So that's one thing that we need to I think to align with in terms of hiring in general. So I think it's not again, so big news to say that I think networking is the best way to hire because you know , it's not only just getting the better, the best people, but it's also knowing in a deeper way who you're going to work with and less surprises because a big cost that relates to hiring is when the hiring fails and you lose time, which is the most precious asset. And of course so network but it's obvious.

I think that once you do a interview, someone that you don't really know, my tip is not to spend too much time about their past. But to talk about the current work about the current challenge is something that happens, happened to me in the past. And since I took this approach, it happens much less.

The person, what goes through interviews really well, and they begin to work. And after, half a day, it's not, it wasn't the right hire or you do know but that amazing hire. But what I'm saying is that after you work with them, even just a few hours, You have the answer and I took it into the interview phase and therefore, instead of talking with them about what they did, I'm talking about, we're talking about what they will do, and we're just beginning a working session.

I present a challenge and it's not that I'm interviewing them, we're working on it, the challenge. So how will, you know if it's, I dunno a team leader or something, how would you deal with this architecture who should you hire and then you, it's much more comfortable later on. It's more expected how they will also work with you. So that's something that I wanted to put in.

I think that for people that go, maybe not to talk to the employers, but to the employees now people that want to choose where to go and work with. My recommendation to them is that it's not so important what the position you're taking, but who's, what's the company that you're choosing to work with.

And I think the parameter that is most important in that, there are many important parameters, but one of them is company that, that involves or let people being.  and grow. And I think that the easiest way to find out about it is when you're in an interview just ask about examples in the company already that happened where people grew into certain roles and also horizontally not only vertically, you don't need to say that immediately, you're hired for as a developer and you want to be in marketing or in business development, because then they won't hire you. They want you to do what they hire you to do. But I think it's legitimate to talk about the long-term long-term and I, by the way, as an employer, I not only appreciate people like that, that are multidisciplinary, but also that are seeing that as a long term journey, I'm in the, as you said in the industry, more than 20 years, I was in three, three companies.

And that's how I like to look at people, of course, sometimes things don't work out, then people need to change jobs. I'm an extreme example, but I think that someone that is looking at their next job as a one-year gig, every, or even two years, and constantly in any job they're taking, not only, for certain reason one time then that's for me, less interesting.

So companies that enable their employees to, to grow into their area, of their interest, I think are the best the best place to work with. I can give an example about Gigya where w not only that we let people grow there. We even nominated one of them.

Patrick Salyer who began in sales was younger than all of us. But 10 years, and at some point we offered him to be our CEO. And also we have other examples of people that really grew from, we had someone who's called Merissa that came from support and ended up as being VP of marketing. So I think that there are quite a few of companies that know how to let the talent to, to grow and evolve. And I think that's the place to work

Thank you, is it's super interesting. Your sort of like your creating, a segue to the entire piece of inner what's called now in the industry, in inner mobility. And maybe. I might be biased because this is basically what Gloat is doing.

This is what the product is for. But Gloat is working with enterprises and I think you are talking about how to bring the inner mobility idea, not just in terms of the classic promotion scope, quote unquote, but in a more general way. Cross-sectional et cetera. to startups to smaller companies.

So if we try to look, just look practically, think about it competition for talent is it's not getting easier. What are ways that you found very good to retain that talent once you have your employees? You don't want employees to just stay for the equity. That's not helpful for you and honestly not for them. So what are the mechanisms that exist to have people keep wanting to work on challenges and feel like they're developing and staying.

So I think the answer might sound obvious, but I will give it a another flavor that hopefully will be helpful for our listeners. So the obvious answer is that you want to give them interesting job and to help them evolve because every, all the people in our industry are people that are we not looking to to be a clerk in the bank and do the same thing again and again, they do want to evolve.

That's the main parameter, at least with the talent, what is perceived as the talent- their main goal is to be here to become better, not just to earn money or equity. So that's the obvious answer, but the flavor that I want to add to it relates to again, it will sound obvious, but mentorship, but I, it's not obvious. And I'll explain why maybe I will begin with myself.

The first company that I worked with I began as a designer and I ended up as a VP product and marketing, and that's the Hot Bar I mentioned before. And when I when I joined, it was my first job in the tech, I kind of gave up any any , on one hand I, as an employee any ego, any any idea that I know, so I think that the the goal of the company is to keep it interesting and not only interesting, but also enable the the employee to evolve and be better. I think that's what the good talent is. More than anything else. They want to get to work here to, to be better. And I think this is requiring a lot from you as either a manager or, the founder of the company.

You need to be in a state of mind of helping, I spoke before about choosing people that are smart or even smarter than you. So now I'm talking about making them smarter. So it's not just about, giving them the credit and and of course mentoring them. It's trying deep inside of you try to be in a place where you really want this person to be the best they can.And, to justify it to yourself, think about the, what it will take. It will take off o f you the better they are  -  the less you need to be. But you need to invest a lot in it. And I think this is something that many either managers or entrepreneurs, I think it should be easier for an entrepreneur because with a manager, they can see things as temporary.

And it's not their own business. Maybe, it's, it can be, but if you are an entrepreneur and you have a set of, of hires that you believe in that you think that have great potential. Then I think most of your time should be spent on making them better because the better they will be, the more you can be focused on the next thing. And more trust you will have. And the end result of that is also the day will be much happier. So I think, you need to look at your organization as a school and the, big goal that you should have is. People like just get improved and spend time and attention to on this.

Make sure people get better and do this by giving them interesting work giving them work that maybe they don't necessarily know fully how to do, but let them figure out and mentor along the way

So I just want to be accurate and say that don't compromise because if you compromise even 1% for them to, to to fail. It will be hard for the company to succeed. It's already very hard for a startup to be successful. So you need to do the best product, the best marketing, the best sales, everything we spoke about, you can't compromise even a bit, but you can work with them on making it the best.

So you, for example, your marketing person creates a. And it's not so good, you shouldn't work with it, but you should work with them instead of just telling what to do, we should teach them where it should be better. And and of course, why, and I want to add to it in terms of choosing the people to hire.

That's another important parameter, which I don't want to us to miss, which is, I think you need to hire people that are not only hungry, but are hungry to learn from others. And I think that many people or many times smart people there, they fall into two categories. One they're just smart but they're not humble.

And there are smart people that are also humble and want to learn. And I remember when I began my I'm not saying that as smart, but I was definitely humble. And for the first few years entering into this industry, I just wanted to learn. I accepted from my managers, everything they said as if it was the Bible.

I had good managers. I was lucky. And so both, if you are an employee I think you should work at some place, first of all. And I know everybody would want to work in, and I'm not saying anything new here for someone you really appreciate, but once you do, you have to give up on your ego and try to get what they say and take, give it most attention and not come with the default that you know, better than them.

And as an employer the same you need to spend, as I said before on educating, but with the right people, if you spend time on someone that sticks with their own That's a waste of time.

Okay. This, I find this fascinating. So a little bit of a drill down. Let me just pose a situation here. I think so many people run into so you are, the early days of your early years of your career, right? So maybe, or junior or not, maybe not quite, really someone with 15 years of experience, you want to be humble. You want to be humble to learn just as you described, but obviously you're going to be running into disagreements with people that are senior than you , in the company, more experienced what this situation looks like.

Let's say you're in that meeting. There's a disagreement. The more senior, maybe they're not, maybe they're smarter. Maybe they're not, they're definitely more experienced. You want to learn from that experience to be a humble, just as you said, but you also have a disagreement with what you're saying.

It's a great question. Cause I think I have something interesting to say here. I think that our first I"ll answer it and then I will explain why I think it's important. The answer. Do what they say, go with their decision and try to convince yourself that they're right. And now I will say why. I think it's so important.

I think that we have a psychological bias to think that we can we might destruct this destruct, hurt or.  make ourselves worse by convincing ourselves with that the wrong things are let's say the decision is to do X and you think that X is wrong.

If you convince yourself that maybe they're right and you should do X, although inside you think that this is wrong, you will not destroy anything in your abilities. It's not that you will become a wrong thinker from now wrong, even from now on. Even if they're wrong, it's not that it's a, it's an exercise. It will, if it is actually training yourself training yourself in a while. It's so hard to explain - in, not in in giving, giving up on yourself and I think, okay. Maybe I need to answer it again. Yeah. Okay.

okay. Okay.

what are they talking? Does that sound funny?  okay.

I need your money for capital one.

Okay.

okay. So my answer is can be, can sound surprising. I think. You should practice going with what they say and and even trying to convince yourself that they're right. I don't, I think that we have a bias to, to think that this will destroy the way we think, because we're teaching ourselves to do the wrong things that there might be.

But I think that it's not right. That's not what happens either. They're right. You will just learn or if they're wrong, it will not destroy anything in your mind. I will give an example from my experience. So I think that my ability today to know if my thoughts or ideas or anything, I think that is right is real or not are coming because I practice for years at the beginning.

This a diminishing my myself. And after a few years of doing that I know when better, I know better when I'm, when I really am right. About something that I think, because if it passes all these kinds of thresholds of

It's so hard to explain.

And I would say, do you like, do you think that, so this is basically an exercise and I think it's, I think it's a really I'll speak for myself at sons. I feel like a really tough one. So now as you think you're right, you almost you feel you're right, but even in that case, you say, and that it doesn't matter if you're talking about.

Pricing go-to-market strategy, whatever it is, doesn't really matter. There's someone else in the room is your senior. And your suggestion is to listen more listen hard, and go through the exercise of convince yourself, convincing yourself why they're right. And when it comes to execution, even go and do what they say.

I think you're improving yourself when you're doing that.

So I'm trying, I think the hard part here is that it feels like, okay there's being humble and there's standing up for what you think is correct at this point. And it's just hard not to do this. I think we are, at some point we were trained, or this is the cliche is if you think something's wrong, you should say that that's basically  part of what you're being paid for, but that's why I find this anti norm to do some, oh, I dunno if antinorm, but just a interesting. But I'm trying to understand why this makes you a better thinker, right?

Okay. Let's let's take this the world of, politics, let's say that you have in your Facebook or Twitter, a stream of people that think like you. So I'll give you two scenarios and tell me, who do you think will be better? And more we'll see the reality in a better way.

The one that follows, and only because when I say follows, also reads and you choose who you follow. So if you follow someone from the other side of the political view, then probably you want to read them. So I think that people that follow both sides, at least, the reasonable people from both sides will be better and we'll know better about their position.

If they really try to understand the other side, if they really follow them. And then I think they will be better in the w one being, of course there might be, they will change their side, but I think mostly what will happen is that they will be better in understanding their own side. And I think it's the same here when you're practicing, doing things that you don't think that should be done. Of course, it's disasters don't do it, we're talking about business decisions and ideas and it's usually, it's just, you think that X is better than Y and your manager thinks otherwise I think it will improve, but it's in a very, that's why it's so hard for me to explain because it's deeper than just being open to ideas- it's practicing. The ability, because when you have thoughts about what is right and wrong, it comes with getting really into the yeah. Philosophical or a, I dunno, a spiritual world where, you know, when you think something is right or it's a result of so much information that you have inside of you that you can't even sometimes explain.

If you're want t o choose people to spend time with, sometimes you can't explain why, because there's tons of information inside of you that helps you make the decision. And I think sometimes the voices are coming from the wrong places from let's say fear when or so you're choosing, I, for example, did a mistake not because of fear, but because of ego. And when we chose to to work with Adobe on a kind of collaboration and I wanted, we were early stage, I wanted, Adobe to be such a strategic partner with my company. And that was the wrong decision. And back then, it was much harder for me to realize that- this, the thought of, yes, it's right for us to work with them came from the wrong place. So what I'm saying, there are a lot of voices on it. A lot of, I don't have to call it information, but a vectors that, let us think that we, or the company or the, the product should do X and the more you're practicing, diminishing yourself in some way.

(I really take it to extreme now)  the more, you improve your ability to know where the voices are coming from. And then later on when you know, something is right, it's much, you really know that it is right. Much better than if you always think that you're right. And you didn't practice thinking that the others are right.

Basically, You are going through the exercise of becoming better at consider, like really considering deeply all options and being more detached from your view of a situation.

Maybe just to wrap up what are you up to these days and how people shoot, who and how people should reach out if they are interested in getting in touch.

I'm working with Dor Shany  who is, by the way, another talent that grew in  Gigya that we hired at Gigya, I asked him to to be my CEO in this new venture we're co-founders of ownID   is moves the idea of identity and data and all your authentication keys to, to be your own. So we begin with passwordless authentication or logging into any website with your phone, but it will grow into a full self-sovereignand identity.

And I can be reached at rooly@ownid.com. And we're looking for talent all around the world from all the spectrum any strong person that wants to work in an environment that wants to let them grow and learn is invited.

Thank you so much. I think that's a wrap. This has been in some  ways, really, I think for me, eye opening especially this last bit on deeply considering what you're being told to do basically. And from another angle thanks.

And I think we just scheduled another episode talking about crisis management and the Syrian hackers. This could be interesting. I think I'll put something for us in in the future.

Great. Thank you Omer. It was really interesting for me too talk to you later.

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