July 2006
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Circle of Experts

Brain Food Blog
Posts in Leadership and Management

Tools and resources from the Nitron Advisors team. We tend to blog about investing, leadership, management, career acceleration, personal productivity, securities research, and online networks.

July 6, 2006

Prescription for Gaining Greatness in Work and Life

Dennis Kimbro’s Prescription for Gaining Greatness in Work and Life
What makes the great, great? It’s a question author Dennis Kimbro took 20 years to research, interviewing leaders from diverse backgrounds from Earl Graves of Black Enterprise magazine to Bishop T. D. Jakes. His findings were eventually culled into a book of the same name and recently shared with aspiring corporate and entrepreneurial leaders of the future at the inaugural Black MBA Diverse Leadership conference at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Among the offerings, Kimbro advised students to be “driven by your vision. Get a big dream and believe in yourself when no one else will.”

June 28, 2006

Multisided Markets–HBS Professor Andrei Hagiu

HBS Professor Andrei Hagiu is an expert on multi-sided markets, and recently interviewed me on that topic: Market Platform Dynamics–Catalyst Conversation: Conversation with David Teten. His site requires that you submit an email address to read the article (but I should note that he doesn’t actually test if the email address is functional.)

June 6, 2006

Startup Manual by John Doerr

John Doerr’s Startup Manual is still timely (even though it dates from 1997).

Via Marc Cenedella’s blog

June 4, 2006

Younger siblings, better entrepreneurs?

Younger siblings, better entrepreneurs?

Which slot in the birth-order sequence makes for the most successful entrepreneurs?
Ben Dattner: It’s not that cut and dried. There are positives and negatives — and examples of successful business people — from all the places in the birth-order spectrum. For instance, first-born entrepreneurs tend to be more extroverted and confident than their younger siblings.

In a business where somebody needs to maintain a high PR profile, you could imagine that it might be easier if you’re naturally extroverted and confident. Especially if you’ll be called on to talk to the media as the public face of your company. First-borns also tend to be more assertive and authoritarian, dominant and inflexible. They’re good at executing a plan, following it, and driving others to follow it in a disciplined way. Conformist, task-oriented, disciplined, and concerned with getting things done right — all these traits are naturally found in first-borns.


May 18, 2006

Kellogg-Recanati Executive MBA Handbook

The MBAs of the Kellogg-Recanati Executive MBA program have posted summaries of all of their classes at:

This is a handy reference site—a summary of what you learn in an executive
MBA, all on one website.

May 16, 2006

Executive Recruiter Efficiency

Posted in General, Personal Productivity, Leadership and Management, Career Acceleration
by David Teten @ 10:03 am —

Via Marc, I was led to a blog post by David Manaster on recruiter efficiency. He reports that “It would seem that (on average) the optimal workload for a recruiter is between 11 and 20 open positions. ”

I’d argue that the main reason for this phenomenon is that most recruiters are using only the traditional toolkit: Excel, Word, email, phone, to keep track of their applicants. Nitron couldn’t function effectively if we were this inefficient. John Younger, CEO of recruiting process outsourcer Accolo, observed:

I actually find this research to be right in line with our surveys for the typical recruiter today. We have found the optimal workload to be between 4 and 18 unique full-time jobs simultaneously. At 18 or more, the applicant screening, follow-up and tracking take a severe dive. The astounding part is that this is the same recruiter workload of 1963! Think about it. What else in our lives has not budged a bit in productivity in over 40 years! This is the time before e-mail, job boards, the internet and Starbucks. The core reason is that the recruiter today operates in exactly the same model as the early 1960’s. All we have done is pave the cowpath. It gets worse… the hiring manager service and applicant experience have actually diminished with all the technology noise in the middle. There are new models emerging, but there is an army of people invested in keeping things the same.

According to a survey of 2,294 companies, during 2005, the national average Recruiting Efficiency Index was 12.3%. REI is calculated by dividing total recruiting costs, including recruiter salaries & overhead, applicant tracking, advertising fees, etc. and dividing it by total compensation recruited. Accolo reports an REI of under 7% for clients using Accolo’s system. Among the drivers for that efficiency:
- much higher per-recruiter workload
- use of online networks for recruiting (more on that topic)

May 12, 2006

Ten Stupid Mistakes Made by the Newly Self-Employed

Steve Pavlina’s list of 10 Stupid Mistakes Made by the Newly Self-Employed is worth reviewing even for the non-self-employed.

Via Marc Cenedella’s blog

May 10, 2006

How Overeager Job Hunters Can Thwart Their Efforts

Posted in General, Personal Productivity, Leadership and Management, Career Acceleration
by David Teten @ 10:17 am —

A jobless marketing manager recently touted his accomplishments to New York search firm Canny, Bowen.

He simultaneously sent the same cover letter and resume to more than 150 other executive recruiters — and identified every recipient on his e-mail’s distribution list. The shotgun approach helped chill the chances of Canny, Bowen proposing him for any vacancy.

“We get a half-dozen mass mailings like this every week,” reports Gregory Gabel, a managing director. “Two years ago, I never used to get these.”


May 8, 2006

Use Online Networks to Recruit Your Star Employee

Posted in General, Social Software, Leadership and Management
by David Teten @ 9:44 pm —

From our latest column:

Your dream employee is lurking out there. How do you find him or her? To track down those stars, recruiters are aggressively using online tools such as blogs, virtual communities, social-networking sites, and biography-analysis software. Here are some best practices in those areas, drawn from Accolo, Nitron Advisors, and Microsoft.

(Disclosure: I’m on Accolo’s Advisory Board).

full column

Deliberate Practice Makes Perfect

Posted in General, Personal Productivity, Leadership and Management
by David Teten @ 10:49 am —

From the Freakonomics column in the New York Times:

Their work, compiled in the “Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance,” a 900-page academic book that will be published next month, makes a rather startling assertion: the trait we commonly call talent is highly overrated. Or, put another way, expert performers — whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming — are nearly always made, not born.
whatever innate differences two people may exhibit in their abilities to memorize, those differences are swamped by how well each person “encodes” the information. And the best way to learn how to encode information meaningfully, Ericsson determined, was a process known as deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice entails more than simply repeating a task — playing a C-minor scale 100 times, for instance, or hitting tennis serves until your shoulder pops out of its socket. Rather, it involves setting specific goals, obtaining immediate feedback and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.