Advice From A Nobel Prize Winner On Human Capital Management

Advice From A Nobel Prize Winner On Human Capital Management

An Interview From The Line Zine e-Newsletter

Gary S. Becker, the winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science in 1992, is a Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and University. He is recognized for his expertise in human capital, the economics of the family, and economic analysis of crime, discrimination, and population.

Becker: I would start out with some obvious things that are still sometimes forgotten: the basic resource in any company is the people. Remember Bill Gates’ famous comment that if you took away the top thirty employees at Microsoft, it would be a pretty ordinary company. And what’s true for companies is true for nations as well. In the New Economy, the reliance on people hasn’t fallen, but has increased. We are much more a human capital-based economy than the economy was even thirty years ago.


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16 Deadly Business Sins Committed By Companies

 Reprinted from the Red Herring:

I don't republish a lot of content from other people, but this article is just too good not to pass on to my followers.  It's a great checklist to hold up against your company no matter where you are today, big or small.  So, I suggest you ask yourself these 16 questions, and even have your management team print this entire article out and check off the ones they think your company may be in danger of committing. 
Identifying just one of these deadly problems could save your company, or make or save you millions. Plugging just one of these weaknesses, or even turning it into a strength, could drastically change the course of your company.  There is deep wisdom and experience from hundreds of companies embedded here in a simple checklist, so don't miss this opportunity to avoid these 16 deadly sins. 

Although this is by no means a comprehensive list there are many classics here....

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Ten Myths and Realities of VC

VC P.S: Ten Myths
and Realities of VC

 By Lawrence Aragon

Bill Reichert's brother is a doctor. His father also was a doc. So were his grandfather and his great-great-grandfather. So how could it be that Mr. Reichert is sitting and talking about venture capital over a plate of bacon and eggs at the Peninsula Creamery coffee shop in downtown Palo Alto? As I join him in the high-cholesterol meal, I can almost see the family of physicians staring down, wagging their fingers. "I'm the first Reichert male not to be doctor," he says, munching on a piece of bacon. "We figure it was my other grandfather's genes that sent me on this path."

Not the path to the coffee shop. The entrepreneurial path. His mother's father, Robert McElroy, built two companies -- one that eventually became the multibillion-dollar American Hospital Supply. Following in granddad's footsteps, Mr. Reichert founded five companies of his own, including a software company while he was getting his...

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10 Keys To Copy That Sells

10 Keys To Copy That Sells!

By Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen"

Whether you're selling a product or service, the 10 tips below are your keys to writing great copy that communicates and persuades ... to get results! These guidelines can apply to Web copy, e-mail, sales letters, brochures, direct mail, and more. As long as your goal is to elicit a reaction from your reader, you've come to the right place.

1. Be reader-centered, not writer-centered.

Many ads, brochures, and Websites talk endlessly on and on about how great their products and companies are. Hello? Customer, anyone? Think of your reader thinking, "What's in it for me?" If you can, talk with some of your current customers and ask them 1) why they chose you, and 2) what they get out of your product or service. TIP: To instantly make your copy more reader-focused, insert the word "you" often.

2. Focus on the benefits -- not just the features.

The fact that your product or service offers a lot of neat features is great,...

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The Twelve (Almost) *Sure-fire Secrets To Entrepreneurial Success

Venture capitalists are not known for their humility, so take note of the following confession:

Venture capitalists are chickens. Compared to entrepreneurs, they're spectators in the great game of small business hardball. They would no sooner personally guarantee a corporate bank loan than they would jump off the cliffs of Acapulco. Contrary to popular opinion, however, they are not totally worthless - they work long hours, sift through more garbage than a trash collector, and have to get used to disappointing 99 entrepreneurs for everyone they please. They are veteran roller coaster riders, but never get used to those big drops. They are, above all else, risk reducers - they prospect in the land of the commercially unfaceable, and try to differentiate the superstars from the merely enthusiastic. Most of them are pretty good at it, a result of lessons learned, mistakes made, and successes observed.

Over the past 29 years as a venture capitalist, I've screened thousands of...

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What Does A CEO Need To Know?

Why You Always Need An Experienced CEO Involved At Some Level

Would you walk into a legal trial without an experienced attorney to represent you? Would you let a new medical school graduate perform their first brain surgery on you alone? Of course not!? However, many entrepreneurs who start a company print “President” on the door and do just that. They tackle huge new problems without any experience as a CEO in one of the most complex, expensive, and risky things they will ever do! So they think they save money, but they often drive their risk up 1,000% and costs 10% to 100% or more!

Consultants are plentiful, the advice is easy to get, it can be free or VERY expensive, but is it from someone who has succeeded in the past doing exactly that job? Not just as a ‘consultant’ but with full responsibility for success? In this environment, mistakes can be fatal, so don’t make this mistake.

No wonder only 6 in 1,000,000 ideas will ever reach an IPO. Contrary...

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Due Diligence Checklist

Start-up and emerging companies should be prepared for the significant amount of due diligence that a venture capital investor and its counsel may require before consummating a venture capital financing. Even angels are requiring many of these things to be under control today at earlier development stages. The following is a sample Due Diligence Checklist, which acts as a compliance request to the Company of all relevant documents and information. In appropriate circumstances, some listed items can be scaled back.

Corporate Documents of the Company and Subsidiaries

Articles of Incorporation and all amendments thereto.
Bylaws and all amendments thereto.
Minutes of all Board of Directors, committee, and shareholders meetings and all consents to actions without meeting.
List of states and jurisdictions in which qualified to do business and in which the Company has offices, holds property or conducts business.
Material information or documents furnished to shareholders and to directors...

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Top 10 Hiring Tips

By Greta Kauffman
President and Founder, Target-Teams

Nothing is more important or can have a greater impact than the people you hire. A hiring mistake can literally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and be magnified over the entire organization, or it can be the beginning of massive success. A bad hire at a senior level in critical areas, at critical times, can even ruin a company. Yet done right a good hire can make up for a lot of other issues and drive success.

The Tips:

1. Spend sufficient time thinking and planning before starting the hiring process. Recruit only after you know exactly the skills, values, background, and education you need for your open position.

2. Track your annual cost of turnover. This will help you understand the cost of losing excellent employees at your firm. It can help you to justify the use of hiring tools to help you reduce the incidence of hiring mistakes.

3. Maximize your referral network. People you know and trust can yield...

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68 CEO Responsibilities

This is a great list for both taking on a new CEO position and getting up to speed, as well as to develop a proactive development and learning program for any CEO or senior executive wishing to improve their executive management skills. It lays out well all the things you need to juggle when you have both the privilege and responsibilities of the top spot in any organization.

General Operations

1. Establish primary goals of the Board -- maintenance of status quo, evaluation, and recommendations or take charge through the implementation of the new game plan.
2. Meet all first-reports, introduce the game plan and initiate implementation of action items on this list.
3. Have all first-reports complete the Agenda for the Future.
4. Discuss the dozen biggest problems and opportunities from the perspective of all first-reports.
5. If survival mode is required, cut costs immediately where necessary and prudent and in accordance with the Board's short and intermediate-term goals.
6. Identify and...

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How To Get 11X Average Productivity In Product Development

Here are Some Simple Ideas That Can Greatly Improve Productivity and at the Same Time Help Ensure Success of Every New Product or Release

Product management is more art than science and because I have run many product development groups simultaneously, with a very high launch success rate, I have been asked many times what are the key elements for success. This is not easy to answer, as there are hundreds of small things that make success, not just a few large ones. Although most examples are about software, the ideas apply to almost all product development efforts.

Due to my previous technical background as an engineer, software architect, and CTO, prior to becoming CEO, I have always been deeply involved in product development, no matter what title I held. As CEO, VP, or just software engineer, product development is often where the rubber hits the road and ultimately a company is made or broken by the amount of value the product delivers to its customers. In one position at a...

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