Video Transcript

00:09 Kevin Ryan: All my comments are relative to what I've been doing, which is generally fast growth ideas, and the kickoff is that when you think about what makes a company successful, and I think Richard alluded to this, I would just go even further than that, which is to say that, and this sound radical, I think the idea is worth very little, somewhere between zero and very little. And I say that because first of all, most businesses that you're starting, there's been another company that did something very similar to that. Look at Google, Google was like the seventh search engine, the value was just a slightly better product. So, an incredibly important takeaway is to just acknowledge the fact that your idea is not what's gonna separate you, it's really gonna boil down to execution and execution then gets back to people.

00:53 Ryan: To use a sports analogy, if you're a sports fan, and we're talking about the Yankees or... No, let's talk about the Knicks, who are really bad, if you... A real sports fan, if I went to them and I said, "Look, I think there's sort of three possibilities for the Knicks, we could either have a different strategy or we could get a different coach or we could get better players, what do you think?" It would be like a five-second conversation. He would look at me like an idiot and say, "We need better players." You spend more time on recruiting and managing people than anything else by far, and it's got to be by far. And so, well... Yeah, maybe sales is really important, so I need to spend a lot of time on sales. Well, I don't spend more time on sales, I spend more time on people.

01:35 Ryan: In the hiring process, there's sort of three elements that are making up the mix. One would be the resume, one would be the interview, and one would be reference-checking. And I think if there's any lesson for all of us, and I continue to learn this, is that you're over-valuing the first two and under-valuing number three. I think, and it's another human experiment I sort of like to do which you can't really do, but if the CEOs in this room, including myself, absolutely did nothing, almost literally nothing, but decide they were gonna be the talent officer in the company. They'd say, "You know what? I'm not even gonna go on sales, not gonna worry about finance because my CFO has it under control, so I can't do any of those things. I can only get the right people in place. I actually think there's a reasonable chance that companies would do better.

Published on: May 16, 2012