Twitter | Search | |
Erik Torenberg
Some of my favorite takeaways & quotes from Keith Rabois interviews 👇:
Reply Retweet Like More
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
I think most ppl who succeed at changing the world have extreme talent in at least 1-2 dimensions. They also might have a screw loose in at least 1-2 dimensions. The ones that thrive are self-aware enough to know where their screws are loose, & seek a compliment to solve for it.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
If you’re going to succeed as a startup, you need to be able to find and hire undiscovered talent. You cannot recruit people who are proven. Why? There will always be large incumbents outbidding you when trying to hire known talented individuals
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Quoting Vinod Khosla: “The team you build is the company you build” Quoting Patrick Collison: “The reason why the first 10 employees are the most important is every one of those 10 employees is going to replicate him or herself 10 times.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Before Hiring, figure out what type of role you’re hiring for: Is it a value creation roll? (AKA creating value from scratch) Or are you trying to preserve value? (AKA you’re already doing well and just want to make sure nothing gets screwed up) Former is harder to hire for.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
When attempting to hire unrecognized potential, you'll inherently make mistakes (if you don’t, you’re too conservative) Don’t try to be a “zero-defect hirer.” The false-negative hires (the ppl you didn’t hire that could have been great) are more of a mistake than the bad hires
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
When you need upside, hire aptitude. When protecting against the downside, hire experience. “When you’re trying to create something from scratch, experience is often a handicap”
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Double down on your stars: If you believe you have ppl who have 10x value creation, improving their abilities is way more important than trying to fix ppl who will never create 10x value. Management drag is created when too much time is spent helping struggling employees.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
What to do w/ struggling employees? Most managers in baseball usually make the mistake of leaving in their starting pitcher too long, as opposed to calling for the relief pitcher The starter got you so far, but you need a different skill set to go forward.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
How to identify stars? Notice who people in the company go to talk to that they don’t have to (watch whose desk becomes popular – this is especially noticeable in an open office). That's how you discover the problem solvers
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
“Constantly expand the scope of responsibility for every single employee. Everybody will break at some point, but you want to keep pushing the envelope until they can’t discharge that level of responsibly successfully anymore.”
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Benefits of small teams: - People have an ownership mentality - You can see who’s doing well - It’s easier to spot the existing skill gaps - People have a sense of independence - A narrower focus/scope results, this improving execution
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Up until 20-50 employees, manage "through osmosis." After that, weekly-wide company meeting, weekly 1on1s w/ 5-7 direct reports (direct report set agenda) Everyone should understand the company’s priorities, business equation, biggest risks and plans to solve for them.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
In a startup, domain expertise isn’t all that important Experts tend to know what you can’t do very well. They don’t ask enough why questions; ‘Why can’t this be done this way? I like people who don’t know what they’re tackling, but they’re fast learners.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
For investments: "I tend to like things that are super ambitious, that are almost ridiculous. Just how ridiculous? I want half of my VC friends to laugh at an investment I make. If half don’t laugh, it means I’m not taking enough risk, and the project isn’t ambitious enough."
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Criteria for founders: Magnet for Talent. How to test? Call former colleagues of the founder, and ask them if they would join (or invest in) the founder’s current company, and why/why not
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
On Total Available Market (TAM) Analyses: The real issue with a small TAM is not that the market isn't big enough, it's that the value prop isn't compelling enough. If you make it more compelling, you'll capture more value.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Startups have roughly the same amount of pain to go from 0 to 1, regardless of whether 1 is a $100 billion company or $100 million company, so you might as well do something important because the pain’s going to be the same. You might as well get the outcome that offsets the pain
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
How to be strategic? Understand the business equation. "Every business, when it works, is like an equation – X times Y times Z with some weighting. Understanding that equation in your brain, and being able to manipulate the variables, is the key to being strategic.”
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
People w/ good strategy know what knobs they have at their disposal, which they can turn and how they affect each other. If you know one knob can only be turned up to 7, they don’t try to turn it to 8, they say “maybe we can turn this other knob up and it’s more likely to work”.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Margins don’t matter as much as you think, but cash flow does: Imagine you have a business that kicks off at 10% margins, but it grows to be 10% of everything on the planet – that’s a big business
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
“If your tech is better, but potential customers are too set in their ways to switch, use it yourself and compete with them” "If you’re a company who’s better at reducing fraud, you don’t want to sell that as service to somebody else, you want to build the full stack yourself
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Being a component in someone else’s stack doesn’t usually end well There’s the adoption risk issue (long sales cycles etc.) There’s economic issues – you’re only capturing 10-30% of the value you create, if you’re selling to someone else, depending on how good you are at sales)
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
As an example, if you have a differentiated advantage (say in chip design or battery life) you want to ship the end product to the customer yourself (and not sell your batteries to someone like Apple) – this way you get more credit for what you’re asymmetrically good at.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Lesson learned from Pat Riley's Winner Within: “You don’t want to be the best at what you do, you want to be the only one who does what you do” You often have to narrow the scope of what you do to accomplish that.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Keith’s Superpowers: 1/ Being able to spot 19-28-year-old people with talent, who have yet to be discovered or experience success, and project their future potential (and then go on to mentor or invest in them) 2/ Blending design thinking w/ empirical analysis.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
On deciding btwn founding v. join: Find path w/ steepest slope. Something that makes you nervous/uncomfortable. If not, you’re not maximizing growth Some learn best thrown into the deep end, try to swim (founding). Others learn best by watching first (joining) Know your style.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
Once someone gets older, there’s enough data points on their resume where many people could evaluate their background and come to the same conclusion; their potential and abilities are well-defined.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
What you want to do is find someone that doesn’t have enough data points, and instead you have to try to project potential and how they may translate to a certain profession without knowing with certainty.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
For example, a CS student from Stanford is incredibly overrated in terms of demand for their talent versus what they can actually do on average. You have plenty of people throwing money at them. They don’t always develop the best work ethic because of that. They're entitled.
Reply Retweet Like
Erik Torenberg Feb 23
Replying to @eriktorenberg
What you want to find are people that other people aren’t chasing after but they have even more talent & grit. That’s doable, but hard. It’s a little bit like drafting athletes in various sports. You're trying to find Tom Brady in the 6th round.
Reply Retweet Like