Tag Archives: Responsibility

Unconditional support

Of all the things I’ve experienced in life, becoming a father is the one that has created the greatest change in my perspective on life. The responsibility that you have for the life of another human being when they’re a baby, their well being when they’re a child, their development as an adolescent, and their ability to build their own life as an adult, first felt scary. However, the fear eventually ceded its place to the energy of knowing that you have the ability to do, and will do, all that it takes to perform your responsibility as best you can.

In other words, as a parent, you will always show your child unconditional support, not only when you’re alive, but throughout their life. This doesn’t mean doing everything they want in the short term, but doing what you believe is best for them in the long term, without any expectation of recognition.

As the song “We are one” from “The Lion King” says:

“But you see everyday that we’ll never turn away
When it seems all your dreams come undone
We will stand by your side
Filled with hope and filled with pride
We are more than we are
We are one”

The Lion King was my favorite movie as a child, and I can’t wait to see it together with our son.

Power and responsibility

Here’s LeBron James’ take on US President Donald Trump’s reaction to the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry stating earlier this week that he wasn’t going to visit the White House.

Unlike LeBron, I don’t think that he should have called Trump a bum.

Like LeBron, I believe that the US President has the power to guide not only his country, but also the world. And with power comes responsibility.

The best person to take on the opportunity

If something is a good idea, someone is going to do it. Someone is going to capture the opportunity.

You might feel uncertain about whether you’re ready for the task. But everyone feels the same way.

Some will back down because of the uncertainty, and others will pursue the opportunity. And among those that pursue the opportunity, in the long run the best person will have the greatest positive impact. Sometimes our lives are too short to see the long run play out, but it does exist.

The question is therefore not whether you’re ready for the task. No one is. Everyone makes it up and learns as they go along.

The question is whether you’d produce better results than others if you were to take on the same opportunity. If so, you have a responsibility to do so, not just for yourself but, more importantly, for the group of humans that the opportunity impacts.

A startup’s edge in hiring over big companies

When startups compete with big companies for talent, they’re often unable to match the cash salary offers made by the big companies. The reason is that startups have less money than big companies.

However, startups have two big advantages over big companies which they can use to attract talent. The first is equity (or options on the underlying equity; I’m going to use equity to cover both equity and options throughout this post). The second is the offer of responsibility and the ability to have an impact which this responsibility brings.

Big companies rarely offer equity to their employees. In theory, they could, but in practice they don’t. I think this has to do with the fact that most big companies need most of their employees to execute on their existing operations. They don’t see the need for people to come up with and execute on creative new projects. And the former employees don’t demand equity.

And even if big companies did offer their employees equity, this equity doesn’t carry as much upside as that offered by a startup. The equity upside potential of a startup is much greater than that of a big company.

So startups can gain an edge over big companies by offering equity to their employees. As a result, startups need to frame their compensation discussions with employees around the value of the total package they’re offering rather than just the cash component. While they’ll likely fall short on the cash component, the expected value of the total package will be greater if the candidate believes that the startup has the potential to be a great company. And you want to work with employees who believe this.

In addition to emphasizing the value of the total package it’s offering, a startup can give its employees more responsibility than that offered by a role at a big company. And with more responsibility comes the ability to have a greater impact. Not every employee wants this. But, once again, you want to work with employees who do.

So, if you believe you’re a great startup but are having difficulty winning talent over big companies, keep emphasizing the total package you’re offering and the responsibility and ability to have an impact that the role you’re looking to fill provides. It’s a great way to filter out the talent that isn’t a good fit for your startup and attract that which is.