Robert Siegel: HR Issues in a Startup

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At a recent Stanford GSB "Nuts & Bolts" talk, Lecturer Robert Siegel (MBA '94) shared insights on hiring and compensating employees at a startup.

Follow Lecturer Siegel on Twitter: @RobSiegel

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  • very interesting :)
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  • Great explanation.
    great explanation
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Robert Siegel: HR Issues in a Startup

  1. HR Issues In a Startup : Team, Talent, Make/Buy/Rent, and More…. Robert Siegel Lecturer, Stanford GSB; General Partner, XSeed Capital @robsiegel Stanford Graduate School of Business February 27, 2014
  2. Agenda The Executive Team Technical Talent Compensation Philosophies Best Practices Stanford Graduate School of Business
  3. Robert Siegel Stanford Graduate School of Business
  4. Agenda The Executive Team Technical Talent Compensation Philosophies Best Practices Stanford Graduate School of Business
  5. Executive Staff Your ability to scale is directly related to the capability of your direct reports - Hard to get stars if you are unproven Think athletic team Vice Presidents - Marketing - Sales - Engineering/CTO - Product Stanford Graduate School of Business
  6. Outlier Leaders Executives who come later Game changers Fixers Smaller pieces, bigger pies Stanford Graduate School of Business
  7. Agenda The Executive Team Technical Talent Compensation Philosophies Best Practices Stanford Graduate School of Business
  8. Managing the Technical Function Make or buy or rent Can you judge the deliverables? Throwing away the MVP Finding a technical co-founder - And if you’ve never worked together before… Stanford Graduate School of Business
  9. Truisms All that matters is if the product works and is on time Hire people who have delivered and shipped product before Development includes customers, product/market fit, QA, scalability Stanford Graduate School of Business
  10. Agenda The Executive Team Technical Talent Compensation Philosophies Best Practices Stanford Graduate School of Business
  11. Paying Your Team Pay what is fair (cash and stock) Don’t overpay and don’t underpay Assume comp is an open book There are best practices – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel Stanford Graduate School of Business
  12. New Hires – Seed Stage Non-founding CEO – 4.0% to 8.0% VPs – 1.5% to 3.0% Directors – 0.5% to 1% Managers – 0.2% to 0.4% All others – < 0.2% Stanford Graduate School of Business
  13. New Hires – Series A Non-founding CEO – 4.0% to 6.0% VPs – 1.0% to 2.0% Directors – 0.4% to 0.8% Managers – 0.1% to 0.3% All others – < 0.1% Stanford Graduate School of Business
  14. New Hires – Series B Non-founding CEO – 3.0% to 5.0% VPs – 0.75% to 1.3% Directors – 0.3% to 0.6% Managers – 0.1% to 0.2% All others – < 0.1% Stanford Graduate School of Business
  15. Other Data Sources and Perspectives… Title Range (%) CEO 5 – 10 COO 2–5 VP 1–2 Independent Board Member 1 Director 0.4 – 1.25 Lead Engineer 0.5 – 1 5+ years experience Engineer 0.33 – 0.66 Manager or Junior Engineer 0.2 – 0.33 Stanford Graduate School of Business
  16. How to Divvy Up the Pie… Classic startup – founders • Not all equal • Experience, background, skillsets Mix of title and position is less of an issue with a founding group • Aforementioned variables more important It’s all about “t-comp” Stanford Graduate School of Business
  17. Holistic POV Investors Employee pool • It needs to be refreshed after each round if you take venture money • You will be diluted; get comfortable with it Founders • What’s left over… • You will be diluted; get comfortable with it Stanford Graduate School of Business
  18. Other Special Attributes of Executives Early exercise • Tax benefits Vesting schedules • Accelerated vesting up front if a founder • Acceleration on acquisition (double trigger) Stanford Graduate School of Business
  19. Agenda The Executive Team Technical Talent Compensation Philosophies Best Practices Stanford Graduate School of Business
  20. Best Practices Startups are not democracies HR from Day 1: Informal feedback 360 degree reviews Scott Brady methods Stanford Graduate School of Business
  21. Other Random Insights Your team is a reflection of you Saloner’s First Law How the CEO keeps his/her job If there is a problem with the business, figure it out before your Board does Stanford Graduate School of Business

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