Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2. TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives. TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and the culture of their companies.
Today’s guests are Taylor McPartland, President, FilmBreak; and Steven Rothberg, President and Founder, CollegeRecruiter.com. To hear the entire show, click here.
Perfecting the concept isn’t the most important part of the entrepreneurship journey, argue today’s guests. While McPartland learned through experience that the idea should be refined post-launch as long as proof of concept is in place, Rothberg contends that it’s the execution – and not the idea – that matters most.
McPartland co-founded FilmBreak several years ago, based on his background in production, as a marketing platform designed to bridge the gap between filmmakers and their fans.
He has spoken at events such as the Variety Venture Capital and New Media Summit. In addition to serving as strong branding forums, speaking at events is also an opportunity for McPartland to “step back to see the bigger picture and where and how your company is impacting the broader community.”
Creativity without Ego
When hiring for a start-up such as FilmBreak, there is a strong need to convey the company’s vision and culture. “We’re looking for people who want to buy into what we’re doing and be a part of that for the long term,” says McPartland. When it comes to core skills, reliability and expertise are key for FilmBreak team members.
As a part of the company culture and values, FilmBreak employees are also able to keep egos out of the creative process. The first prong in the process is to email a small group of participants with brief context and a request to bring several ideas to the table. They then block out hours with the whiteboard as a team, writing down all ideas and evaluating them to see what fits given the current mission.
White-Water Rafting at Work
As an entrepreneur, the speed of the industry presented the biggest challenge for McPartland, who likens it to “jumping on a raft in the middle of white water and hanging on.” He also recalls spending a lot of time researching and planning before launching his company, only to realize that the landscape had changed since he began his research. Now, he sees that once you have a proven need, launching is the best way to perfect and refine your offering.
The pace presents other challenges as well, challenges that define the culture of this industry. “You have a tendency when you are in this world to accomplish something and not even really celebrate that accomplishment and dive into the next thing immediately.” Because of that, McPartland seeks out projects where he can see results and enjoy closure. For him, that means spending time with hobbies such as furniture making.
What are You Reading?
McPartland is currently reading a book on plumbing for his current kitchen project.
How Can I Connect with You? Via LinkedIn or on Twitter @TayMcPartland.
Rothberg started a business in 1991 that eventually morphed into what today is CollegeRecruiter.com, propelled by the emergence of the Internet.
“Most people think you just need to have a great idea. I actually think that the really good idea is the least important part of the success of starting a business, but that it’s much more about execution….and sometimes that’s going to be the entrepreneur but more often than not, the people that the entrepreneur surrounds himself with.”
Rothberg recognizes he had a habit early on overselling the company and its services – that is, until a mentor told him: “‘If you’re that good, you don’t need to talk about it that much.’” Today CollegeRecruiter.com enjoys lots of positive press that speaks to their value proposition. Still, he notes: “All the media coverage in the world is meaningless if the results aren’t there….Buzz is important but substance is going to be the difference [in] having real staying power.”
Other influencers on his leadership came from his father, himself an entrepreneur who comes from a long line of business owners. Rothberg grew up watching his dad go through times good and bad. “One lesson he taught me is…that you will always have enough time in the day to send out an invoice and take checks to the bank. You always have to be focused on cash flow.”
No Training, No Hiring
When Rothberg says, “we care passionately about the candidate experience,” he is talking both about the candidates that use CollegeRecruiter.com as well as his own internal hires. Because the company is small and nimble, when transformative talent comes along, they are often able to tweak job opportunities to accommodate great hires.
“We have been successful about building a culture of collaboration, where we really care about each other as people,” says Rothberg. For instance, it is not uncommon to see a developer send an article idea to the company’s staff writer.
When it comes to hiring college graduates, Rothberg is frustrated by employers who place “unrealistic expectations” upon these new employees to “hit the ground running.” Instead, he offers, “If you are not willing to train them, then I don’t think you should be hiring college grads.”
What are You Reading?
Rothberg tends to read fiction and thrillers, and reserves business learning through articles and blogs.
How Can I Connect with You? Via Twitter @StevenRothberg or on LinkedIn.
In order to grab the most talented individuals, the company culture needs to be well defined, even for a start-up. As the company grows, the culture changes, but what is important is to establish those core values that will always be at the root.
Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.
Air Date: January 28, 2014