As important it is to recruit the best talent to your company, you also want to leverage that talent by having as strong an on-boarding process as your recruiting process. Last year, I wrote about how central good recruiting is to creating a successful game company. An article in the MIT Sloan Management Review, Reinventing Employee Onboarding, provides great advice on how to make your new hires more engaged, more connected with their colleagues and, most importantly, likely to stay.
The weakness of traditional on-boarding
Typically, on-boarding is focused on indoctrinating new employees into the organizational culture. The article explains that HR often believes to build and retain talent it is important to get employees to understand and commit to the companies’ values starting the first day. In their research, the articles authors found several weaknesses in this approach: Continue reading
Raising capital to finance growth for game and tech companies is one of the important responsibilities a leader will havem=, and to do it successfully you must realize it is not just about getting money in the bank. My post last week about Hasbro’s acquisition of Backflip Studios highlighted how smart cash management enabled the Backflip management team to capitalize on the opportunity with Hasbro (and make out quite well for themselves) largely because they did not receive significant investment. Had they taken a large investment at a high valuation, they most likely would not of been able to work with Hasbro. A recent Harvard Business Review article, Use Customer Cash to Finance Your Start-Up by John Mullins highlights the success many tech companies are having building a business through their customers’—not investors’—cash.
The Airbnb story
Airbnb is a great example of a company relying on customer cash to finance growth, allowing it to reach a point at which it was valued at over $1 billion when it did raise venture capital. Continue reading
A recent Forbes article, Six Whopping Lies Told About Entrepreneurs … Sometimes By Entrepreneurs Themselves, created quite a stir online. It listed six myths about entrepreneurs that are worth repeating because these misperceptions dissuade some who from starting businesses and create a false sense of confidence in others.
The six lies
- They are the smartest and most high achieving people in the room. The data shows this is not the case, as most the top achieving entrepreneurs were not considered the smartest growing up (though I am sure their parents thought so). The article quotes one very successful entrepreneur as saying, “If I had a 4.0 at graduation, it stood for the number of parties I went to the night before rather than my GPA.” Entrepreneurs don’t typically try to please other people; rather, they find something that deeply fascinates them and then hyper-focus on that particular opportunity. Hence, the high dropout rates. Just looking back, none of my friends and classmates in high school and college who were considered “smartest” have achieved anything entrepreneurial. Continue reading
Change is the cornerstone of building a successful a business, but while many people look at the strategic reasons to pivot equally important for triumph is managing the politics and emotions involved. Left unattended, skepticism, fear, and panic can wreak havoc on any pivot. These emotions create resistance, distraction and burnout when you are trying to make a strategic or tactical change. A recent article in the MIT Sloan Management Review by Ellen Auster and Trish Ruebottom highlights a five-step process to address these issues.
The announcement yesterday that Hasbro acquired 70 percent of Backflip Studios for $112 million is great (and well deserved) for the Backflip team but potentially disastrous for many mid-level social game companies. Backflip has a history of successful—and profitable—games, highlighted by DragonVale, one of the most successful games in iOS history. The game launched in 2011 and still in the top 15 in the top-grossing charts.
The valuation bodes poorly for other social mobile game companies. Given the $112 million purchase price for 70 percent, the Backflip team accepted a valuation of $160 million. There are many, many, less successful mobile game developers who have taken significant amounts of venture capital at valuation two to six times the valuation Hasbro paid for Backflip. How could a company that does not have a franchise as strong as DragonVale argue it is worth more than $160 million? Continue reading