Friday, December 13, 2013
Startups fire unfocused new hires very quickly -- they have to
Startups are quick to fire new hires who don’t have the right stuff. And many hires find that old-fashioned marketing skills, including cold-calling, are far more important than they had expected in this era of “self-sufficiency” and privacy on the Web. The tension that this produces is odd, and may help account for some of the grossly inappropriate marketing pitches (not just spam) that we all see these days.
That’s the gist of a “Marketplace” story in the Wall Street Journal Friday, At starups, pink slips come early and often; workers who don’t measure up can be gone within weeks; strategy changes devalue some skills”, in a story by Stephanie Gleason and Rachel Feintzeig, link here.
One problem for job seekers or hires is that many startups have very narrow focuses on customer needs. Grandiose results like those of Facebook, Twitter and Google are rare. The startup “Plated”, belonging to Nick Taranto, for example, sells ingredients for home-cooked meals. It’s hard to sell a narrow service or item. Startups that develop new mobile apps (like some auto-parking-finder apps described today on ABC’s World News Tonight) might make a better fit for more technie-like job seekers. Yet, selling practical household items (some of them make up those 800-number sites that advertise on CNN) may make up a significant portion of the market. I can think of other startup ideas (like laser depilatory products, often on cable television) that would obviously seem problematic for many people.
The WSJ article noted that about 6% if people in “established companies” get fired or laid off a year (Facebook is too young to be “established”), whereas about 25% get the ax in startups.
Does anyone know what working at Facebook is like?