Miguel FeldensPeople. Operations. Speaker.

Head of Product Ops & Startup Advisor @ Google
Focus areas: people, operations, exponential growth
Exclusively pro bono for social impact initiatives & emerging markets

Recent Answers

The only scenario it would not make sense for a company to hire that way would be for very standard, repeatable tasks, where the performance has very limited impact to company's results. In any other case, I'd make sure people have skin in the game, even if the overall cost at the end will be higher to me, because those incentives will result in higher commitment and potentially lead to new / better / more efficient ways to execute.
Whether or not you should accept that in the form of equity, that depends... How long is that engagement supposed to be, how is the vesting period, etc...

I have hired a few hundreds over the last 20 years, as a startup cofounder, advisor for a few startups, and as a manager at Google. I have made mistakes. I have learned a bit. I will share my personal thoughts on it.

Depends on your line of business and your talent pool. In my line of businesses, I work with products that are designed to grow exponentionally. Both as a manager and advising startups, we are planning and executing to grow 1000000x. This takes specific combination of Skills, Role Related Knowlege (RRK), and Personality.

Exponential technologies take exponentional organizations, otherwise your cost will grow linearly (or worse) with your revenue. You do not want that for a plethora of reasons. This means that while RRK is useful, by itself it can prevent a person from be willing to work himself out of a job. I will explain.

I definitely look for outstanding execution of operations, but I also look for the ability to make yourself obsolete, leveraging what a COO learns from the operations to set aggressive goals to eliminate, automate, think bigger and bigger.

In my process hire I believe:

- Hiring is full contact martial art and I believe in getting actively involved into that... After all, people is not the main thing in my business, it is the ONLY thing, since I am in a non-capital-intensive industry.
- Set very high hiring standards and do NOT negotiate them
- Related to that, create specific rubrics before going out hunting. What specifically I should look for not only in terms of RRK and experience, but how will I assess culture fit, and general cognitive abilities necessary for the person to drive transformation.

Back to your question, before looking at your internal talent pool and making decisions like should I promote or search externally, do think what the professional looks like, have that rubric, and THEN see if you have the person. The bar to promote should be as high and as unegotiable as the one you use to hire externally. Those are my two cents.

Not specific to facebook, but I have been managing different operations / services / customer success teams over the last 20 years. Currently at Google and supporting startups with growth challenges related to that through Google's accelerator, Launchpad. I believe any company, big or small, building products intended to growth exponentially, have to have an exponential vision for services also.

These are my personal beliefs and learnings after helping products grow to Billions (users, dollars):

1. Hire people comfortable working themselves out of their (current) jobs and grow in the process: you do not want a linear relationship between your top level goal (revenue, users, engagement level, whatever is your target now) and support cost. That means besides outstanding execution skills, you want people thinking big and challenging themselves to automate/eliminate/make self serve/outsource what they do.

2. Build a SHARED vision: having the right people, hired according to an unnegotiably high hiring bar, you want to tap into their talent fully, get ideas from the front line. Different sizes and types of businesses will call for different ways to do it, but there are ways to involve people in building a vision balancing founders' vision with grassroots initiatives.

3. Sustain that vision: looking both at my failures (specially the failures) and successes, sustaining vision is where I often dropped the ball. Please do not. I love Dan Pink's "Drive" ideas and I love transparency as some of the most broadly applicable approaches to that.

If you are leading a social impact or start up in an emerging market, I'd love to help with those. For free.

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