10 things I learned from The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Chris Yeh, Ben Casnocha, Reid Hoffman
This book is about how companies, especially the self-congratulatory companies in Silicon Valley, manage the relationship between employees and employers.
(Note: AI really struggles with drawing hands!)
1. Most employee and employer relationships are based on a conversation that is essentially a lie where the employee says that they are going to stay there forever and the company says we’re going to treat you like family. Neither one is true.
2. It’s better to think of a business as a sports team than a family.
In the family, you can’t fire somebody, but in a sports team you can. Like a sports team, however, it is to the business's best advantage to develop the players as much as they can, even if they eventually go to different teams.
3. I’m surprised there aren’t more elbow surgeons in Silicon Valley because people must get regular dislocations from patting themselves on the back.
There seems to be so much money sloshing around out there. The hundreds of highly funded ideas that lose millions of dollars a year support a few dozen excellent companies by buying ads and spending on cloud infrastructure. I'll never forget watching an interview with someone and with a straight face he said, "I invented the 'Like Button'" like he had cured cancer. I guess someone did and it wasn't me so.... good on you!
4. They handle the Alliance Problem at Linked In by having a contract that is called a tour of duty.
This is short-term employment for a project that is clearly defined. Of course, the employee could choose to stay on for as many tour of duties as they want is everyone is satisfied with the work, but the benefit of this kind of arrangement is you commit with an end goal for both employer and employee and once that single project is complete, you can renegotiate or part ways.
5. The concept of an alliance means that the employee and employer can have a shared goal for a limited amount of time.
During this alliance they have a committment to each other and the project. This seems to be a really effective way to let people know where they stand.
6. They stress the importance of alumni networks for businesses: similar to universities.
I imagine this would work well with everybody high-fiving each other all day, but in other industries, where parting is not always so great I’m not sure how well this would work , but who knows.
7. They propose an alliance document that would be part of the hiring process.
This would lay out the tour of duty of the employee and mention the alumni network that would be available to them in the future if they decide to leave.
8. In general I think the tour of duty idea is great.
It is like a series of contracts where you can build a relationship. These need to have a well-defined set of tasks up front. The idea is that if everyone is satisfied as one tour ends you can plan on the next one.
9. The PayPal Mafia is more extensive than I realized.
About a dozen people are greatly responsible for 75% of the big companies out of Silicon Valley in the last 20 years, either as founders or investors or both.
10. People tend to overlook the management and business processes innovations but they are just as revolutionary as the technology
Many of these woo-woo business practices are hilariously skewered by HBOs "Silicon Valley," but business all over the world has changed because of how the west coast companies do business. Millions of people read a biography of Steve Jobs and used it a license to become an asshole but he really did "change the world."