Hiring within the tech industry is rife with a series of problems and challenges, talent shortages being one. “Create an opportunity that goes beyond the immediate economics and find candidates with whom that opportunity resonates,” advises Elan Amir, CEO at MeasureOne in this TecHRseries interview.
Catch the excerpts:
Tell us a little about yourself Elan, including your hobbies! What’s a typical day at work like for you as CEO of MeasureOne?
Well, I’m married, I have 2 kids they are 11, and 12 respectively. I was born in the US, but grew up in Israel. I came to the US after serving in the army. I’ve studied Computer Science at UC Berkeley and have been part of the tech segment ever since. My major hobbies include classical piano, kite boarding, mountain biking. I enjoy cooking and spending time with friends and family.
A typical day at MeasureOne usually starts out around 8 a.m. with updates from our India development team. It continues with a 9:30 a.m. management standup during which we discuss the issues of the day. After that call there is often technical and product follow up with our India team. This usually ends around noon, which is well after midnight there. As we are an early stage company, most of the day is spent addressing a combination of product, sales, and operational issues. The day usually ends around 6 p.m., though given the global nature of the team, updates continue through the night.
In your journey so far, what are some of the biggest leadership/team building lessons you’ve learnt?
I think the biggest lesson I’ve adopted is the power of trust and empowerment in building high performing teams. Teams that are trusted and empowered by their leaders perform better and ultimately work better together.
We’d love some of your thoughts on building / scaling sales and marketing teams for technology (product) companies- what are some of your top tips for hiring/building a strong marketing/sales unit?
Technology companies are almost by definition product-driven. Therefore, having a strong product understanding at the leadership level is essential. This extends to sales and marketing. Understanding how product decisions get made, how product roadmaps are developed, how products are developed is essential for building successful sales & marketing teams.
The other key dynamic is that at any given point in time either product is ahead of marketing, or marketing is ahead of product. They are often not in sync. Ensuring that the product is ready for the impact of sales and marketing efforts is as important to ensuring that the organization isn’t under-investing in sales and marketing. Assessing where you are in that cycle informs when and how to scale.
Given your years/expertise being in the tech segment, we’d love to know about some of your most common workplace challenges you’ve faced over the years. How would you advise senior level leaders / HR leaders within the B2B/tech industry to address these same challenges?
A common challenge is getting leaders to understand the product management process. Given that product affects everything, it’s often hard for leaders to let product leaders drive product decision. This can result in a significant source of tension in an organization. My biggest advice would be to hire strong product leaders, and drive a rigorous process that places an emphasis on communication, trust, and empowerment.
What are some of the most common hiring challenges in the tech industry today and what would your top tips be to overcome them?
Probably the hardest dynamic for companies is competing for technical talent with the large companies. The best tip I can provide is to accept the fact that it’s impossible to compete on short-term economics, so you have to create an opportunity that goes beyond the immediate economics and find candidates with whom that opportunity resonates. This often also addresses an important challenge of ensuring that expectations are aligned on both sides.
If you could change 5 (mundane) things about employee practices in tech companies, what would they be?
- Don’t wait to be told what to do – do it.
- Guide and empower your employees rather than supervise and control.
- Encourage questions. It’s a lot worse to not understand something than to get your knowledge reaffirmed.
- Encourage innovation, but focus on execution.
- Prioritize hiring as an integral part of everyone’s job.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft
Your favorite leadership/hiring quote or top team building books you’d suggest every B2B or Tech professional reads in 2020!
I haven’t seen a better document than the original Netflix Culture Presentation, and within it the quote of “Context, not control”
Tell us about some of the top industry events that you’ll be participating in (as a speaker or guest, virtually!)) in 2020!
Unfortunately given the current environment, nothing is planned as of right now! I am scheduled to speak at FiNext in San Francisco, July 30-31.
A few tips for businesses worldwide dealing with the current world pandemic
Of course, employee safety has to come first. Beyond that, survival is the top priority. This means controlling expenses, a focus on the core businesses that are efficient and revenue generating. If profitability is within reach — focus on what it takes to get there. It will take longer and will be more expensive than your model. This is a time to save resources, maintain morale and focus, and live to fight another day when this inevitably passes.
The MeasureOne Platform puts the power of academic data to work for businesses. MeasureOne is the leading API platform for academic data and predictive analytics. Their developer-friendly API eliminates the barriers to integrating academic data into customer applications. MeasureOne is headquartered in San Francisco.
Elan Amir brings a unique combination of management, strategy and technology expertise, leading organizations from start-up to scale. Before joining MeasureOne, Elan served as Chief Product & Technology Officer at SpringboardAuto.com, a SaaS-based auto-finance company serving consumers and financial institutions, and at Prosper Marketplace, a leading marketplace lending company. Prior, Elan served nine years as CEO of Bivio Networks, a cyber-security solutions provider. Elan received his PhD and MS in Computer Science, and a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley.