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Four Qualities to Look for When Hiring - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
Date: 5/1/2007
Length: 3 minutes
Speaker(s): William A. Sahlman
Sources: Stanford Technology Ventures Program
Description: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, highlights for critical elements to observe in the process of hiring people: 1) Integrity, 2) References, 3) Attitude and 4) Adaptability. He highlights the importance of
seeing through a resume to the core of the person underneath, one way of which is to use your network of contacts to get the back story on an individual.

Other Videos in Series

Challenges of Hiring Good People - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, argues that recruiting good people is hard and while an entrepreneur is bound to make mistakes, fixing those mistakes is critical. Sahlman suggests that interviewing is
difficult because of the impetus to assume the candidate is the right fit, but entrepreneurs must expend extra effort to assure they have the right person or it can cost the whole company. And in the cases where a mistake is made,
entrepreneurs must be ruthless in fixing that mistake quickly. Watch More
Changing the Game - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: After discussing the four key elements of any entrepreneurial venture (people, opportunity, context and deal), William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, argues that the greatest value can be achieved by "changing the
game," that is changing the relationship of the core elements to one another. Sahlman illustrates this strategy with the example of John Osher and the spin toothbrush. To change the game, Osher brought in the most relevant people for the job,
experimented to find a great opportunity, and reshaped the context in which he, his team and his partner operated to quickly capture the new market. Watch More
Characteristics of Entrepreneurs - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, argues that entrepreneurship is not about possessing the right psychological traits, but that it is about a way of managing that is focused on opportunity pursuit, future
orientation and relentless execution regardless of the resources one actually possesses. Sahlman emphasizes that relentless execution is the most important part?there are many ideas but what matters is who most successfully
executes. Watch More
Choose Venture Investors Carefully - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, suggests that when raising money, entrepreneurs should carefully select venture investors based on the quality and value of the partnership not funding terms alone.
Specifically, Sahlman argues that although all VCs claim to be value-added investors, the entrepreneurs job is to find the investors who add rather than subtract value. Watch More
Four Key Elements of an Entrepreneurial Venture - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, talks about the four key elements of an entrepreneurial venture: 1) People, 2) Opportunity, 3) Context and 4) Deal. He illustrates with the example of John Osher who developed
the spin toothbrush. Watch More
Four Qualities to Look for When Hiring - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, highlights for critical elements to observe in the process of hiring people: 1) Integrity, 2) References, 3) Attitude and 4) Adaptability. He highlights the importance of
seeing through a resume to the core of the person underneath, one way of which is to use your network of contacts to get the back story on an individual. Watch More
Managing the Risk / Reward Tradeoff - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, maintains that entrepreneurs must manage the relationship between risk and reward, illustrating his point with the example of John Osher, creator of the very successful spin
toothbrush. Specifically, Sahlman argues that entrepreneurship is fundamentally about decreasing risks and increasing the chances of success?an issue that is fundamentally related to the people in the venture. Watch More
New Ventures Must Adapt - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, observes that almost all entrepreneurs and their ventures must inevitably change and adapt. In all the business plans Salhman has seen, he says that almost every single
business has had to change as they discover their customers, their market, etc. So the key to successful entrepreneurship is anticipating and dealing with change. Watch More
Opportunity Driven Entrepreneurship - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, asserts that entrepreneurship is about being opportunity driven: recognizing opportunity in all types of circumstances. Specifically, being opportunity-driven is about looking
at a bad situation and turning it around to see the opportunity. Watch More
Opportunity Recognition and Leveraging One's Experience - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, provides an example of opportunity recognition by relating the story of how John Osher, the creator of the Spin Pop, leveraged his experience into a new market--spin
toothbrushes. Sahlman highlights how Osher and his team took their experience and applied it in a new setting by proactively searching to identify a gap in the current market that had potential for high profit. Watch More
Teams Are More Important than Individuals - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, asserts that although individuals are important, teams are the central unit of entrepreneurial success. Indeed, Sahlman argues that the reason why many companies succeed is
because of the team, not any particular individual, and so entrepreneurs should think carefully about breaking up teams as well as the effect that replacing an individual has on a team. Watch More
The Best Money Comes from Customers - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, argues that revenue generating business models are the best source of funding and that entrepreneurs should focus on generating income from customers rather than on raising VC
funding. Watch More
Three Factors to Improve Entrepreneurial Success - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, reflects on three things that helped John Osher, the developer of the low-cost spin toothbrush, succeed. Sahlman identifies three factors: 1) Reflecting on your experience to
improve your understanding, 2) Looking at the situation differently to successfully innovate, and 3) Scanning your environment to find new opportunities. Watch More
Three Most Critical Elements of Venture Success: People, Customers and Sales - William A. Sahlman (HBS)
William A. Sahlman
5/1/2007
Summary: William Sahlman, professor at Harvard Business School, states that people, customers, and sales are the critical ingredients of venture success. Specifically, Sahlman states that, 1) having the right people, 2) focusing on
customers rather than technology, and 3) concentrating on sales instead of marketing, are critical elements of corporate health and longevity. Watch More

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