Thursday, June 2, 2011

Flip videocam founder Jonathan Kaplan on how to deal with hiring mistakes at a startup

From David Pogue's blog, noting comments of Pure Digital (inventor of the Flip videocamera, bought and subsequently retired by Cisco) founder Jonathan Kaplan at Pogue's Columbia Business School course:

If you hire someone bad, fire them immediately and give them a big severance package so they feel good about you. We gave our workers four to six months’ severance, even if they’d worked only four months. You might think that’s crazy. But it was our mistake to hire that person. And it’s not that much money, really.

Interesting advice. At a startup, every employee is crucial. There's no place to hide someone who's not working out. It's terrible to fire people, especially when it was your mistake to bring them on in the first place. Kaplan says, pay them generously and move on. I like it.

NB: Kaplan is opening a grilled cheese chain, The Melt, in the summer of 2011. If it ends up anywhere near us, my son George and I will be there.

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