When Should an Employer Ask an Employee to Quit?

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Companies spend a lot of time talking about retention strategies for good reason. High turnover is extremely expensive. The total cost to the organization for each employee who leaves can quickly reach between 100 and 300 percent of an employee’s salary.

On the flip side, we talk often about how and when to fire an employee. Likewise on the employee side, we talk about when it’s time for an employee to quit.

Yet, we don’t talk about the fourth option: When should an employer ask an employee to quit?

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Breast Cancer Nearly Took My Life. Instead, it Made Me a Better CEO.

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Here’s How.


On September 5, 2015 I discovered a tumor in my left armpit. Two days later, I was diagnosed with Stage II HER2 Positive Breast Cancer. I was 41.

I was also the founder and CEO of a tech startup that was less than two years old.

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You Probably Shouldn’t Be CEO of Your Startup. Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Find Out.

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Too often, I speak with founder-CEOs who have fallen out of love with their business, or whose business has fallen out of love with them. Yet they continue as CEO.

Why? Because it’s hard to look inward.

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What If God Were An App?

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A playful way to look at what apps/startups need to do to thrive in the next business cycle. Based on a talk I gave this April at Industry: The Product Conference in Dublin. (Note: this is not religious, but meant to be a fun, perhaps useful, thought exercise.)


Last fall I was remembering my college days as a Badger at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In particular, I was remembering my Philosophy 101 class. In this class we were studying enlightenment philosophers such a David Hume, George Berkeley, and John Locke. They were attempting to solve a big problem of the day: proving or disproving the existence of the Judeo-Christian God through logic. As I recall (and it’s a bit hazy, it was college after all), they converged on four distinct qualities of God.

At the time I was enjoying this memory, I was going through a product roadmap process and helping put together Varo’s Series B fundraising pitch. The college memory and the work situation intertwined in my mind. This led to a little epiphany, namely–those same qualities that God must have (according to those philosophers) are the same qualities that a startup must possess in this coming business cycle. Behold, a new product management framework!

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The Principles of Post-Advertising

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If brands and advertising have become less useful as tools to both companies and consumers, how can businesses grow?

Five factors are changing the types of products that succeed today and how they engage with their audiences.

Marketing has become an arms race that’s led to hollow value and stifled innovation. Bad products with lots of media muscle can steamroll good ones with less resources. The competition of overcrowded categories creates brands trying to outspend each other with ads that grow increasingly detached from reality.

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Are We Dumb Terminals?

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The social architecture of our relationship with data is broken. But we’ve overcome this problem before. We should do it again.

(cross posted from Searchblog)


God, “innovation.” First banalized by undereducated entrepreneurs in the oughts, then ground to pablum by corporate grammarians over the past decade, “innovation” — at least when applied to business — deserves an unheralded etymological death.

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Beware Of Loneliness as You Manage and Lead

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Loneliness is a powerful shadow that clouds our judgment.

By John O’Sullivan and Michael VanBruaene


It’s common for managers and leaders to feel alone. When we make decisions, particularly those for which there is no easy answer and the outcome is uncertain, we gather information, discuss the issue with colleagues and weigh alternatives. And depending on the nature of the decision we may have to be alone with our thoughts to make the decision. However, feeling lonely is different than being alone. When we experience loneliness there can be harmful repercussions to our organizations. Loneliness is a signal that it’s time for introspection.

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The Resurgence of Corporate Venture Capital

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Photo by Jimi Filipovski via Unsplash

Is the current penchant for CVC just the usual part of the cycle?

I spent a fascinating couple of days at James Mawson’s Global Corporate Venture Capital conference in London this week. Venture capital of all hues is booming. I wrote about it in this week’s issue of my newsletter Exponential View. You can read my thoughts below. For more, subscribe to Exponential View, it’s free and you’ll find it useful.

Last year, $163bn was invested into founders globally, compared to a $25–56bn range in the 10-year period to 2013. Corporate venture capital (CVC), whereby large firms invest in interesting startups, is on an upswing. CVC, traditionally a second-tier option for enterpreneurs, now represents about 18% of all venture deals globally and about a third of all dollars invested in venture. CVC of 2017 is bigger than the entire VC industry of 2013.How do you make sense of it?

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Can Mission Trump Earnings?

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Bill Anderson, CEO of Genetech, on the role of the corporation in the competitive, cutthroat business of drug discovery


While much of this year’s Shift Forum focused on the ever-expanding intersection of technology and politics, investigating the shifting role of business in society also requires we talk about established businesses, in particular those who might teach us lessons we can apply to today’s most pressing issues. In the interview below, the New York Times’ Corner Office columnist David Gelles speaks with Bill Anderson, CEO of life sciences giant Genentech.

John Battelle: We’re here. We’re in San Francisco. We’re in the Valley. We’re in the center of technology. Yes, we’ve heard from a lot of people in tech.

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Do You Have The Essential Credibility To Successfully Lead And Manage?

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Key behaviors for establishing your credibility.

By Michael VanBruaene and John O’Sullivan

Credibility is a key factor in your success as a manager and leader. If you’re not credible, you won’t be respected, making it impossible to achieve your potential as an effective manager, and leader. Be aware — daily — of how your behavior affects your co-workers and others who are relevant to your work. Be deliberate and strategic in choosing your behavior.

This article is devoted to four essential management and leadership behaviors. You should consciously engage in these behaviors every day to build and sustain your credibility. They are:

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