How do you hire and retain top talent? What do you do when the economy turns south and shrinks your market? How do you share power with a charismatic company founder—and effectively tell a company’s story to Wall Street?
These were just a few of the high-level leadership topics addressed by an all-star lineup of technology-industry CEOs at Battery’s third annual Leadership Summit in San Francisco Nov. 2. A crowd of nearly 160 CEOs, founders and other top executives heard insights from speakers including Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn; Glenn Kelman from Redfin; Rob Bernshteyn from Coupa*; Hilary Schneider, formerly of Lifelock; and Tom Reilly from Cloudera.
All discussions took place in one-on-one interview formats, with Battery general partners Roger Lee and Dharmesh Thakker asking most of the questions. Several common themes emerged from all the speakers, including the importance of moving quickly to replace top executives who are no longer suited to their roles. Often, CEOs wait too long to do this, and their businesses suffer, several speakers said. LinkedIn CEO Weiner has written about this topic previously, comparing the situation to a baseball manager leaving his pitcher in the game too long.
Another topic was resilience, and the importance of persevering even when investors don’t initially understand your business model, or you’re battling entrenched incumbents, or the market turns south and temporarily lowers demand for your product. Finally, several speakers touched on the issue of diversity, saying that making an effort to include more women and minorities in leadership roles and on boards simply makes good business sense, and can often be a competitive advantage. Kelman, the CEO of online real-estate brokerage Redfin, has written about how implementing new policies that are considered family-friendly actually improved business results at his company.
Nasdaq also live-streamed interviews with speakers and select attendees via its Facebook page; the interviews can be found on the Battery Ventures playlist here.
Below are some photos from the event, which was held at the Bently Reserve.