Jan 16, 2018

Thiel on retaining employees

A nice excerpt from this Peter Thiel interview with the Post:

One of the rough rules I had at PayPal was that people were responsible for one primary thing. I wanted to be really clear that the job descriptions for everybody were different, so you would not have this endemic conflict. I think that was very powerful.

You still end up having conflicts in all these startups because the roles are very fluid and things change a lot, but it’s something you want to really avoid. For a lot of these businesses, the most common cause of failure is that they blow up internally when people don’t get along.

An executive once told me she thought that if you had three good friends at your office then you’d never leave. If you had no good friends, you were a very at-risk employee. It’s a really good question: How do you build a company culture where people have strong friendships with at least a few people at work? That’s healthier than having a super professional approach where there’s this low-level chronic dislike everybody has of everybody else, and it somehow functions but people are unhappy — which I think is true of a lot of law firms or investment banks.