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Recruiting is a Never-ending Process
A New Generation of Entrepreneurs Gets Growing

Statements made at Netpreneur events and recorded here reflect solely the views of the speakers and have not been reviewed or researched for accuracy or truthfulness. These statements in no way reflect the opinions or beliefs of the Morino Institute, Netpreneur.org or any of their affiliates, agents, officers or directors. The transcript is provided "as is" and your use is at your own risk.  

Copyright 1998 Morino Institute. All rights reserved. Edited for length and clarity.  

(Washington, DC – April 23, 1998) The youngest attendee at today's Coffee & DoughNets, Laura Peterson, age 13, smiled and summed it all up. "I thought it was going to be a little meeting. There were hundreds of people," said the daughter of Dan Peterson, CEO of LiveData, who brought Laura as part of Take Our Daughters to Work Day. "I didn't know there were so many people here who wanted to start a business." she said.

The standing-room only crowd of over 220 persons gathered at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency for the monthly networking session.

After mingling with their netpreneurial colleagues, attendees began the program by contributing news of recent successes, including announcements of new clients and contracts at fledgling ventures like TVontheWeb, Financial Roadshow and Net.Capitol. Lynne Filderman, CEO of D.C. Orbit, gave credit to the Netpreneur Program for helping in her recent success. She met a number of netpreneurs through the Program, six of whom recently joined the D.C. Orbit Web advertising network.

On the same theme, Program staff shared a partial list of stories submitted by netpreneurs, telling how the Netpreneur Program has helped them succeed, including tales of partnerships formed, funding achieved, media coverage and help in finding key executives.

Finding executives and other key employees is exactly what Mario Morino spoke about during the second part of the meeting—the importance of effective recruiting.

"Recruiting is a company's greatest challenge," said Mario. "There shouldn't be a day in your life when you are not hiring."

Through stories, examples and audience interaction, he emphasized the critical importance of finding, recruiting and retaining the people who have the needed skills and who possess a value system consistent with your value set, culture and work ethic.

According to Mario, "The best candidates are happily engaged and not looking! That's who you want." He added, "Make sure that the executives and managers you hire are great recruiters. Whenever you can find a rainmaker who causes things to happen on their own, keep them."

The audience of netpreneurs seemed to relate to Mario's advice and stories. "We were listening and saying, 'Yep, been there, done that, made that mistake'," laughed Vivian Horner of Construction Crew who attended along with her partner Sally Celmer.

Mario's presentation covered an array of practical, real-world situations and suggestions from his years of building a high-tech company. He covered issues like crafting compensation packages, stock options, understanding your recruiting needs and how to quickly assess a candidate. "You want to find people who have done things," stressed Mario, "and thoroughly check them out." A full transcript of the presentation is available at http://netpreneur.org/events/doughnets/recruiting/default.html.

Reflecting on the talk, Gary Arlen of Arlen Communications commented, "So much of what he said, resonated with us."

Arlen is President of Arlen Communications Inc. and a noted commentator in the industry. Arlen Communications is a Bethesda, Maryland-based research and consulting firm known for its insights into the worlds of media, telecommunications and interactive program content..

Arlen will be the moderator for the Netpreneur Program's upcoming An Evening With The Stars of E-commerce (http://netpreneur.org/events/ecommerce) event to be held on June 3, featuring John Backus, President & CEO of Intelidata Technologies Corp.; Bill Gorog, Chairman of the Board of Intelidata and developer of Lexis-Nexis; Jack McDonnell, President & CEO of Transaction Network Services, Inc.; Bill Melton, CEO of CyberCash, Inc.; and Mark Walsh, President & CEO of VerticalNet, Inc.

Affirming Mario's points, Nicholas Abid of Phoenix Systems, recommended a "360 degree approach to performance checks" whereby a candidate's background is checked not only with that person's boss but also with their peers, customers and managers. This means soliciting feedback from numerous customers and suppliers to get a full sense of that person's capabilities.

When asked "What do you do with a marginal employee?" Mario emphasized that it's important to be "absolutely frank" in talking with that employee. "It comes down to honesty and respect."

Summing up the event, Horner of Construction Crew said, "There's kind of an electricity…[and a] wonderful chemistry."

Thirteen-year-old Laura Peterson noticed it, too, but lamented, "There weren't any other kids here."

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