Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve
Co-founder & CEO @ Alan
12 mai 2020Jean-Charles' Newsletters

Jean-Charles' newsletter: n°19

Chaque semaine, je partage quelques articles que j’ai trouvés particulièrement enrichissants. J’espère qu’ils vous aideront autant qu’ils m’ont aidé.

Template 19

Au programme de la semaine, Uber annonce ses premiers résultats post-Covid, des conseils sur comment planifier et organiser des licenciements avec l’exemple récent d’Airbnb et l’importance de la sécurité des données de santé.

Certains articles sont en français, la plupart sont en anglais (je copie certaines citations en anglais). Ils ne sont pas tous récents et vont au rythme de mes lectures.

Bonne lecture !

Si vous aimez, vous pouvez vous inscrire, partager (par email ou le blogpost) ou encore me suivre sur Twitter.

📱Monde des technologies

👉Uber a annoncé les résultats de son Q1, tirés par Uber Eats (CNBC) :

  • In Q1, rides revenue rose just 2% while Eats revenue rose 53%.
  • In April, rides bookings shrank 80% while Eats bookings exploded 90%.
  • Uber is investing in Lime (cuts the startup’s value by 80%) and Uber is laying off Uber Jump’s 400-plus employees in the process.
  • Uber laid off 3700 people last week (14% of its corporate employees).

🏯 Construire une entreprise

👉Reid Hoffman (Linked-in) sur comment gérer la crise (Master of Scale Podcast) :

Make decisions in the dark :

  • “Well we know that the market's changing. We know the competition is changing. We know the investment market's changing. We know the hiring market's changing,” – which normally you try to simplify to a small number of variables in developing a new product service all go in flux and make it very confusing. And this is general, not just with pandemics, which then of course add the humanity factor, which adds even more variables into this.
  • So what happens is all of those go into more flux and you have to monitor and make guesses and take kind of shots in the dark. Like another metaphor I frequently use for startups is you're running over uneven ground in a minefield, in the fog, and you have to make those decisions in that where you have very faint and weak signals as you're making decisions in order to make decisive decisions at speed, because you have a limited clock in order to make it work. Now all those come into play. It's the same set of variables, but now with much more uncertainty and hard to lock down.

Use the crisis for making long-term better things:

  • Now can we make it easier and better and more inclusive by using this current crisis to do good things that are part of how we should function next year and the year after. How do we make that better for that?

👉Préparer et organiser un licenciement (a16z). D’excellents conseils sur comment mener ces discussions très difficiles qu’aucun leader n’a envie de prendre.

The duty of leaders:

  • Laying your employees off is one of the hardest things you do as a leader. (...) You think you have it tough, but they have it far tougher.
  • Your duty as a leader is to do everything in your power to give them as many resources as you can and offer them the most dignified exit possible.

Consider alternatives:

  • You’ve already done everything possible to avoid a layoff and you’ve gone through the difficult process of figuring out what roles to eliminate. (I say what roles, not who, because that’s how you should be thinking about this. It’s not a person by person decision, it’s a role by role decision.)
  • Consider a furlough (leave of absence): (...) you may be able to put employees on furlough for three to six to 12 months where their salary (and potentially vesting) stops, but benefits continue. This gives the company time to stabilize finances (...) and/or allow the impacted employee ample time to find a new job while dramatically reducing the costs to the employer.

Some important rules:

  • Think about severance: Be consistent in your severance policy. (...) Offering less than two weeks severance pay is outside the norm, as is offering more than eight weeks.
  • Do it once: If you’ve never conducted a layoff, your first instinct is to lay off as few people as possible. But anyone who has ever done layoffs as a company-saving measure will tell you they wish they had cut deeper. If you’re going to take on the massive emotional and cultural impact of letting people go, be sure to create sufficient savings so you and the remaining team have the cash required to get through to the other side of the crisis and survive. Doing multiple rounds of layoffs demoralizes your team and erodes any trust and confidence they have in you.
  • Are you notifying them or are they leaving that day: (...) I recommend the date of notification be the last day the employee has access to most workplace resources including offices, laptop, email, and badge. (...) While it can sound jarring to say “and today is your last day,” it’s generally better for people because it makes it clear that there is a new normal and it starts right now.

Company communication is critical:

  • You as the CEO need to own the messaging around this. (...) You now need to be the one to own the communication around layoffs and take responsibility for what is happening.
  • As soon as you begin notifications, word of layoffs will travel quickly, so try to complete every conversation as quickly as you can. (...) Avoid one-to-many notifications and try to notify people as privately as possible. It does not matter how many notifications you need to do, it is possible to do them all individually.
  • Assume whatever email you send will be read by those leaving the business and potentially the general public. This should be a previously prepared email explaining the change, the reason for the change, and deep appreciation for the outgoing employees’ contributions. In the email you should also announce an all-hands for later that day (ideally) or early the following day so they know they will have an interactive opportunity to hear from you.

How to actually tell someone they are being laid off:

  • Schedule with common sense: The communication with the impacted employee should include at least two company representatives, ideally one of whom is a trained HR professional, to avoid he-said/she-said scenarios and to maximize legal protections.
  • Be cognizant that sending a calendar invite to an employee for a 20-minute discussion with a manager and HR representative is not very subtle, so don’t do that.
  • Be prepared: It’s very smart to have a script prepared in front of you. (...) you need to rehearse this. And do not stray far from your script. Do not let a thoughtful and compassionate plan be ruined with bad delivery.
  • Less is more: Avoid the small talk with whomever is joining the call. You just get to the point, “I have some news to share with you. The leadership team and I have had to make some difficult decisions in order to try and save our business, and as a part of that, we are eliminating your role at the company and you are being laid off.” I’ve always found you literally need to deliver the news twice (in this case, saying “eliminating your role” and “you are being laid off”) because many recipients quickly enter a state of shock or dismay.
  • And then you just wait. The person needs a moment to process. It might be an awkward silence. That’s okay. They may be upset. They may be embarrassed. They may be angry. It may be all of those things at once. But let them process
  • You can say, “I know this is a lot. I’m going to be sending you a document that outlines specifically what we will be doing as a part of your exit package and providing additional information and resources for you as soon as we get off the line.”
  • I would suggest not offering to walk through all the questions as they will have a TON of questions.
  • If the question is on another aspect (How many people impacted? What if I work harder? Can I take a pay cut?) or is just venting, the right thing to do is listen and acknowledge them. It is not appropriate to share whom else was impacted on the team. Stick to the script, repeat the talking points, and listen.
  • You aren’t there to have your mind changed, you aren’t creating wiggle room or giving false hope. You are there to deliver information as clearly, and compassionately, as possible.
  • Be a leader. Demonstrate empathy, be a listener, but stand behind the company’s decisions. If you are doing the notification, but you didn’t make the decision, you cannot say you are “just the messenger.”
  • Make it clear what the transition is for them, literally. “As of today, you are no longer required to come to work or do work, and your access to email and company resources will be restricted.

The don’ts:

  • Do not make this about you. Do not, at any time, tell them how hard it is for you to give them this news, or how agonizing it was to make this plan.
  • Do not make jokes or be lighthearted. (...) Even if it’s an awkward silence. Just be quiet and listen. Leave room for the person to process the news.
  • Do not tell them they will be fine. Do not tell them they will find a better job. You don’t know if that is true.
  • Do not blame others. Do not blame the virus. Do not blame the market. Do not blame your board or investors. Just own it.
  • Do not ask them “Are you okay?” because that phrasing is about making you feel better for delivering terrible news and has nothing to do with you supporting the employee.

👉Comment être défensif et offensif pendant la récession (Elad Gil) :

The shock:

  • China data does not lend much comfort to a fast recovery. Production is down 10% and consumer demand is down 30%, despite China "unlocking".
  • Economic shocks and cascades: It usually takes 3 to 6 months for an economic shock to wend its way through the economy.

Large enterprises:

  • It should take a large enterprise 3-6 months to move to remote work, understand its financial situation, plan a layoff and buying freeze, and execute it. Given that we are only a month or two into COVID, much of the damage is yet to come.
  • More large enterprises will take the following actions:
  1. Slow or freeze purchasing
  2. Renegotiate prices or contracts & backend payments
  3. Freeze hiring or do layoffs
  4. Divest assets or divisions
  5. Some will also be aggressive and start doing more M&A or market consolidation

Defensive moves:

  • You need to figure out how to get to 2 to 3 years of cash. 3 is optimal.
  • Remember that getting profitable gives you more options than not. The lower your burn, the higher your leverage all else being equal.
  • Understand which customers are at risk, and which should be embraced. If you sell to enterprises, go through your customer list.
  • Which customers also seem to be accelerating or doing better in this time? You may want to spend more time with them or focus your sales efforts on upselling your most stable customers or getting your product prepaid.
  • You may also want to cut marketing or inside sales to verticals that are likely to churn and reallocate spend to verticals that will be stable or grow.
  • Cut deeper than you ever think you will need to. It is much worse to do multiple sequential layoffs than a single deep cut. Culture. Financial stability of the company. Explain cash position, customers, and how the company is going to bridge the COVID-19 recession.

Offensive moves:

  • There is an old saying to "never waste a good recession".
  • Reposition your company and grow faster. A number of companies are actually doing better due to COVID. Reposition your company's marketing materials and narrative towards cost-cutting, remote collaboration, outsourcing, or other topical areas.
  • Hire great people. Great people are coming onto the market due to layoffs, company shut downs (should see more of those in 6-12 months) and just general feelings of instability.
  • M&A time! In the next year or two there will be a lot of opportunities to either buy other companies and grow into new areas, or to exit
  • Build your moat, build your infrastructure. The next few months may be a good time to focus on the moats you can build around your business.

👉Le message de Brian Chesky pour annoncer le licenciement de 25% des salariés d’Airbnb (Airbnb). Le post est intéressant pour comprendre comment ils l’annoncent mais aussi le virage stratégique d’Airbnb qui se reconcentre sur moins d’activités.

  • Because of this, we need to make more fundamental changes to Airbnb by reducing the size of our workforce around a more focused business strategy.
  • But people will also yearn for something that feels like it’s been taken away from them — human connection.
  • This crisis has sharpened our focus to get back to our roots, back to the basics, back to what is truly special about Airbnb — everyday people who host their homes and offer experiences.
  • Our process started with creating a more focused business strategy built on a sustainable cost model. We assessed how each team mapped to our new strategy, and we determined the size and shape of each team going forward. We then did a comprehensive review of every team member and made decisions based on critical skills, and how well those skills matched our future business needs.
  • Alumni Placement Team — For the remainder of 2020, a significant portion of Airbnb Recruiting will become an Alumni Placement Team. Recruiters that are staying with Airbnb will provide support to departing employees to help them find their next job.

🏥 Santé

👉L’importance de la sécurité en santé (Fierce Healthcare) :

  • Over 41 million patient records were breached in 2019, with a single hacking incident affecting close to 21 million records.
  • It appears hacking incidents, particularly ransomware incidents, are on the rise—hacking was the cause of 58% of the total number of breaches in 2019, impacting 36.9 million patient records Staff members inside healthcare organizations were responsible for breaching 3.8 million patient records in 2019, up from 2.8 million records in 2018.
  • As one example, the report highlighted an incident where a nurse is suspected of gaining access to patient information and providing the data to a third-party for fraudulent purposes.
  • Phishing attacks also continue to plague healthcare.

📚 Livres & vidéos

👉L’excellent “The Last Dance” sur l’histoire des Chicago Bulls : comment partir de rien et construire la meilleure équipe de tous les temps.

💚 Les publications d’Alan et sur Alan

👉La crise du Covid-19 est une occasion de transformer positivement le système de santé (blog Alan). Ces dernières semaines, j’ai pris le temps de rédiger un manifeste pour détailler certains learnings de la crise, mais surtout les opportunités qui nous attendent.

La crème des articles alan

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