Should you hire experts or train new people? (Japan Business Vlog – Part 3 of 3)

When should you hire someone with experience versus someone who is new to the industry? In this marketing vlog, Eric Siu shares some of his top hiring advice for startups while on a Japan business vacation. These management techniques for entrepreneurs will help you figure out how to give performance feedback especially when you are hiring someone with domain expertise. It's sometimes hard to change someone with lots of experience or to give critical feedback when performance is down. But when you're trying to figure out how to grow your business, it's also important to have people with domain expertise on your team. In this entrepreneur travel vlog, you'll learn how Eric Siu runs his marketing agency as well as some of the best places to visit in Takayama Japan.


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Full Transcript of The Video

Speaker 1: Check it out, it's snowing.
As I walk and hopefully not fall, I want to talk a little bit about ... Oh, I almost slipped. Maybe I'm not wearing the right kind of shoes. Anyway, I wanna talk about the importance of domain expertise, when you're supposed to let someone fail. The thing is sometimes there's a healthy balance like there is anything with life. So here's an example. Let's say you hire someone and then you want them to fail and learn fast, really quickly, but the issue is if they don't have domain expertise and then they fail, it could be a really expensive kind of mistake. So it's important sometimes to have a healthy balance between should you hire someone with a lot of experience because if they have too much experience, then they're really rigid with their ways of thinking versus someone that is kind of new, no domain expertise, they're very open minded to try new things?
At the same time, the mistake we made in the past was you hire someone with no domain expertise and you ... They're a smart person, you let them figure it out. You know it could be a six or seven figure kind of mistake. So I think it's really important to think about that as you grow your business. Then if they're a smart person, sometimes it's okay if you want to reign it in, and say, "Hey, like we gave you a shot at it already. You were given specific goals to hit and you didn't hit those goals." When you say like, "Hey, why don't we move the goal post and why don't I come in and help you cause I have the domain expertise?" You've got to give them the buy in, of course, too, 'cause obviously, sometimes they've already been doing what they've been doing for a while, and they almost feel like they're getting demoted. So there's a healthy balance there.
My point here is if you're going to hire a VP, for example, they should have some kind of domain expertise. This is why you have a VP of Sales, or a VP of Finance, VP of Recruiting, because they have a background in that. If you hire someone with no experience there, they're going to start manage by the numbers, which means its very similar to how like an outside CEO is hired to a company like General Electric, for example. Let's take Jack Welch. Jack Welch was hired. He did really well in terms of short term profits for GE, but if you look at their longterm profits, like innovation and things like that, it dropped down because he was just managing by the numbers, right? Same thing with John Sculley when he came into Apple from Steve Jobs, former CEO of Pepsi. Trying not to fall on the black ice here.
Keep that in mind. John Sculley, I was talking to a former employee of Apple over here in Japan, and he said he got there when John Sculley was cleaning up a lot of stuff. He cleaned up a lot of the issues, operational, things like that, but when it came to innovation afterwards, they burned through a ton of CEOs and innovation dropped out because the visionary dropped out. So it's really important, too, when you hire someone with domain expertise, they can help you grow the business, because they can think in terms of the experience that they have. That's all I have to say about that. I think its really important, 'cause I made these mistakes a couple of times, and sometimes we need to pull things back and make adjustments. So yeah, let me know what you think in the comments.
I forgot to mention were we were. This is Takayama. It's right before the gates into the Japanese Alps. It's a good change up from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. It's a good place to relax. They have onsens up here. Onsens are the baths, very traditional, and then the ryokans ... I can't even pronounce it. Those are the traditional Japanese inns. It's pretty cool to see a preserved Japanese town like this. It's a good change-up.
I noticed there's nobody on this street. It's cold, but it's okay. I'm doing this to bring you a little value on how Takayama looks. Pretty cool.
I wanna talk about why traveling helps grow your business, ultimately. Even things like this, I noticed that one ramen shop today and then a Chinese restaurant yesterday ran by Japanese people. At lunch today during ramen, the guy took a picture of me, shook my hand, gave me his card, asked where I was from, and it was really personable and personal as well, and gave me a discount, too. That kind of stuff in the service business or any kind of business at all, that's customer success or customer relationships, whatever you wanna call it.
When you have that level of personal touch, it's almost like a friendship. Then yesterday when I was eating dinner, it was run by a husband and wife, just two people that are cooking. They run the shop. That shop's been around for 50 years. In the background, there's pictures of their guests and then different postcards, things like that. So there's a lot of history behind the restaurant. They took good care of me. They recommended what to eat. They gave me extra food, talked to me in English, asked where I was from. Then the other thing is, also, at the end when I walked out, she offered to give me an umbrella. I said, "No, it's okay." Well then she reaches out, shakes my hand, and as she grabs my had, she takes out a chocolate bar, and it's her favorite Japanese chocolate bar, and she gives me one. That's really memorable.
Even that kind of stuff, it teaches you ... Let's say my marketing agency, it teaches you, for myself, it's like, "Okay, how do I do the same thing? How can I take the perspective that I get from here and then integrate that into what I'm doing as a business or a [inaudible 00:05:47] company or whatever it is exactly? There's a lot of learnings you get when you're traveling. I talked about, in another video, about the efficiencies of the Japanese. The subway is the best in the world. I think the system's the best in the world. It's very efficient. You know what you're gonna get out of it. It's way better than what I've seen with New York. That's perspective, too. They do everything in a very optimized way.
Just some food for thought. [inaudible 00:06:12] your thoughts in the comments. If you enjoy videos like this, wanna grow your business, subscribe and see you in the next one.

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