Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Talent scouts

If it's Wednesday, it must be.....London.  And it is !  Am still here, though, aside from a wonderful dinner with an ex, Saif, last night, I spent the entire yesterday in our Grosvenor Square hotel with my biz partner interviewing candidates for editor in chief of our sports media business.  If you've been recruiting senior leaders lately, you know that this recession, particularly in the media world, freed up a high level of editorial talent.  This is especially true in London, where major newspapers have been trading hands lately and new owners have, in many cases, gone after the big salaried editors in order to cut costs.  I heard of one instance where every member of the content team for a particular daily earning over "x" amount was simply dismissed, regardless of value to the enterprise.

Well, their loss is our potential gain, of course.  And we have been amazed at the level of journalists we have been able to meet this week.  Impressive, accomplished men, willing to relocate themselves and their families to the UAE.  Exciting prospects.

We have to get this one right, of course.  One chance to launch a distinctive product, and this is one of the 'bet the company' moments that senior business leaders at most companies avoid facing at all costs. Most business decisions are crafted, in fact, to making 'bet the company' decisions unwise and unnecessary.  In content-driven media businesses, where creative talent/editors in chief are the make or break factors, a bad hiring decision can cripple or destroy business prospects for the brand.  I have been involved in a few launches that got off to a bad start content-wise and survived.  But the costs of recovery were steep.

We're going to be on a hiring binge these next few weeks.  The good news about that is that there is no time to agonize.  Helps focus the mind......

Luckily for us, the London weather has been unusually fine----no rain and sunny blue skies for two days running.  Keeping our spirits and energies up.  Still can't shake my head cold, though......

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