Ben Casnocha


Ben Casnocha

Entrepreneur | Co-Author of The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age

Ben Casnocha is an award-winning entrepreneur and author from Silicon Valley. BusinessWeek named him”one of America’s top young entrepreneurs,” while PoliticsOnline called him one of the “25 most influential people in the world of internet and politics.” The co-author of both the #1 New York Times bestselling book The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, and the newly released title, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age,  Casnocha speaks about entrepreneurship and the future of work, and empowers all who hear him to take control of their professional trajectory.

Casnocha is a technology entrepreneur who founded Comcate, Inc., a leading e-government software company, when he was just 14 years old. He also incubates and advises internet entrepreneurs at Wasabi Ventures. He recently served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman at LinkedIn.

He has written for Newsweek, the American Enterprise Institute, NPR’s “Marketplace” and the U.S. State Department, and dozens of media outlets have covered his work including CNN, Charlie Rose, and The Economist. Human Resources magazine named him one of the top trendsetters in the talent industry for the year 2015 and BusinessWeek named him “one of America’s top young entrepreneurs.”

Casnocha’s book, The Start-Up of You, is co-authored with Linkedin founder and chairman Reid Hoffman, while The Alliance is co-authored with Hoffman and Chris Yeh, and based on their Harvard Business Review article, “Tours of Duty: The New Employer-Employee Compact.”

An accomplished traveler and speaker, Casnocha has addressed thousands of people around the world.

The Alliance: How to Manage Talent in the Networked Age

The employer-employee relationship is broken. Managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: You can’t afford to offer lifetime employment. But you can’t build a lasting, innovative business when everyone acts like a free agent. The solution: Stop thinking of employees as family or free agents and start thinking of them as allies on a tour of duty.

Based on Ben’s recent New York Times bestselling book with Reid Hoffman, founder/chairman of LinkedIn, in this keynote he explains how to recruit, manage, and retain the entrepreneurial employees your business needs to succeed in the networked age. You’ll learn:

  • What all innovative companies do with their best employees.
  • Why it’s possible to rebuild trust and loyalty with your employees even though you can’t guarantee lifetime employment.
  • How to manage employees who seek constant career growth by defining unique “tours of duty.”
  • Why it pays to empower your employees to build their personal brands and expand their professional networks.
  • How to develop an employee value proposition that resonates with millennials.

Through keynotes and interactive workshops, this is the management and business framework that will help your company generate Silicon Valley-style innovation, delivered by one of the field’s most engaging speakers.

The Start-Up of You: Transform Your Work and Career with Entrepreneurial Thinking

The career escalator is jammed at every level. Unemployment rates are high. Creative disruption is shaking every industry. Global competition for jobs is fierce. The employer-employee pact is over and traditional job security is a thing of the past.

In a keynote based on his #1 New York Times bestselling book, Ben presents a blueprint for how to thrive in this new economic landscape. The key: learn to think and act like an entrepreneur. In other words, move up that jammed escalator by running your career like it’s a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.

You don’t need to start your own business, but you do need to adopt the mindset and learn the skill set of entrepreneurs.

Why? Start-ups—and the entrepreneurs who run them—are nimble. They invest in themselves. They build their professional networks. They take intelligent risks. They make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage. These are the very same skills professionals need to get ahead in today’s fractured world of work.

In this keynote, you will learn the Silicon Valley strategies that can jump-start your career. This is a bold presentation on thriving in a world where every professional must be the entrepreneur of his or her own life.

Millenials at Work: Crossing the Generational Divide

Today, four generations are in the same workplace at the same time. This is unprecedented. And it introduces a host of challenges and opportunities. You can’t manage millenials the way you were managed. To bring out the best of your millennial employees, and to create a corporate culture where all generations can effectively work with each other, you need to rethink every aspect of how you recruit, manage, and retain employees.

Ben’s background makes him uniquely qualified to deliver this entertaining keynote: as “one of America’s top young entrepreneurs” according to BusinessWeek he speaks credibly on his own generational dynamics while also drawing upon his leading corporate experience.

LinkedIn and the Networked Age: What It Means and Where It’s Going

We live and work in the networked age—the social networking era is just getting started. Ben argues that “network literacy” is the new type of literacy that counts. He explains the hidden power of LinkedIn and other social media, but more importantly, provides a sophisticated perspective on how people networks shape everything we think and do—and how to leverage those networks to solve important business and career challenges.

He’s not another generic “social media guru.” Ben spent two years at LinkedIn in the Office of the Chairman and was named one of the “25 most influential people in the world of internet and politics” by PoliticsOnline.

Crafting Transformational Tours of Duty

Manager Workshop

THE EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP IS BROKEN, leaving managers with a seemingly impossible dilemma: you can’t afford to treat employees like family (which they never were). But you can’t build a lasting, innovative business when every employee acts like a free agent.

The answer (elaborated in The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age) is to stop thinking of employees as either family or free agents and start thinking of them as allies.

An alliance is a two-way relationship that lets company and employee work together toward common goals, even when some of their interests differ. The paradox is that recognizing an employee’s independence is what allows a company to rebuild the loyalty and trust that’s missing in today’s employment relationship. More important, by offering employees the opportunity to transform their careers, companies can attract and retain the entrepreneurial talent they need to drive innovation.

The Transformational Tour of Duty is a way of choreographing the progressive levels of commitment in an alliance. A Transformational Tour of Duty represents a commitment by the employer and employee to a specific mission of finite duration that, if completed, transforms the company and the employee’s career.

Everyone commits in smaller steps and, as with any kind of meaningful relationship, the relationship deepens as each side proves themselves to each other.

By recasting careers at your company as a series of successive tours, you can better attract and engage entrepreneurial employees. When recruiting top talent, offering a clear Transformational Tours of Duty with specific benefits and success outcomes beats vague promises like “you’ll get valuable experience.” It lets you point to concrete ways that it will enhance the employee’s personal brand—while he’s at the company and if and when he works elsewhere—by integrating a specific mission, picking up real skills, building new relationships, and so on.

OUTCOME: Managers will learn how to better engage their most talented team members.

This interactive workshop, and subsequent coaching sessions, teaches managers how to craft a Transformational Tour of Duty with the talented employees on their team. Going forward, managers will know how to better attract, manage, and retain talented employees. Exercises and activities will teach attendees to:

  • Lead high quality, honest career conversations with an employee
  • Elicit the employee’s genuine career values and aspirations
  • Define alignment between the employee’s career and the company
  • Craft a draft Transformational Tour of Duty for the employee with a clear mission objective and time horizon
  • Work through difficult conversations

Network Intel: Innovate by Tapping Employee Networks

Manager Workshop

THINK OF EACH EMPLOYEE AS AN individual scout picking up data from the outside world—from articles, books, and classes, but most important, from other friends inside and outside the industry…

It is the manager’s job to recognize and encourage the power of each of these scouts.

A more networked workforce generates more valuable intelligence, and when your employees share what they learn from their networks back into your company, they help solve its key business challenges. (Explained further in The Alliance: Managing Talent in a Networked Age.)

The most powerful sources of information at a company’s disposal are the professional networks of its employees. They act as both a source and a filter for new information and provide access to “hidden data”—knowledge that isn’t publicly available.

An employee’s professional network is also one of the key assets that can boost his long-term career prospects. As part of the alliance, the employee ought to tap his or her own network to advance their employee’s business, because who one knows can be just as valuable to the company as what one knows in terms of skills. The company in turn helps to grow and strengthen the employee’s network. Proactively investing in your employees’ networks is also a powerful recruitment and retention tool.

The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competition, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd, is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” —Bill Gates

OUTCOME: Managers will learn how to coach their employees to leverage their profession networks to help solve key business challenges and to innovate.

This interactive workshop and subsequent coaching sessions teach managers the fundamentals of network intelligence, as well as how to create smart policies that encourage their employees to engage their networks, including social media. This is a key strategy to attract, manage, and retain talented employees. Exercises and activities will teach attendees to:

  • Identify key business challenges that could be solved through employee networks
  • Find potential hires by using network intelligence.
  • Expand professional networks by identifying individuals to connect with
  • Tactfully make and request introductions through your network
  • Encourage employees to share the competitive insights they learn via their networks