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How I Did It: Lessons from the Front Lines of Business by Daniel McGinn, Harvard Business Review

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Gilt Groupe’s CEO on Building a Team of A Players

by Kevin Ryan

Kevin Ryan is the founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe.

The Idea

Companies always say employees are their most valuable asset. Kevin Ryan thinks that few of them act accordingly. He believes a CEO’s most important job is managing talent.

When I think about starting a business, my view is that the idea itself is worth between zero and very little. Most new companies already have competitors when they launch—and if they don’t, they soon will. DoubleClick, where I was CEO from 1996 to 2005, had dozens of competitors within a year of its founding. Gilt Groupe wasn’t the first flash sales company, and Google was by no means the first search engine to come along. Why have these businesses ...

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