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Ben Casnocha

Ben is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and co-author (with Reid Hoffman) of The Start-Up of You and The Alliance.

Fee Range: $ $20,000 - $30,000

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In his entertaining and informative keynote speech, Ben Casnocha reminds audiences that when companies tell their employees that their business is just like a family – thus expecting some kind of life long commitment from their employees, it’s a thing of the past.

He talks about the way that companies decades ago used to hire and train their new employees creating loyalty and offering real job security. In those days, both employee and employer pledged a career long loyalty to each other. Ben notes that in 1963, a GE executive stated that ‘employee job security is a prime corporate objective’ and then Ben asks his audience, do ANY of you feel like you have security in your job??

He shows a photo of his own family with him as a young boy and says  “it would be unthinkable for my dad to sit me down as a kid and say ‘I’m sorry Ben, there’s no longer a place for you at the Casnocha’s. Your table setting skills are doing nothing to deliver the kind of exceptional customer performance we’re looking for – we’re going to have to let you go but, don’t take it personally, it’s just family!”

He points out that this is one of the fundamental disconnects of modern employment – it’s based on a lie!  However, just as companies play the ‘we’re family’ game, employees are busy looking for the next and better deal.  When companies say ‘we’re a family here’ what they really mean is we know how to treat employees with compassion and respect, but the idea of an employment guarantee is much more rare today than ever before.

In our current competitive and dynamic global economy, companies have become more flexible (meaning they can fire employees whenever they need to) and as a result, career long loyalty is a thing of the past. As such, employers have gravitated to more of a free agent approach with their employees.

As a result of this free agent approach, both companies and employees have minimized their relationship. The trust that was so important to doing great work has been supplanted with flexibility on both sides – the employer can easily lay people off and the employee can easily take the training they’ve gained and use it to increase their own value elsewhere at a new job.

How then do companies preserve the trust of their employees (as in the ‘we’re  a family model), yet still maintain the flexibility they need to survive the fast shifting global economy (the free agent model).?

How can large projects that require years of innovation and dedication really happen in an atmosphere where an employee knows their value can change daily and an employer knows their talent can leave for a better deal at any time???

How do you recruit, manage and retain an entrepreneurial employee??

These are the questions that Ben Casnocha tackles in his work and in his fascinating keynote speech.

Ben discusses the hypothesis he created with his co -author and Linked-in founder Reid Hoffman in his book The Alliance where he makes the case to stop treating employees like family members and  stop treating them as free agents but rather, see them as allies.  In an alliance, both sides are investing in each other for mutual benefit.  In Ben’s equation, mutual trust plus mutual investment equals mutual benefit.  It’s a new compact based less on loyalty and more on mutual benefit.  In this way, companies make and help build entrepreneurs and those new entrepreneurs strengthen companies.

Ben Casnocha Isn’t a full-time keynote speaker – he works at a desk and runs companies and teams, but his goal is the same wherever he goes; he just strives to impact others.


Ben Casnocha's Programs

The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Network 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 you 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.


Ben Casnocha's Books