With the second season of my podcast Office Hours, we expanded our guest list to include leaders from a variety of industries and walks of life.
I was fortunate enough to have Bill Gurley in our boardroom for 10 years. Bill led Zillow’s Series A funding round way back in 2006 when we were just a PowerPoint deck and a couple of Expedia alums trying to revolutionize real estate. Dubbed theworld’s top venture capitalist, Bill’s backed some of today’s most transformative companies, from Twitter and Snapchat to OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Uber and Glassdoor.
It’s no surprise that the most successful companies have great leadership teams at the top. Dubbed Silicon Valley’s “oddest couple” by The New York Times, together Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg have driven Facebook’s astronomical growth and supported one another along the way.
Recently, I was honored to connect with General David Petraeus to discuss his approach to leadership. His storied career in the military includes leading coalition forces and counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan; he literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency and is credited with turning around the war in Iraq in 2007. In short, Petraeus knows a thing or two about leadership.
A few weeks ago I read about the “right to disconnect” – a new French labor law that mandates companies of a certain size establish offline hours where staff cannot send or respond to emails. I don’t like this law, but not for the reason you may think. The French government constructed it with good intentions, but I believe it’s misguided because the hours during which people disengage from email depend entirely on how they work.
At Zillow Group, our entire business model is built around transparency. Real estate information that was buried behind desks in courthouses for years is now available instantly to all home shoppers and homeowners. That openness is ingrained in the foundation of our company’s culture and is something I take great pride in as a CEO.
One of the hardest things to do as a manager is to fire someone. It sucks. I have done it many times, and it never gets easier. But it is one of the most important things a manager can do when someone is dragging the team down.
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