I recently got an email from Jeff Hyman introducing himself and his new role as Chief Talent Agent of Canal Street Talent Management. The theory behind Canal Street Talent Management is that executives need talent agents the same way actors and musicians do. For 3% of your gross salary and 5% of any other paying gig Canal Street lines up for you (speaking engagements, book deals, etc.), you too can negotiate like a star -- "talk to my agent." A Fortune article on Canal Street states Hyman's employment philosophy this way:
Hyman is convinced . . . that those realities have changed. The mass layoffs and shorter job tenures that followed the Internet bubble mean that executives now have to juggle two careers: their current position and the ongoing search for the next one.
It is this very attitude that makes me believe that Hyman won't be representing startup candidates. He's a big company guy. Great startup candidates are motivated by the love of company building. That doesn't mean that they have to be selfless and forsake compensation. But I can't see the CEOs of any of the companies in which I have invested tolerating a candidate saying "talk to my agent." How can you reasonably assess how committed to the company a candidate is when you're negotiating with a third party. You want to hear a candidate ask for more stock and less cash. You want someone who is chomping at the bit to jump in and start building the product, not someone who wants to spend a month negotiating his or her employment agreement and termination rights. And you certainly don't want to hire anyone into a startup who is already thinking about his or her next job.