Konstantin Guericke is a co-founder of LinkedIn and makes his meetings while hiking. In the interview, he explains why this is so and how hiking is more productive.
Konstantin Guericke, son of a North German teacher couple, studied at USUniversity Stanford. In 2002-2003 he founded the together with Reid Hoffmann, Allen Blue, Eric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant Business-Network LinkedIn and was marketing director there. From 2006 to 2008 he was a manager at StartUp Jaxter and at the same time worked as a consultant at LinkedIn. Since then he has been on the boards and advisory boards of various technology companies and is a mentor for young entrepreneurs at Stanford University. Since 2012 he has been a partner at Earlybird, a Berlin-based venture capitalCompany, which invests in StartUps from Europe.
- Mr. Guericke, how did the idea of organizing meetings during hiking?
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- Did the idea for LinkedIn also turn into hiking?
- What is it then?
- What do you prefer when hiking?
- Is not there a medium for presentation and the usual PowerPoint slides?
- Do not you forget all the good ideas?
- How exactly do hiking meetings go? I imagine this is difficult if, for example, there are no PowerPoint slides or meeting minutes ...
- How often do you make such meetings?
- How do you choose the hiking trail?
- Where is the hike?
- And how many participants are usually there?
- How does it work with several people - sometimes you have to run in a row ...
- Are walking meetings better, worse or just as useful as meeting at the table - and why?
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Mr. Guericke, how did the idea of organizing meetings during hiking?
Of course I went as a child with my parents a lot of walking, for example in South Tyrol, have also made a hiking badge. There was already a certain reference.
Later in California I had a lot of work and very little time for sports. with a coFounder I used to meet Reid Hoffmann very often at the “Peninsula Creamery” in Palo Alto.
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There the breakfast was very good, but unfortunately also quite greasy. We found this in the long term not ideal. We had also thought about a meeting room with practice bikes, but then rejected again. So we came to move our meetings on the trails.
I remember that we talked about certain designideas have spoken. But of course there were several people involved in LinkedIn and it was a long development process, so one migration was not the decisive factor.
In most hiking meetings, the focus is not on ideas.
What is it then?
Usually it is about Trust build up. I believe that when you hike together and maybe share special experiences, that really creates a bond – just like when you eat together.
What do you prefer when hiking?
The hiking meetings were very important to me during my time as CEO at Jaxter: here we are often overwhelmed when hiking Strategy– and personnel issues discussed. I can also make good use of hiking as part of my mentoring activities.
Here I speak to the Stanford students and give them Feedback about their career plans or start-up ideas. Or I go hiking with start-up founders, which we could potentially join with Earlybird invest want, of course it's also about building trust.
However, hiking is not as well suited for board meetings. In principle I have however still no topic found, in which it would not work.
Is not there a medium for presentation and the usual PowerPoint slides?
Sometimes someone is looking for feedback on something very specific and then I look at it Preparation short on.
If someone wants to show me a product, then we do it at the beginning or end. But for the really important things you usually do not need a PowerPoint or demo.
Do not you forget all the good ideas?
I usually do not look for ideas, but try to help my colleagues. So of course I do not have to remember that much myself.
When I have received important information, I usually remember it. Since we People thinking spatially, it helps me remember the places where something was said.
If I'm trying to remember something, I'll go over the path in my mind ("yeah, we talked about that just after we saw the rattlesnake"). Everything is always the same at meetings, and I tend to forget things. Sometimes I make a note of something immediately afterwards when I do a directly following (walking) Meeting have.
How exactly do hiking meetings go? I imagine this is difficult if, for example, there are no PowerPoint slides or meeting minutes ...
Oh no. Sometimes people on the go want to show me their app, but I find that if they can't explain it to me in a nutshell, then there will also be difficulties in marketing, since most consumers can get an idea within 10-15 seconds and decidewhether it is worth more to invest.
How often do you make such meetings?
I do it two times three or four times a week, but usually two to three meetings one after the other, so the 10 Wandermeetings in the week.
How do you choose the hiking trail?
There are several factors, such as the condition of the conversation partner: If he has a good physical condition, I choose a track with greater height differences. The way is not supposed to be overloaded, but rather comfortable.
Of course it can happen that the conversation partner has overestimated - then you have to shorten a hike sometimes.
Where is the hike?
80 percent of my hikes take place in two places, even if that might not be that interesting to me. It is crucial, however, that the interlocutors feel comfortable feel.
For example, the route should be wide enough for several people to run side by side. If my interlocutors say something to me in the Internet want to show, we need wifi, so I like to go hiking in a park.
There are also public toilets, on which my conversation partners can then afterwards freshly and change for their next meetings in the business outfit.
And how many participants are usually there?
60 Percent of the meetings I only make with one person, 20-30 percent with two. I spend very little time with larger groups. Sometimes they are journalist groups, for example.
How does it work with several people - sometimes you have to run in a row ...
Four people next to each other are no problem - you just have to choose the right path. With eight people, it divides a bit in two or three subgroups, but it is much more natural to configure differently on the way than sitting.
Larger groups, however, are not so favorable, because I have to change constantly while walking and do not have so much time to talk with each one.
Are walking meetings better, worse or just as useful as meeting at the table - and why?
For me they are better, and most of the people I spoke to say that they also think it's better than im Office to squat. Some then do it more often themselves, but most of them are soon back in their old routine. I do less than one or two sitting meetings monthly.
If I ever do something sell have - then I also suggest hiking meetings, and they are mostly accepted. But if the other person does not want it, then of course you follow their preferences in this case.
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