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Spotlight on Learning from Failure: Assessing Talent Beyond Technical Skills with Tony Tjan

Ask the right questions, make the right hiring decisions

Tony Tjan

One of the most difficult business challenges has nothing to do with data or technology—it has to do with people. While it’s fairly easy to assess potential hires’ knowledge and skills, it’s much harder to gauge soft traits like attitude. How can you ensure your first impressions are accurate so you can avoid costly hiring mistakes, and correctly identify rising stars and make the most of their talent?

Join us for this edition of Spotlight on Learning from Failure to find out how overlooking personality and attitude in favor of technical expertise can cost you. Make sure you’re never in that situation by learning the most important questions to ask during the hiring process to build a stronger, more successful organization.

O’Reilly’s Spotlight Series explores emerging business and technology topics and ideas through a series of one-hour, live interactive events. You’ll engage in a live conversation with experts, sharing your questions and ideas, while hearing their unique perspectives, insights, fears, and predictions for the future.

In every edition of Spotlight on Learning from Failure, you’ll learn about, discuss, and debate the lessons learned from failures both large and small. Best of all, you’ll discover how successful companies have addressed setbacks, missteps, and challenges, and how you can grow from their examples.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live show, you’ll better understand:

  • What “hiring great talent” really means (or should mean)—and how to define and cultivate it
  • Why it’s so hard to practice “goodness” in the workplace, and what to do about it
  • Common biases in the hiring process, and how to eliminate them with the right questions

This training course is for you because...

  • You want to be a people-centric leader and truly care about what motivates and engages people
  • You’re interested in improving your skills as a mentor or mentee


  • Come with your questions for Tony Tjan
  • Have a pen and paper handy to capture notes, insights, and inspiration

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Tony Tjan is CEO of Cue Ball Group, a private investment firm focused on long-term and transformative opportunities across technology, media and consumer brands. He also is co-founder and Chairman of MiniLuxe and was the founder of ZEFER. Previously he played senior leadership roles at Thomson Reuters and the Parthenon Group. Tony has written over 100 pieces for Harvard Business Review and is a New York Times best-selling author of Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck and author of Good People. He serves on the MIT Media Lab Advisory Council and is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET

  • Introduction/Presentation (15 minutes)
  • Interactive discussion and Q&A (45 minutes)