Jon Steinberg is the CEO of DailyMail.com North America, the largest English newspaper site in the world. Neil Blumenthal is the CEO of Warby Parker, an online eyewear company that sells both prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, available through their website or in select retail locations.
The 2 CEOs discussed their managing styles, whether a college degree is worth as much as it used to be in the business world, and other topics in this installment of the weekly CNBC series, “Raising the Bar,” where two business leaders meet in a Manhattan watering hole and have an informal talk about a wide-range of topics.
Here are the main takeaways from the tête-à-tête between the two men.
- Motivational Style
“I tend to try to be motivational and give sort of the big vision, what are we trying to accomplish,” Blumenthal said. “That way we are able to earn that trust and communicate well.”
Steinberg prefers to pioneer a process with a small group and set the direction, then track their progress by going over the core metrics.
“I know the business can’t grow if I’m in everyone’s details,” he said.
- Fear the Next Generation
Despite having his hands full running a company and raising children, Steinberg always responds when a young person emails him. Why? Because, he said, “ ‘I could be asking myself for a job in the next five or seven years,’ and I have the humility to recognize it.”
Blumenthal also said he knows up-and-comers are in their dorm room, figuring out a way to disrupt his business.
“It’s really scary,” he said. “The question is, ‘What do you do about that?’ “
- To College or Not to College?
Worried about mistakes you’ve made that might derail your career? Don’t be.
“Nobody made more mistakes than I did,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg decided to attend college because everyone else was and he didn’t have the courage to make a non-traditional choice, even though he was interning at Disney and could have stayed with the company.
One of Blumenthal’s employees was hired on the condition that she returns to school eventually to finish. But the employee decided to stay at the company because it was a more valuable use of her time.
“That moment in time, it was so serendipitous that you’re in that spot in the first place,” Blumenthal said. “It might be gone. These companies change so rapidly and opportunities change so quickly.”
Steinberg said in the generation before, a degree from an Ivy League school guarantee you any job you wanted. But now no one cares as much about what college you attended, they want know what are you’re passionate about. It’s the people who did something in their spare time like create a midnight pizza delivery service, for example.
“That’s the stuff that gets me excited because there is at least something that can be applied,” Steinberg said.
“And that midnight pizza delivery service is more impressive than saving the world somewhere,” Blumenthal added.