Orly Lobel is an internationally acclaimed expert in the law and economics of human capital. In this book, she argues our “War for Talent” has become dominated by a protectionist mentality that is sabotaging the very innovation that organizations so desperately seek. Human capital controls such as non-compete agreements and strict protection of trade secrets, patents, and copyright are meant to protect an organization’s most valuable asset – people and the intellectual property they generate. But Lobel proves how these increasingly harsh controls are backfiring and stifling creativity, inventiveness, motivation, and loyalty. Lobel offers a set of positive changes in corporate strategies, industry norms, regional policies, and national laws that will incentivize the flow of people and ideas necessary to innovation and economic growth.
Talent Wants to Be Free
When Orly came to us with Talent Wants to Be Free, she presented us with our favorite type of challenge: take an all-star academic who is virtually unknown outside her field and turn her into a mainstream subject matter expert. Orly had all the elements in place: a prestigious chair/professorship at a university, a robust library of empirical research, respect in her academic field, and a provocative message that applies research and academic insights to timely real-world business challenges. Our goal was to help her put all of those elements together to create a thought leadership platform that extends beyond academia, so that people would not only buy her book, but turn to her as a credible expert when issues of human capital arise in the news.
What Made This Campaign A Success
We worked closely with Orly to connect her academic insights on human capital controls to what was happening in the business landscape at the time—both from a big picture standpoint, as the “War for Talent” was a major strategic and hot button issue at the time, but also from a day-to-day perspective, which involved connecting her thought leadership to major news stories about human capital. We were able to place timely op-eds in several national media outlets and secure interviews with key journalists in her field.
Perhaps most exciting, however, was what happened after our work together. With a successful book launch behind her, Orly started getting phone calls from the likes of The New York Times, Marketplace, CNBC, and Bloomberg Businessweek to comment on news stories in her field, like the lawsuit against Apple, Google, and other Silicon Valley companies that conspired to not poach each other’s employees. In August 2016, she was invited to the White House to present her research on non-compete restrictions. Since then, Orly has served as a member of a White House working group to put together the call to action announced October 25 by the Obama Administration to push back against the over-expansion of non-competes and other practices. The call to action was based in part on the book we helped her launch.
By creating a critical mass of national media coverage and getting her into the rolodexes of the right journalists during the book launch, we established Orly as a thought leader outside her academic circle, created a self-propelling media machine that brings her quality press coverage on a regular basis, and helped her generate awareness of her research to a level that influenced federal policy.
A new book needs champions. The team at Cave Henricks is top notch in understanding the underlying message of serious contemporary books, finding connections to current public debates, and spreading the word in a sophisticated yet accessible way. The connections and platform we built are long-lasting and strong.Orly Lobel, Don Weckstein Professor of Labor and Employment Law, University of San Diego; author of Talent Wants to Be Free