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April 21, 2005

Hiring is obsolete

Good writer connects with his readers in a very comfortable way, without pretending to be an author. That alone is the reason to enjoy Paul Graham's writing. His latest result of uncanny observation leads to the idea that the days of hiring are over.

Welcome to the world where you get bought over by big companies.  His advice for graduates is to start your own startup. Master of contrarian thinking will be speaking on the changing recruitment model in Berkeley.

Most CS undergrads hope to get a good job when they graduate.  But
as the age of startup founders creeps downward, I foresee an alternative path for the most ambitious: instead of going to work  for Microsoft, start a startup and make Microsoft buy it to get you.                                                                            

This change will do more than make some young hackers richer.  It  will fuse recruitment with product development.  Instead of applying  for a job and then being told what to work on, you join the company  as a complete development team, with a beta version.  Results: (a) a shift in power from companies to hackers, and (b) an increase in the rate at which new technology gets developed.

Obviously this new model will be a better deal for the best hackers.  But I think it will also be better for the Microsofts.  The few  tens of millions extra that they'll pay will be a bargain for what  they'll get.

This is a very interesting observation. Getting hired-via-acquisition is something which we will be seeing more and more. This is where candidates will go to companies with a clear value-proposition. I think you should hire me because I can do this which will  help you save this much money [or help make you more money] and I will show you how ! .

 Candidate should be able to connect his data structure mastery or machine intelligence genius to how companies save and make money ! That too in plain English. Clear articulation of skill sets and how that connects to productivity or efficient problem solving in a differentiating way is a sure shot way to get a job.

Cisco has mastered this at the mature end of the talent chain by methodically acquiring companies for their talent pool.  Other companies are also jumping into this by having their M&A execs troll university student hangouts. Starting with Slashdot and Sourceforge off-course.  This builds on  the J-Curve mentality as well:

[What is J-Curve..]  That period of time in advance of mass-confirmation of a new idea

You get this advance notification of idea by listening and following the work of this  next generation. In this age where hunt for talent is at its peak.  Candidate's work  and his beta software becomes the resume. Google hits become more important than the references in  resume.

As open source lowers the barrier to build innovation based software companies and universities put more new ideas into the  open source pool, you will see more and more students with entrepreneurial mind-set. This is something to cheer about.

Paul sums up this nicely in his book:

you need to start doing something people want. You don't need to join a company to do that. All a company is is a group of people working together to do something people want. It's doing something people want that matters, not joining the group

April 21, 2005 in Entrepreneurship, Open source | Permalink


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Abstract from a talk to be given by Paul Graham: Most CS undergrads hope to get a good job when they graduate. But as the age of startup founders creeps downward, I foresee an alternative path for the most ambitious: instead of going to work for M... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 29, 2005 8:44:33 AM


As somebody right said - no two people ever read the same book !

Not sure about the number of true hackers but if you do the math of 0.0001% over the larger sample I think those numbers will be significant enough. Remember we never factor in those 80% who just tag along most of the time.

We are talking about those few who sweat over Google and Microsoft riches and generally treated as wierd by their own family members.

It will still take a generation before our linear Indian psyche can appreciate this. When was the last time you saw Indian kid queuing up outside theater for few days to get the Star Wars ticket ! We want the riches and prestige which comes as part of the geeky job but we dont want the geeky lifestyle.

Well that means opening your mind for the heck of it. Its a burden if one is not enjoying that open mind.

Posted by: Brij | Apr 25, 2005 10:03:14 AM

I've read this book... and frankly he could have told what he wanted to in like 20 pages at the max. But his excessive stress on what "true hackers" want etc. makes you doubt the existence of such people (or atleast what is their percentage 0.0001%)!! Sumit.

Posted by: Sumit Chachra | Apr 24, 2005 10:17:47 AM

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