Tech blog

Science of prescience

Talent Crunch ranks among the top pet gripes of Indian IT companies. The engineering colleges may be churning out graduates in tens of thousands, but very few of them are employable, they moan.

The quality of teaching in most colleges may be appalling; but given the sheer size of the pool, it is hard to believe that the companies fail to hook who they want. Besides periodical expression of despair, it may also help to tweak their hiring approaches.
  
’The Rare Find’ by George Anders looks into how successful organisations find the right talent. His key message: paper resumes loaded with stellar college grades may not always translate into performance at work. Companies should focus on the central traits they want and consider even lacklustre resumes.

Evan Priestley changed his college major thrice before finally dropping out. He was languishing as a web designer in a small firm, till he came across a programming puzzle, Facebook (FB) had posted on the Internet. His solution was so brilliant, FB flew him to its HQ for an interview and hired him.

He turned out to be a star performer for FB and became a legend in the industry. He once stayed up all night to solve a critical security flaw in FB. The only technical manual to fix the problem was in Danish. In the course of the night he learnt enough Danish to master the manual and fix the problem.

Creativity helps not just in hiring star employees, but also in spotting the next big thing, which in the perpetually mutating tech industry draws the line between life and death.  

In the mid ‘90s a New York-based finance professional had an idea for an Internet-based business. He shifted to Silicon Valley and tried to raise funds through a well connected friend. All the noted tech VCs, entrepreneurs and senior executives turned him away.

He persisted and found early investors in old world industries, who were clueless on what he was talking about, but nevertheless betted on his clarity of vision and energy. The value of a small investment, a timber merchant made, multiplied by 17,000 times in just a few years. The man: Jeff Bezos. The company: Amazon.   

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