Radioactive Hiring

So I leavetown for a week with no Internet access, and when I come back Scoble has been assimilated! Scoble is hinting that another well-known blogger is going to announce soon. If it’s who I think it is,all I can say is we’re definitely getting an infusion of talent and energythese recentmonths.We search for people who are really passionate about technology and the softwareecosystem; the kind of people who would be working on the stuff one way or another even if they didn’t have the job.

I have a little theory about how this works: You can’t really buy passion-driven people. You have to pay for them, of course, but they have to choose you. Passion-driven people are attracted by many things, but one of the biggest attractions is the desire to work with other passion-drivenpeople who can challenge and appreciate them. As an organization grows, the challenge is to keep the bar high enough that critical mass can be maintained and new people will still continue to be attracted. It’s likerunning a nuclear reactor — if your fuel rods aren’t pure enough, you won’t be able to get/keep the reaction going; but if you enrich and purify thematerial, the reaction is self-perpetuating.

Theneutron bombtheory of hiring is not really appropriate for most hiring situations, but is fun for usethinking about MSFT. For example, what happens if someone uses a lead plate to separate the radioactive material? It’s also one of the reasons I so strongly reject the criticisms of those who claim that MSFT people are simplythralls to some intricate corporate machinations. MSFT isjust a bunch of radioactive people colliding with one another and causing explosions. Particles colliding randomly can generate tremendous energy.

Sure, there is some degree of coordination taking place within all of the chaos, but it’s a huge mistake to think that MSFT strength comes from intricately plotted orchestration of the employees. The managers aren’t sufficiently complicated and the employee’s aren’t sufficiently pliable. Instead, every part of the system is generating energy internally; and the outcome of any effort is as much the result of the magnitude (or lack of)of the eventual explosion as it is a result of any pre-planned strategy.

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