Hire people you would be willing to work for

The Y Combinator Startup School 2013 videos are online!

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 11.08.54 PM

I started with Paul Graham’s interview with Zuckerberg.  There’s not a ton of new info in that video IMHO, but there are a couple of gems, such as:

“One of the reasons I think great stuff gets built is because it’s kind of irrational at the time, so it selects for the people who care the most about doing it.”

This aligns with what Facebook Director of Engineering Jocelyn Goldfein said in an interview at Stanford:

“Innovative ideas by definition look like bad ideas.  If they looked like good ideas they would be obvious ideas.  And so to be innovative, to be un-obvious, something about them has to look stupid, or dumb or impossible.”

The other very interesting part of the discussion was around management / leadership.  Paul asks Mark “How did you learn how to manage people?”  and the answer is interesting (beyond the “Make and learn from mistakes” part)…

“Hire good people.  But what’s the right heuristic to figure out if someone’s really good?  – Would you work for that person?

I believe that.  If you look at my management team today – if we were in an alternate universe and I hadn’t started the company it would be an honor to work for any of these people.  And if you build a company that has those kind of values then I think you’ll build a pretty strong company.”

This is the second time in a week that I’ve come across that advice regarding hiring.  I’ll have to keep it in mind next time I interview someone for a management role.

I think it mainly applies for hiring management, but it’s an interesting question: what’s the equivalent advice for hiring engineers?


About brendansterne

Sr Director, Indeed.com Product Incubator
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