Amen, brother!

I’ve blogged about this before, but the closer we get to hiring team members, the more I am convinced that an approach similar to a mini-project is the right way to start…

I’ve known fabulous programmers flame out in the quizzing cage and terrible ones excel. So unless you’re specifically hiring someone to design you the next sorting algorithm, making them do so on the white board is a poor gauge of future success.

Why we don’t hire programmers based on puzzles, API quizzes, math riddles, or other parlor tricks – (37signals)

Combined with the advice in Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership, Tom DeMarco’s amazing body of work and many others too numerous to mention, I’m confident that we will be confident in our selection process for Game Creators.

Counting down the months!

Why we employ talent and buy vendors…

Seth’s got the most succinct explanation of the reason we aim to hire talent by preference. We will outsource to vendors for some things, but…

Vendors happily sit in the anonymous cubes at Walmart’s headquarters, waiting for the buyer to show up and dicker with them. They willingly fill out the paperwork and spend hours discussing terms and conditions. The vendor is agnostic about what’s being sold, and is focused on volume, or at least consistency.

While the talent is also getting paid (to be in your movie, to do consulting, to coach you), she is not a vendor. She’s not playing by the same rules and is not motivated in the same way.

Seth’s Blog: Talent and vendors

We aim to hire multifaceted creators to join our cross-functional teams. We treat people the way that we expect to be treated, and in turn, we expect them to put heart and soul into their creations the same way that we do.

We don’t just “do business”. First and foremost, we do fun!

What are you practicing?

Let me juxtapose two ostensibly unrelated authors and blog posts, and then ask you a personal question.

First, Thomas J. Stanley’s observation about millionaires who made their millions while they were, respectively, a firefighter and a school bus driver:

Keep in mind that Mr. Martin and Mr. Benjamin allocated more hours in studying and planning their investments than it would have taken each of them to earn multiple law degrees or MBAs! 

Millionaires: Firefighter, School Bus Driver, Engineer. . .

Second, Scott Adams’ observation about playing pool:

I’ve spent a ridiculous number of hours playing pool, mostly as a kid. I’m not proud of that fact. Almost any other activity would have been more useful. As a result of my wasted youth, years later I can beat 99% of the public at eight-ball. But I can’t enjoy that sort of so-called victory. It doesn’t feel like "winning" anything.
Scott Adams Blog: The Illusion of Winning 08/30/2010

When it comes down to it, you will be good at what you spend a lot of time doing. The more you practice, the better you will be. Some people may start out with advantages, genetic or otherwise, in some endeavors, which is why the most successful people focus on their strengths. When someone says they were “born to do something” that means that they’ve found the optimal confluence of their natural abilities and the things that they enjoy practicing.

The best part is that YOU get to choose what you spend your time doing. If what you choose to do is play video games, that’s your right and privilege – but that is still time spent getting better at something.

So… what are you practicing?