Friday, July 6, 2012

Silicon Valley craziness

Elaine Wherry's essay: the Recruiter Honeypot is fascinating.

What started out as an odd idea about how to recruit some better software recruiters turned into an odyssey of discovery about how software recruiting works nowadays.

In late 2009, I created an online persona named Pete London – a self-described JavaScript ninja – to help attract and hire the best JavaScript recruiters. While I never hired a recruiter from the experiment, I learned a ton about how to compete in today’s Silicon Valley talent war.

Software recruiters, often called headhunters, are independent contractors who attempt to match companies wishing to hire software specialists with employees wishing to find a better job.

For this service, headhunters receive a fee, typically paid by the hiring company upon the successful filling of a position.

The fee can be substantial, which leads, naturally, to practices that are less than ideal.

The article is great fun; Wherry's tips and lessons are revealing, and the entire essay is filled with hard-earned valuable wisdom.

And speaking of Silicon Valley craziness, don't miss Crammed Into Cheap Bunks, Dreaming of Future Digital Glory, a story in today's New York Times about "Hacker Hostels" that have opened to house the next generation of would-be Zucks:

These are not so different from crowded apartments that cater to immigrants. But many tenants are here not so much for the cheap rent — $40 a night — as for the camaraderie and idea-swapping. And potential tenants are screened to make sure they will contribute to the mix.

Of course, all this craziness has been true for at least 20 years.

But is it affecting the core values of Silicon Valley? Are there even such things? Bill Davidow asks the question: What Happened to Silicon Values?. The piece is mostly a "wasn't it great when we were young" sort of piece, but there are some important criticisms included.

Many other things have changed in the valley over the past five decades. I've become increasingly concerned about one thing that is seldom discussed: the valley is no longer as concerned about serving the customer, and even sees great opportunity in exploitation. We are beginning to act like the bankers who sold subprime mortgages to naïve consumers. In such an environment, we are less likely to create the role models of the past who guided the valley to its future.

Here in Silicon Valley, there's lots to think on.

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