Know thyself

There are piles of nonsense about hiring - how to hire a valuable, productive engineers and avoid plain idiots, self-obsessed egotists and hyper-active narcissists (participating in all on-line communities, producing very long comments and blog posts, but very few value for anyone else).

Lenin used to day that "staff is everything", and he was right. There are huge gap in performance between the top performers and the average ones, so, the way to make above-average returns is to hire top performers. This a is common sense.

We also know how to become a top performer - it is about spending 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. This is true for music and sports and other arts because it is a continuous process of training a huge neural networks (parts of your brain that control your fingers on a violin or your hand with a tennis racket or a paint brush). This also true for co-called creative mental activities.

This phenomena was described by Poincare, how after years and years of plowing the field, novel ideas are beginning to emerge as a sudden insights. The point is that 10,000 hours of thinking must precede such insights.

Now there is a question - how could we find all those 10,000 hours in our busy life, chasing dreams? The answer is quite obvious - by giving up this world of appearances and entertainment. Enthusiasts, artists and scientists just have done this.

Of course, there are huge differences among people - the short term memory span, the size of attention window - all those genetic differences among individuals from different social classes, which popular social scientists trying to convince us, does not exists. But we're not considering this, because this cannot be altered, only compensated a little.

Casuals are calling such people introverts, nerds, geeks, spooky, etc. But it is not about calling names, it is all about how one are spending ones own time - the only valuable resource one got.

The best programmer I know wrote his shareware (then opensource) programs, literally, at night, in the kitchen, while his family were asleep in a living room. This is the way of becoming a top performer. There is no other way, no short-cuts, even if talking heads in commercials are trying to sell you one.

It is not about what method you're using, it is about how much time you spent, how devoted are you, how much you're loving what you do.

Of course, "managers" knew this for ages. People like Andrew Carnegie even praised his own ability of "hiring people smarter than you are". It is such common method, that you can see it in movies, "Leon, The professional" is a good one.

The only way for them to make above-market returns (the only way to make money in a crowded market) is to force above-average people work for you. But it they are top performers, which means they are smart, how come that they allow themselves to be forced and fooled?

The answer is - they themselves. They were fooled themselves in the first place. The job of a "manager" is to choice the right "victim". Some sort of self-deception, a conflict with so-called objective reality, some aversion to commonality is required.

How could one force a bright man to sleep under his desk in a cubicle, or to shut himself in his apartment room full of books for months, or to write code at 3am. after a full office work-day? No one can. Only they themselves.

So, if you just have realized that you're one of us, first thing you should do is look around for a parasites who are taking all the benefits of what you do (with yourself). They will try to convince you that they are your best friends, and that they are trying to help you, and that you need them. This is, of course, bullshit. They need you, just because they are incapable, incompetent, impotent. Otherwise they will have done it themselves.

The second thing to understand is that you are the one who should benefit from your abilities, your 10,000 hours you have ripped off from your life for something that you love.

Well, some times it is reasonable and quite efficient to partner up with someone, who have spent his 10,000 hours trying to deceive and cheat others (they call themselves "managers" - yet another self-deception) pretending that they are more successful and competent than they are.

But what they worth of is up to 10 percent of the total income, not a half or more as they think they are.

This is what bright guys running Y Combinator understood quite well, and managed to put on a conveyor. This made them millions (if not billions), because the only way to make big money is force/deceive/manage a top performer work for you.

Last modified 8 years ago Last modified on Jul 27, 2012, 9:56:06 AM
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