Seth Godin has a pretty terrific post on what he calls Sheepwalking – “the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.” It’s almost 2 am on a Sunday, and I should be, well, counting sheep (sorry) by now, but it struck a nerve. We all know people like this, and the companies that employ them – the person is rarely happy (at least for their workday), and the firms in question never astound. It’s funny, but when you take a diferent stance as an employee and an employer, some pretty remarkable things happen.
We’re a tough place to get in to. It’s not that we look for paper pedigrees and a well-defined career path. Pletny of Sheepwalkers can provide you with both. It’s that we look for people who want to work on really interesting problems, aren’t afraid to make mistakes, and hate being bored by their work. Our COO – Bryan Burdick – talks about how he likes to hire people with “horsepower”. Our CEO – Yonatan Stern – want me to find him people who are “smarter than he is” (that’s actually pretty dificult, but I think he knows I’m trying). We look for people with passion as well as brains.
What’s interesting is that we’ve wound up being an incredibly energizing place to come into every day. There are a million great ideas, a common goal, and a sense that we’re all finally home. We’re only 6 years old, and employ less than 100 people, but we’re profitable and our growth has started to rocket. No one’s Sheepwalking here – if anything, we’re running with smiles on our faces. Maybe the fact that I’m working on a work-related blog at 2 am on a Sunday is saying enough, but no one’s ever called me pithy.