[extropy-chat] Top 1%

Charlie Stross charlie at antipope.org
Thu Mar 8 12:32:11 UTC 2007

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> Sure they can! Just select the top 1% of the people applying to you, and
> you can honestly say you have hired the top 1%. Who cares that it is not
> the *overall* 1%? :-)
> Assuming everybody pulls equally strongly, we should expect that the most
> brilliant minds are most likely to work in the largest companies. 

Flawed assumption: the assumption in question is that recruitment relies
on "pull" rather than push.

Smart geeks are often poorly socialized, but to survive and prosper in a
large corporate environment requires social skills (cf. "sucking up to
management"). Also, you have to get past the HR gatekeepers before you
can get the job -- and HR folks tend to be socially skilled but not
necessarily good at identifying genius as opposed to chaff. So it's
quite possible that many of the largest companies are selecting out the
brilliant minds before they get to the interview stage, and if they
accidentally recruit them, end up providing an inhospitable environment.

I'll concede the possibility that some cutting-edge companies are
different (think: Google, Microsoft, Apple, Craig Venter's company,
whatever) but that's almost certainly less than 10% of the work force.

-- Charlie

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