Monday, February 14, 2011

Entrepreneurial Minds

Google announced that it's hiring, and that's big news, but it also leaked that it's changing its hiring methods and seeking more individuals with entrepreneurial talent and not just intellectual skills and that may be bigger news.

Excerpt: "The company is also trying to cut out the kind of intellectual mind games its interviewers have often used to test the brain power of potential hires... like why is a manhole cover round and how many ping-pong balls does it take to fill an aeroplane?” Mr Bock told the Financial Times."

This approach showcase certain types of intellectual problem solving ability, but also leaves out other good candidates who either weren't adept in that type of test.

What are entrepreneurial minds? The brain science of entrepreneurial thinking is pretty light stuff / speculative at present it seems, but many have noticed traditional academics and entrepreneurs are like opposites. Some people are certainly able to bridge both worlds, but for many others it's like night-and-day.

It's well known that many of the world's most successful entrepreneurs never attended college (35% of U.S. entrepreneurs are dyslexic), and many job recruiters even seem to prefer big state college graduates over 'elite schools' like the Ivies.

So is there a distinct advantage that comes with entrepreneurial thinking and experience? Successful entrepreneurs have succeeded at real-life projects, and if they've been tough, they've required ingenuity, some first-hand experience with failure, and risk-taking. The work of an entrepreneur is often more hands-on and about real world problem solving than traditional academics, and so successful entrepreneurs may be more adept at working with and leading great teams. All these skills seem like good ones to have if you're hiring for a leading edge technology company or a student entering a challenging hiring environment.

Check out the videos below for more in the entrepreneurial vein. The first is co-Founder of Twitter and Square Jack Dorsey who shares how he went from a kid who loved making maps and listening to police calls on citizen band radio to forming Twitter. He showcases a wonderful storytelling ability, another ingredient for a successful CEO. The second is a video of a pretty neat project-based middle school that seems entrepreneurial in its orientation - their Environmental and Spatial Technologies program guides students through various community projects that involve making real physical projects or programs, documentaries, etc. to solve problems that they have a passion for.

Building photo by clarita

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