At least books by founders highlight the big lows and the big highs, but there are many insights to be gained from smaller daily decisions or way of making them, and I think employees can remember better how was the daily life in the early stages.
"It's modeled on the early successes I've witnessed at Geoworks, Amazon, and Google, all of whom had one thing in common: they hired brilliant seed engineers."
"I've been debating whether to say this, since it'll smack vaguely of obsequiousness, but I've realized that one of the Google seed engineers (exactly one) is almost singlehandedly responsible for the amazing quality of Google's engineering culture."
Is it Craig?
What I do do though is incorporate their insights into the general advice I give in essays. That's not just based on my experience with YC-funded startups, but also on things I've heard in talks at YC.
--That's very true. What I have seen in large companies, looking good is important, and apart from building stuff and bragging about it, and even easier way to do it is by criticizing others, and finding any way on how to point at minor flaws on other's people's work, simply malignant / non constructive behaviour, but masqueraded in the name of 'quality', company standards etc..
For instance, in one conversation the first thing the other programmer said to me (after chatting with the guy introducing us) was "I've found tons of bugs in the build." My initial reaction was "well duh" :) But it didn't really set a good tone for the rest of the conversation. Haven't heard back from either of them. But it got me thinking in part about why I had such a negative reaction to it, but also what draws people like that. I figured it was because it's a game, but after seeing this I guess it's common in the industry (I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad).
Perhaps it's because we're working in relative anonymity on this game and a large corporation has a similar feel that it still would remain only there. I hold out hope.
Corporations are not the blind, mindless creatures that people seem to think. They do see their own problems, and do want to change them. They are starting to recognize the needs and desires of a younger workforce, and changes are starting to occur. They also have been hard hit by the recession and cannot waste their energy on their own politics.
I would predict that in 10 years, corporate culture will be more like the startup cultures of today, but with some added discipline to meet the risk tolerances and business continuity needs of a large company.
I believe this is the article linked.
Edit: Nevermind, now it wants to work. Although I did link to the print version, incase anyone wants that instead.
I wonder what the relationship of SAT scores and highly successful people is.
You can see how the above could snowball into a huge advantage upon graduation from college. Any correlation you notice between high tests scores and successful people is most certainly a result of this property of our system and not from tests themselves. The tests could be targeted towards an arbitrary skill set and those who did well would still be more successful because the system values those who do well.
The scoring scale varied a bit based on the difficulty of the particular exam you sat, and as we were aiming for scores near the top of the scale we hoped to get an exam that allowed a question or two wrong to still get a 1600. Often one question wrong on verbal would still score 800, math was less forgiving of a single mistake.
I have trouble believing there could be any distinguishable difference in practice between the population of students who got two questions wrong on the exam and those who got one wrong.
On the modern (post-1995) SAT, 1600 is a fairly wide range, from people who got 1-3 questions wrong to people who breezed through the whole test, double-checked everything, and didn't miss a single question. If you're talking to one of the latter, you'll know it.
According to Wikipedia, SAT 1600 (post-1995) is 99.93 percentile, so about 1 in 1429 (3.4 standard deviations).
Given that there are millions of people taking SAT, in absolute numbers there should be plenty of people hitting the test ceiling.
Interestingly, pre-1995 apparently had much higher ceiling, with only 1 in 142,857 getting score above 1580 (4.6 standard deviations).
Which BTW means Microsoft was founded by some really crazy dudes.
For example, I took one of the SATs of that era (before antonyms were removed), missed only one question on the math section but still got a mere 770. I got over it.
I suppose it's possible that someone could know their stuff and yet have bombed the SAT (if, say, they went to a rock concert the night before), or they could've aced the SAT and through sheer lazyness prove to be utterly useless. But the skills that make you do well on the SAT - quick reasoning, good short-term memory, a decent-sized store of background knowledge, and an eye toward detail that makes you go back and double-check your answers - tend to make them perform very well at a project as well. That's why people use the SAT: it may not be intelligence, but it correlates very well with it.
The SAT is a horribly noisy measure of excellent in either verbal skills or math, much less actual intelligence. I can tell you I managed to never peak over 700 on the math section only to get a perfect score on both the Math IIC and GRE Math sections (much harder tasks).
Suggests that he wouldn't believe there to be a direct correlation.
Anecdotally, Bill Gates and Paul Allen come to mind (I think one had perfect score and one just a tiny bit less).
Also Drew Houston of Dropbox put his perfect score on Y Combinator application (which pg put as an example of successful application despite Drew having dreaded single-founder handicap :).
I wonder if there'd be a stronger GRE*success correlation?