1. This was written with the Singaporean startup scene in mind. There are a couple of differences re:the environment in Singapore vs the Valley. For starters, students here prefer interning at banks, or other 'proper companies', as opposed to startups. Second, the startups themselves are often very new to the game. (Founders asking for NDAs are still a fairly common occurrence.)
2. Google SoC is doubly attractive because of the exchange rate. USD5000 is a big thing when compared to the market rates in Singapore, and that still doesn't factor in the benefits of learning from a large, well-managed OSS project.
I wrote this primarily as a response to the number of companies that hit the NUS Hackers mailing list with off-the-mark ads. I'm not sure if this would help other companies looking to recruit hackers, but hopefully the context would give you enough information to decide for yourself.
Plug: NUS Hackers is a student organization dedicated to the spread of OSS and hacking in the National University of Singapore. We're affiliated with the Singaporean Hackerspace (http://hackerspace.sg/) and both organizations would be more than willing to show you around/lend you some help/introduce you to people, should any HNer choose to drop by Singapore. :)
All you need to know on one handy page =)
(I'm with HackerspaceSG too, so do ping me if anyone would like to pop by for a visit =)
Additional figures, fresh graduate CS major worth about 30k USD per year.
Yes, that reduces the pool drastically. You are essentially finding the intersection of students that believe in your challenge over immediate compensation, and do not have financial constraints. But to quote the quoted Chris Dixon: "People who say recruiting is hard are right. People who say it is impossible just aren’t showing up enough."
Reaching out to this group of students is about pitching yourself right. And as the post highlights, understanding the motivations is an important first step.
Not every company needs interns, and if you can't afford to pay them, maybe you don't need them quite yet. If you want to recruit people as full-time employees or something, on the other hand, that's an entirely different argument.
The generalizations offered by the article were very aptly at a point; I consider them ringing very much true.
I think the point of the article exactly was that you will never get that hacker in front of you talking with you and much less sitting down with you unless you realize who you're dealing with.
Coding a a travel search engine in node.js might titillate a hacker, but what on earth does that have to do with a founding a successful startup when compared to things like product design, marketing, user experience, market targeting, etc? Not a whole lot. Which is to say that no one set of priorities or roles within a startup should be catered to or worshipped, at the cost of sound strategy and direction for a startup.
Painting hackers as primadonnas who must be woo'd and courted as the top caste of the startup community doesn't do hackers any favors, let alone all of the other players necessary in a successful startup.