Also, the jobs homepage lede is a little grating:
"We're seeking brilliant people ..." [Click "I'm brilliant" to continue]
Because who doesn't think they deserve brilliant people? Nice employers and a good corporate culture are obviously very important, but can't it be taken too far? I think, what it comes down to, is that I don't like seeing a company's ego on display so brazenly, especially when they're a startup which still has a lot to prove.
You've gotta be realistic, and I get the impression that unless a company is paying rather large salaries and/or offering extremely interesting problems to solve, they're only likely to attract people with overinflated egos with that kind of rhetoric, rather than the true best of the best.
I wonder how many companies miss out on actual "Super Ninja Rockstar" devs, who are in reality modest individuals, because of this type of wording?
Or maybe I'm just a boring old mid-40's fart.
That's part of it, right? I assume that all these silly requirements and hoops are really saying, "We want the best of the best as long as you're under 30."
Certainly this 'boring old fart' would rather get home to his family at the end of a long day than spend even more time comparing haircuts with a bunch of yippy twenty-somethings.
I'm 25 and fully agree. While in my case it's not getting home to my family, it's having time to have a decent work-life balance. I spent years doing nothing but startup work, and I'll never go back to that, no matter how much equity is thrown at me. At the end of the day, I like being able to sit back, relax, and hack some stuff, write some music, and spend time with my friends; I don't need work to provide those things for me.
All you have to do is provide an environment in which they can, provide a raise as and when they "level up", provide infinite caffeine, interesting problems, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I'm basing it on personal experience of having grown a company from nothing without funding to an enterprise carrying over £1bn of client commerce in 6 years. But what would I know.
Oh, and 100% client retention and no marketing except word of mouth. I'd say that's satisfaction.
Sure, it's likely not universally applicable, however you shouldn't underestimate the power of an open mind.
I'm not sure your ideas are quite as bold and radical as you think. In fact, I would say that you're merely repeating the common liturgy of the industry. Young tyros are more "creative" than seasoned veterans. Caffeine addled youths have more exciting ideas. They have fewer preconceptions. They're more nimble. They're in it for love of the game.
What I'm asking is why you're so sure all of this is true. "It's true because I am successful" doesn't seem to me very persuasive.
I've worked both in orgs with "greybeards" and in the org I've founded along with many clients. There's plenty to be said for veteran levels of experience, but this is something that's only really needed in a leader, as this experience can be communicated and demonstrated to others. A fool learns by his own mistakes, a wise man by those of others. I suppose this makes me a fool, but a fool who's decided to help others be wise, and to harness those several decades of experience in such a fashion that it benefits all involved.
So yes, you have a point in that years of experience are indeed valuable, but I would argue that this is not a prerequisite to be an exceptional engineer, and that in fact truly exceptional engineers arise through memetic experience, and a thirst for knowledge.
It's true that I speak from personal experience, but then again, so does every scientist who finds a repeatable experiment. I'd be happy to be disproven, but until then, I'm equally happy to treat what I find to be a valid theory as fact.
Young, passionate individuals make the world go round. You only have to look to the great leaps and bounds of science to witness this in visceral actuality.
I thought for a while what is best to say, but perhaps I'll just go with a counter-example: Intel. The founders were around 40 when they started the company, and experienced in their industry. Not the 25 years mentioned above, but I'm taking that as a hyperbole.
If it takes a young, creative individual to create a 1 billion pound company in 6 years, what does it take to make a 54 billion dollar company in just over 40 years?
This has typically arisen from working with existing OSS projects which incorporate vector transforms and the ilk in ASM, often badly or subtly brokenly, and from building optimised functions for doing fun things like creating n-dimensional maps of customer/product relationships in order to determine purchase propensity based on cluster profiles.
So yeah, ASM in a web shop. Except we're only kinda a web shop these days - client sites are our marketing platform, but our business is business systems.
If they are trying to recruit smart talent with a lot of free time on their hands (IE nerdy college students), then there is probably high ROI from a stunt like this. Its on the front page of HN, probably Reddit and maybe some other blogs by now. Huge PR gain, plus a challenge that has smart creative young people clamoring to work for them. Its actually a smart investment.
But this type of thing doesn't help our profession be taken seriously. If WibiData was a game company this would fit - but they do data analytics as far as I can tell.
I am a professional software developer. I have a very specific skill set and I expect to be treated properly. I do not appreciate it when people think I am a "geek", or that I obviously play video games or are in to Star Trek. When it comes to my professional career I expected to be treated as an adult with a valuable skillset that can add value to a business.
I wouldn't apply to this company frankly because this strategy belies a culture that thinks development is all fun and games. Whether that's true or not, doesn't matter. What they are communicating to me as a potential applicant turns me off. (and the photos of a giant open room don't help either - who the hell wants to work in an office like that?)
note, just because I am totally into all that doesn't invalidate my point
Writing code professionally should be serious.
These are not mutually exclusive points.
Now I love video games as much as the next geek and I've always assumed it was a light hearted hint towards company culture rather than a hard requirement.
But I just find something a little off about stuff like this, like it sets off a little red light in my brain that I can't put my finger on.
We would probably think it was weird if they said "we all love cricket so you should too!", I guess it feels a little patronising to be told "of course you love Xbox, you are a geek after all!"
As a Segue the use of the term "geek" in job descriptions irks me also.
Edit: Wording corrected
Segway: a goofy 2 wheeled scooter invented by Dean Kamen.
Segue: to make a transition from one thing to another smoothly and without interruption: The conversation segued from travel anecdotes to food.
These are probably the same places that think adding an extra hour to your work increases your productivity by 16%.
What raises the red flag is making it such a prominent part of the actual job description.
It's simply one more avenue of lead generation for recruitment. And a very creative one that's likely to get them quite a bit of exposure. It also has the benefit of clearly demonstrating that they are a "fun" company, not your run-of-the-mill boring enterprise product corporation.
As with all the other "hiring games" that Google and others do, you can also just submit your resume, you don't have to play.
Personally, I like working with other developers who like games and good beer. I haven't had great experiences with the type who lock themselves in their offices and don't come to happy hour.
Location: San Francisco, CA Department: Operations
And for all we know this was something that someone built outside of work they realized could be put to this use.
I think this is similar in effect to website job boards like the joelonsoftware board or the hn jobs section, where the people who answer are likelier to share your vision and opinions.
In this case you'd have to have Portal 2 already, but anyway. Maybe they're looking for that :)
In this case, 20-30 year old males.
This perfectly encapsulates my unease with this kind of recruiting/self selection approach. I get that culture fit is important, but I also don't like the sort of groupthink and monoculture that you get by just hiring a bunch of people who are all into the same narrow pop culture niches.
I'm guilty of this kind of monocultural preference myself. I used to joke about starting interviews with "What's your favorite Hayao Miyazaki film and why?" although I never actually did it.
I agree with your notion that in hiring one should maintain a good balance of breadth and culture fit!
Rarely is a filter perfect, but this is likely a lot better than taking a random sample from the population :)
I'm curious why they use this mod for recruiting, though I don't own Portal 2 and I'm not interested in applying to Wibidata. What the video shows of the gameplay and puzzles are what I'd expect from Portal 2.
Overall they're very good levels. A good bit more difficult than the base game, and most of the other user-created levels I've played. I was a little surprised that a couple places were more about reflexes than brainpower, since I assume they're looking for good problem solvers rather than good first-person-shooter players. But in general, very good puzzles implemented very well.
Hire me, gg no re
This nails it. I'll do this next time I need to recruit.
"In this mod you're placed into the Wibi!Data office to reset a PIN for the CEO of the company.
You reset this by gathering reset keys and slowing figuring out the reset code."
This thread proves they succeed beautifully.
* : I mean really playing, not decompiling..
Only rokstar geniouses need aply.
Ah, forget it. I'm obviously not qualified for this job.