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We Only Work With the Best

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If you work in the tech industry you've heard it before: "we only work with the best." While this phrase may not have caused you to pause before, it should. It's one of the most counter-productive mindsets a person, a company, or an industry can have, and it is rampant in tech. Here's why it is so destructive:

  1. It's arrogant 
  2. It fosters prejudice
  3. It kills mentorship

1. It's arrogant

Saying that you only work with the best assumes that you are part of an elite group that has nothing to learn. Your only problem, by extension, is that there aren't enough of you to go around. Since you can't hop in a cloning machine, you'll have to slum it by interviewing the unwashed masses until you find someone as smart as you. News flash: everyone has something they need to learn. Anyone who thinks they know it all is simply a know-it-all.

2. It fosters prejudice 

Building on the assumption that you are finding other members for your elite team, people who only work with the best also assume that they are good at assessing other people. As someone who is not a great judge of character (I like everyone) growing our company required us hiring people who were better at hiring. Without experience in hiring, people often resort to a prejudicial shorthand that is best summed up as "Mirrortacracy" — they hire people who look like themselves and share similar backgrounds (same school, same ethnicity, same gender, same age, etc.).  This is a big part of why people in tech are often young, white men.

3. It kills mentorship

Let's assume that you are really smart and experienced, and that you are a great judge of character, so you really are only hiring the best of the best (and this is a stretch). That may be great for you or your company in the short term, but by not providing connections with the next generation of brilliant people you are short circuiting a community's ability to grow. This means less talent in the future, which ultimately will come back to bite you and the rest of the industry in the form of higher wages. This is especially true in a fast-growing industry like tech.

If all of these outcomes seem familiar, they should. The tech industry has a reputation of being arrogant and prejudiced, but because it's a resonating chamber, it compounds itself with crazy wage growth. This wage growth in turn feeds the arrogance.

Date posted: June 12, 2017

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About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a 20+ year technology veteran helping to lead businesses in the move to the Cloud. He frequently speaks on panels about the future of tech ranging from IoT and Machine Learning to the latest innovation in the entertainment industry.  He has helped to modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Wind Power, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers & the Linux Foundation.

As the CEO and Founder of Metal Toad, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, his primary job is to "get the right people in the room".  This one responsibility is cross-functional and includes both external business development functions as well as internal delegation and leadership development.

A UCLA alumni, he also serves in the community as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Stand for Children Oregon - a public education political advocacy group. As an outspoken advocate for entry-level job creation in tech he helped found the non-profit, P4TH, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and is in the process of organizing an Advisory Board for the Bixel Exchange, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides almost 200 tech internships every year.


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