Marc Andreessen's Moonlighting Job: Blogger

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 07, 2007

Marc Andreessen, Ning cofounder and onetime Netscape cofounder, has started blogging. And hey—he’s real good. He should have been a writer (except he was smart enough to realize there’s no money in it). The posts are long but useful, and fun. In a post about how to hire the best people, he skewers the hiring screens of some companies such as Google and Microsoft, the latter famous for tossing logic puzzles at candidates:

For example, a classic Microsoft interview question was: “Why is a manhole cover round?”

The right answer, of course, is, “Who cares? Are we in the manhole business?”

(Followed by twisting in your chair to look all around, getting up, and leaving.)

Google, on the other hand, uses the metric of educational achievement.

Have a PhD? Front of the line. Masters? Next. Bachelor’s? Go to the end.

In apparent direct contraction to decades of experience in the computer industry that PhD’s are the hardest people to motivate to ship commercially viable products — with rare exception. (Hi, Tim! Hi, Diego!)

Now, on the one hand, you can’t question the level of success of either company.

Maybe they’re right.

But maybe, just maybe, their success had a lot to do with other factors — say, huge markets, extreme aggressiveness, right time/right place, key distribution deals, and at least in one case, great products.

Because here’s the problem: I’m not aware of another Microsoft that’s been built by hiring based on logic puzzles. And I’m not aware of another Google that’s been built by hiring PhD’s.

Subscribed.

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Reader Comments

dg

June 8, 2007 02:00 AM

Brilliant. Thanks for the word.

Mike Angelo

June 9, 2007 08:27 AM

Lol. yup the rank and file of the educational hierarchy from grade school to doctoral does not rank with the ability of a company to succeed in their market share alone. It's putting the right talent to the right job. It's not just playing cupid either. You got to think strategy. Higher education does enhance the think tank.

Lord

June 9, 2007 11:32 AM

Google wants to make sure they don't hire a Bill Gates and vice versa.

Lincoln

June 21, 2007 06:07 PM

Good luck, good timing and good work ethic and bad ethic will combine at the right time in the universe and produce success like those companies. In hindsight, everything is easy to explain. Just remember, Microsoft is started by at least one college drop out. Google is started by TWO Ph.D. drop outs.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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