Good Employees and Successful Entrepreneurs


In an article profiling Google’s Marissa Meyer (employee number 20), there’s this quote on Meyer’s views with regard to hiring practices:¬†

One candidate got a C in macroeconomics. “That’s troubling to me,” Ms. Mayer says. “Good students are good at all things.”

Another candidate looked promising with a quarterly rating from a supervisor of 3.5, out of 4, which meant she had exceeded her manager’s expectations. Ms. Mayer is suspicious, however, because her rating hasn’t changed in several quarters.

However serial entrepreneur Steve Blank says that aspiring entrepreneurs who don’t meet these standards shouldn’t be put off:

What I remind [my students] is that great grades and successful founders / technology entrepreneurs have at best a zero correlation (and anecdotal evidence suggests that the correlation may actually be negative.) […]

There’s a big difference between being an¬†employee¬†at a great technology company and having the guts to start one. ¬†You don’t get grades for having resiliency,¬†curiosity, agility, resourcefulness, pattern recognition and tenacity.



One response to “Good Employees and Successful Entrepreneurs”

  1. Paul

    The problem I think is that entrepreneurial characteristics are rarely valued, or worse are derided in many organizations.

    “Resilience” is a fairly meaningless term, but “curiosity, agility resourcefulness, pattern recognition and tenacity” will more likely be punished than rewarded in for example, a typical technology company.

    To put it another way, in the eyes of a hiring manager (maybe like Marissa):

    Curiosity = Nosey
    Agility = Flighty
    Resourceful = Mean
    Pattern Recongition = Conspiracist
    Tenacity = Pushy

    Now entrepreneurs need to know how to break rules and genuinely “think outside the box”, which is why a nosey, flighty, mean, pushy conspiracist will do fine as an entrepreneur, but not even get the time of day at many tech companies, including – it appears, Google.

    In this respect, Marissa is actually bodyshopping for robots, not entrepreneurs, which is increasing evidence that Google has actually turned into Just Another Tech Company.

    I imagine they’ll need a “We Think Outside The Box – Honestly” banner on their recruitment site soon!