I had coffee with a friend who recently entered the staffing agency business. His company has several hundred developers on staff, and each of these have been technically vetted. So, the idea is that a company can easily increase its engineering resources by calling up and saying, “Hey, we have a new project and need <insert some number> engineers next week.” Yes, you will pay a higher rate for the resources, but you’ll get them when you need them, and don’t have to incur the ongoing cost of full-time employees after the project is over.
Naturally, he was asking if Rover could use his services. Yes, we are hiring, but no, we are already working with some recruiters, and are not going to add any more at this time. (Hint: recruiters, don’t call…I’m not going to hire you right now.)
The conventional wisdom is that startups and young companies don’t want to hire through staffing agencies because of the higher costs. In part, that’s true, but it’s not the real reason. Most companies would gladly pay an extra cost for great developers immediately.
In this week’s I Need More Ears, we have a special guest appearance from Toby McKes. He shared this story with me, and it was so amazing, that I asked if I could share it with you:
About 10 years ago, C89.5 started playing this song…it was a mashup before mashups were a thing. And, it was the most glorious mashup my young ears had heard. It was the instrumental from “Let’s Groove” by EW&F, with the vocals from an Elton John song I had never heard called “Are You Ready for Love”.
They played it all summer and I fell in love with it, so I called the station and asked who it was by, but they didn’t know. They told me that it arrived in one day at the studio in a blank envelope containing a CDR that said “Elton John” on it.
A little bubble gum never hurt anybody on a sunny spring day…enjoy!
Olivia: One thing I’d add to your post might be that you have to go into iterative efforts fully open to the fact that the “Loop” step might mean you took at wrong turn and need to stop and/or kill what you’ve done. Otherwise, you wind up with Winchester Mystery House product and resources spent supporting worthless crap. And killing something off is suuuuuuper hard to do, from what I’ve seen. But it’s part of that whole “committing to the Loop”…that’s the toughest part.
Me: I’m not a good killer. I love all my children.
…if you don’t “loop”. People…you are killing me! There’s a reason it’s called the “Build-Measure-Learn Loop” and the most important word in that phrase is the “loop”!
Okay, take a deep breath…let me Take a Step Back™…because I started with the conclusion.
All the rage these days is talking about iterative development and emergent design. If you’re in the business, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, a bit of background:
George Jones passed away recently. Some say that he was the greatest country artist ever. You decide for yourself.
I started a little project this weekend. First, I found a project on Github that will serve as a foundation, and then I’m going to customize and extend it a bit to do what I want. That’s beside the point.
At Cheezburger I kept a wall of sticky notes with bits of wisdom I have learned over the years. This project gave me an opportunity to walk the talk and live by one of these little bits of wisdom I’ve often shared with others:
Ship First, Develop Second
Originally, I thought Elvis Costello was from the Midwest—sort of Cleveland’s version of the working man rock ‘n roll song man, like Bruce Springsteen (New Jersey) or Billy Joel (Long Island). And, while his songs to share some of those qualities, boy, oh, boy, was I wrong! You can get corrected edjumacated like I did here and here.
In the meantime, here’s Allison separated by 25 years…
Last winter, I stopped working with cats, and started working with dogs. Currently, my primary responsibility at the dog company is to recruit and hire top talented software engineers. The market in Seattle for software engineers is very tight.
Seattle is probably #2 in the country after Silicon Valley for technology companies. Not only do we have Microsoft and Amazon here, almost ever major player in the industry has setup a development center Seattle. Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay…they’re all here. There are billboards on the street advertising software developer job openings, and the other day I actually saw a truck driving around town with a big billboard on back.
It’s hard for small companies to break through and find good developers, and my company has had to resort to a gimmick to break through the noise: Rover.com is giving away a free puppy to anybody who refers an engineer. In addition, I’m spending a few nights every week going to meetups for different types of special interest groups, just to meet developers and put the word out.
I was in an office under NDA when I saw this on the wall, so I can’t disclose where I took the pic. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a copy of the paper online. (If you can, please post a link in the comments.)