In recruiting, I vacillate between two competing approaches for making the best hire: the nerd strategy and the extrovert strategy.

The nerd strategy postulates that nerds make the best hires. Nerds lacked popularity in high school not because of low emotional IQ - they just simply had better things to do. If you recruit a great nerd, you can count on him (or her) to constantly challenge the status quo. Political considerations take a back seat. Sacred cows are slain. They champion the disruptive technology that visionary clients love. Nerds rock.

The extrovert strategy presents the antithesis of the nerd strategy. As Meryl Streep once said in a commencement speech, "Life is not like college, it's like high school." Relationships matter more than knowledge. Popularity trumps high grades. Playground law prevails. Extroverts have learned to care about other people. Customers care about how much you know when they know how much you care. We need customers.

Passionate claims that the best strategy mixes the two theories - and maybe some others as well. The law of diminishing returns applies here; the marginal return of each innovative nerd decreases if not counter-balanced by an extrovert.

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