Lesson learned: misfits make for the most overlooked source of great candidates
When I started my airline software company in the 1980s one of my early hires was an ivy league graduate, a mathematical genius, and he carried himself in a distinguished way, reminiscent of the Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame. He totally won me over.
He also totally won over my French client’s secretary. That lasted a few weeks until his lewd messages to her landed in the wrong hands, and I had the supreme privilege of firing him, something I had no trouble doing since it was becoming increasingly apparent to me that hard work was not part of his repertoire.
Fast forward a decade to the mid-1990s and I was rewriting the staffing system my Dad and brother Mike had been upgrading since the machine code days. My first hire there was an ex-con who by all appearances was a lazy bum. Turned out the guy codes like Picasso paints, and Tempworks soon became a commercial success.
The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
Lesson learned: misfits make for the most overlooked source of great candidates. That happens to be the subject of the number one article from the Economist this week. I loved this quote with which the writer concluded his article:
More broadly, the replacement of organisation man with disorganisation man is changing the balance of power. Those square pegs may not have an easy time in school. They may be mocked by jocks and ignored at parties. But these days no serious organisation can prosper without them. As Kiran Malhotra, a Silicon Valley networker, puts it: “It’s actually cool to be a geek.”
How about you? Do you have a misfit story that has played a part in your success?