As the world becomes increasing data driven and consumers become increasingly distracted and cognitively unavailable, there is going to be a massive need for smart people who can build products that allow for such conditions.
Not folks who are plain smart, but specifically smart along certain dimensions that are going to be come invaluable in a few years, if not already. If you’re running a future-ready company or putting together a smart product team, I would hire these 3 profiles immediately –
1. Obsessive User Experience Designers.
UX is everything and anyone who is not obsessed will fall short and not create a super simple, super intuitive, and yet fully functional experience. This person should be passionate about studying human interfaces and consumer behavior in a changing world, and must iteratively design for it.
A good candidate would meet at least a few of these criteria:
Product-entrepreneur, Designer, D-school/engineering/mixed degrees, good observer, avid reader, hands-on hard worker, work experience in customer-centric or design-centric companies, experience in imagining hypothesis and taking a build-test-validate-revise approach. Someone who is creative, can work solo, and a little naive to imagine an impossibly awesome user experience.
2. Machine Learning Scientists
Who is going to make sense of the trillions of bytes of data that gets generated everyday as we record the moods, messages, connections, purchases, friends, dreams, likes and dislikes of 7 billion people?
Someone needs to make that data useful, and produce somewhat intelligent algorithms to improve how products and services behave and react to consumers. Our data is only as good as our ML scientists tells us it can be, so go hire a few of them.
3. Future-biased, Capital-conscious Executives
As companies get bigger, almost everyone feels empowered to say NO, and very few will say YES.
Choose those who can say YES every week. Those who can invent and act. Those who will squeeze the IQ of the UX designers and ML scientists.
A job description that provides the ability to think broadly as well as holistically, across groups and functions within the company and across its ecosystem. The ideal candidate is someone who echoes the “voice of the future” and the “voice of capital”. One who continually questions – WHAT is the best use of my company’s capital, and HOW best can I deploy it such that every penny and every hour is spent on the most promising bets.
If your team does not have such individuals, you must hire them from the outside or bring them in as mentors. Here are a few early indicators that you’ve found the right person,
* Has a strong sense of ownership and believes in Karma
* Prefers Yoga or takes a walk, rather than filling time with another pointless meeting
* Gives well-deserved praise and not the superficial “great work guys” email for every task
* Is not driven by norms and paychecks
* And, can be trusted by all to speak his/her mind, always.