Drops from the Fire Hose – October 10, 2012

5 Characteristics to Look for When Hiring Talent — Mashable

Finding the right talent can be tricky, especially if your company is a startup that doesn’t have a substantial hiring budget. But making an upfront investment of both time and resources can make a big difference to your startup’s bottom line and growth potential. Adding top talent early on will bring a combination of new energy, ability, innovative ideas and the passion your team needs to become competitive in the marketplace.

Proof talent is so important: Large and mid-size companies are continuing to snatch up startups, mainly for their employees. This phenomenon is called ‘acqui-hire.’

Why Data Will Never Replace Thinking — Harvard Business Review

Actual scientific practice is more complicated than that. But the element of hypothesis/prediction remains important, not just to science but to the pursuit of knowledge in general. We humans are quite capable of coming up with stories to explain just about anything after the fact. It’s only by trying to come up with our stories beforehand, then testing them, that we can reliably learn the lessons of our experiences — and our data. In the big-data era, those hypotheses can often be bare-bones and fleeting, but they’re still always there, whether we acknowledge them or not.

“The numbers have no way of speaking for themselves,” political forecaster Nate Silver writes, in response to Chris Anderson, near the beginning of his wonderful new doorstopper of a book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t. “We speak for them.” He continues:

Data-driven predictions can succeed — and they can fail. It is when we deny our role in the process that the odds of failure rise. Before we demand more of our data, we need to demand more of ourselves.

How one billion women will shake the business world — Fortune

Finally, here’s a radical proposal: The most significant development of the Most Powerful Women list is that by 2040, it may not exist, because it won’t need to exist. If women continue the progress they’re making already in many markets around the world, and the business world becomes truly equitable, there won’t be a separate, stand-alone list of powerful women but rather powerful executives, period. The primary criteria for the men and women on that list will be performance, instead of gender. Now that would represent real progress.

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