Desi Back to Desh

Between airports, airplanes and transit lounges

Another day, another year, another deal – II

19th December 2007.

Five years down the road, I think our biggest achievement is that we now have great candidates coming in as walk in(s).

We still don’t advertise on traditional media except for the occasional once in six months posts on GOF and the “We are hiring” fliers at FAST, CBM and IBA. And when great candidates walk in, there must be something we have been doing right on the list of things that they look for.

19th December 2007 for me will go down as a very special day. Two individuals came in for a final round of interviews. The first is someone that I have been trying to recruit for about four years (surprise, surprise, Nauman) and the amusing part is that he found us. The second wrote the second best cover letter that I have read over 15 years of recruiting candidates. (The best was written by Salimah). Both were offered. Both accepted. The first within 30 seconds; the second, 24 hours later.

It made my day.

Why? Five years of working with the smartest people I have ever worked with has taught me one thing. With apologies to Under Cover Brother, once you go smart, you can never go back. The simple reason why we are where we are today is because of the 50 odd individuals who said yes to working at Alchemy. Thirty eight of them are still here. Two things define them. First, they are all exceptionally self aware. They know who they are, what they want and where they want to be. They have either thought it through or more commonly they have always known somewhere inside themselves that they are destined for great things. Second, they take enormous pride in what they do. A line of code, a deliverable or a cup of coffee is not a line of code, a deliverable or a cup of coffee for them. They crave perfection. They hate making compromises. Let me correct that. They not just hate compromises; they track every time they were forced to make them by me. And they remind me and themselves at every opportunity they get, that we need to go back and fix the compromises we have made.

It leads to interesting dynamics. With me saying customers are more than happy to work with imperfect products as long as they do an effective job of taking away pain. With my team saying, they may be happy, but we are not.

And every now and then, they sneak up on me and with great fan fare, dump me in the cold waters of the Arabian Sea.

To smart kids who see us for who we are…Thank you.