Everybody keeps talking about the hot new social and mobile technologies and whether or not we’re in another bubble. Steve Blank, Marc Andreessen and a myriad of related tech pundits and economists are weighing in on the debate.
I used to worry about bubbles and company valuations. But now? Bubbles make for much needed, truly “engaged” talent communities and encourage those out of work to go back to school.
Just over a decade ago I worked for a firm that created and managed “talent” communities – primarily software developers and engineers. Prospective employers would then plug their job descriptions into our magic algorithm and wallah – a short list of qualified applicants, on paper at least.
However, these weren’t so much communities as much as they were applicant databases that we sent relevant industry news and jobs to during the dot.com heyday.
Whatever you want to call them – the good news was that during the height of the heyday, the top 5-10% of our qualified applicants were extremely engaged and active in their job searches and employer explorations (yes, queue the bidding wars of yesteryear and today). Of course more than the most qualified were active, but those were mostly unqualified.
How many times has this model been recreated? Quite a bit over the past decade, especially with the growth of social recruiting, and yet most of the time they don’t succeed long-term unless the fervor of a particular industry segment is running hot.
Like today, in social and mobile tech.
Consider this from a recent Wall Street Journal article by Marc Andreessen who co-founded Netscape and is now a general partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz:
“Many people in the U.S. and around the world lack the education and skills required to participate in the great new companies coming out of the software revolution. This is a tragedy since every company I work with is absolutely starved for talent. Qualified software engineers, managers, marketers and salespeople in Silicon Valley can rack up dozens of high-paying, high-upside job offers any time they want, while national unemployment and underemployment is sky high. This problem is even worse than it looks because many workers in existing industries will be stranded on the wrong side of software-based disruption and may never be able to work in their fields again. There’s no way through this problem other than education, and we have a long way to go.”
Which is why I wrote a post for Glassdoor.com recently that included recommendations for those struggling to find work to “go back to school” as well as find like-minded mentors in their industry of choice. The unemployment rate is still over 9% in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 14 million unemployed Americans, more than 44% have been out of work for 27 weeks or more.
Getting people excited about innovation and the world of work today is so critical – it motivates us to learn and grow and engage with employers who need us desperately to learn and grow in order to remain competitive.
So don’t burst those bubbles – blow some of your own. Create talent communities or find the right partner who can help you create them that get folks excited again about the why of work.