I love Seth Godin as much as the next person. I think I have all his books (you'll see many of them listed on the sidebar of this blog as suggested reading), although I still have yet to read "Tribes". When it comes to keeping you on your feet related to marketing, brand and the new age of social media, there's no one better. He's the gold standard in that area, OK? Now on to the meat of the post.
Sometimes too much Seth Godin is too much Seth Godin. Especially when he bounces into the area of talent, specifically selecting talent, and the pundits covering him brand super smart marketing and PR techniques (which Seth is very, very good at) as innovative selection processes for talent.
Am I grumpy, cynical, jealous and/or "on the money" with this one? You decide. More on the cult that is Seth Godin from Forbes:
"Seth Godin sits at a table surrounded by nine aspiring entrepreneurs. Emily Kate Boyd, a songwriter from Atlanta, shares her idea for a new venture: a nonprofit that will expose wealthy donors to fledgling artists who need their support. "How do you use 'groupthink' and wisdom of the crowds to do this?" Godin asks her in his signature marketer's jargon. Boyd, 28, says that when prospective patrons are together in one room they will inspire one another to participate.
Boyd and the other folks, most of them under 40, are participating in an "alternative M.B.A. program" organized by Godin and held in his office in the sleepy town of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. The Godin followers are spending five days a week for six months, until mid-July, soaking up marketing insights from the speaker and author of marketing advice books. The program is free--sort of. Four of the participants gave up their jobs; two quit; two are taking leaves of absence to spend time with Godin, who pads around in mismatched socks and quirky glasses and fixes his followers' lunch almost every day. Allan Young, one participant, quit two part-time gigs, which paid him a total of $170,000 a year, to hang out with Godin. Boyd is racking up $1,000 a month in debt to participate.
Godin, who typically works alone and admits that he gets lonely, came up with the alternative business degree program in November. He initially hoped to find people he could teach who could also help him work on his Web site (Squidoo.com) and other projects. He sat down at his computer and dashed off a posting on Squidoo. The heading: "Don't go to business school. Instead of getting an M.B.A., consider spending six months in my office." He was looking for "brilliant, charismatic" people "on a mission, moving fast, filled with passion and empathy."
Even he was surprised at the number of responses he received. ("The danger of the Web is that you can go from idea to public announcement in under ten minutes," he says.) Godin says 48,000 people looked at the post and 340 applied. In December he invited 27 applicants to his office for a group interview. They spent two hours interviewing one another. Then they, and Godin, wrote down the names of their favorite candidates. Three weeks later the 9 chosen showed up at Godin's office."
Here's what drives me crazy. I've seen a couple of posts related to the selection process and got the article forwarded to me a couple of times. The gist of the posts/emails from my talent peers? "Seth is freaking brilliant, look at how he arrived at the nine".
Seth is brilliant at many things, including marketing and PR. When it comes to selecting multiple candidates for your company, are you really willing to let finalists vote for their favorites and live by that for your business?
You're not, because you know better than that. I'm sure Seth could have made all the selections himself and done very well based on his hiring instincts. But don't look at a "Survivor" type of process and tell me Seth's brilliant because of a PR/Marketing gimmick.
Seth's brilliant in a lot of ways. This selection process isn't one of them. If you believe the selection process above, just start allowing anyone who submits a resume to vote for their "top 10 candidates to phone screen" and see how that works out for you.
Crowd sourcing - good for many things, selection isn't one of them.