No More Rock Stars: Startups Like Swipely Are Hiring Collaborators

9/5/13Follow @gthuang

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during the dot-com boom, which seems to have trickled down to students. “When I was in school, building a startup was a much narrower perspective,” he says. “Particularly from engineers—it was, ‘Hey, I built this cool thing, how do I make some money on this?’ What blew me away in the late ‘90s in Silicon Valley at Tellme, it was, ‘Who are the people I want to work with? Let’s find a problem that matters to the world.’”

And that emphasis is reflected in many more East Coast startups now. “That’s a huge cultural change over the past decade,” he says.

Anthony Accardi

Anthony Accardi

Which translates back into a new set of skills that technical managers like Accardi are looking for in their recruits. “What I’m looking for in a star engineer,” he says, “is a lot more social, more building on each other’s work, because the pace is so much quicker. I’m looking for a much fuller engineer to join our team.”

This culture and mentality “changes the emphasis from finding a rock star programmer who’ll go in the corner and crank out code, to someone who can collaborate with five different people in different disciplines,” he says. “Learning to solve technical problems in school, that’s not enough.”

The Boston area, of course, is fertile ground for finding the next generation of talent. With all the universities, accelerators, and non-traditional education options like Startup Institute and Intelligent.ly, more students are being shaped to work in today’s innovation world.

So, which colleges are doing the best job of producing startup-ready talent? “If there’s any theme, it’s those sort of schools that are not only renowned for their technical expertise,” Accardi says, “but an emphasis on making it real.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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