Don’t hire the most qualified, hire the craziest.

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By Rémon van Riemsdijk

Good qualifications are OK, don’t get me wrong. They’re fine. They fit the bill. And that’s exactly my point. Most of the time (if not all the time), the qualifications asked for are those required to keep the business running. If the company is using software X, please have software X experience. But what is waiting for you just around the corner? Nobody knows. Could be bankruptcy.

Periscope Vision

Crazy people always set crazy goals. And they WILL reach them if you give them some room. Triple online sales? Why not? And crazy people always ask ‘why’. Why are we having this meeting? Why don’t we just do this? (rhetorically; it’s already done).

And with ‘crazy’ I do not mean the mean-streak abusive side of craziness we know Steve Jobs had. Crazy people are well educated and skilled professionals with manners as far as I am concerned. They are the people that do not commute during the heavy morning and evening traffic as they do not want to waste time. They hate annual performance reviews because it’s impossible to predict the future one year in advance the way most companies want.

But there is one invaluable thing all the crazy people have: periscope vision. Or: the mental capability to look just around the corner. To know what to do to keep the company from going bankrupt (or being disrupted to death). To see what’s lurking in the dark. To see it before most of us see it. And act radically upon it.

And that’s why they’re a bit crazy, so it seems. Because the ‘normal’ people are too busy with extrapolating current sales of current products delivered in the old-fashioned way. The way things always have been and have worked. Up till now. The crazy ones say to a hardware company: let’s quit the hardware, let’s move into services. And after three successful years in services: let’s restart making beautiful hardware again, just when everybody else was turning into services. They will turn an ice-skating arena into a swimming pool. A Pebble watch. WhatsApp. Or even Alibaba of Jack Ma (it was his quote I used as inspiration for this article).


Now let me get to the perspective of the crazy person for a second. Most importantly: they do not know they’re crazy. For them, they address very obvious matters. They will see that a small competitor is eating away customers with better services and better products. They see the the things as they are, not as the way you’ll like them to be. Or dream and hope they still are. And of course crazy people are a bit wary towards hierarchy in cases hierarchy means ‘this way is the way it is supposed to be’.

And ‘craziness’ is not an attitude problem or not knowing how to behave, it is basically calling bullshit bullshit and a bad idea a bad idea.

And crazy people are not intending to ‘spoil a party’ when not joining in with the rest of the firm in hoping sales will improve eventually, they just call it bullshit. And will act upon it by reinventing the services or figure out something new and exiting for a whole new previously untapped market.

As in most companies the CEO’s and managers are the champions of the status quo, crazy people often are in a bit of conflict with those management folks. To make the circle round for this article: that’s not a really big surprise because let’s get back to the hiring process: these managers were clearly the most qualified people based upon the status quo job requirements… 😉

So I will say it loud and say it clear: hire more crazy people!

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