The Programmer’s Price

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There are plenty of people who are skeptical about 10x’s model. Chris Fry, the senior vice-president of engineering at Twitter from 2012 to June of this year, told me that bringing an agent into meetings would be “socially awkward.” He also didn’t need help finding programmers. “At Twitter, you get the best résumés on your desk already,” he said. “There’s an internal recruiting department, and you have all your referrals from the people who work there.” Sam Altman, of Y Combinator, said that, in the small world of Silicon Valley, the very idea of talent agents presents a “negative-selection problem”: “The actual 10x engineers don’t need or want an agent; people quickly discover they’re great, and they end up picking where (and especially with whom) they want to work. In my limited experience, the engineers that get agents are bad.”

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