Sunday, October 07, 2007

10/7/07 Memory vs. Resourcefulness

We live in an age where information is available to us like never before. That's a given. Our phones store hundreds of numbers, to the point where it's unnecessary to memorize them. I personally still remember my childhood phone number. I even remember the area codes as they changed. And today? I'm not 100% sure I know my parents' current phone number by heart. Wired Magazine tackles this topic in an article called "Your Outboard Brain Knows All".

Now, I consider myself blessed with an above average memory. As a kid, I had a mental store of all sorts of information. Some of it remains today. Mostly the important ones. Like 007 373 5963. Even though I have a pretty good memory, I value resourcefulness far more. I would imagine that, in a workplace, a resourceful employee would be far more valuable than one who can memorize well. Unfortunately, in my experience, that's not the case. One of my frustrations with the people I've worked with and interviewed with is the focus on the memorization of details. During recent interviews, I have been constantly bombarded with the technical minutiae that rarely, if ever, applies to my job. While the interviewers are disappointed in the fact that I don't know the answer, I am disappointed in them too. Since the honest answer is, "Go to the reference library" or "Use Google and search on 'SQL Inner Join'". Within 2 minutes in the workplace, I would have the solution. That's resourcefulness. Instead, my lack of detailed memorization of syntax is viewed upon as incompetence.

A few years ago I read, "How Would You Move Mount Fuji?". It's a book that explores how innovative companies interview. Basically, companies like Google are more concerned with how you think and who you are. They could essentially care less what you've done. Why don't more companies interview this way? Do you think that most companies don't want to be innovative? Are they complacent hiring a bunch of "yes men"? Or do they lack the insight and talent to really interview well? I'm asking because I don't know. And because it frustrates me beyond belief.


Stat of the day: More than 1/3 of all Italian men over the age of 30 live at home with their parents.


The next product you'll likely see in SkyMall Magazine - The Daddle.


Mike sends this great All Bran commercial. How many poop references can you find?


To be perfectly honest, I feel bad that the Cubs played so badly in the playoffs. And not in the way you'd expect - Many of my friends and family members would have preferred to see them go up 3 games to nothing in the World Series, only to blow it. While I don't necessarily want to see them win it all, as a fan of the game, it's disappointing to see a division winner just roll over and die. Now that I've softened my stance on the Cubs, I don't feel so bad about posting this video.

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