Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Drive, Curiosity and Ethics

Christian at think:lab takes a look at what Netscape founder Marc Andreessen seeks in new hires and connects it to what the evolving purpose of education might be. I was struck by Andreessen's top three things he's looking for in potential employees, which seem a lot more important to me than most current measures of educational "success":
DRIVE: "First, drive. I define drive as self-motivation -- people who will walk right through brick walls, on their own power, without having to be asked, to achieve whatever goal is in front of them. People with drive push and push and push and push and push until they succeed."

CURIOSITY: "Second criterion: curiosity. Curiosity is a proxy for, do you love what you do? Anyone who loves what they do is inherently intensely curious about their field, their profession, their craft. They read about it, study it, talk to other people about it... immerse themselves in it, continuously. And work like hell to stay current in it. Not because they have to. But because they love to.

ETHICS: "Third and final criterion: ethics. Ethics are hard to test for. But watch for any whiff of less than stellar ethics in any candidate's background or references. And avoid, avoid, avoid. Unethical people are unethical by nature, and the odds of a metaphorical jailhouse conversion are quite low."
Drive, curiosity, ethics. We do an admirable job of testing for linear capacities and occasionally producing projects that "engage" and "inspire". All well in good for keeping kids motivated in the moment and also getting them into college, for example.
Christian's analysis goes all over the place, and deep too. Some great big-picture thinking worth checking out.