Friday, April 23, 2004

I hate arrogance

I really hate it. I have varied feelings on lots of things, but arrogance I really hate. You can blame this post from the King of Training, the Godfather of COM, the MSFT Usher of XML, the one, the only, Mr. Don Box (sorry for the boxing/WWE announcer voice, but what a kewl name for an incredibly smart d00d).

I have a long and boring resume full of technically challenging projects involving the Windows platform, both desktop and server. I currently have a leadership role in the desktop side of the house, doing the overall architecture for about 10,000 desktops around the world. To say that I do all the work would of course be crazy since without my talented team, I would be nothing, but we collectively kick some serious ass. These are some of the most intelligent people I've ever been around. They are great to work with and I don't think I could ask for a better group of people. Most importantly, the fact that on their way in the office in the morning, they can fit their reasonably sized egos through the door is the best part.

Unfortunately our peers on another team aren't so lucky and get their heads stuck coming through the door every morning (perhaps they use an alternate door, I'll have to check on that :D). Don't get me wrong, there are some seriously bright guys over there, some who have their egos in check and others who deserve to have a bit of an ego. Then there are others who continuously look down upon us like we're a bunch of dolts (they just do the desktop stuff) and then recommend the most asinine stuff. It's amazing to me that anyone is interested in maintaining their employment!

Having recently brought a new team member aboard, I think this is the biggest thing I look for when hiring. If you are so much smarter than the rest of our team (without even knowing them) and you have nothing to learn, then you need to go work somewhere else for people who are willing to be walked all over with your arrogance... but that's not us. When I'm hiring I always say that the new person has to fit into the cohesiveness of the team, and I don't want to ruin that. The more I think about it the more it isn't normally about the cohesiveness, it's about the person having their ego in check and being willing to learn from others.

I guess I think back to the moment when I was constantly asking questions because I didn't know anything. I've learned a ton since those days, but there is SO much I don't know. I've never forgotten what it's like to ask dumb questions, and when someone asks me something that is silly or that I think they should know, I TRY to go easy on them because it's not been so long ago since I've been there. In many ways... I'm still there...