Don’t Be Afraid to Hire Your Critics

Myopic groupthink kills more companies than constructive criticism ever will. When Facebook acquihired the Branch team on Monday there were some gasps because Branch founder/CEO Josh Miller had been outspoken re: Facebook’s challenges. “Awkward first day at the office,” one chuckled.

Unless you picture Zuck as some nefarious King Joffrey who intends to crossbow Miller, bringing smart dissenting voices into your team is a show of strength, not weakness. Where does innovation come from? Fresh eyes. We should all try to approach every day as if we were a new employee, but that’s hard through long successful tenures.

Facebook’s Head of Product Chris Cox is, gasp, in his 30s and joined Facebook in 2005. Even Zuck turns 30 this year and grew up with a different set of assumptions around connectivity and technology. Josh is 22 which means the world looks different to him. Now he has a tremendous way to go to prove that his product sensibility and execution abilities are anywhere close to Facebook’s senior team, but point is, Facebook SHOULD be entrusting future generations to help evolve the service. Finding those with strong points of view who want to change the social network from the inside could be the difference between magic and stagnation.

Stripe’s VP Engineering Marc Hedlund has said “companies develop more antibodies against new kinds of people over time.” Sometimes the host organism can become too threat resistant. Credit Mark, Chris Cox and the rest of the team for fighting against this urge.