November 17, 2014

The Programmer's Price: Hiring Developers Through an Agent

The world is being rebuilt in code. Hiring computer engineers used to be the province of tech companies, but, these days, every business—from fashion to finance—is a tech company. City governments have apps, and the actress Jessica Alba is the co-founder of a startup worth almost a billion dollars. All of these enterprises need programmers. The venture capitalist Marc Andreessen told New York recently, “Our companies are dying for talent. They’re like lying on the beach gasping because they can’t get enough talented people in for these jobs.”

10x was started by two music and entertainment managers, Michael Solomon and Rishon Blumberg, who for the past nineteen years have represented rock stars, including John Mayer and Vanessa Carlton. Recently, in the wake of the digital revolution and the music industry’s implosion, Solomon and Blumberg have begun serving as agents for technologists. 10x claims to represent digital “rock stars”; the company’s name comes from the idea, well established in the tech world, that the very best programmers are superstars, capable of achieving ten times the productivity of their merely competent colleagues. In HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” a self-effacing character named Big Head compliments his friend’s coding skills by saying, “Richard’s a 10xer. I’m, like, barely an xer.”

Computer programmers with agents...

Read more at The New Yorker.

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