Execution versus experience.

Facebook announced the F8 platform this past May 25th – my wife’s birthday by the way. I started working with it right away; desktop applications at first and then web-based apps. In fact, I posted back on June 19th about the difficulties I had with login for desktop apps. I just didn’t think you should have to go to a browser to login. So I’ve created a few applications for Facebook. It wasn’t all that difficult considering that I’ve been writing code for over 30 years, and it is after all just another API.

So the platform is five months old, and I’ve been working with it and building appsfor it for that entire five months.

Yet today a company that was talking to me about writing a Facebook application sent me an email today telling me that they were looking for someone with more experience. I’m not exactly sure how you can have more than five months experience with a five month old platform.

That is honestly the first time in my life that someone has ever told me that I don’t have enough experience. Virtually every company I work with is interested in execution and delivery, as opposed to experience. And if I don’t deliver, they don’t pay me, regardless of how much experience I have or don’t have.

If banks gave mortgages based on your experience buying houses the nobody would ever get their first house.

If VCs funded entrepreneurs based on their experience starting companies, then few new companies would ever be created.

A great programmer with no experience will figure out how to get the job done. But there are all kinds of people with plenty of experience who never accomplish anything great. After all, the day after Facebook announced the platform there were people with no experience at all managing to use the platform just fine. The web moves fast; you either figure it out or you get left behind. The Facebook platform changes too, so experience may be meaningless by the next week.

So who does your company value more? People with experience, or people who get the job done no matter what?

I know who I’d hire.

Fortunately for me most people I deal with are more concerned with execution and delivery.They don’t want to get left behind.

Sadly, this just seems to be the tip of a much more endemic situation I’ve noticed, but I’ll have to leave that for a later and much longer post.


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