OK, the answer’s obvious, right? You are a smart person, so there’s no difference at all. Me, though, maybe you aren’t so sure about.

Ben Horowitz isn’t so sure smart people make the best employees. Or more to the point, the very successful venture capitalist has a few words to say about what makes some smart people into bad employees. Which sounds pretty un-smart to me. How can great intelligence and a bad attitude even go together?

Ben breaks it all down into three basic issues. Smart people who turn out to be bad employees are either:

  • Angry
  • Weird
  • or Just Plain Bad

You know: no different than when less-than-brilliant people are bad employees.

I haven’t spoken about intelligence in a while. My post on Older People versus Younger People is one that still gets its fair share of hits, sixteen months later. A piece I wrote a few months back on the differences and similarities between Mark Zuckerberg and Henry Blodget and each man’s intelligence stills pulls, too.

Is it all random, or is there some way to predict the impact that high intelligence will have on the way a person acts?

I say it’s all about the filters you apply.

Our success doing Search Engine Optimization is based on understanding the way that Google and other Search Engines view information. Google is easiest to understand, because they try to be most inclusive. The formula that applies to Search and Search Engine Optimization at Google goes something like this:

  1. Index Everything
  2. Check For Whether Rules Are Being Broken
  3. Apply Importance Variables

Pretty simple, actually. In short, everything that isn’t exclusionary is included. Doing Search Engine Optimization against that is a lot easier than doing it against Bing or Yahoo, where in between Steps 2 and 3 there are filters that basically add importance. Even the bad guys can figure out how to beat Google.

Ben’s point wasn’t really that everyone is the same, but the filter I’m applying says that they are. Ben’s Google. I’m Bing. And Ben makes a lot more money than I do.

I’ve just argued that Google’s method of counting everything and letting all the information play itself out is better than having pre-built filters. But while Google can afford to let Search Engine Optimization just happen, businesses can’t do that. Searching for good people is hard.

If you think this post is all over the place, you’re missing my point. Maybe I’m testing you!

Care to tell me why?

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