As many conversations as I’ve had about Facebook, and as often as I comment on how I believe Facebook is going about the business of being the world’s largest social network in the wrong way, the conversation always seems to be about Mark Zuckerberg.

One of Facebook’s co-founders, and the guy who Zuck often credits for keeping Facebook running at a pure nuts-and-bolts engineering level, was Dustin Moskovitz. Moskovitz,  now a founder of shared business task list startup Asana, is looking to change the world again. And I say Dustin Moskovitz is creating business change in ways that are way more important than what Asana sells.

If you look at Asana’s jobs postings, one of the openings you’ll see is this post for an Online Marketing Manager. Since that job will be filled and the posting will go away, I’m reproducing it here:

Online Marketing Manager:

We think marketing to businesses has changed forever – moved away from white papers, trade shows, and datasheets; we are using a global freemium product model and a rigorous approach to testing and measurement to build a user-driven marketing and sales engine that can grow very large. We’re looking for the emerging web marketer, equally skilled in the creative and the analytical parts of modern online marketing.

The Online Marketing Manager, our first full-time marketer, will help define every aspect of Asana’s online marketing engine. We are building a high-volume operating model at Asana that straddles the increasingly dynamic and blurred line between consumer and business marketing. You will help define, test, and grow a low-cost, high-leverage marketing engine for both our free and paid products through a deep understanding of viral and paid growth strategies.

Requirements:

  • Able to plan, craft, and measure all aspects of a marketing funnel
  • Driven to deliver constant improvement of key funnel metrics using “Build-Measure-Learn” style feedback loops
  • Compelled to make web properties look beautiful and work flawlessly
  • Comfortable directing social marketing efforts on Twitter, Facebook, Quora, and anywhere else productive people gather online
  • Adept at choosing, implementing, and getting the most out of a marketing automation stack

Desirable:

  • A T-shaped skill set, with a passion for high quality output
  • At home with all aspects of the marketing mix, including branding, demand gen, acquisition, conversion, retention, and measurement
  • Demonstrated success in a SaaS marketing organization, with a freemium or free-trial product
  • Unafraid of basic mark-up, CSS, and other front-end web technologies
  • Know which marketing and sales automation tools you would choose again, and which you wouldn’t

If you aren’t savvy to web design or marketing you might not be familiar with much of what Asana is looking for in a candidate for their Online Marketing Manager position, but if you are, it’s likely that you see yourself as a good fit for the job.

And that tells me that Asana really is a different kind of company.

Asana isn’t laying out a laundry list of requirements, other than those that speak to what you know how to do. We do the same thing at PC-VIP when we hire trust missionaries; we’re far less interested in your history than in your skills and abilities.

When I saw this story last month, it made me think of just how wrong the traditional way of doing human resources can be; AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson complains that in order to fill a job, AT&T needs to interview eleven employees.

Actually, that’s incorrect. AT&T interviews those eleven people after first having a team of hiring managers wade through hundreds or even thousands of would-be employees and eliminating non-candidates, rather than looking for good ones. It’s a subtractive business process feeding an additive one. It’s time consuming, misdirected, and frequently just doesn’t work.

Dustin Moskovitz and Asana think different.

Look into the flawed-business-process-for-hiring issue at AT&T and you’ll see job descriptions that are so specific that the practical chances of finding any candidates who meet all the criteria approaches zero. Asana eschews that, instead saying “we like people who know how to do this stuff”.

Why in the world, especially in a global talent hunt where so many people come out of the woodwork vying for positions you post publicly, would you do things AT&T’s way?

Business change is hard. Seeing the flaws in your business processes and being willing to adapt them for a changing business environment takes a kind of introspection that companies like AT&T aren’t generally very good at. Business Processes need to be adapted, and then RE-adapted.

This isn’t just about paying your employees more than you might have thought you should. Even The Harvard Business Review, not always a hotbed of forward thinking, sees the need for business change in hiring practices.

And you see it, too. Want help with your business change? Start Here.

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