The driver behind auto-didactism

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What do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? They all dropped out of college to start their companies – and never went back. And they all were/are
autodidacts.

And if you, your founders, and your company are going to successful you all need to be or become autodidacts. Because the rate of change of what’s important to learn is so fast that even if you do graduate from college by the time you get around to framing your diploma your knowledge is obsolete. As I quoted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the post Startups are learning machines, “We want to push to be more of a learn-it-all culture than a know-it-all culture.”

The article by Aine Cain on Business Insider A Facebook exec explains why she doesn’t hire ‘the smartest person in the room’ — and the questions she asks to weed them out is why the most important trait VP of HR Janelle Gale looks for in job candidates is curiosity:

“We look for learners, people who are acquainted to learning fast, are intellectually curious, and constantly looking to expand their knowledge,” she told Business Insider. “They’re actively seeking feedback and they’re open to it.

“We need people who are looking to incorporate new behaviors, new information, and new data, into their repertoire and skills.”

“The ability to incorporate new knowledge and information into what you’re doing allows us to move faster, because you’re learning faster.”

Curiosity is a strong desire to know or learn something. If someone drops the old proverb Curiosity killed the cat you can counter with But satisfaction brought him back.

While free food and drink and foosball tables are the obvious trappings of a successful tech company like Google if you look deeper you will find lecture series, access to proprietary databases, online courses, tuition reimbursement and a whole host of ways to nurture curiosity in a company designed to learn.

So when you are talking to people from hot new startups or visiting them ask the question, “What are you doing to help stimulate the curiosity of your staff?” Be curious about how others nurture curiosity, you’ll undoubtedly learn something you can apply to your own company. And be sure to share what you’re doing in your company.

 

 

 

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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