I am wondering if the Internet Archive, and tech orgs more generally, could effectively hire teams in addition to hiring individuals. I am thinking of 4 or 5 people that could work effectively with each other, be remote from HQ, but be really “hired” in the sense that they assimilate and integrate with the rest of the organization. I have not tried this, so this is just random thoughts at this point.
Acquisitions usually fail, they say, and I have seen failure– culture mismatch, too much redundancy, so lots of loss. The new term “acquihire” is interesting, so people are trying to hire functional groups, but so much is loss
What if a group defines themselves as a team and goes out to be hired. They interview as if they were an individual– talking to managers in an organization to find out if there is skill, temperament, salary match etc. If the team is hired, then it is trained by the org, and such, and then operates as a “super individual” for the first year or so. Built into the team can be different skills, maybe: communicator/manager, tech lead, prodmgr/testing, senior and junior dev.
What problem am I trying to solve? Well there are several:
How to grow a tech company to meet a sudden opportunity: so you get funding, a grant, increased revenue– how do you grow? Some big companies acquire other companies, but those teams often do not integrate well, take a long time to deal with and are expensive. Most organizations hire individuals, maybe this would be effective step up from this system.
How to be effective remote workers: San Francisco is a tough place to move to, but what if a team operating in another area or another country but then went to job hunt in San Francisco, and did some training there, but then mostly lived and worked in their home location. They could learn from each other to bring up younger workers and can recruit to replace people in their team. To integrate with other people and teams in the organization they should switch people’s projects otherwise silos could solidify. This team would then really work for the organization, not just for the team.
How to teach younger workers in a remote workforce: I learned by watching and working closely with others– I think we all do. Doing that over a network can only go so far. Teams can have junior and senior people in it, people that know how to work together well and have the bonds to bring each other up.
The communications issues can ease management issues with remote workers: some people are better coders than communicators, but good communications is essential in remote work, and in modern tech work in general. What if the team had a mix of different skill sets?
Robustness, resilience: each team can handle their recruiting, training, and rejuvenation– each job function could be shared between people, so if any one leaves, there are those that can fill in. Key is that the team would not pick up and leave all together otherwise the organization is super stuck. If longevity with the organization can be counted on, and the company resists the temptation to fire a full team at once, then this can be a big advantage.
Team formation can be a local phenomenon— maybe a team forms in hacker spaces, around schools, or in companies that are downsizing and then they market themselves as a unit. Maybe teams are created in outsourcing company somewhere. It is possible that a team in a remote country could cost the same as an engineer in San Francisco.
The Internet Archive has successful teams working as scanning centers around the world, so it works for this task. Can it work for tech groups? Don’t know but maybe we should try.
Have you tried anything like this?