Friday, May 05, 2006

Our next vacation destination: Lake Wobegon

A recent post on the Google research blog discussed the hiring strategy of Google:
We rely on the Lake Wobegon Strategy, which says only hire candidates who are above the mean of your current employees.
I didn't stand still at the name of the strategy, until a colleague pointed out it is a reference to a fictional place in Minessota part of radio show on National Public Radio (NPR). Lake Wobegon, where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all children are above average". Wikipedia (always to the rescue), points out the term has been used to describe a real and pervasive human tendency to overestimate one’s achievements and capabilities in relation to others. The Lake Wobegon effect, where everybody claims – impossibly – to be above average, has been observed among drivers, CEOs, stock market analysts, college students, and state education officials, among others. Know anybody else suffering Lake-Wobegonitis? Well, now at least, the name of the Google hiring strategy and curve in the blogpost make a lot more sense to me.


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