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    • I’ve worked for Fortune 500s, as well as in the government and nonprofit sectors, and I would agree with your assessment.

      I remember doing a project at a division of a high tech company and one of our managers complained to the VP of Engineering about the wasteful spending in providing catered lunches on a regular basis. The VP calmly explained the math: for five bucks a head during meetings held over lunch, he got an extra hour of work from an engineer making $45/hour.

      By contrast, when schools provide dinner to teachers on parent teacher conference nights, which is three hours of additional work after a full day of teaching, the typical fare I’ve seen can be a pot of hot dogs.

      In addition, at a typical school the only employee making $45/hour or better is the principal.  And turnover for school principals is almost as bad as for teachers:

      Elsewhere in Texas, the first school to be closed by the state for low performance was Johnston High School, which was led by 13 principals in the 11 years preceding closure. The school also had a teacher turnover rate greater than 25 percent for almost all of the years and greater than 30 percent for 7 of the years.


      @lidja can probably speak most authoritatively on the talent acquisition and retention challenges in the non-profit sector.

      In environments where it’s much harder to attract top talent, I think the need for managers who can train, develop and get the best out of passionate individuals is crucial.

      In an alternate reality, Elon Musk’s tenure as a high school principal would be short-lived.

    • @lidja can probably speak most authoritatively on the talent acquisition and retention challenges in the non-profit sector.

      A surprising thing to many people not familiar with the world of non-profits is that development officers (professional fundraisers) are often paid on a higher scale than nearly everyone else on the staff, including top-level administrators. So, an equivalent to “talent acquisition” in the for-profit sector is probably “access acquisition” in the non-profit sector, since access to philanthropic dollars is an absolutely critical piece of a non-profit’s ongoing success.

      Thanks to @Chris’ comment about Steve Jobs’ employment policy, we see the psychology behind the poaching that is sooo prevalent in Silicon Valley. I personally think the idea that there is *one* person in the world that is *best* for any given job is mostly BS, but Silicon Valley seems to love that kind of “tip of the spear” thinking. It is pervasive. (On a related note, I have never seen so much dysfunction as when I served on the board of The Tech Museum. The self-interest at all levels of that organization was unfathomable, but reflected the reality of the way things are done in the Valley.)

    • I don't want to believe in the one person philosophy, but I have to admit that I've lived through a couple times where I've thought, "but for that one person..." It was John Lasseter at Pixar. I don't see how the Mac happens without Bill Atkinson. I don't see how Apple turns around without Steve.

    • ...from the long view, though... do you really believe there would be no CGI animation without John Lasseter? No digital music storage devices without Jobs? No creative computing without Atkinson?

      These people were in the right place at the right time with their particular skill sets to give us *what we now have*... but their accomplishments were all results of the work that many, many people did before they came along and alongside them as well as their own Herculean efforts and vision.

      However, the savior narrative is what a LOT of us prefer to believe...

    • I honestly think I prefer to believe that each of us has the power within us and with enough determination a team of regular people can accomplish amazing things. Those make for great, inspirational stories and they're actually true in the case of John Lassiter (fired from Disney as an animator), Jobs (not a standout until Apple), etc.

      And I do think great computing an animation would have happened anyway without them. But would we have Pixar without Lassiter? Apple without Jobs? I honestly don't think we would.