Super Entrepreneur: Fred Ngo

June 20, 2007


Fred Ngo, StandoutJobs, CTO

I first heard about StandoutJobs.com the way most people had. I watched their hilarious video job posting and wondered how a stealth startup hires a Python wrangler. Little did I realize when I sat down to interview Fred Ngo about his new job, here I was talking to one of the creators of that viral video, and one heck of a creative guy.

Fred Ngo used to work on a 100-person CPU design team. On a team that size, he felt a passionate individual could only make so much of a difference in the world. He longed to join ranks with a peppy young startup to make his mark on the world, but it was difficult. Finding the right startup, with the inspiration and drive to make a difference, was not that easy.

Closing the gap

As a consummate entrepreneur, Fred did not let the gap between his passion and available opportunities deter him. He imported BarCamp to Montréal and became a leader in the local tech community. After all, if you can’t find the right opportunity in life, sometimes you must make it by building a better community.

Despite this, he had trouble finding the right opportunity. At BarCamp Montréal, Fred lamented to Austin Hill, a fellow Montréal entrepreneur, “Hey, I can’t find any cool startup jobs. I want to join a startup and make a difference.” Austin replied, “Well, I can’t find any great employees who are passionate and want to join startups.” And suddenly the opportunity was obvious: closing the gap between the passionate and inspiring causes.

The essential problem, though, was that typical recruiting sites sucked. Bullet points strangled the life out of every job. Boilerplate buried each company’s human spirit underneath safe phrases. Job descriptions were optimized for motivating search engines, not for motivating human beings. You’d have a better time getting excited by sticking a battery on your tongue.

Jobs for the YouTube generation

Well, the solution to that problem is obvious once formulated in the right way. Get away from the 1950s. Use the power of new services like YouTube to tell the human story. Show the quirks and personalities that characterize the company. Expose the culture and the emotional drive and the funny bone to the world. Demonstrate that your company is not your average a 100-person team, but a place where the inspired come to inspire.

Really, I think StandoutJobs.com is saying that in a century where top talent is scarce, and work-life balance is blurring, and big tech continues to follow Dilbert into cube hell, “branding” is not just about how your customers see your externally facing product, but also how your employees and prospective candidates see you, as a person, with a personality, with passion, with a funny bone. Someone they actually want to spend most of their day with.

Go figure. People like working with real people. Genius!

(Standoutjobs.com is currently operating in “semi-stealth” mode, but a preview site is available at standoutjobs.com. Fred and his crew expect to launch the full service in the Fall of 2007.)


about the author

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