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Enter, Innovation. Exit, Status Quo. Thank You, G-Flux

An exhilirating article for the expert generalist, and a snippet:

“DJ Patil is a GenFluxer. He has worked in academia, in government, in big public companies, and in startups; he is a technologist and a businessman; a teacher and a diplomat. He is none of those things and all of them, and who knows what he will be or do next? Certainly not him. ‘That doesn’t bother me,’ he says. ‘I’ll find something.”

Hats off to Robert Safian for capturing the hard-to-capture so well, so neatly. What resonated especially was DJ Patil’s story. His low engagement in secondary education juxtaposed with his impressive, non-linear career trail. He graduated high school via plea deal and selected a junior college because his girlfriend was going there. Now, he appears in a national publication as a recognized expert in chaos theory with a career trail spanning LinkedIn, eBay, and the Defense Department.

It’s sort of fascinating: what happens when an individual finds the right substrate for their passion, interests, personality, or all three. It’s like they can whip what to most would appear a flat-line trajectory and turn it up to the sky like the telescope of one sun-hungry pirate.

I like it a lot, and I think Facebook and other technology start-ups are partly responsible for giving the deserved and talented a “chance.” Such candidates probably would not get the time of day with a traditional HR recruiter.

And I have a few questions:

  • How large is the F-student-turned-subject-whiz population?
  • Do individuals within this group share a set of common traits?
  • What really causes a person to under-perform, particularly in an area in which they will later make tremendous contributions? – lack of interest, poor sleep, seasons of Dexter?

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