Hiring & purpose

in talent, open, purpose, innovation

One of the implications of the phrase “every company is a technology company” is that suddenly it’s not just traditional tech companies that have to hire developers or data scientists. Yes, it is possible to outsource and use people as a service solutions; but in critical positions talent with a deep technical & business understanding are required. This is a significant problem for recruitment professionals - you’re now not just competing with your industry for talent, your competing with the some of the richest (and coolest..) technology companies in the world too.

One organisation that doesn’t have issues with hiring, despite being relatively small, is Aragon, a company co-founded by Luis Cuende, 20, that recently raised €25 million in 1.5 minutes by selling ANTs (Aragon network tokens). Aragon is a DAO (Digital Decentralised Organisation) - and described as a “Decentralised Infrastructure for Value Exchange”. In essence what this means is that it’s a way for founders to create companies that are stateless, with their cap table, by laws and corporate structures defined by decentralised smart contracts rather than a central (country) authority.

So what does this have to do with hiring? Well, in one sense Aragon isn’t particularly remarkable. There are lots of organisations that facilitate the creation of companies - in many ways Aragon shares a lot of similarities with multinationals like PwC and KPMG - both can establish and help you run a company. Admittedly the traditional players use centralised methods, but it seems like this is a change in the “how” not necessarily the “why”. Yet whilst traditional accountancy firms are struggling to hire the best people - Cuende has the opposite problem:

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The easy answer to this question is to say that people want to work for Aragon because it’s a cool, small and young company. However, the real answer lies slightly deeper. When you look at the way that Cuende talks about Aragon it’s clear that he doesn’t see it as just another corporate services firm.

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He’s written extensively about the ways in which he believes decentralisation will change the world, with blog posts that could might be considered slightly hyperbolic by some large corporate. Nevertheless, after reading the literature surrounding Aragon there is no doubt that the company is attempting to reshape and change the world to rid it from the tyranny of centralisation (and make a profit whilst doing so). Whether it succeeds in its mission is another question, but the clarity and ambition of the organisation is undoubtably one of the reasons why so many talented people want to be part of the company.

This purpose driven approach isn’t just applicable to small start ups - Kersti Kaljulaid the president of Estonia has presided over the Estonia e-residency scheme which has seen over 1,000 new companies and more than 2,000 entrepreneurs register to administer their business. Cynically speaking this could have a dramatic effect on the amount of tax paid to the Estonian government, but from a purpose standpoint Kaljulaid speaks in Cunde’s language: encouraging any entrepreneur who believes in a digital first future to sign up to the e-residency scheme and change the world for the better.

Purpose, like brand, is something easy to discount in the seemingly utility driven tech marketplace, but the most successful organisations are harnessing and communicating their purpose to attract the best and most innovative people to join them on their mission. An essential first step is to determine and agree on what that mission actually is.

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