Winnowing the Self-rapt

Friday 2013-07-19 12:16 -07:00

from the useful-feedback dept.

I applied for a job at a local web design firm, and as a sample of my work, I included a brief critique of the site, laquered in several paragraphs of praise. Between the layers of praise, I pointed out that it bore excessive resemblance to the Twitter CookiecuttHHHHHHHHHH Bootstrap.

I got back a helpful tip: “critiquing a companies site design in your first email is not a super great way to leave a good impression.”

This makes me happy. Not accepting design feedback is a terrible way of being a developer, or a boss. And it’s the worst way of finding people who will tell the emperor the truth about that the breeze he feels.

There is a reason art school begins and ends with critique. As do philosophy, literature, and music. And science. And good work of any sort.

Good companies know to hire people that provide good criticism. In fact, I was inspired by the story of 21-year-old designer Andrew Kim, whose vigilante critique of Microsoft’s branding got him hired by Microsoft. (And I still can’t believe I just called Microsoft a ‘good’ company. Relative merits!)

From now on, every job application includes a brief critique, to weed out the employers who are self-rapt.

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