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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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Today, the tactic of paying employees for finding new talent is widespread. A San Francisco company called Practice Fusion offers an example of this approach at work. The company helps people put their medical information online in a way that is secure yet makes the information readily available to any hospital or doctor when needed. When a candidate is hired, the company rewards the employee who introduced the person with a payment that can be as high as $10,000. Maybe that’s part of the reason Practice Fusion is the largest and fastest growing in its field.

Journalist Sharlyn Lauby tells a story she heard from an employee of a small young company providing services in its local area. “Two years ago,” the employee had told her, “one of our CEO’s friends introduced us to an engineer from a big tech company. We didn’t think much of it—he was happy with his job, and we weren’t looking to hire anyone.”

But something about the atmosphere at the company had obviously appealed to the man. “He started coming to our offices on Friday nights to hang out with the team.” They realized later that the man had kept coming because he had been picking up clues about the pulse of the company. “He saw over time how . . . excited we were about our progress, how rapidly we improved our product, how big our dreams were.” Soon he “caught the startup bug.”

The ending of the story goes even beyond what you might expect. “Skip ahead two years to today. He’s now our lead engineer.” He ...

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