There’s an escalating war for talent in Silicon Valley and some companies are resorting to “acquiring,” buying up companies just to snatch away top engineers and sometimes paying in the millions for each star employee. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg justified the tactic recently, saying an exceptional employee is “100 times better than someone who is pretty good.”
That led Fast Company founder Bill Taylor to respond with the Harvard Business Review blog essay, “Great People Are Overrated.” Taylor says claims like Zuckerberg’s have a long history in American business, especially in Silicon Valley.
However, research shows that companies are not made by stars, but by a culture that promotes values like cooperation and humility. He points to the long term success of IBM as a counter example, as well as the success of sports teams that emphasize teamwork over star power.