Seth Godin says that Cory Doctorow’s ability to crazy multi-task and be a real-time editor will be in high demand. I think it already is, but companies haven’t really identified it. So once you realize that you need people that can do that, how do hire for it? How do you suss out in an interview that someone is capable of doing all this and still keep their sanity? You can’t train someone to do this. Either they have the ability to do it or they don’t.
I’m an editor in a crazy fast organization. Seth’s description of Cory sounds pretty similar to my typical day. Not only do I have to edit projects that are about ready to go out, I edit ones in process, and answer emails, Skypes, IMs and drive-bys about style, legal and anything and everything else. And in between all that figure out scheduling. Oh and I need to keep up on what’s being said about us out there so that I understand why we’re saying things without having to be brought up to speed. And of course keep up with anything that is remotely related to my industry. Lots of reading, lots of writing, lots of organizing. Right now I have 11 screens up.
But I know it’s not just editors, it’s everyone in an information rich environment. We all use email way too much. But you can’t get around it. If we’re in meetings, you can’t get us on the phone. So might as well get us on email while we’re in the meeting. And who knows when you’ll be back at your desk to get that voicemail anyway. If you want to be able to produce the best products, you have to know what the competition is doing – so you read as much as you possibly can, mostly online. On and on we go.
You need people that thrive in these environments and don’t burn out. But I’m not sure what’s the best way to find these people. So far we’ve been lucky.