How To Spot The “Michael Jordan” Of Mobile Developers

Last April and May, while Earth was on lockdown, the world was treated to a 10-episode Netflix documentary on Michael Jordan. For those who don’t know, “His Airness,” is widely considered as the greatest player who’s ever stepped on a basketball court.

A new generation of millennial fans witnessed acrobatics and hang time that evoked all sorts of insights and inspirations. Michael Jordan or MJ, together with his Chicago Bulls, are 6-time NBA Champions in the league-defining decade of the 90s. The 10-part documentary, “The Last Dance,” was an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the times and life of a basketball champion.

The world continues to be awed by MJ’s otherworldly competitive nature, recently brought to light by The Last Dance documentary


Now, what does that have to do with IT managers like you?

Well, as it turns out, there are a lot of similarities between high-performing basketball squads and high-performing IT teams.

Looking to hire? In this post, we are going to specifically look at some of the counterintuitive ways of finding a “Michael Jordan” mobile developer—wherever he lives in the world.

In this ultra-competitive and cutthroat game, it’s important to know exactly what it is you’re looking for. With our unbeatable experience in remote staffing, we at Kinetic can lend our expertise on the issue. And so, without too much ball passing, here are three counterintuitive things you need to look for in a mobile developer.

# 1 Look For The Busy

You might say, “Then he’ll have no time for my project!”

Actually, being productively busy is a good measure of the sharpness and relevance of his skills.

You should instead be instantly wary of a remote developer who’s just waiting to get hired. The good ones are always “up to something.” They are really busy! You know that in IT, especially in mobile development, there are always new things to learn, exciting developments to get a handle on. In essence, there’s really no downtime in the game.

For Michael Jordan, the “offseason,” when no official games are being played, is the most important season of the year. While other players are enjoying R&R, Jordan’s offseason is wholeheartedly devoted to improving his craft—endlessly honing those turnaround jumpers, fadeaways, and hitting the gym, readying those muscles for a punishing season. So, when the first game comes around, he has a new arsenal of skills for the highlight reel.

Technology is a field of continuous learning, so you have to have somebody who’s furiously educating himself, regardless of what he’s done 5 years ago. There will always be new things to learn, a higher level to aspire to.

What types of apps has he been building or tinkering with lately? What is the best code he’s written? Which latest platform developments is he most excited about? Which online forums is he lurking in? These things don’t often show up in tech resumes because they rarely can be described as “accomplishments,” (because he’s just “goofing around”) but they’re the most important insights to be looking for.

Don’t be afraid of “busy” mobile devs. The key with busy developers is that you get him to commit to your project and deadline. Show him a vision of your project, and he might just bring his wealth of experience to your team.

# 2 Look For The Expensive

Now we have to qualify this. One of the benefits of remote staffing is that you get to hire comparable talent at a much, much lower cost. We know this to be true because at Kinetic, every single day, our clients are saving themselves loads of dough. (Here’s how.)

When we say “expensive,” we mean relative to other developers in your chosen geography. Let’s say your research has pointed you to some Southeast Asian country as the best bet for your organization. The rate will obviously be lower, that goes without saying. Your next move is not to find the cheapest or most affordable talent in the place. Here’s why…

When one country, as a whole, has lower rates for hiring mobile developers, it has something to do with factors like exchange rates, economic fundamentals, minimum wage, and cost of living. Your organization can take advantage of these savings to the hilt.

But when it comes to hiring the specific individual from that country, you don’t go for the lowest rate this time. Hiring for the cheapest talent there will only cost you in the long run. Eventually, the adage “You get what you pay for” will catch up with you.

Don’t mistake the two kinds of savings. One is a strategy, the other is a headache waiting to happen.

Mobile developers with competitive rates are usually those who have a wealth of experience. They have the confidence to ask for more because they have proven themselves in other projects. They have paid their dues.

Michael Jordan, in his rookie season, had a base salary of $550,000—not exactly the cheapest. But, would you pick anybody else in that class just because the other guy was a few thousand dollars cheaper?

Besides, when you hire someone who’s “busy” and intent on continuously improving himself, you get all the eventual upgrades of his talents and skills…for free. That’s the real kind of savings right there!

# 3 Look For Your “Dennis Rodman”

Let’s put MJ aside for a moment here and talk about a specific person.

Dennis Rodman is MJ’s teammate. And his job is only one thing: to jump (and go for the rebound).

You want counterintuitive? Adding a Dennis Rodman to the roster of the Chicago Bulls for the 95-96 season is one of the most counterintuitive moves in the history of the NBA.

Rodman, you may already know, is a colorful character—literally. For games, he used to dye his hair with all the colors of the rainbow. (Let’s just say, you could easily identify him in a police lineup.)

He’s an explosive “bad boy” and has been known to dash off to Vegas for a night of serious gambling and drinking—only to return for practice seriously dehydrated and hungover.

That said though, Rodman brought something palpable to the table—he was a monster in the boards—regularly grabbing double-digit rebounds and twice winning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards. The Chicago Bulls would not reach the heights they scaled without this offbeat, colourful character giving them something that nobody else can give. (And he drinks too!)

The question is…

Would you hire a “Dennis Rodman” in your team?

The thing is…you may have to.

A “Dennis Rodman” doesn’t necessarily have to be some mobile developer who has a drinking problem and who vanishes into a haze of smoke and drugs for weeks on end. He is simply a person walking to his own drumbeat, who thinks differently, who can say “No” when all the others have nodded their silent “Yesses.”

With mobile development, you are in an industry that’s steep in innovation and creativity. Without these, your app, your wearable, your AR/VR gadget, your IoT solutions would be lost in a sea of “average-ness.” In a market of competing products, you need a dash of inspiration, and inspired uniqueness that usually comes from a mind that works a little bit differently than most.

So those are the three counterintuitive things you need to look for in your mobile developers:

#1 Look For The Busy

#2 Look For The Expensive

#3 Look For Your “Dennis Rodman”

To close, and because you are an IT Manager, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question:

Are you the “Phil Jackson” of your team?

Phil Jackson, if you don’t know, is one of the winningest coaches in NBA history. He won championships both as a coach and as a player. But beyond the titles and accolades, to his players, he was known as a true leader.

He leads with credibility and authenticity that inspires respect. In addition, he’s able to genuinely connect with players, individually—and create lasting bonds. This is a tremendously important trait in an IT manager, especially in the age of corona where teams might work remotely across different time zones, and between different cultures.

Instead of extinguishing their eccentricities, Phil knew how to highlight a player’s uniqueness. Imagine the task of coaching a Michael Jordan and a Dennis Rodman. Yet somehow, he did.

And those two would never play as hard as they’ve played for Phil.

Are you willing to lead your IT to greatness?

That is the question.

For everything else, there’s Kinetic.

As remote staffing experts, we find you the Jordans and Rodmans of the tech world.

Kinetic Innovative Staffing has been providing hundreds of companies in the Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe with professionals working remotely from the Philippines since 2013. Get in touch to know more.

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