January 8, 2006

Smart People Are a Dime a Dozen

“At MIT, everyone is bright, and some are super-bright. Some super-bright people are total jerks, and some are the nicest you’ll ever meet.

I had one famous computer scientist as an instructor who bore down on a student for not knowing how to solve a digital signal processing problem – after she protested that she didn’t know the complex algebra required, he said, “come to me after class, and I’ll teach you complex algebra.” And then, after class, he told her, “I don’t have time.”

In contrast, I had an equally famed materials science instructor who set aside office hours to meet with any of his dozens of students who needed help on their homework, even though he had plenty of teaching assistants.

* So when I join a company and hear how smart the people there are – I’m not impressed. Unless they’re also good people to work with. That’s a lot harder to find.”

From Phillip Chu’s What I Learned at MIT.

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