How Would You Move Mount Fuji? Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Company Selects the Most Creative Thinkers
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Microsoft's interview process is a notoriously grueling sequence of brain-busting questions that separate the most creative thinkers from the merely brilliant. So effective is their technique that other leading corporations--from the high-tech industry to consulting and financial services--are modeling their own hiring practices on Bill Gates' unique approach. HOW WOULD YOU MOVE MOUNT FUJI? reveals for the first time more than 35 of Microsoft's puzzles and riddles.
People such as Gordon Moore (later of "Moore's Law" fame and cofounder of Intel) remember having to take these tests as Shockley timed them. Shockley decided Moore was smart enough to hire. These interviews included logic puzzles. For the record, Shockley's preoccupation with quick answers was not all bluster. During his interview at Shockley Semiconductor, crystallographer Jay Last described a vexing problem that had plagued his graduate research at MIT. Shockley thought a moment and announced
billiardball-weighing scheme that was marginally acceptable to the Microsoft guy. The answer was two. "Now, imagine Microsoft wanted to get into the appliance business," the recruiter then said. "Suppose we wanted to run a microwave oven from the computer. What software would you write to do this?" "Why would you want to dolhat?" asked McKenna. "I don't want to go to my refrigerator, get out some food, put it in the microwave, and then run to my computer to start it!" "Well, the microwave could
Testers torture-test software — say by adding columns to a spreadsheet until it crashes, or opening window after window after window until something goes wrong, or simulating the effects of viruses and hackers. Unlike program managers, testers are expected to know programming. They often write special-purpose code to help test a software product. Of course, nothing they write is marketed. Here is one point on which program managers and 66 How Would You Move Mount Fuji? developers can agree:
for today's hirers is the generically positive reference letter. Some companies are so terrified of lawsuits that they hand them out indiscriminately to any employee who asks. It's no skin off their nose if someone else hires away an inept employee. With references less common and less useful, hirers must seek information elsewhere. The job interview is the most direct means of assessing a candidate. But the ground rules for interviews have changed in the past decades. It is illegal in the 14
Wyoming. Case (b) is a tough call. People just vanishing is an entirely hypothetical situation without any moral precedents. Still, the people are living, breathing souls until you hit the history-eraser button. That seems tantamount to killing them. Again, the choice should probably be Wyoming. The dilemma in case (c) is whether to consider removing a more populous state than Wyoming, in view of Wyoming's natural attributes. Wyoming is a big state with beautiful scenery and Yellowstone National