The Breakdown | Explaining Southern California's economy

How to succeed in business: Get technical?

A meeting of computer programmers.
A meeting of computer programmers.
José Goulão/Flickr

On Monday, I posted about a new startup called Codeacademy and whether it makes sense to think of programming as an essential skill, right up there with reading and writing and math. I based the post on thoughts offered by Fred Wilson, a New York-based venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures, at his blog, A VC.

But another USV guy, Andy Weissman, also posted on Codeacademy (at the separate USV blog) and commented on my post (making good use of Disqus, a commenting technology that USV has invested in). 

Yes, it's a bloggy, bloggy world.

Anyway, as if on cue, this story appeared in the New York Times — it's all about how the advertising business is desperate for people with "quantitative" skills:

A talent gap is growing between the skills that many new advertising jobs require and the number of people who have those skills. The dilemma, one familiar to many industries across the country, is particularly acute for jobs that require hard-core quantitative, mathematical and technical skills....The talent pool, advertising technology company executives say, is not a deep one. And those who have the skills are in high demand, often fetching annual salaries that can reach $100,000.

Advertising has long been regarded as a bastion of creative endeavor where "quant" skills are less important than oldfangled talents, like the ability to think up modern commercial poetry like "Plop, plop! Fizz, fizz! Oh what a relief it is!" and invent compelling characters like The Most Interesting Man in the World. But the times, the are a-changin', it seems.

So what do you think? Am I swimming against the current here? Will it be necessary in the future to, as Fred Wilson put it, "get technical" to succeed in business, advertising — and life?

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