Genius Assholes

A coworker once told me that he would hire any amazing engineer, even if they are undeniably assholes. Having pondered this, it seems short-sighted. Sure, some people — engineers or other — are brilliant, super productive, and exceptional dicks.

Anybody willing to tolerate them is likely underestimating, or flat-out ignoring the effect they have on other people. One bad apple spoils the whole bunch, and so forth. Few things deplete energy and motivation faster than having to interact with mean, bitter people.

So they’re brilliant. Fine. Does it make up for bringing a dozen of their coworkers down, reducing their productivity as a result? Does it make up for the recursive effect that those coworkers’ spoiled moods then have on yet more people?