L.A. startup looks for the most interesting engineers in the world


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One L.A. startup is looking for the most interesting engineers in the world.

It has launched a spirited recruiting campaign that spoofs the Dos Equis beer advertising campaign featuring the most interesting man in the world (‘At museums, he’s allowed to touch the art,’ ‘He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels,’ ‘The police often question him, just because they find him interesting’).

Scopely offers new recruits (or the folks who refer them) all the manly accoutrements that just such an engineer whose reputation is expanding faster than the universe might need: a briefcase filled with $11,000 in bacon-wrapped cash, a year’s supply of Dos Equis, a custom-made tuxedo, cigars, sex panther cologne, a spear gun, beard-grooming oil and an oil painting of himself (or, of course, herself) ‘because Picasso needs a REAL model.’


And, because competition for top technical talent has gotten as intense as cliff-diving in Acapulco (or other interesting man exploits), Scopely has turned its website into a digital ‘we’re hiring’ billboard that flashes questions such as ‘Did God use your wireframes to create the Himalayas?’ or ‘Were you able to handle 100,000 requests/second at your high school prom?’ next to a photograph of its chief technology officer Ankur Bulsara, who is so interesting that ‘Web technologies have meetups to discuss him.’

Engineers have clearly taken the recruiting ploy seriously. Scopely has netted 1,000 resumes and two hires in the last four months. The oil painting of the first hire the company, ahem, speared, Mike Thomas, a senior software engineer, hangs prominently in the company’s West Hollywood lobby.

‘We had been using recruiters to help us find talent. It was fairly expensive and you don’t always find the best people in the world. So we decided to create something a bit different and more fun than the standard cash bonus award,’ said Eytan Elbaz, the co-founder of Scopely who’s most interesting achievement has been to help create Google AdSense. (Elbaz co-founded Applied Semantics, which sold to Google for $100 million in 2003 and became Google AdSense. He worked at Google until 2007.)

Now Elbaz modestly says he’s running L.A.’s hottest (and clearly gunning for most interesting) consumer Internet startup with a team of 17 staffers from Playdom, MindJolt, Warner Bros. and Saatchi and Saatchi.

He won’t say exactly what they are doing (‘we’re working on interesting stuff’), just that Scopely will disrupt the social web, or how much cash they’ve raised (‘we will release it at some point’) but investors include Terry Semel’s Windsor Media.

That has been a serious enough proposition to lure three staffers from Silicon Valley. But for those engineers determined to remain in that technological hotbed, Scopely provides a helpful link to their pals’ recruiting campaign in San Francisco.


Hipster, which has backing from Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures and Kapor Capital, has come up with a similar pitch: It’s offering a year’s supply of Pabst Blue Ribbon, $10,000 in cash, a fixed gear bicycle, authentic skinny jeans, Buddy Holly glasses, worn brown boots, ‘stache grooming and bang trimming.


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-- Jessica Guynn