The Case for Platypodes
Python might not be the best language for everything, but it’s almost certainly the second-best language for anything. - Peter Wang, PyData SV 20141
Ornithorhynchus anatinus, better known as the platypus, has a strong claim to the title of oddest bit of charismatic megafauna on the planet. House-cat sized, looking rather like a beaver with a duckbill grafted on, they also have the distinction of being an egg-laying mammal with venomous claws. Odd ducks2 though they are, they are a successful species with major style points.
Platypodes3 also exist in the business world. They are those people with odd backgrounds, either professionally or educationally (or both), that don’t fit neatly into any particular categorization. In particular, platypodes have a STEM background (though are not necessarily CS majors) but major experience in non-engineering roles.4 Looked at positively, platypodes can contribute in a variety of roles, often crossing the boundaries between sales, marketing, engineering, design, and/or Management. In a culture of lean startups and lean enterprises that emphasize cross-functional teams they are cross-functional individuals. They’re perfect for starting new departments or doing things that just don’t fit elsewhere.
Platypodes, though, are rarely recognized for these positives. Instead, the typical hiring process will weed them out: they went to school too long; they aren’t focused enough; they aren’t enough of a specialist in anything; they have one of those graduate degrees incompatible with startup-life; they’re going to move onto something else in ...more ...