How to find 10x engineers in Asia

Last year I interviewed Quang Pham, founder of the SaaS company upbase.io

He is a Vietnamese developer who lived in the west for most of his professional life. He came back to Vietnam to recruit engineers for his startup.

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These are the notes from an interview I did with him in 2023. Watch the longer version on YouTube.

How does it look like when you work with a 10x engineer?

  • They can do everything.

How to find them?

  • Hiring through relationships and meetups.

  • Great engineers always have options. They are not on linkedin.

  • Starting with freelance work before offering full-time positions.

  • The inefficiency of traditional HR in finding good talent.

  • Ask them difficult questions in a conversation right away

What can you expect?

  • they know English now. No middle management needed. They can talk directly with the client
  • Once you find someone, you can hire their friends as well

Can you find them through usual channels?

  • Yes, but harder.
  • Insert an easteregg in the job post. Else you won’t get good talent.
  • The significance of evaluating problem-solving and research skills (e.g., effective Googling).

Differences between Asian 10x engineers and Western?

  • Overestimation of abilities by developers and the “Title Inflection” issue.
  • Differences in work estimation and time management.
  • Cultural attitudes towards authority and decision-making in Vietnam.
  • Encouraging a culture where it’s safe to fail and learn.
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Till Carlos

I'm Till, a senior developer who started a software company. I explain software concepts for people in leading roles.