How We Plan to Put a Librarian to Work at Our Tech Startup

Saent is a technology startup. We build hardware and software and have a distributed team located all over the world. And today we put up a job vacancy notice for a librarian. Let me explain why.

If you know someone like the woman on the right in this picture, we’d love to hear from you at join@saent.com.

My father opened a CD shop in the town where I was born in 1994. After spending more than two decades in an office, it was his dream to return to doing something music-related.

Life was good for a few years. Then the Digital Revolution came knocking. It quickly became clear CDs wouldn’t be part of the 21st century. My dad had to sell his shop and like so many professions over the past two decades, his dream job evaporated as quickly as it had arrived.

The return of the librarian
Had you asked me a few years ago, I would have predicted librarians to go the same route as my dad, along with journalists, (in-company) mailmen, typists, record executives, bank tellers and multitudes of mom and pop stores. E-books are here, Amazon ships worldwide, Wikipedia has millions of articles available for free, so who needs an old-fashioned library?

But while the jury is still out on brick and mortar libraries in the 21st century, another change sweeping the world might ultimately decide the fate of librarians: the tsunami of data better known as “Information Overload.”

We’re all drowning in data. Emails, web pages, e-books, project files, pictures, memos, white papers, infographics, YouTube videos and so on.

Humans created 4.4 zettabytes of digital data in 2013, a number expected to grow 10 fold by 2020.

To put that in perspective, a zettabyte is equal to one trillion gigabytes. Whether it’s your personal photo library or the shared company drive in the cloud, it’s hard to stay on top of, let alone organize, all the data we generate.

The skills to pay the bills
Even though we live in a “knowledge economy” where information is a crucial resource, few (small) companies put a premium on dealing with their collective wisdom. Sure, you might have a Google Drive and some conventions on file naming, but chances are, no single person is responsible for ensuring this actually happens, and so usually it doesn’t.

At Saent, we’re going to do this differently. We believe organizing our information well will be a strategic advantage down the road. At the same time, we’re also realistic enough to understand our team is too busy with other stuff to take care of this.

We want someone who will build a virtual Saent library. First and foremost for our team, properly structuring and curating all the research and articles we collect from everywhere. But also for our community, building and maintaining the best online knowledge base on doing great work.

This job will require more than just organizing information. We want this person to be the go-to point for anyone on our team starting research on a certain topic. He or she will manage our e-book library and ideally is (or becomes) a walking encyclopedia on productivity, psychology, technology and neuroscience.

Who’s ideally suitable to take on these tasks? You guessed it, a librarian.

(Note: We have filled this position.)


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