The entrepreneurial journey is a tough one, fraught with all sorts of challenges and pitfalls. Here is a series of fantasy inventions I wish I was reading about some time soon.
(All names, company names and organisation names mentioned in the future technews report below are fictitious) Marvin Draper Reporting for Technews
Its no longer the interview to remove the prick, its the prick removing the interview
Berkeley University California – The Department of Molecular and Cell Biology has recently been awarded FDA approval for a blood test that can determine your character and your energy levels.
The culmination of 14 years of research and field studies has resulted in a simple blood test that can determine a person’s character and energy level. Professor Jane Marsh initiated this research as part of her Doctoral studies 14 years ago. In 2005, the University spun out the patented technology into a biotech company called Karacta, with Marsh as CEO.
“During my Doctoral research, I had read a piece of research that connected the type of bacteria in your gut to your mood. I concluded that if a bacteria test could predict your mood, then a blood test might be able to predict your character.” said Marsh.
“The hardest part was correlating the concentrations of certain amino acids, proteins, lipids to character traits.” Prof. Marsh explained. “The first four years were spent entirely on correlation algorithms, the following ten years were spent testing the hypothesis. We were lucky enough to have some of California’s largest companies participate in the study.”
This is how it works. Companies determine the personal characteristics they believe best suite a particular job. This information is then translated into a corresponding chemical composition and algorithms. The post is advertised, applicants then apply for the role, sign a release form, and have a finger prick blood test. No need for interviews. The blood test compares the chemical composition and algorithms of the applicant’s blood to the “ideal” composition. Those that have a close match are then put forward for the position.
All the companies that participated in the research said that although they no longer require interviews, there was still a need for minimum criteria, reference checks and qualification checks.
Marc Peterson, the HR Director of one of the largest tech companies in California (Rhymes with Oogle), said that since they have been using this blood test method, they have saved tens of thousands of interview hours per annum. “We are elated with the results. People hired using the blood test method have a 29,7% higher level of productivity and an astounding 89,2% higher retention rate than those hired using our interview process.”
“FDA approval was the last big hurdle, this paves the way for rapid expansion of the technology” says Peterson. “When we participated in the research, it became clear to us that this was a technology of the future. We took a 80% equity stake in the business and pumped over $100m into the research.”
Peterson, who now sits on the Karacta board, is excited about where this technology can go. “There are three main market opportunities we wish to pursue. The first is a Character Database. Imagine a database of all the “blood interviews” conducted. You would simply type in the set of characteristics you are looking for in an employee, and all those job seekers who have been tested and that match that algorithm will be presented to you, for a fee of course.”
Linkedin are reported to be in discussions with Karacta to integrate this technology into their offering. The Talent Search industry is in chaos at the moment. “We are trying to work out whether this is going to make us redundant or if there is indeed an opportunity here.” commented Sara Vickerman, CEO of global search firm Vickerman Bailey.
The President of Global Entrepreneurs Organisation (GEO), Phillip Kaberuka says that this technological advancement is a boon for small businesses. “The financial cost, the time cost, the emotional cost of employing the wrong person in a small business is often devastating. To spend less than $100 to ensure a much better recruitment result is a dream come true for small business owners the world over.”
Karacta is pricing the blood test at $99. “Right now the only place you can have the test done using Karacta equipment is at participating corporate companies with in-house clinics. We are in discussions right now with two major drug store chains in the USA to have Karacta testing machines in all their stores; that’s about 6370 outlets.” Marsh explained. “This is still not where we need to be, but its a good start. The next phase will be to sell the testing equipment and blood test refills over the counter (online) to the small business market. The big question is how we can ensure safety and accuracy, every time, without using trained nurses.”
The second strategy for Karacta is identifying the “code” for successful cultures. “We can all identify a great culture, what Professor Sumantra Ghoshal called The Smell of the Place. But how can we decode that culture? How can we work out how the various instruments (talent) work in harmony and resonance with other instruments? Well we think we are close to working that out.” Peterson explained.
“For the past 10 years we have been analyzing the combined algorithms of all the staff in companies with great cultures and the same in those with poisonous cultures. There is a stark difference in how the great culture and poisonous culture present as combined blood test algorithms. Right now we can predict the type of culture based on just the combined blood data (the blood data of all employees) with huge amounts of accuracy.” says Peterson. “There is a bit more work to do before we release this product to the corporate market.”
There is much controversy surrounding this new technology. Human rights groups are questioning the legality of the technology. Human rights activist Frank Bunelli says “Sentencing a person to a particular set of characteristics based on blood chemistry at a particular time, is down right immoral, never mind illegal.”
Peterson and Marsh disagree. “Our research has revealed that 92.4% of those who had their blood tests done 5 years apart showed statistically insignificant changes in their blood chemistry. This means that they are for all intents and purposes the same people they were 5 years previously.”
“What was important was the 7.6% that did change. Close to 66% of participants in the research who were given their results (10% of the total) and told that they were incongruent with the jobs they applied for, managed to change their blood chemistry over the 5 year period.” commented Marsh “In fact most of them were able to make the change in less then 18 months. We helped them understand how their eating habits, exercise habits and psychological habits affected their blood chemistry. They did the rest.”
This has lead Karacta to its third market opportunity. Karacta intends to democratize the information from the blood tests. They predict that within 5 years, the average person will be able to do a blood test monthly to monitor their own chemistry change. Bunelli argues that this is tantamount to self-genetic modification and that this will cause massive psychological and health issues. Karacta argues that every citizen has the right to know their own blood chemistry and what they do with that information is their own prerogative. “We tell people that their cholesterol levels are x and their sugar levels are y, so they can do something about that. What’s the big deal about giving them the whole picture instead of a few markers? ” Marsh responded.
Like all new technologies, there are going to be positives and negatives. For small businesses, this technology might be the difference between success and failure. For job applicants this technology might be the catalyst of massive health and psychological issues for years to come, or greater job satisfaction and job security. What we do know is that this technology is controversial and will test the boundaries of law, morality and human rights.