16th: Interview for a city leader

This is part 2 of my previous idea, 15th: Running a country is the same to running a big corporation

The more I think about it, the more puzzled I become:

Why can’t a city elect a leader in the way like a company hires a new chief officer?

Let’s assume we have a city called: Domino, where it needs a new mayor.

Step 1: Job Posting

The HR department posts a new advertisement, something like

Mayor Needed

Job Description

  • normal mayor stuff
  • stressful
  • deal with multiple city departments
  • deal with residence
  • make city Domino great!


  • minimum: bachelor degree
  • must have over at least 5 years of work experiences
  • must have been a lead in a team
  • outstanding public speaking
  • must have experienced different fields
  • never feel tired

I don’t know, I just make those things up.

But here is what I think it’s important: a city leader should have least had some experiences in different fields, like working in an industry or a school or technology field, etc.. This person should not have a single source of experience, say, have been solely worked in an insurance company. Then it is very hard to convince me this person understand people in all other fields.

One exception may be someone who is a journalist, especially field journalists, who must go to different sites to interview all sorts of people, write stories about real life, and see everything happening in different places.

Step 2: Screening

I have done a few hiring events in couple companies. After job posting, normally recruiters will gather hiring manager and the team, present all the candidates, select a group of them, and then move to phone screens.

In this case, the hiring manager will probably be the city council, and then some key members of the city government. They arrange some time to conduct a phone screen with candidates. Those candidates could be recommended by the recruiters or nominated by the city members, as long as they have enough qualification, any resident of city Domino can apply too.

Once the screening (including background check) is completed, the best candidates will be invited for onsite interview.

Step 3: Onsite Interview

This will be interesting process. I suspect there will be no more than 3 or 5 candidates in this step. They will all come to city building on the same day to have a full day interview with minimum 5 rounds of interviews.

The interview could have:

  • behavioral questions
  • scenario questions
  • simulation, like going to a scene with some actors playing a story, then asking the candidate how to respond. It’s like behavioral/scenario question, but more realistic
  • knowledge-based questions: to verify the candidate’s background/degree/knowledge, e.g. if a candidate claims to know budgeting, we should verify it’s true.

Of course, there will be a question about what you will do after you are selected.

Each round of interview will be recorded.

Step 4: Decision

The decision is based on the interview, qualification of the candidate, and references provided by the candidate. Once the final decision is made, the recorded interview videos will be public on all TV channels. It is a way to show the selection process is fair and justified.

That is it. This is how city Domino finds its next Mayor.

Most public companies elect their CEO through board of directors. Only a small subset let all shareholders vote, even when that happens, the candidates are nominated by a group of major shareholders.

The key is, the candidates have a proven history of experiences in some fields, to demonstrate she or he can be qualified for running the mayor. If after the onsite interview, the hiring manager(s) and the team do not agree, then try again with another set of candidates.

Once a perfect candidate is hired, this person will stay in position and continue working as a mayor, until she or he decides to step down (or look for other challenges), or city decides to let her/him go. The city will provide help and training to make this person a better mayor, while this new mayor will have a sense of responsibility building a better city for the residents.

This is more important compared to must have one candidate from each party, and then everyone must be able to vote.

Honestly, who cares? When normal people don’t have food, when people don’t have a place to live, when a city can’t have roads, we need a strong leader to make it right, not everyone arguing what to do. Think about any team projects you have worked in. However, I cannot emphasize enough, this is NOT equal to saying: no one should raise their voice; this is ONLY saying: any group needs a strong leader to make the right/determined decision.



15th: Running a country is the same to running a big corporation

First, before exploring this idea, I would like to invite people to watch this video:

In this video, Graham describes an example of the bridge at the campus took   a few years to finish the repair. This is really common in United States. Another typical example is the light rail at Seattle. 21 miles was planned and approved in 1996. 23 years later, 2019 now, this city still hasn’t finished.

Why is that?

There are two reasons:

  1. Leader: the leader of the city is elected. He or she does not care too much the long term goal. In a few years, another leader will take over. Why bother? There is no need to be determined, to finish, to accomplish anything once elected.
  2. So-called “democracy”: most people think they have a voice, which has nothing wrong for sure. People should be able to express their opinion. However, people need to realize that a group needs a strong leader. If everyone keeps arguing, raising opinions, a group gets nothing done. I am not saying people should not raise opinion, I am saying someone in a group needs to be directing.

Then how a normal person’s voice bubbles up?

This leads to today’s idea:

Running a country/state/city is the same to running a corporation.

Why a company can succeed but other fail? Because of the decision of the leader, which is the CEO. Let’s use some positive examples: Steve Jobs, Howard Schultz, Satya Nadella. Those people lead the company to a right direction.

Of course, there are many negative examples as well: Steve Ballmer, Carly Fiorina, Eddie Lampert, and many others. Those people not only failed to deliver good influence to the company, but also put the company to a wrong way.

Are CEO elected. Sure they are. However, not directly by employees. And each leader (most of them) has a long history of outstanding performance and then gets nominated in the board meeting. Once the CEO is there, he or she stays until something bad really happens, or board votes to let him/her go.

This is applied to the leader of a country.

Let’s take Rodrigo Duterte as an example. Personally, I consider him as a strong figure who is very determined to do the thing he believe it’s right.

I am not going to debate if we can go with a different way. But he carried on his method as a leader.

Another figure is: Lee Kuan Yew.

Here, we are not talking about dictator. We are talking about the leader who is determined to execute actions for the group he/she is leading, because he/she believes the action is right.

A dictator is someone who does not care about his/her people, only sinks in the fulfillment of the power, temporary treasure and all kinds of other lures.

A leader is different.

Let’s use Seattle as an example. Why would any mayor bother solving the homeless crisis? Why can’t someone stay in position long enough to have a long-term plan, which makes sure he or she has enough time to solve anything? This person will have a sense of responsibility, not a short-term dummy because some companies sponsor the campaign. This person should have a proven history solving hard problems and long-term vision. Yes, give the person an interview, broadcast it to public, and let citizens know why he or she is chosen.

Maybe that will work.

That is just my opinion, and this week’s idea.

11th: Street Food and Thoughts on Homeless Crisis

Street Food

I watched a few episodes of Street Food on Netflix.

Very interesting to watch. I recommend it.

I grew up with eating street food. After doing dumb things (like doing karaoke, playing Mahjong or pokers with friends), we went to have late night feast. Street food vendors usually opened late, could go all the way to next morning. Even after midnight, I remember still seeing street filled with people dining.

It becomes rare these days now, because government starts to have regulation. Some streets still have it, but not the same as before. It was a very special age. The fragrance, the people, the sounds, and the lights, all of those complete a very unique dining experience, which cannot achieved from eating in a restaurant.

Just like the trailer says:

“If you want to taste real food, it has to be street food”

Seattle’s Homeless Crisis

On a total different topic to street food, Seattle, is infamous for its homeless crisis. Because of some special policy of this city, it’s said some other cities bought one-way bus fare for their homeless people to come to Seattle.

Fair enough, I am not against homeless, everyone has a bad day. I truly believe parts of homeless population end up in the situation due to a serious of unfortunate events, and they actually want to change, like having a home again.

This city government has been discussing again and again on plan for homeless. Some city councils just want to tax more to the rich people to solve some problems those city councils have no idea how to solve… every time I hear that again on the radio, this is my reaction.

The Connection

People still need to eat.

People have memory.

People also have skills.

For some people, they remember the food they have had; maybe it’s a food they love, or may it’s a food they remember from someone else.

Like I said earlier, I believe some of the homeless people really want to change the situation, and they probably are working hard on it.

Here is my idea: can this government allocate some funds that provide training and necessary resources to those people who want to change? For example, train they how to cook with a food stand, provide some tools and resources for them to prepare, and then lower the bar for them to run business.

In some areas, this city could open an area for night market. It is opened to public. Have some police watching as well, maybe at the beginning. It does not have to be limited to street food, it could be anything else. Maybe some homeless people love to make arts, or play music, or crafting. So the night market, by homeless people, sponsored by government, is not only a way for people who want a home again, but can also become a celebration of folk culture nightly and connect people together.

Of course this idea is very naive. From the bottom, the government is investing on people who want to work and contribute; instead of charging more from the top. Yes, the world is unfair: a small group of people appear to own large portion of the fortune in this world. But some of those people really worked their ass off to reach that point. They just happened to have the right idea at the right time, with the right vision and enough courage. We should not lay here and ask them to give us money, simply because they have more than enough. How is that fair?

The same thing is applied affirmation action bill. It is basically a legalized racism. Because Asians are over populated in many schools and work places, they want a law to enforce admission in school or hiring in work places must have even ratio of races. It implies they don’t even want to give a chance to people who are willing to work hard, or who have better qualification.

That, is why this city government does NOT want to invest in homeless people who want to change the circumstances.