A Ninja in Your Office: Every Tech Startup Needs One!

Ninja is “sexier” than its predecessor, Schliker says: “Guru is so Web 1.0.”

Alex Schliker

The Wall Street Journal this week features In the Search for a Hot Job Title, Enter the Ninja. Apparently, not satisfied with their gurus and evangelists, many employers are now seeking metaphorical “ninjas,” employees skilled in using multiple technology tools, much like the feudal Japanese warriors used throwing stars, knives and darts.

Among employers currently searching for ninjas, writer Geoffrey A. Fowler found Alex Schliker [right], a business honors student who has taken a leave of absence from McCombs to launch CureCRM in San Francisco.

“The concept of a ninja is metaphorical. It’s about confidence,” says Alex Schliker, who has been advertising to hire one for his San Francisco business software start-up, CureCRM. It’s “an easy way to say you need to be good at learning anything new I throw at you,” he says.

Ninja is “sexier” than its predecessor, Schliker says: “Guru is so Web 1.0.”

In an interview for McCombs TODAY, Schliker explained there’s something inherently positive about the word ninja. “Being around positive people carries a powerful and excitable energy that’s very contagious,” he stated.  ”When your goals are to acquire the best talent on the market to complement your products, being bold, like a ninja, is a prerequisite. When you’re running a startup, standing out to acquire talent is part of the job description.” Schliker sounds like a hard-charging guy (see his bio below) so he probably needs a team of ninjas to keep up with him.

One wonders whether these new titles really make a difference. Do they free employees from traditional concepts of work roles, allowing them to spread their wings and fly…or is this just a way to make a regular job seem personalized? As one who has been a “brand champion” in the past, I have to admit I’m a bit embarrassed by the preciousness of these so-hip titles, but sometimes work styles and functions evolve so fast that we search for words to describe what is happening. So, I’m okay with it. Just don’t get too hung up on your ninja-ness, it could get nerdy really fast.

For more job title fun, see Ann Handley’s Job Titles 2.0: Brilliant, Bullshit, or Both?

From Schliker’s company bio:

Alex, a Y Combinator alum, attended the University of Texas at Austin as a Business Honors student.  He foundedVenture Weekend (now hosted in Vancouver, Austin,Stanford, and at Startup House), and Snipd; his first startup in high-school enabled classmates to bypass web filters; while selling access to his friends and hundreds of accounts on the web, he was suspended from touching computers, but later sold the company on eBay. Alex also founded:Fantastic Scripts – a website login and subscription solution, QuickInsert – the widgetized version of Fantastic Scripts, and CodeRAM Design Studio – a website development firm founded in Texas with over 15 clients.


Alex acts as official team chef, loves windsurfing, and cycles actively. In 2007, he biked over 4,000 miles from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska with the Texas 4000 team on the world’s longest fund-raising ride for cancer research. Contact Alex.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s