I don't remember the book from which I've got this example. Here is the rough gist of it.

Long time ago, a man was reselling cars and making a big profit from it.

He was gathering several potential buyers together with some shifts in timings, so the last candidate might come later than others, but the general idea stayed the same - he was organizing small auctions.

The situation differed drastically from the case with one buyer - instead of considering the purchase, the possibility of the purchase being made was nearing 100%.

People were competing for the right to obtain the car, even though it wasn't an ideal car. The final price was considerably bigger than the expected price with one buyer.

There are other examples of people losing themselves during the auction, betting too much, and it's widely known by the auction organizers.

With this information at hand, I thought

What if I do the auction about my salary?

For example, I get several offers, then set the meeting date for all of them on the specific site which I will create for this, and then they have an auction.

Even though I'm not yet on the level of receiving or obtaining several offers quickly, this thought is bothering me for quite some time - many good and not-so-good scenarios go through your mind if you think about it long enough.

In order to not prime you, I will skip the pros and cons that I thought about.
Besides, my ruminations are not based on the extensive knowledge of hiring process in the IT sector.

The things that I'd like to clarify:
1. I mostly care about money and I optimize at least next 15 years of my life solely to gather money.
I have strong reasons for that.
2. Based on the stats, I am not going to be some kind of top-tier person like people one level lower than LeCun or Jeff Dean.

If possible, I'd like to see the answers from people with knowledge in hiring or from those who tried something similar.

  • 1
    The explanation of the "-1" button states "The question doesn't show any research effort. It's unclear or not useful". Please, if you downvote the question, state in the comment why. If it doesn't show the research effort and must show it, even though I mentioned priming, I'll do it. I have overall at least 5 hours of thought about this question. If it's not unclear, I'm happy to clarify it, just tell me what. If it's not useful, please state why - I didn't find any duplicates of this question. The only close one was about accepting counter-offer. – user94944 Nov 25 '18 at 4:56
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    If your goal is optimizing the amount of money you have, why are you taking salaried jobs instead of starting your own company or freelancing? That's where the big money is. – Erik Nov 25 '18 at 7:10
  • Hi @Erik by no means true. If you're an excellent programmer with proven results you can get an ordinary old salaried job making (let's say) 200 USD a year. That's "guaranteed", ie ,even if say that company fails or whatever, just get another job in ten minutes. If you do that, and aggressively manage your personal finances well (go to money.stackechange!) you will have "a million bucks" in ten years. In complete contrast, the failure rate of companies you start yourself is incredibly high, and you can look it up. (I've had any number of utterly failed startups and businesses!) – Fattie Nov 25 '18 at 9:06
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    @Fattie if you can make 200K in salary as a programmer, by the way capitalism works, someone out there is paying more than 200K for the work you do. If you want to "optimize money", you need to find that person and get the money from them directly. – Erik Nov 25 '18 at 18:06
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    @Fattie I am in the US and that is not common. – paparazzo Nov 26 '18 at 7:32

Recruiters in IT know that ANY person who they hire can be bought by other company with larger pay next week. Organising such auction would results in just few recruiters (if any at all) participating because they would wait for the final offer and then make you better one after your auction.

Because there is nothing forbidding you from accepting better pay and such auction couldn't force you to sign with the winner for X years.

  • If we patch this obvious loophole in some way, are there any other things that can prevent this idea from being useful? – user94944 Dec 1 '18 at 19:33

Brothels in some countries do something similar, basically auctioning the services of their workers.

So short term it's viable, but long term there are reasons for 'normal practices', they're normal because they work. Many employers discount anything too creative for good reason.

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    If I were a recruiter and went into a talk, encountered a bunch of other recruiters, and told to auction for the guy I would not be happy to say the least – Victor S Nov 25 '18 at 9:14
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    Damn, it's always hard to compete getting votes against the "brothel" answer! :-) :-) – Fattie Nov 25 '18 at 10:59

While this is an admirable commercial idea, I'd say it is unlikely to happen in the market at the moment.

  • As you correctly surmise, the market is very hot for (excellent) programmers

  • It's not unknown that if two groups want one perhaps well-known or outstanding, senior, person with particular experience there will be an informal "bidding war". One party will offer X, and the person will tell that, and the other will offer Y, and maybe the first will top that, and that's that. (I've had to do this at least once, just keep upping an offer because someone else was upping the person's offer.) But,

  • I just don't see so much demand in the market that two or more team leads, or HR departments, or division heads, would actually take part in a formal "auction".

It's unrealistic and wouldn't happen. (At this time as of writing, anyway.)

An informal "bidding war" is the closest that will happen to your idea, and that does happen from time to time.

  • If you have something specific to offer... You mention your AI heroes; people like that are in demand because they have a specific technology or track record of products they led making big amounts of money.

  • As an addendum, you mention you want to maximize the money you have after 15 years. That's a sensible idea. Stick to it. Ultimately, one way or another, you make a lot of money if your products make a lot of money. So keep that in your subconscious.

Another thing is

  • As you probably know there's one or two "agents" for the most expensive contractors. Once you're established as a figure in the industry, you could conceivably execute your idea as a sort of even more elite contracting agency - where prospective clients actually have to bid against each other for the services of the individuals or teams.

note that unfortunately,

  • the opposite! of what you say is more true, at the lower end of the market! On the various shoddy hire-a-freelancer sites, someone posts a desire ("fix my web site!") and programmers/designers bid down and down to the twenty-dollar level. This is unfortunately the opposite of your idea!

Again I don't realistically see that much demand for (excellent) software engineers, but, who knows, maybe it's a startup.

It is so easy currently to make absurd amounts of money if you're an (excellent) programmer that I don't think you'll be depressed about this. While I think your current idea would not get any takers, you should maintain your desire to maximize the money you make for your family by, as you say, working over the next 15 years ("work to live, don't live to work"). Don't lose track of the idea that ultimately and at root you make a lot of money if your products make a lot of money.

"Existing crap on the internet ..."

Obligatory E.C.O.T.I. section. Just to recap,

  • There are already a handful of basically "agencies" (on the Hollywood line) that handle the most expensive, most hyped, software engineers. Those agencies even are notable to implement your idea - as I say, there is observably simply not that much demand for the next programmers. I guess you could have a go at making a startup "bidcode.com - big against other clients for the most elite engineers!" there is ..

  • .. really nothing like this at the moment. (You can google around, but if it existed it would be based on the most famous, hypey, engineers out there so we'd know about it.)

  • about the closest thing I can think of ... Amazon are trying to commiditifyize people selling services: link. Note that for now anyway this is more for those profundly expensive experts: plumbers, etc. (We can only hope that programmers one day .. make as much as plumbers! :O ) Note that even with the mind-boggling demand for (skilled) HVAC, plasterers, plumbers etc, even Amazon there don't offer a "auction!" format for the best talent.