Jim Hammock

On May 6, 2009, in All, HR Influencers, Industry Analysis, Job Boards, JohnSumser.com, by John Sumser

Jim Hammock

(May 06, 2009) Jim Hammock is one of the reasons that our industry is in the shape it is today. A lumbering Texan, with long credits as an IBM Sales Engine and as a fixer for big time VCs, Hammock was the CEO of Hire.com. He was Hank Stringer‘s operating partner for the best part of a decade. Hire.com set the stage for the way HR matured in the first decade of the 21st Century.

Hire.com, which ultimately became the heart of the Authoria platform, was a pioneering firm. The Austin based team built tools that are still futuristic today. Everything you ever heard  about automation of the hiring process using company specific talent pools originated with the Hire.com team.

Texans like to be larger than life. From Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughn to Lyndon Johnson and J. William Tincup, hard partying, church on Sunday, good manners and clear speaking are the essence of Texas. There’s even a significant strain of cowboy poet with figures like Larry McMurtry, Kinky Freidman and Jerry Jeff Walker. There’s probably a school where they teach the Texan’s art of casting a long shadow.

One of the disabilities Texans have to overcome (unless they are really from Connecticut and just bought their way into politics), is the drawl.  People from the coasts often mistake the native Texan dialect for slowness or downright stupidity. It’s like Forrest Gump writ large.

In Texas, they call it an unfair advantage. Being ‘dumb like a fox’, a typical ploy, involves plotting mercilessly while your adversary makes the mistake of thinking you’re less intelligent because of the accent. A friend who moved to San Francisco once said, “Ah deed kuhm frum Texuhs, yes ah deed. But ah caym ba  jit.” (I come from Texas but I came by jet.)

These days, Jim delivers a homey blend of wisdom, politics and sarcasm in his blog, The Hubbard City Cafe.

If you’re hunting for another Obama fan club, this probably isn’t going to work for you. In Hubbard City, where Hammock was born, there’s a right way and a wrong way. It’s like a dusty under-populated version of Ozzie and Harriet.

In Hubbard City, life is simple and the cause of problems is clear…airy-fairy democrats and their new fangled ways. Under every rock is a liberal desperately trying to screw things up for the high minded citizens of Hubbard city. The liberals are relentlessly trying to bamboozle the honest people in the world.

Garrison Keeler would be proud of the delicious homespun philosophy. Hammock masterfully deploys his cast of folksy characters in pursuit of the truth in black and white. It’s poetry and a delight to read. If you let yourself, you’ll giggle your way through the literate and thoughtful prose wrapped around some simple truths.

Like most good Texan literature, you have to be willing to be provoked to ‘get it’. A good teacher, Hammock makes his case succinctly and without compromise. Since there’s almost no way that anyone could agree completely with him, each reader is forced to draw his or her own conclusions. He knows that you can’t teach nuance, you have to cause it.

Do yourself a favor. Have The Hubbard City Cafe in your RSS feed. You might never agree with it. You’ll always spend time wondering why that last piece got under your skin. Then you’ll be getting the Hammock value. He will make you think.

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