I have found it exceptionally important to be radically transparent about who I am for those that work with me. Creating a User Manual or User Guide is generally part of the onboarding process to my startups as it is one of the few documents that are really required. The People User Manual is an impetus for conversation, so we can dig deeper into the “what did you mean when you said” ideas that come from this thoughtful approach to personality discovery. Feel free to leverage this type of document for your startup!
What do I get energy from?
- What energizes me? – Forward progress. My entire life has been defined by forward momentum and forward progress. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. I defer to execution over anything else. Don’t overthink things. Go and do, execute on your hypothesis. I learn more that way.
- What kind of work do I like?
- I am challenge-oriented. I find that if the work is challenging, and YOU can win, then I’m down… but there must be a ladder to climb, where the higher you go up the ladder, the more you can win.
- I am a zero to one entrepreneur. I’m not into lifestyle businesses. I like starting. Learning. Growing. Becoming proficient, attaining some mastery, and becoming profitable. After I’ve reached my personal level of mastery, it’s time to move on. I have done this with every single startup: I help build and then allow people that enjoy scaling the business to take over.
- I like work where there are massive amounts of data, patterns, and opportunities to explore. The more data and models I can create around a project, the more I can be comfortable with injecting myself into the work.
- I like talking about my ideas to others. This allows my words and the power of my words, become my reality. Speaking-into-reality is a real thing. I love sharing what worlds I want to build. I have a higher chance of success when I do.
- I like work where I can trust the people to do what is needed to win. I don’t need to know everything. I just want to be able to tell a random person that I know my team members are doing everything they can to help us win.
- I like work that is changing and growing. You learn more with change.
- I like work that gives me 100% autonomy to be me. Radical authenticity of self is where I’m at in life.
- I like experimenting a lot. There is a line item on the burn for experiments.
- What are my work habits?
- Get the core of work done as soon as possible. Leave the rest of the day for experiments, administrivia, and family.
- I work in time-boxes.
- I measure EVERYTHING as long as a pattern emerges that is measurable or understandable. I create models for everything around me, it allows me to better understand the world.
- I have a routine where I go through the entire next day with my wife right before we go to bed. This allows me to model out the things that are required of me, things to do, and where options/deviations occur. By creating this ‘framework’ in my mind of each day the night before, allows me to put my mind to rest before the next day begins. I ‘know’ relatively what it’ll look like.
- I also, nightly (awake and in bed), spend time building my future in my mind. Whether it be the future garage I want to build, the startup’s future, or how I’d like to experience my son’s go-karting passion. The reason I can be so confident in the work that I do (meta-level) is that I’ve already thought of (as much as I can) all the outcomes and possibilities of that work. (Big fan of the power of imagination).
- I rarely consider risk in my world-building.
What I Value
What drives my decisions/actions?
- I value curiosity and imagination as the highest mental forms of self-expression. These two mental faculties allow you to create worlds in your mind before they become reality. This is what makes us the greatest creation on the planet. We can literally build something… before it’s real. (E.g. I built my dream home in my mind (mostly the garage) years before I actually built it).
- I operate on a very simple two-point function (for most big decisions in life):
- 1 – Is it interesting and fun for me to commit some serious time into?
- 2 – Is it challenging? Does being one of the best in this market afford the few great rewards for their hard work?
- If 1+2 are true. Then I’m willing to dig in and put everything I have into making it into a reality. Why do I know it’s possible? Because others have gone before me and succeeded and all of the materials, resources, and people are all already here on this planet for me to succeed. I just have to act with intention to find them.
- Most daily decisions are relative to the project at hand. For me focus means always thinking about the business almost 99% of the time. It is what it is. It’s what founders do. I live within the context of my work. That’s how you win. Even my seemingly random decisions always have business value. Simply because I’m living with intention towards a worthy goal and putting in my good day’s worth of work to progressively realize success.
- I value personal responsibility. I am 100% the culmination of every poor decision I have made… and the good too. I have no one to blame but myself, every time. I expect others to understand the same. 99.99999% of all my decisions are not compulsory. No one forces me to do anything. I decided. I did. I fucked up. Or. Won.
What I Don’t Have the Patience For
What behaviors do I find counter-productive?
- Pet peeves
- People who don’t value themselves or their own time
- People who don’t see the potential in themselves – This is a pet peeve… but it is also something that I’m naturally empathetic too. Usually, this finds its way to me spending way too much time to coach the individual, which then puts me in a position where I’ve compromised my time.
- Too many systems to keep track of
- Unnecessary structure, constraints, or organizational rules that seem too heavy to really provide value.
- Things that don’t allow me to be at my best
- Too many meetings
- Feeling like I’m constrained to be my authentic self – I need to be able to really click with leadership. This is where I’ve messed up the most in life. Bad relationships. I’ve learned a ton, and I go with my gut now more than ever. It’s not you. It’s me. And if I’m the captain of the ship, then you’re not coming on board even if you’re a rockstar.
How Best to Communicate with Me
What are the ways people can connect with me?
- How do I best receive feedback? – Just tell me now. Don’t wait. Put it in Slack.
- What are things about my way of communicating you should know?
- I am very direct. I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I’m upset, you’ll know it. I never beat around the bush. I may be slow in approaching you (it’s probably because I’ve deprioritized the value of the engagement), but you’ll always know where I stand. If you don’t, ask.
- I’m not consistent with pace-of-engagement. Some days you’ll see me super active in Slack. Some days I’m ghost.
How to Help Me
What are some of my struggles?
- What are some areas of weakness you should know about me?
- I struggle with over-coaching people. I spend way too much time trying to help people become a better version of themselves. Please let me know if you think I’m spending too much time helping other people who should be helping themselves. I’m not their savior.
- I struggle with being my authentic self. Often self-censoring for the greater good of our company.
- I can seem impatient. I’m not impatient. I just believe you can go faster (and you know you can too).
- What are the areas I’d like to grow through work?
- Everything I do is ‘work’ – because everything I’m doing is in-process-of-learning-something-new in the current project I’m working on. I’m always growing, whether it’s personally or professionally.
- I use work as a mechanism to grow my interests. My interests have always provided powerful value back to the business. Remember, growth in any new area has bleed-effects into other areas of your life!
How Do I Make Decisions?
What is required of me to feel good about a decision?
- What is your decision-making process?
- Big IDEAS:
- Always conversation first. Bring your A-game. I want lots of data to make an informed decision. If it’s a gut-level thing, not a problem. Just tell me a really good story.
- Smaller IDEAS:
- Is it the logical next thing to do?
- Is it the simplest thing we can do?
- Can we break it down smaller?
- Does it move the needle?
- If so, do it.
- Big IDEAS:
- What factors into your decisions?
- Can we afford it? / How can we afford it? (money and time)
- What’s the biggest win look like?
- Does it help others?
- Does it make sense?
What unusual behavior will you witness?
- Here are some things that may catch you off guard.
- Fire, ready, aim – Some would call this a blessing. I just do. Because doing > thinking in most cases of business.
- I am not conflicted in my relationship with God and using the word ‘fuck’ (sometimes).
- I love to do consulting. It’s fun. I’ll always do it. Expect that a few times a quarter I’ll be working with some fun clients. It keeps the brain fresh! It’s not that I’m not focusing on the project/startup. It’s a required ‘break’ for me to love on people and remember why serving people is the key to a really full and well-lived life.
- I have turned off ALL push-notifications on my phone. I check work when I want to check work. If you ever need anything quickly, you have my cell. Text me!
- I sometimes go into consulting/science mode in my speech patterns. This isn’t ego that I know a ton of stuff, it’s just a place I enjoy going to in my natural form of communication.
- I have intentionally focused on mastering the art of the dialectic method*** – A form of communication where one can establish the truth through reasoned argumentation. Often a point is made with confidence before logic and reason are explained. It is up to the speaker to be able to apologize and defend the point through master storytelling, extracting contextual rationale, and using them to form an argument of the original point. The best evangelists of the historical and modern world are true ‘apologists’ in that they can answer with confidence a defense of their idea immediately before reasons have formed in their mind. *Watch my Sunday Sermons. Those are examples of me practicing the dialectic method.
- This means that I can be verbose… but it also allows me to, through conversation, allow my mind to really give emphasis to my core proposition or reason or point. Notice as I change my intonation to drop into the main point.
- ***I learned the dialectic methods in 2005 in a Dale Carnegie 3-Day public speaking course. I highly recommend if you want to become a better communicator! This course was so transformative in my ability to speak better, articulate complex ideas, simply, and to bring my entire body into the equation of communicating with people. This course did not teach the dialectic method, but merely gave us an introduction to what it was and how it was one of many different ways of communication in debates. I found it novel. I wanted to learn it. So I did. I have to practice it often to keep the mental muscle in good shape. Great dialectics masters are great at sales and marketing… often… of their own ideas.
How I communicate overall is usually a reflection of my mood. Remember, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve as much as I allow. I don’t shy away from tough conversations and tough questions, and I tend to think of myself as an individual who has strong opinions and is open to discourse and correction. I tend to speak confidently because I’m confident in who I am and I know exactly what the big vision is for the company or product. This doesn’t mean that I know exactly how to get there, I just know the answer is always through.
I enjoy working with all types of people who are willing to challenge the way I think or do things. I move fast, so having an appetite for speed-of-execution is a big plus. I’m no ‘manager,’ but tend to act in the role of a facilitator. I’m very comfortable in this spot.
[Last updated: 2020.01.28]