07 February 2014

How to be a Human, Part II

In my ongoing attempts to teach the modern startup entrepreneur how to be more human (or at least better at faking that they're not an alien from planet douchehat), here is part two in the new series.

I know that from your perspective it's hard to tell the difference between "confident creative out of the box thinker who rejects the status quo" and "arrogant fucking asshole who thinks that they've got nothing to learn from anyone" but for normal humans the difference is fundamental and profound.

In addition, while the former is actually the kind of person who is valuable to the long-term success of a start-up, the latter is (in general) largely fatal to such companies. Sure... there are asshole arrogant halfwits who have had startup success - but to be clear... that's luck. So unless you're the kind of person who truly believes that this week you're going to win the lottery... you should not count on luck for your success.

Without further ado... here is how to be the right kind of human in this case. It's quite simple and it consists of some simple self-questioning.

  1. When someone disagrees with you, is your first reaction to want to know why they disagree (or is it to immediately write them off as morons)?
  2. How many times a week do you realize you were wrong about something? Once a day or more (or never or at most one time a week)?
  3. Do you believe that doing something new/ different / innovative is a good means to the desired end (or the end in and of itself)?
  4. Do you try as much as possible to hire people smarter and more experienced than you (or is there no-one out there who is better than you)?
  5. Do you respond to people who provide constructive criticism by bringing them tighter into your circle (or by rejecting them from it)?

In each of the cases above - the first option means you're probably at least able to fake being human whereas the second answer means you might be from Planet Smarmysociopathassface.

So... if you failed the above, it's time to change. Because let me tell you... even the VCs are starting to get sick of dealing with people like you.


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