Everyone talks a great game.
But most people are a nightmare to work with. I’m building an enormous community of creators to solve complex societal problems.
One dream is to use writing to create more economic equality.
Another dream is to help people diversify their income so they don’t get driven into slave labor by a corporation until the age of 65. To top it off, I worked in finance/IT recruitment for 3 years (so I know my stuff).
After a few dozen interviews you get real good at spotting talent. Now as I up my game online, I’m bringing more people into my inner circle.
Here are the hidden requirements I have for anyone I work with. They’ll help you recruit great people to whatever you’re building, fast.
Do you take pride in your Zoom background?
There’s nothing worse than dull lighting and poor sound when you’re trying to chat with someone.
Obviously, not everyone is a rich dude from Silicon Valley with a Macbook Pro, palm tree background by the bay, and a Shure podcast mic.
Still, it’s good to make some effort. First impressions matter. At least test your sound and lighting before you join a Zoom call.
Can you write clear emails?
Amazon famously does most communication via emails, not meetings. I do the same.
When you read how someone writes an email it tells you a lot about them.
- Can they spell?
- Do they use dot points?
- Do they get to the point?
- Do they do a final edit before hitting send?
- Can they format an email for easy readability?
- Does the subject line of the email grab my attention?
- Do they have an email signature full of self-promotion and images that won’t open correctly for many people?
One last thing I look out for in emails is grammar.
A boss I once worked with used only ellipses in his emails. They read like the texts of a drunken sailor who’s only ever used a Blackberry but is trying to type on an iPhone.
How you write is how you think. Writing reveals all.
Can you show up on time?
Some critics say I get horny over productivity.
They’re probably right. But my time is important to me. I’m about to be nursing a baby girl and don’t want to miss a single minute of her life.
A waste of 30 mins or an hour at this stage of my life is a big deal. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve tried to work with who fail to send calendar invites with Zoom or Google Meet links, or show up on time.
It’s not hard.
If you’re going to be late you tell someone beforehand, not after the meeting is supposed to have started.
Can you *not* reschedule meetings lots of times?
We’re all busy. I get it.
Sh*t happens. But if you have to reschedule the same meeting multiple times before we’ve even spoken, I don’t trust you. Call me harsh. But I’ve worked with CEOs who manage 1000s of employees and they don’t randomly move meetings all the time.
Someone once said to me: “Every time you move a meeting where a parent is in attendance, they have to do somersaults to organize babysitters, change daycare, and ring their partner for help.”
Too much rescheduling = selfishness
Too much rescheduling = “this event isn’t important to me”
Do you trash platforms/others?
In my line of work there’s a lot of negativity.
Writing platforms come and go. Views go up and down worse than Mark Fuckerberg’s Meta stock price. And there are a few crazies who troll others for fun and attention they didn’t get from their mommy growing up.
Still, if a conversation goes straight into these topic areas it shows me someone has a bias for negativity.
They’re great at playing spot the problem.
I don’t want to work with problem adders, though. I’m looking for problem solvers. I’m looking for people who can override their 4000 year old ape brain survival instincts and unleash their creativity.
Pessimists sound smart, optimists solve problems and become wealthy.
Look for optimism.
Are they humble as f*ck?
Ego is exhausting.
I don’t have time for it. It’s why I don’t call myself a founder, entrepreneur, astronaut, or world peace leader on my LinkedIn profile. I just call myself a writer so there’s zero ego.
I don’t want people to think I’m better than them — because I’m not.
I like to work with people who have the same philosophy. Too much humble-bragging ends up in status games, and ultimately, online politics.
Test: Ask someone to talk about their achievements.
- Notice how they describe them.
- Is it all about them or do they admit a team helped?
- How long do they talk about it?
- Do they ask you the same question back?
Humble people change the world together.
Do they keep their promises after the meeting?
Meetings are like an orgy. Everyone has a great time.
Although I’m interested in what happens afterward. We all know that anyone can assign tasks and promise to do stuff. But do they?
In my corporate career the answer was almost always a no.
I look to see if people follow through on actions. I also look closely at how fast they act. The pattern I’ve noticed is people who act fast tend to have high drive and want to genuinely work with me.
How someone is in the pre-working phase tells you exactly how they’ll be when you start working with them.
Are they obsessed (as if they’re possessed) with community?
Transactional business will die in the next 5 years.
I freaking hate ’em. Technology is dumbing down marketing and business models. If you build a movement that relies on ads and traditional PR, you’re doing it wrong.
I only work with people who buy into the community-led philosophies I worship, as if they’re the great Buddha man himself.
That means people who work with me ask a lot about my community.
- They want to know our values.
- They want to know what app we use to communicate.
- They make suggestions that don’t just benefit me, but help the community I serve as a leader.
Have they already invested in me?
People pitch to work with me all the time.
No probs. My final requirement (which depends on your personal mission) is … have they bought one of my products before?
A Level 1 investment in me, looks like a person going to a website where my content is behind a paywall or newsletter sign-up box, and reading an article I’ve written. In many cases this is free or costs a couple of dollars, so it’s affordable for most.
A Level 2 investment is they’ve bought one of my digital products. These start at $97.
If they’ve done neither then it’s not a deal-breaker, but I question how well they did their research and whether they want to join my movement.
The worst question you can ever get is: can I promote your product/service even though I’ve never engaged with it?
These criteria for working with me are merciless (hence the headline).
You might think they’re harsh — and they are. But there are too many time-wasters who aren’t serious about what you want to do with your life. Yet there are billions of internet users you can have join you.
So don’t fluff about. Otherwise you’ll waste years going nowhere.
Get serious about your requirements for working with others. Borrow from my list. And feel free to use these same requirements when deciding on a team at work to join or a boss to work for.
There’s nothing better in life than working with talented people.