People are the most important, technology is complimentary.
Nobody is self-made, it's a myth told to manipulate you into individualism and self-validation. No matter what your next path is in your life whether it's a career, project or business, it's important to think about "who" you will work with, do you value them and do they value you?
I've always believed you need to work with people you value and value you.
To test this theory I came up with an experiment:
1. Start by asking yourself these questions.
“Who is the worst person you’ve worked with, and why?”
“Who is the best person you’ve worked with, and why?"
You have to think about this carefully and give a truthful, detailed answer because it's highly likely you have thought more about the latter than the former. This is because negative emotions overshadow positive and you'll always remember that asshole manager that made your life hell.
Expect to have two polar opposite answers and exactly what you’re looking for. This experiment’s goal is to focus on what type of “people” you should work with, as I fundamentally believe this correlates directly to a successful career/business.
“Always associate yourself with people that are better than you” — Warren Buffett, he’s most likely the most recognizable business figure of the last century… I’d take advice from him.
I agree with this statement nevertheless, this can come across as sociopathic in which people purposefully target those with higher credentials and don't focus on the relationship element. Neglecting these realities will not help your growth, people must be better but supporting as well.
For Example Kevin Durant, arguably one of his generation’s best players, couldn’t win a title in 10 years of being in the NBA. He teamed up with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the Warriors in 2016 to create one of the most unstoppable teams of all time. The Warriors went to win 2 titles in a row (17'–18'). He was around other players that complimented him, inspired him and elevated his work to the next level.
How do I go from quoting a legendary value investor to using a sports example? Because I do what I like… focus on the task at hand. ⬇️⬇️⬇️
2. Evaluate and dissect your answers.
The outcome you can expect will be something like this: The worst person was controlling and extremely negative. This personality was unmotivating, demoralising and lacked the empathy required to get the most out of people. Try your best to describe this person with one sentence “nightmare to work with and cruel human who made me hate my work.”
The best person was highly motivated and extremely positive. This personality was motivating, uplifting and smiled at everyone. This person made them feel like they were valuable, and they had something to offer. Try your best to describe this person with one sentence Bailey described this person with a smile as “someone who made me want to come to work and perform to the best of my ability.”
The outcome here is to make unconscious emotions enter your consciousness because either person could be the smartest, most professional, exciting person in the world but they've given you these feelings that you haven't valued enough.
If this is your answer it is not unusual as it’s known that positive reinforcement brings out the best in most people, as this Cambridge study suggests IQ/happiness are positively correlated.
Not everyone is going to be inspired by the same things. I personally prefer to work with people I believe are smarter than myself as it gives me the motivation to learn, improve and be inspired to strive for greatness.
As I am in the business of startups, I have heard many stories, including one VC investor who only invested in startups where he liked spending time with the founder. “I don’t care if I lose money, as long as I have fun doing it”. For me, this is a legendary commitment but is a part of his success, sure, you might miss out on a Facebook investment, but would it have been miserable?
3. In conclusion, to finish the experiment, whether you are looking for a new career or building a startup, you must ask yourself, “Are these the people I would like to work with for the rest of my life?”
It seems extreme, but that is the commitment required to know if this is a good decision or not. If the answer is yes, then you can make your decision, and you’re on the right track to a successful venture.
I have often worked with people who bring out the worst in me, which directly results in lower productivity and failure. The times I have worked with geniuses that bring out the best in me and I become an unstoppable machine. If you want to get the best out of yourself or your business, don’t worry about the industry, product or services. Focus on the people.
I am always looking for new exciting startups, projects and fintech companies. Please connect with me below and reach out if you have anything interesting.