It was suggested to me that a question I may wish to pose to references (past employers) of potential new hires is whether or not the reference would hire that person again. The response to such a question has assisted me in determining whether that candidate is someone worth meeting. But what if I wanted to know whether that candidate was not just above average, but rather whether the candidate was a “10x’er” at their previous job. [For reference, Jim Collins defines a 10x’er as someone that possesses fanatic discipline, empirical creativity, and productive paranoia – although many in the tech scene seem to prefer the term ‘rock star’]. For the past few months I have tried a number of different approaches in an attempt to sniff out candidates that may be 10x’ers. After some testing, I believe that I have found a line of questioning that seems to work quite well. Simply put, I ask: ”If you were able to hire 10 identical copies (or clones) of this individual, would you jump at that opportunity, or would you be hesitant?”. I don’t think that this is gospel, but it has worked for me and so I thought I’d share it. #Hustle
I think most of us have heard the maxim that we should be ‘eating our own dogfood‘. To be clear, all that is meant by this phrase is that we should be consuming the products (or services) that we ourselves have created. The rationale is quite simple; if you yourself don’t like using your product then no one else will, and there’s no better way to test the user experience or demonstrate the product’s capabilities, especially for those at the company that aren’t involved with the building of the product itself. It seems so simple, yet I get pitched daily by business teams and execs that seem to have little to no understanding of the very product that they’re selling. And once it becomes apparent to me that someone is trying to sell me something that they know very little about, their credibility is shot and usually so is the proposed deal. Before joining Shopify, I was a customer (via smoofer), and we used the product on a daily basis for many months, which provided me with an incredible understanding of the platform. There is no way I would be able to bring in business at the current level had I not had a deep knowledge of our offering. With that said, my suggestion (especially for those that work on the business team) is to go learn everything there is to know about what you’re selling, before you start selling it. And then #Hustle like hell.
I recently spoke with Tom Taulli from Forbes about our Build-A-Business Competition. Tom was interested in hearing how we are using mentorship, along with equity investments, to motivate aspiring entrepreneurs to “get off their butt” and build new online businesses. Here’s the full article.
When I first heard the Peter Tosh lyric, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die”, it really resonated with me. Ever since I was a child, I had noticed that as a society we embrace the idea of going to ‘heaven’ (a post-mortem destination that purports to be majestic, peaceful and cathartic), despite the fact that most of us seem petrified of death. Ironic. It seems like we’re excited about the destination, but loathe the journey. Recently, I’ve been feeling the same way about parts of the ‘startup’ scene. Each day I receive a dozen or so emails from wide-eyed entrepreneurs that want to build startups. Most of them have great ideas, strong passion, and real conviction; however only a handful of them end up executing. They all want to be successful, but most of them don’t want to seriously invest the time and effort required. “Everybody wants to launch a startup, but few want to put in the work” – HF. #Hustle