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Highlights 2020: Week 22
Talent arbitrage and the active investor's job
"Long term thinking (or what I call step-function thinking) is all focused on “who” — “who” can help me? “who” can I model?"
Mitchell Harper, Sane
Over the past two weeks, we’ve hired and trained nine sales/marketing folks to help with outreach. The number of applicants for a job that pays $10/hour + $20/confirmed appointment with the right person, blew me away. (We had well over 1,000).
I was surprised at some of the truly excellent talent that came through at that pay level.
I’ve got a few ideas on why that might be. My pet theory is that there are big demographic groups that don’t have the confidence to value their work where it should be. For instance, we get a disproportionate amount of applicants from women and races other than caucasian.
Or maybe folks who apply for a job like this haven’t figured out how to package their abilities into a skill that commands higher wages. Maybe they’re selling themselves short.
Or maybe they just want to apply for a job that’s a slam dunk.
Any way you slice it, you’re bound to find some serious talent if the population matches a normal distribution.
We just need people closer to the top of the bell curve.
The results of this in my life have been a huge blessing.
When I look at the person who is most critical to building personal wealth currently, I almost feel silly for not focusing more on hiring.
Critical elements I’ve found are:
Setting the net as geographically wide as possible, but keeping the criteria tight and narrow.
Oftentimes, when we hear about the “who” we should connect with, we jump to the high-profile folks in our market.
But who is the person that is going to help you multiply your efforts?
The bedrock challenge for directors…remains constant: Find and retain a talented CEO – possessing integrity, for sure – who will be devoted to the company for his/her business lifetime.
Warren Buffett, 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report
Everytime I quote Warren Buffett or C.S. Lewis, I feel like I’m sending you something you’ve already heard a million times, but this just felt too relevant to pass up.
Two takeaways here:
You might not be an investor, but there’s probably a problem you’re responsible for. How could you find and retain a talented person to help you with your marketing department, tech support or even Chinese lessons.
If you’re the CEO, do you match all the characteristics above? Or are you the director who should be searching for the CEO?
We should judge our neighbor favorably in every circumstance and make it become a habit of ours to overlook his faults. Just as we—almost spontaneously—give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, let us also make this an integral factor of our relations with those about us.
Therese of Lisieux
To be clear, “faults” here means “annoying/frustrating actions you’re suspicious of”.
My first reaction when I’m hit with a problem is often low-grade irritation. That usually translates to the person bringing me the bad news.
Frankly, it often doesn’t seem like the most important problem for me to solve. (That could mean I’m arrogant or just too incompetent to solve it and am trying to slough it off).
But, I’ve found that by zeroing in on their ability to handle the problem, rather than the reasons why they can’t, people usually take care of it.
In fact, It has consistently shocked me, how people take regular, positive accountability and run with it.
The Church does not impose on us the idea that love should be permanent. Permanence is what the heart longs for.
Christopher West, Theology of the Body for Beginners
Since I’ve been praying about getting married for a few years, this quote hits a note in my heart. Too pretty not to share.