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Our Deepest… Opportunity


Our-deepest-fear-marianne-williamsonThree times is a trend; this is how many times I came across this quote yesterday. Who were the messengers?

  1. Dorina Morelli via a tweet#
  2. James Victore via his #BurningQuestions creative-letter#
  3. Karen McGrane via her best conference (nominated) presentation#

A working theory of mine on what stumps us the most is that we think and thus end up feeling that we must go at it alone. We don’t; the complexity of the problems that need tackling actually requires a team, possibly a diverse one.

Tobi Lütke discovered how much better we can do when we invite people who complement us into our work. According to an in depth article in the Globe and Mail#, the developer and now CEO of Shopify, an “Intel inside” type company that provides software to more than 120,000 commerce sites, followed wise advice:

So Lütke hired Finkelstein, and Toby Shannan, a warm, bearded, bear of a man, and several others from different backgrounds, and everything changed. All of a sudden there was diversity of opinion. Instantly there were a multitude of possible solutions to any given problem. “I made one change,” says Lütke, “based on one comment by John, and it massively impacted the company.” It got him to reconsider how big Shopify could be. “You know what?” he said to himself, “I think this is a growth company.”

Being exposed to many ideas supports personal growth, helps broaden experiences to make better connections, and creates more resilient organizations.

The maker and tinker-er in me finds a complement in creatives, user experience designers/strategists, and scientists/technologists. I work well with creative directors and developers, for example.

How do you select your team?

[image via]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.

Conversation Agent – Valeria Maltoni


Startups Anonymous: Founders confess their deepest secrets



[This is a weekly series that brings you raw, first-hand experiences from founders and investors in the trenches. Their story submissions are anonymous, allowing them to share openly without fear of retribution. Every Wednesday, we’ll run one new story chosen by Dana Severson, who operates StartupsAnonymous, a place for startups to share, ask questions, and  answer them in story-length posts, all anonymously. You can share your own story here.]

If you were to ask, you’d probably discover that most founders have a secret or two following them around. In most cases, those secrets are probably nothing more than just your run-of-the-mill, most embarrassing moment.

However, for some, revealing their secret could mean they’d lose the trust of their cofounders, confidence of their employees, or possibly their career.

On the other hand, remaining quiet can be damaging as well, especially mentally.

To give these founders an opportunity to free their mind and speak openly, we asked them to anonymously share what they’ve kept quiet. Here’s what they had to say:

  • I have OCD and ADD, but do a really good job of hiding it! I tell them I’m a great multi-tasker when truthfully I can’t focus on just one thing because of my ADD. OCD is a little easier to hide because it’s mostly germ related. I can usually find excuses to avoid sharing food and haven’t had to exchange much physical contact with my team. I do say I need to use the restroom frequently as an excuse to slip away and wash my hands whenever I am feeling contaminated. “
  • “My partners believe I’m an extrovert when really I’m an introvert. Not that big of deal, except I’m the face and voice of the company. I really, really hate talking to groups of people, which is a big part of my responsibilities.”
  • “My coworkers don’t know that, after closing time, I’m a stripper. Yes, a stripper, not a dancer. I take off my clothes and give lap dances for extra cash. It doesn’t affect my day-to-day work, but if word got out, it would be career suicide.”
  • I start everyday with a bottle of champagne and then make 10 phone calls I was too sober to make the day before.”
  • I am dyslexic. I can read and write and no one would ever guess, but try as I might, I’m famous for my random typos. I usually blame technology and make a joke out of it, but mostly I just don’t see things right when typing.”
  • “I was born into a single parent home. No one in my family went to college, in fact, most didn’t finish high school. I lived in Meadowview (in Northern California), dubbed “danger island” by locals. Danger island was full of drug addicts, drug dealers, gangs, and gang wars. Drive-by shootings and home invasions were commonplace. My brother was a Meadowview Blood. His gang activity resulted in our house being shot up–twice! My first sexual experience was at 15…forced at gunpoint. While I broke the cycle by completing high school, and enrolling in and subsequently finishing college, I was a young, unwed mother at the age of 20. I landed my first corporate job at Intel Corporation, excelled at the beginning of my career, then faced an unbreakable glass and racial ceiling. This was my catalyst to leave Corporate America and launch a business where I could own my own destiny. Little did I know I would be a pioneer in the natural hair care market!”
  • I’m deathly afraid of flying, but need to do it constantly for my work. The only way I can fly is when I’m drunk. Suffice it to say, I’ve had plenty of early morning flights and had to show up to meetings while I was hammered. I try to disguise it as best I can, but I’m sure that my clients can tell.”

[illustration by Brad Jonas]