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Raise Unicorns, not Assholes!

January 19, 2018 Published by Rajesh Goel

File this under the Tech #MeToo category.

The “I/TechBro/Craftsman ITSP/Mastermind INTJ” personality archetype

Tech has a history and culture of raising and praising the TechBros – these are (mostly) male, arrogant dudes who know some arcana of technology, sport Richard Spencer haircuts, a plethora of tattoos, an extraordinary amount of facial hair… and poor personal and social hygiene.

You see them at tech conferences, AWS ReInvent, on Reddit and 4Chan, on Twitter and most startups. What they have in technical ability, they inversely lack in communication skills, interpersonal skills, social graces, dress sense, etc.

I’m not saying every tattooed, bearded geek is one of these “I” personalities – there are amazing exceptions.

Nor am I saying that there aren’t clean-shaven, smooth-talking, well-suited psychopaths – we know they exist.

One shocker discussed at a recent conference is that major proponents of small targeted teams have become dismayed of the culture of intense backstabbing and empowerment of “privilege” for points in reviews and bonuses, The “Snyd, Snark and Slaughter”, prevalent in some high-performance technology companies is just basic rampant assholism.

FAMOUS ASSHOLES GALLERY

https://pando.com/2014/10/22/the-horrific-trickle-down-of-asshole-culture-at-a-company-like-uber/

http://time.com/3595318/uber-sexism-tech-delete-app/

https://elaineou.com/2015/10/11/silicon-valley-isnt-autistic-its-just-full-of-assholes/

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/08/ashamed-to-work-in-silicon-valley-how-techies-became-the-new-bankers

https://gizmodo.com/5793734/why-are-tech-founders-such-assholes

http://www.businessinsider.com/asshole-ceos-startup-founders-and-success-2014-11

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/3ev2sa/what_would_you_say_about_the_concept_of_the_tech/

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/09/robert-sutton-asshole-survival-guide.html

http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2013/12/silicon-valley-where-the-assholes-are.html

The “T/Champion ENFP/Supervisor ESTJ” archetype

The next common personality type is that Myers-Briggs Champion/Supervisor – we see these in sales, marketing, some executive roles. These folks are friendly, people-centric, have good social skills, etc.

The “T” type is very much the “I” type, but with some social skills/presentability, and the ability to convey concepts in an understandable manner. BUT, as with the “I” type, they’re quite curt with those they see as technologically inept. They can function outside of their sphere WHEN THEY CHOOSE TO…

Moving forward with “X/Commander ENTJ / Visionary ENTP” Types

I think that calling people and people management skills “soft skills” is a misnomer.

Water is soft. Rocks are hard. Over time, water wins every time.

Soft skills aren’t easily learned by reading a book, Googling, or watching a youtube video. There aren’t easy tests to determine soft skills mastery.

What I am suggesting is that it’s time we stopped worshipping at the false altar of technical brilliance and started investing in PEOPLE SKILLS. The IT industry is a SERVICE INDUSTRY and it’s time we started inculcating that into our management, staff, marketing, sales & hiring processes.

You wanna learn DevOps? Google, YouTube & books will teach you.

Wanna learn pentesting? Same.

Wanna learn how to write well? Present well in front of others? Be at ease in parties? Meetings? Sales calls?

Ahh… those skills, grasshopper, cannot be learned on your own. You will need to engage with people and spend time making mistakes, falling flat on your face until you learn the basics.

X marks higher profitability!

This isn’t just a social do-gooder call to arms. The economy and the market show that excellent sales people, excellent communicators and people-persons make more money and have more influence than assholes.

Look at the outsized good-will and soft-power exercised by

  • Bill Clinton
  • Barack Obama
  • Malala
  • The Dalai Lama
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Yoda
  • SwiftOnSecurity
  • Bill Gates
  • Mark Cuban

Technically savvy, socially adept employees make AWESOME teammates, clients LOVE them, and frankly, they make your life better.

So, if you’re a CEO or manager – raise unicorns, not assholes.

If you’re a team lead or a team member, help yourself and your peers to weed out assholes.

No one needs sexist, racist, socially clueless, rude, arrogant assholes. Let them light tiki torches and march in parades elsewhere…

Learn From Yoda!

P.S. Take a tip from Master Yoda and have your older wizards mentor/push the young Jedi

My Unicorns

Lastly, I’m proud to say that we have our Yoda & the Unicorns at Brainlink. I’m incredibly lucky to have the privilege of working with this amazing group of people.

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