“The era of thinking men is over, which is why I have a job” - said Mr. X with a self-deprecating humor. And he knew the effect it had on people - there is an immediate attraction towards successful people who are condescending towards their own achievements - the word often associated is “humility”. I never understood the necessity to apologize for being successful, and I don’t now.
We were in the first class of a British Airways flight from London to New York - I had been bumped up courtesy of a lovely woman who saw her son in me; he didn’t travel any other way. In our limited but meaningful exchanges on the flight, he reluctantly offered (another trait that’s immediately endearing to people) that he was one of the leading trainers in the Finance Industry. He taught young engineers how to navigate in the world of finance, when they are first brought into the fold of an Investment Bank or a PE firm.
By the time he finished his meal and I my second glass of scotch, the name of the firm was etched in my head. The more I thought, the more obvious it seemed - it couldn’t be anything else. I couldn’t wait for the flight to land so I could Google if any other firms existed or if the domain name was available. Not once did I think of the questions that would follow when I shared the idea with a few well-wishers.
“Do you think you are that smart?”
“Isn’t the name misogynistic?”
“Wont there be a lot of pressure to make products that are exceptional?”
This thought process is also reflected in our product design. Products (or businesses) that we have designed or will partake in in the future are guided by two principles:
1) Is there a possibility to innovate?
2) If not, can we enhance the outcome through sheer power of execution.
Stating these is stating the obvious - we don’t know and don’t understand any other way of working. Whatever profession, whatever IQ or talent you have been blessed with, there is no reason not to try and excel at every given moment. Does that mean we won’t make mistakes - of course we will, but we won’t ever make the same mistake twice. This is an immensely tiring way of living and our take on work life balance is reflected in our holiday schedule. We don’t understand calendar based holidays - every member of the team now and going forward has the right to choose the day they don’t want to come to office. If you feel you can’t offer 100% on a given day, we rather you enjoy other things in life and come back recharged.
On the subject of cigar smoking misogynist “Man” in the Thinking, the owner and the CEO are amazing women. We wouldn’t have the audacity of calling ourselves what we do without acknowledging a simple “fact” - the gender debate is moot, women won that a long time ago. We might not be the smartest in the world, but we are intelligent enough to understand that.
And women look much better in a hat.