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"Tell the truth. Don’t reflexively kiss ass to powerful people." And 15 more lessons learned from Reid Hoffman...

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16 Lessons Learned (Among Many!)

1. People are complicated and flawed.

2. Root for their better angels. 

3. The best way to get a busy person’s attention: Help them. 

4. Keep it simple and move fast when conceiving strategies and making decisions. 

5. Every weakness has a corresponding strength. 

6. The values that actually shape a culture have both upside and downside. 

7. Understand someone’s “alpha” tendencies and how that drives them. 

8. Self-deception watch: even those who say they don’t need or want flattery, sometimes still need it. 

9. Be clear on your specific level of engagement on a project. 

10. Sketch three possible outcomes for a project: the likely upside, likely ‘regular’, and likely downside scenarios. 

11. A key to making good partnerships great: Identify and emphasize any misaligned incentives. 

12. Reason is the steering wheel. Emotion is the gas pedal. 

13. Trade up on trust even if it means you trade down on competency. 

14. Tell the truth. Don’t reflexively kiss ass to powerful people. 

15. Respect the shadow power. Make people genuine partners and they’ll work harder. 

16. Final: The people around you change you in myriad unconscious ways

Stashed in: @reidhoffman, Truth, Startup Lessons, Business Advice, Awesome, 10,000 Hours, Power!, Bill Gates, Most Important Stash Ever

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This set of lessons can be summarized: Have empathy toward others and align incentives.

I don't think this is a good example because wealthy people are already swimming in too much information:

2. The best way to get a powerful person’s attention: offer to help them.

As chief of staff, I reviewed thousands of requests for Reid’s time/attention/money. It was stunning how few requesters actually offered to help him on something. Amusingly, many requests were framed as if the asking party were doing Reid a favor by giving him the opportunity to help them: “It’d be fun to get your feedback on something I’m working on.” Reid’s so generous and so curious that sometimes it is fun for him to simply help you. But why not figure out what he’s working on and send an article of relevance? Or offer to share a perspective that could be useful?

Most people think there’s no way to help someone as famous and wealthy as Reid or Bill Gates. Let’s run the thought experiment. How could you help Bill Gates? Donating to his favorite charity won’t help. There’s no one you could introduce him to who he can’t already meet. Buying a Microsoft product won’t make a difference in the grand scheme. But the truth is, what Gates craves, and what you might have, is information. A unique perspective. An insight on something that’s happening in your corner of the universe. He can’t buy that off a shelf. If you can connect information you know to something Gates needs—suppose your 10 year-old cousin is obsessed with a new app that may reveal a new trend in computing—he’ll find it valuable, and you’re more likely to be able to build a relationship with him. At the least, it’s a powerful first gesture that’s the opposite of “gimme.”

Help first. Help first. Help first. It’s key to building relationships – even with the ultra successful.

The real truth is, you can't help Bill Gates under normal conditions.

Something exceptional would have to happen for you to have an opportunity to help him.

This is my favorite part of the whole article:

Often, Reid wrestled with life's tradeoffs. Author E.B. White once captured the essence of why. “I wake up in the morning unsure of whether I want to savor the world or save the world,” White said, “This makes it hard to plan the day.”

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