The Grinding Wheel, vol. 1
Recommendations and insights to help you sharpen your tool
Welcome to This for That, in this edition I am trying out a new format. The recommendations below are aimed at helping you be smarter in forging partnerships, directly or indirectly, no matter your role or job title.
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First Round Capital: 40 Favorite Interview Questions from Some of the Sharpest Folks We Know - this article is full of great interview questions. I often use it as I’m preparing to interview a candidate.
13 Days in September - This book is among the very best in a niche genre I call “negotiation narratives.” Wright is an excellent writer and his book breaks down in detail how over 13 days together at Camp David the leaders of Israel and Egypt forged an historic peace agreement with help from President Jimmy Carter. Spoiler alert, one of them was later assassinated for signing the agreement. Even if the Mideast does not interest you, this book makes it accessible and holds many valuable lessons for your own negotiations.
Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford - episode “Martin Luther King Jr, the Jewelry Genius and the Art of Public Speaking” (Feb 25th, 2021) - This episode tells how improvising on stage created one man’s legacy and destroyed another man’s. It offer useful lessons on when and how to go off-script.
There is nothing like a handwritten note to thank a partner, appreciate a coworker or tell a loved one you are thinking of them. I use this white letterpress stationery from Etsy.
Author Michael Lewis on being described as ‘one of the happiest people’:
“If you listen to people, if you just sit and listen, you’ll find that there are patterns in the way they talk about themselves. There’s the kind of person who is always the victim in any story that they tell. Always on the receiving end of some injustice. They’re the person who’s always kind of the hero of every story they tell. The smart person, they delivered the clever put down there. There are lots of versions of this, and you’ve got to be very careful about how you tell these stories because it starts to become you, that you are in the way you craft your narrative, kind of crafting your character. And so I did at some point decide, “I am going to adopt self-consciously as my narrative, that I’m the happiest person anybody knows.”And it is amazing how happy-inducing it is.”
As the US moves gradually closer to some kind of normalcy, more exciting roles are becoming available at great companies. Some of the openings below came to me via friends. If you have a job opening you’re looking to fill, please send it my way and I can highlight it in an upcoming post.
Oyster, Partnerships Lead (Series A) - Oyster is a mission-driven HR company hiring their first US partnerships leader.
RipplingHead of Business Development (Series B) - Parker Conrad has built two billion-dollar companies in ten years. He has his critics but whatever you think of him, Rippling has been on a tear and this role is to lead their BD team.
Hipcamp, Director of Business Development (Series C) - what’s not to love about the a16z-funded, Airbnb of campgrounds? If you’re not already familiar with them, checkout this recent podcast interview with their CEO Alyssa Ravassio on one of my favorite podcasts, Invest Like the Best.
Secfi, Partnerships Director (debt-financed) - this is an innovative, feel-good fintech company that helps employees understand and effectively access their stock options. I’m a big fan of Packy McMormick’s Not Boring newsletter and podcast and he recently anayzed Secfi’s business model.
Ancestry, Director of Strategic Partners - Ancestry sits on a fascinating dataset that opens up a wide range of potential partnerships. This is a new role in a new group.
Square, Head of Platform Partnerships - when you consider the number of different businesses they have successfully launched, I think Square is one of the most innovative companies of the last decade. Building out their platform partnerships will be an exciting challenge.
Levi’s Strauss, Senior Manager, Digital Strategy & Partnerships - Levi’s is an omni-channel, global brand that, despite the seeming simplicity of denim, continues to grow thanks to innovation and experimentation. I’ve worked with this team and they are at the center of Levi’s initiatives around sustainability, brand, personalization, etc.
Wisdom and humor
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