All Posts in elon musk

September 18, 2015 - No Comments!

Friday Link Bait: Elon Musk, Carbonite Pop Tarts and the Mystery of the Dislike Button

Cowabunga! It's your weekly dose of Link Bait - September 18, 2015.

facebook, terminator, han solo

  • Elon Musk Not many people know that The Mechanism has a connection with Elon Musk, who according to Steven Colbert may be the world's first Supervillain.

    Back in the days that we were working on the Ansari X Prize website, Elon had a team in the competition, building a spaceship to win the prize. We were introduced to him at the Explorer's Club in NYC for a fundraising event - and he was a real swell, quiet and thoughtful guy. For a dude who's "afraid of robots becoming smarter than humans through A.I.", it seems very "supervillain-like" for the guy behind Tesla and SpaceX to want to deliver the internet to every corner of the world by sending satellites into space. What should he name it? Perhaps Skynet – and maybe we should call in a Terminator or two to really expedite his (presumably) evil plans?
  • Han Solo Pop Tarts Before they sold out in minutes, you could buy a 30-dollar Pop-Tart with Han Solo frozen into the frosting, just like he was frozen into carbonite. Hospitals anxiously await sick nerds lining up who couldn't resist tasting a hand-painted, resin Han Solo. May the Fork Be With You... Always.
  • Dislike Button? Everyone, including many highly-regarded social media bloggers, members of the Technorati, and several TV newscasts touted the Pro's and Con's of Facebook's upcoming "Dislike" button, causing an internet uproar. In reality, there was no such thing, as Facebook noted they were working on an emoji that will convey "empathy" for instances where a "Like" might be a little inappropriate. Sounds to us like they found out about a project we recently did with the Pharmaceutical giant Amgen...

August 28, 2015 - No Comments!

How to Build a Smart Company by Hiring Client-Facing Teams

Building a smart company requires all the traits they teach you in school: personal persistence, vision, acumen and inner confidence - but subscribing solely to that rationale, is too myopic. Your company is never about you - it's about your clients.

Please. Never forget that.

It's only after you've started the company and had the time to recognize your personal points of failure, that you ultimately come to the conclusion that you must surround yourself with people much smarter than you are. Some people go out of business before they get out of their own way. But when you surround yourself with sharp people, you develop a consistent source of inspiration, expand your company potential, and build a team that actually enjoys each other's company.

In the past 14 years, one crucial thing that I've learned is to be on the lookout for people that can be brought in front of clients and will add something useful to the conversation when they are there. Every person you hire will not be instantly ready for that step, but you must learn to identify the people that can eventually reach that goal.

Here are some criteria that I look for when interviewing people at The Mechanism. These questions help me to make the decision about whether or not they will be able to meet directly with clients:

  • Does the candidate have clear and focused communication skills? (e.g. how quickly does any nervousness dissipate during the interview)
  • Do they have the ability to teach me something that I don't know? This speaks directly to communication skills and teaching ability. Good teachers deliver knowledge with empathy. (I also may have stolen this one from @ElonMusk )
  • What do the other team members think about the candidate? Typically, the first interview is conducted without me even in the room. I want to get a gauge from my staff what they think first. If my team has reservations - 10 times out of 10 - I take a pass. Trust your team or don't hire them in the first place.
  • What was the last book the candidate read? It's a personal question, but speaks volumes more than asking their favorite outdoor activity (If it's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, you may actually have to give them a shot...)
  • What is the candidate's process to complete a project? The journey is more important than the final destination.
  • What was the most difficult conversation they had with a previous employer or client, and...Who was at fault? Useful responses and stories come out of this one, especially with regard to how they will work in the future with clients and team members.
  • When was the last time they experienced failure? A candidate willing to discuss their shortcomings openly - are surprisingly strong spirits.

Learning how to lead is a tug-of-war between our inner selves. It's the leaders who learn to let go of their ego – and hire true genius – that will build solid, loyal, creative teams and stand the test of time.

As part of our 14-year celebration, we sat down with our Founder, Dave Fletcher -- to talk candidly about The Mechanism, how it started and where it's headed. We've put together a series of short video clips from the lengthy interview that we'll be sharing over the next several weeks.