"Best Of Seeking Wisdom 2018" Part 2

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This is a podcast episode titled, "Best Of Seeking Wisdom 2018" Part 2. The summary for this episode is: On Part II of the Best of Seeking Wisdom from this year, DC and DG discuss Will Smith’s storied rise to success, why being uncomfortable is the secret to personal growth and their key to taking feedback – sleep on it. Plus, former Facebook and Google exec Molly Graham on culture and employment branding. Lessons from Charlie Munger on “liking/loving tendency,” AKA why you can’t just learn from people you like. And lastly, DC and DG wrap it up with the secret trick to finding the next group of leaders at your company and the importance of learning to say “no.” Be sure to tune in and we’ll see you back here next year! Before you go leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and share the pod with your friends! Be sure to check out more insights on the Drift blog at drift.com/blog and find us on Twitter @davegerhardt, @dcancel and @seekingwisdomio.

DG: Hey everybody. It's DG again. I hope you enjoyed part one of Best of Seeking Wisdom from 2018. Obviously, if there's part one, that means part two is coming and that's what we've got for you right now. This will be the last official episode of Seeking Wisdom for this year. Hope you enjoy all the highlights. Tweet at us @ dcancel, @ davegerhardt, @ seekingwisdom, and let us know what you want to hear of in 2019. Have a great holidays. Happy New Year. We'll see you soon.

DC: Okay. I'm going to give you the second crosstalk

DG: Total recall.

DC: I don't think he's the second one. I don't think he's written a book, but I've been...

DG: Give me a clue. You don't think I can get it.

DC: Let's see.

DG: I'm not very sharp like that, but give me just.

DC: He used to be a rapper.

DG: He used to be a rapper? Okay? Okay. Thank you. Okay.

DC: You do got it?

DG: I mean, there's a million people. That's not, that is not a big enough clue. I don't know what he does now.

DC: He's from Philly.

DG: He's from Philly? Okay.

DC: You know who it is?

DG: I don't know. Ooh, actually I do know who it is.

DC: Who?

DG: I think it's Will Smith.

DC: Will Smith.

DG: Yeah. Come on. Listen.

DC: So Will Smith.

DG: I would love to. I wish we...

DC: I wonder if he's written a book. I have to look. I don't think he's written a book, but I've been watching a lot of his, if you're not on his IG, get on it. Yeah. His Instagram game is hot. His YouTube game is hot and he does so...

DG: Wow. I didn't, I did no see that coming.

DC: So Will Smith, kid from Philly became a rapper. Right. Improbable rapper if you ever listened to some of his stuff with Jazzy Jeff back in the day. And I did see Jazzy Jeff in the Fresh Prince Smith and concerts crosstalk Yeah, exactly. He was clean.

DG: He was clean.

DC: And I did see him in concert with Run- DMC, Beastie Boys, EPMD, and Stetsasonic.

DG: But you get mad if I say you're old.

DC: That's true. And so I saw them. He became a rapper. Then he had a pretty famous TV show and we use a lot of his GIPHYs to this day. So if you check your GIPHYs, the Fresh Prince of Bel- Air

DG: Bonus points if you shout out, if you leave a six star review and shout out the intro

DC: From Fresh Prince, yeah. Oh, big shout out if you do that. And then he's become, as we know, a super famous actor, and he continues to grow and learn. If you watch his YouTube stuff and the stuff that he talks about and how he's been able to be both funny as a comedic actor and be able to continue to grow throughout his career, super impressive.

DG: This is why I love doing this podcast. In what other podcasts in the world are you going to get Jeff Bezos, the founders of Home Depot, Sam Walton, Will Smith and Arnold Schwarzenegger all in one? You have the mindset. Right. And I think you've started to retrain my mindset a little bit where I used to get, would be defensive. Right. You're in those meetings taking a beating from somebody and you get defensive.

DC: How does growth feel, man?

DG: Exactly. So this is what I want to talk about. I want to talk about, we can call this like how growth really feels, right. crosstalk

DC: I wish I could take a picture of DG's face right now. crosstalk

DG: But I want to accelerate. Seeking Wisdom, our job is to accelerate other people's learning. So I want to try to get this out of you and explain this mindset because it takes a while. It takes awhile. But, it's something that I've seen you do. I've seen Elias do. I know you had to beat on him for a couple of years.

DC: Decade.

DG: A decade for him to turn around. But I think this could be a really valuable episode in explaining how you think through that and the whole mantra of: Don't get defensive, it's an opportunity. So I want to kick it over to you and just talk about that.

DC: Sure. So, the way I always talk about it on here is that growth is not supposed to feel comfortable. That's an easy, theoretical thing to say when you abstract it out and you think about oh, yeah, yeah I get it. It's not supposed to feel comfortable. But when you're actually going through and you're getting feedback and you're feeling like you're getting beat up, you're feeling like you're under attack. Your natural thing is either to pull away and not listen or to get defensive and to fight back, right? This says nothing about you. This is just a natural thing, right? When someone's coming at you, you're not going to listen to them. You're going to put the shields up. You're going to fight back or you're going to run away. Right. It's fight or flight. The thing that I've painfully figured out over the years is that, that is the exact moment, when you're getting feedback, and this is the qualifier, from someone that you respect and someone that you trust.

DG: Yes.

DC: Trust is the key.

DG: So this is not count for the internet trolls.

DC: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I listen to them too because I like it. They give me a different kind of energy, the haters out there. When you're listening, getting feedback from someone that you trust and that you respect, right. From a mentor, from a peer, from a role model, it's not going to feel good. You're not going to want to hear it. You're going to want to get defensive. You're going to want to do what Elias did for half a decade, which was to explain himself to try to convince you and say," no, no, no, you're not getting it. Let me tell you why you're wrong," and to fight back that way. Instead, that is the exact magic moment that you need to sit there and absorb it and listen, and not say anything, right. And just hold it in. It's so hard.

DG: Take notes.

DC: Take notes. Take notes and just feel it and absorb it. And then step away from it, detach yourself from it to be able to learn the lessons that someone is trying to pass down to you.

DG: So, if you were me in this situation right now. I got a bunch of notes. Would you let it marinate the rest of today? Sleep on it.

DC: Key, key.

DG: Don't do it now.

DC: Magic key. Key as a DJ Khaled would say.

DG: Major key.

DC: Major key is sleep on it.

DG: Okay.

DC: Don't take immediate action.

DG: Okay.

DC: Because you don't know what you're taking immediate on.

DG: Because you're still in the heat. It's an emotional thing. You're still in the heat of it.

DC: You're still in the heat. You don't know what to do. You don't want to be reactionary. You don't want to, you don't want it to be a delayed reaction. Just like you fighting back, you just taking action. Right. And doing it out of when you have that emotional energy. Let it marinate, sleep on it and then try to figure out why you were getting the feedback you were getting. Where was that feedback coming from? Was that perspective, correct? Right. Could you see that person's perspective and then only then develop a plan for how you can take some of this feedback and take action on it. Sometimes you'll get this feedback and you won't know how to take action on it and you might have to get it again a year from now and again six months from now, and then you'll be able to take action. But in this case, where DG just got a beating from Mike Volpi. Thank you.

DG: Yeah.

DC: Shout out.

DG: Sent in the hitter.

DC: Yep. He's giving you very tactical feedback, right? This is not just,

DG: Yeah it's not a philosophical like should we do this thing or that thing?

DC: No, or it's not about how you should change as a leader, it's more real tactical feedback. In that case, I think tomorrow you could look at that and say," All right, here's how I could think about using some of this stuff." And some of it might not be useful.

DG: The thing you worked on was employment branding. Was that a common thing at that at the time, or were more companies starting to invest in this and what is that?

Speaker 3: Yeah, good question. One of my really early conclusions at actually both Google and Facebook was that you needed to define your job in a way that would help it last through lots of iterations. I used culture and employment branding when I explained to people what I did, but the way that I thought about it, it was actually two questions. I like questions as a way to define jobs because I think no matter how much the world moves around you in scaling companies, the question still needs to be answered. So my two questions at Facebook in HR were: how do we help the world outside know what it's like to work at Facebook? Which is essentially what employment branding is. And this was, just to be clear, at the time we were like deeply unwilling to use the word hacker. So we were like," We can't use that word. It has too many negative connotations. We're entrepreneurial and we learn fast." And I wrote a bunch of really boring shit that makes me go to sleep when I read it now. And then the second question was: who do we want to be when we grow up? Which is a question that Mark actually gave me during one of our conversations. So that was the internal culture side. But employment branding. Lori Goler, her background at eBay was marketing. So she was very focused on how are we going to market Facebook as a place to work? And at the time we were, and still are, heavily competitive with Google. Nobody thought Facebook was going to, it's hard to remember now nobody thought Facebook going to be anything. They were like, why aren't you just going to like sell to Microsoft? Because they had just done that big deal and all these rumors. They had just had a big advertising fiasco called Beacon. And so people just thought it was going to... so we were having trouble recruiting candidates and there was like a big effort to just kind of help people. crosstalk

DG: Why, why come here? What are you going to get out of it? What crosstalk

DC: I think it's funny. It's always funny to hear those stories of... because everyone forgets.

Speaker 3: Oh yeah.

DC: No one ever thought it was going to be anything.

Speaker 3: Oh yeah. And I think that's actually often when I talk to scaling companies one of my biggest points, which is it looks really well put together today, but my entire experience at Facebook and I think almost everyone that was there for the year, well just generally, would say it never felt like it was going to, like it was obvious that it was going to be this really successful thing.

DC: Isn't that amazing?

Speaker 3: Yeah.

DG: Here's the key lesson to take with you to hyper- growth.

DC: So the key lesson is, this bias comes from a famous video that I always talk about, well, it's actually just famous to me. Like no one actually watches it. But the video is by Charlie Munger. A man, I admire great. And it's about human misjudgment. In it, he talks about this one thing, which is liking loving tendency, right? He calls it a tendency. You can also look at this in, in a Cialdini's work on influence. One of our favorite books. The important lesson here in liking bias is this, that most of us only want to learn from people that we like or that we want to be around. Right. And this is one of the, it took me a long time to learn this one. This is one of the biggest roadblocks to growth, because guess what? There aren't that many people in the world who are perfect. There's no one who's perfect. So if you're going to wait around until someone's perfect until you like them until they have the right experience, then learn from them, that's going to be a shortlist. You're going to be waiting a long time. You know, sometimes I'll talk about the old uncle, Charlie Munger. Not me the old uncle, the other. crosstalk

DG: You're the old uncle.

DC: Yeah the old, old uncle Charlie Munger.

DG: World War I.

DC: And people are like," I'm not an investor. I don't care about investment. I don't want to be a billionaire." That's not what we're talking about. That doesn't mean you can't learn something from that person or," I'm not an athlete. I don't plan to go to the Olympics." No, but you can learn something from their journey and how they were able to grow. All right. This is an important one that I always harp on, which is that everything counts. Everything counts. Every move you make, the way you carry yourself, every piece of communication, the way that you organize the studio, all of these things, the way you organize your office, the way you organize your day. All of these things count and they say something about you to your team. And these are the subtle clues that people pick up on. They will follow you.

DG: This is one that I had to learn, for example, just to make it more personal, which is, okay, we had different conversations. I had different conversations with you throughout my progression over the last couple of years, which is like," Okay, you want to be director. Here's what that means now. Then you'd say stuff like," Oh, you're a director now, that means you can't do this." Then the next shift was like," Oh, you're a VP now, that means this." And I was like," Why the hell does he always say that?" Then when you read this, this is exactly the crosstalk context of how everything you do reflects on the people that work for you. If you want to show other people on your team what management and leadership looks like, you have to be able to model that yourself. That doesn't just happen at 2: 00 PM when we're in a meeting, but that's 8: 15, if I see you out on the sidewalk. That's 7: 00 at night at a bar or whatever, right. That stuff has to go through all levels, which is, if somebody only sees you from nine to five as this professional person, but then you have after work stuff, president's club, all this other nonsense, right? You always say this to me, which is," Perception is reality."

DC: Yes, yes. And play to the position that you want. So if you want to be in a new role, or if you've taken on a new role, a level of responsibility, as the great Jay- Z would say," The streets are watching."

DG: The streets are watching.

DC: Okay. And what that means is that your team and the people around are watching you for cues of how they're supposed to act now. How they're supposed to carry themselves. They are doing something that we've always talked about, which is they're looking to you because they want to model the stuff that you're doing and reproduce it. So if you're modeling bad behavior, that's what they're going to model because they're going to think bad behavior equals getting me in the same role.

DG: 100%, and in the same vein of that, he also said," A manager's output equals the output of his organization, plus the output of the neighboring organizations under his influence."

DC: See, it all has been written.

DG: Explain that. Explain that.

DC: It's been written. This is the Bible.

DG: Explain that.

DC: What this means is that, and this is why I care so much about all the details across the team. It's not only with single team and how they carry themselves that sets the tone for the group or the company or the greater team, but it's all those teams and other role models. Peer groups, we call them peer groups that you're surrounding yourself that actually model behavior as well. So even if you have a great running team and you're modeling good behavior, if you associate yourself or if your company lets other peer groups model bad behavior, then your team is going to average down to those people around you.

DG: I think you also have to be, you say this a lot, which is," The secret to getting promoted is to not just do a hundred percent of your job."

DC: No.

DG: A hundred percent doesn't get you promoted.

DC: No, a hundred percent is your job.

DG: A hundred percent is your job. This to me means you want to be great, you have to show, you can influence other teams, right? Because if you're this great marketing leader, but all you can do is influence the people in marketing, how far are you going to make it? You've got to influence sales, customer success, product, all those people.

DC: A hundred percent. And one thing I'm going to give you a little bonus. Bonus for all you listeners out there. Don't forget to leave a six star rating after you hear this bonus. The simplest way that you can go about identifying, which builds on this principle, who are the future leaders in your organization. Get your pens out. Get ready. Here's how. Look, observe your company and observe the team and look towards the people and the desks that people naturally congregate around. That is your next wave of leaders. So if you have people on your team who are yet not leaders, but people go to them all the time to get information, they hang around their desks, asking questions..

DG: The next level one.

DC: That's the next level judo.

DG: That's like the water test. That's real good.

DC: That's a six star rating right there. If they naturally go over there, that is your secret tell, that person probably is exhibiting leadership ability without having the role yet. And so you might want to double down on those people within your team. Those are your natural born leaders. Right?

DG: How's that.

DC: Okay, six star ratings only.

DG: The secret tell to finding your next great manager.

DC: Look at this, look at this, we give them one of the words.

DG: Come on. The secret tell. That's going to be separate. That's that's pretty damn good.

DC: Sometimes they give too much.

DG: Ultimately you do. It's okay, It's a give, give, give, give, give, give. Then sometimes crosstalk they ask they ask the flip. I don't want to give all the tips because we want you to go read this book. But there's a couple which is," Saying yes means saying no to something else." Default to no. And one of the decision- making exercises that I've learned and observed from working with you DC, is you always do this thing where before you make a decision, you lay out the guardrails.

DC: Yes.

DG: And say," I don't know what the decision is, but let's lay out the guardrails. Okay? We're doing hypergrowth. We want it to feel like this. We want it to be this many people minimum. We want it to be this." Then from there, we can start to figure out how we make the decision. Or I've seen you Elias do this is like," What are the things that we're saying no to?"

DC: Yes. Most important.

DG: Write them out. And that's invert.

DC: Invert. That's one of the hardest things. Because we all, especially myself and Elias love saying yes to everything, but we have to start by saying no. That's why we believe so much in the book, The One Thing. Why we give it out to every person who starts at Drift, because you have to figure out what are the real big rocks. What's the inverse of that, which are, what are the things that you're saying no to today?


On Part II of the Best of Seeking Wisdom from this year, DC and DG discuss Will Smith’s storied rise to success, why being uncomfortable is the secret to personal growth and their key to taking feedback – sleep on it. Plus, former Facebook and Google exec Molly Graham on culture and employment branding. Lessons from Charlie Munger on “liking/loving tendency,” AKA why you can’t just learn from people you like. And lastly, DC and DG wrap it up with the secret trick to finding the next group of leaders at your company and the importance of learning to say “no.” Be sure to tune in and we’ll see you back here next year! Before you go leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and share the pod with your friends! Be sure to check out more insights on the Drift blog at drift.com/blog and find us on Twitter @davegerhardt, @dcancel and @seekingwisdomio.