Smart, talented people care about where they work.

Good companies know this and strive to create a place where smart, talented people will feel excited about working. They know that potential employees care about things like:

  • the kinds of products they build / services they provide
  • the customers they serve
  • the tools they use
  • the people they work with
  • the compensation they receive to do this work

These are all things that companies cover in their job openings at length in an effort to sell you on applying to the firm. But one big element is missing from that list – something that plays a “crucial role in worker wellbeing and engagement” according to a 2006 Gallup study:

The role of managers and the corporation’s management style / culture.

It seems that most business skip out on the section that matters – how decisions are made, how performance will be evaluated, how the team communicates, etc. Obviously theses things are communicated implicitly – especially during the interview process, but  organizations don’t just “put it all out there”. There are notable exceptions to this rule that only showcase how rare it really is:

Unsurprisingly, these are also companies which have many, many people wanting to work there (Southwest Airlines had 90k applications for 830 hires in 2009). I believe being more open and clear about the way the organization is run is a competitive advantage. People who aren’t interested in the culture won’t waste your time – and the people who ARE interested in the culture become even more interested in working at the firm.

I understand that every manager is different – but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be approaches to management and the way things operate that are done that permeate throughout the company. We already expect to know about a company’s market, its product, and its team – why not its management style? I suspect there are a few reasons:

  • Many orgs don’t have a well-thought out culture / management process
  • Many orgs would be embarrassed to describe the culture / management process as it exists in their company today
  • Many orgs don’t see their culture / management process as a core part of their offering to employees
  • Many orgs don’t know what a good culture / management process looks like

Perhaps there are others – but none of the reasons I just listed are particularly good ones. (My not-that-inner hard-ass is yelling “No excuses!” right now.)

In today’s knowledge-based society where productivity comes from much more from creative output than from physical labor, and hiring the best performers is key – there are many good reasons to explicitly state your company’s culture and management style.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


This is something that people ask a lot. I think the following is pretty much the best answer you can find:

  • a rejection ATTEMPT counts if you’re out of your comfort zone
  • a rejection ATTEMPT puts you in a position of vulnerability, but puts the respondent in a position of power
  • a rejection COUNTS if your request / offer is denied

  • Playing Rejection Therapy is not about manipulating people, or getting lots of favors or free stuff. It’s about facing the discomfort that comes with putting yourself out there and risking embarrassment / other negative feelings. You do this to push yourself and never to take advantage of others.

    That’s it. Now go out and play the game.

    Hey guys – welcome to Kick Ass Interview Number 2. Up today is an ambitious young guy who covers tech news, is a firm believer in NYC geeks and has already learned some good lessons to share with us. I hope you enjoy meeting Jeff!

    Can you briefly introduce yourself to us? What you’re all about, where you came from, etc?

    My name is Jeff Bajayo, I was originally born in Manhattan, I’m a first generation American, my family originally hailing from Israel. I love technology, this love sort of stemmed from my family’s first computer; I was around 10 years old and very curious. Running Windows 98 and a not much else it was more than a “problem child”. I put more than a few hours of my childhood fixing and experimenting with it. Over the years, I got more and more into technology.

    About three years ago I discovered TechCrunch. I saw them while they were attending CES and they were doing what I only had dreamt of; Playing with the latest and greatest technology, and meeting the brilliant minds behind it. A few months after that I was determined to be just like them. I taught myself how to configure a server, use Wordpress, and I honed my writing skills. I then started my first blog called JeffOnTheGo. It was my testing ground, and I learned how hard it was to get page views, readers, market the blog and most importantly use the resources around me.

    From there I went on to apply and get accepted to write for a few different tech blogs. I now write for several sites, each focusing on a different aspect of technology.

    Why do you like writing about the technology and startup space? What’s more important/engaging for you – the writing or the tech?

    I absolutely love meeting startups and the brilliant minds behind them. I guess I enjoy finding out what makes this emerging breed of people tick, and I also try to learn from them. I’m young, and seeing a group of ambitious young people fresh out of college creating extraordinary things inspires me. People like Dave McClure and other folks I’ve spoken to through Y-Combinator are the true entrepreneurs. They work hard, use their brains and they do not give up. For me, it’s the tech that is most important. The tech and the people behind it.

    Every day in high school I see people who are not ambitious, they slide through school and life like it’s a breeze. Being a part of the tech community, even in such a minor way has really helped shaped who I’ve become as an adult, and what I’ll do in the future. It’s a great example that with hard work and common sense, people can still succeeded in the US.

    You know, I think the American Dream is most strongly held by immigrants and their children – like you and me. Awesome. Outside of blogging – what’s your biggest project right now?

    In this past year I’ve branched off from blogging into actually trying to make some of my own ideas come to life. I’ve recently gathered a team for my biggest project yet. It’s called ProjectInterns, still in stealth though!

    Exciting! Hopefully you’ll keep us updated as that evolves… You’re a young guy who’s going after some ambitious things – and doing quite well. But this path can’t be easy. Can you tell us about some setbacks, rejections or scary moments you’ve had when tackling on this stuff?

    Well I think much of what set me back from the start was experience. I am young, I’m not as experienced as older folks and I think that is something that has really hurt me in the past. But as I go through different situations, I learn from them and apply what I’ve learned so I don’t make the same mistakes the next time.

    One blog I wrote for in the past taught me many lessons after the fact. I was too ambitious and I wanted to take on the world instantly. I jumped at every opportunity to request to attend this conference or interview some person etc… I was a bit arrogant, I did not listen to much of what my editors had to say much of the time and I wasn’t being very professional.

    But later on I understood my errors, and why at the time I felt they were maybe being a little too hard on me. I wasn’t experienced; I was just a kid trying to run with the lions.

    As someone who’s young you have to realize that you aren’t invincible and that you don’t know it all, and when someone gives you an opportunity to learn something new or gain experience, you just have to embrace it.

    Ambition is a good thing, but you can’t run unless you learn to crawl.

    How do you feel the NYC tech scene differs from that of the Valley? Are we Bay Area people really living in a bubble that’s just foolishly obsessed with check ins, game mechanics and photo sharing?

    The NYC tech scene is not so different then the Valley, just less open space and larger buildings. People here are just as obsessed with check ins and technology. While not being such an active member in the tech scene in the city, NYC like the Valley has a tremendous amount of talent, but not near as many startups as San Francisco. Geeks are geeks, where ever they may be, were all tech crazy.

    What advice do you have to young people who are trying to do expansive work but feel stuck – without resources, connections, credibility etc? How can they overcome that and be more successful?

    First off I guess I’d say don’t count your chickens before they hatch. I’ve had project ideas with the hope that they would become reality, but not to dash people’s dreams, tech is a harsh environment, just like any business, you have to fail a few times before you can succeed.

    As far as resources and connections, signup for Twitter. I can’t begin to explain just how valuable a resource it is. Many of my friends, both online and off have stemmed from Twitter. It’s a place where relationships are formed and invaluable connections are made. Network, meet people, you never know when that person may be interested in something you’re doing and want to be a part of it; or vise versa. Tech is about being a social butterfly, and some may like you, other’s may not. That’s just how it goes!

    Credibility comes with working hard and at a constant pace. Don’t start something (like a blog for example) and then a week later quit. Have a social presence and use your brain. If you do good work then people will notice eventually, if not, well then you have to work a little harder.

    Some great people that I follow are Robert Scoble, Dave McClure, Loic Le Meur and Hiten Shah. All great resources for tech and entrepreneurial content.

    If you’re looking for cool startups to check out, both and are phenomenal resources. I also post all of the new and cool startups that I come across on my designated startup Twitter List (Updated a few times a week).

    Finally just some general suggestions:

    • Be a news addict, I check it every day, multiple times a day, both tech and general  (Go Pulse!). One of your most valuable assets is to be informed.
    • Be easy to contact. When someone asks me for my contact information, I can easily hand them a business card or forward them to my website. I reply to emails within a few hours, not a few days and If someone leaves a message, I usually call back very promptly.
    • Always, ALWAYS be professional. No matter what the circumstance is, be polite and professional.
    • Don’t be afraid to meet new people, it’s awesome.
    • Something my mother has told me practically every day. Your name is the most valuable thing you have, never ruin your good name.
    • Don’t give up, I’m not successful yet, you may not be either, but if you give up you’ll never know will you?
    • Also don’t forget to check out my blog and follow me on Twitter!

    If you liked this post, you’ll probably like my other stuff too. Consider subscribing via RSS or via Email.

    — In a nutshell —

    • Us: Two guys looking for a roommate in SF, starting February 1st or later.
    • You: Responsible, Reliable, Geek-friendly, Conscientious, & relatively Clean.
    • Location: 8th & Howard, SOMA, SF. A bit rough outside, super nice inside.
    • Apartment: Comfortable (99 sqft) room with private bathroom (toilet + sink + shower), common area, all newly remodeled. $840/month + utilities.

    Interested? Contact us

    — Who We Are —

    Me (Jason) and my roommate (Randy) are looking for a 3rd roommate. We’ve been living with a good friend –  Kalvin Wang – who is heading off to travel the world and start something new – and we’re seeking a new roommate to share our 3-bedroom/2-bathroom apartment.

    Jason’s from Massachusetts and studied biology and philosophy at Stanford. Randy is from the Bay Area and studied computer science at UC-Berkeley.

    About Jason

    Jason doing handstand pushups at The Palms' concert theater in Las Vegas.

    Jason works as a sales & marketing guy at a startup called isocket which powers the advertising for TechCrunch and other online publishers. He’s into doing random challenges like Rejection Therapy and has way too many personal development books on the bookshelf. More at:

    About Randy

    Randy on one of his adventures: at the summit of Echo Peaks in Yosemite.

    Randy works as a software engineer at a startup called Scribd where he works on one of his passions: the propagation and dissemination of cool stuff (information, videos, photos, or in Scribd’s case, documents). His personal interests are primarily, to quote E. E. Cummings, “curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” More at:

    To give you a better sense of who we are, here is a small list of things we like doing:

    — What We’re Looking For —

    We are looking for a roommate with a move-in date starting February 1st 2011 (if you really need to, we can probably accomodate Jan 31).

    This might make us sound anal, which we’re not, but we want to be super upfront. You have to be:

    • Respectful of Common Space – Clean up after yourself in common areas (we do leave the occasional jacket, book, dish around.)
    • Responsible/reliable – We can count on you to help out with important stuff related to our living situation. Obviously no one’s perfect, but in general you exercise good judgement.
    • Communicative – You are happy to talk about things openly (in person or over email).


    • No drug users or heavy drinkers. Non-smoker preferred but not required.
    • Goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: must pay rent on time.
    • We personally like animals, but we prefer not to have pets in the apartment.
    • We share some common household expenses and groceries on a Google spreadsheet.

    It would be great if:

    • You are the kind of person who is passionate about their work
    • You are pretty laid-back and independent (but are up for hanging out sometimes too)
    • You are planning to live here for at least 6 months or more
    • You want to make the world a better place

    Still sound good? Send a message: contact us

    — The Apartment: Specs —

    3BR/2BA. It’s newly remodeled with new hardwood floors in the common areas and new carpet in the bedrooms, which is perfect. The kitchen is new too, with a gas stove. We’re fully furnished the place so we’ve got lots of kitchen stuff, random spices, and a big dining room table. The apartment is bright, with a skylight in the common area.

    The room itself is carpeted and 8.25 by 12 ft, plus a closet. The bathroom is 5.75 by 5.75 ft.

    $840 rent, includes garbage, water. Utilites are $10/mo for super fast 15mb down/3mb up internet, plus PG&E. Security deposit is $866. We’re on a month-to-month and we’d like a roommate who’s planning to stick around for a while but we’re flexible on exactly how long that is.

    For more detail on your room look at the video below.

    — Video Walkthrough of the Apartment —

    This video was taken by our landlord before we moved in. Your room is the 2nd one in this video (starts 30 seconds in).

    — Location! SOMA —

    Across the street from two grocery stores, a block from a 24-hour laundromat with food and live music, five blocks from Costco and Trader Joe’s and Rainbow Grocery.

    Public transportation: two blocks from BART and pretty much every bus going everywhere (14, 12, 19, 47…). 10 minutes from Caltrain (Jason commutes on Caltrain every day).

    With car: Lots of street parking ($76 annual permit) right next to the apt, several paid parking lots/garages within a couple blocks, convenient 101 access.

    — Why all this effort? —

    Because our living situation is important to us (it’s a lesson we’ve learned from living conditions both good and bad) and we’ve decided it’s worth the effort. We’re looking for someone who we mesh with and who cares about helping make this place their home.

    — Contact Jason and Randy! —

    So, you’ve read all this and you’re considering living with us? Sweet. Have any questions about anything? We’d love to hear from you. Please reach out to us with this contact form and we’ll get back to you if it seems like we could be a good fit. Thanks for reading and good luck with your apartment hunting!
    [contact-form 1 “Contact form 1”]

    — Questions and Answers —

    As we get inquiries, we’ll post Q&A of common stuff as it comes up.

    The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period.

    You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.

    – Will Smith (interview with Tavis Smiley. Quote starts at 4:16)

    Gotta love Will Smith for the straight talk. The fact is, most people aren’t willing to work hard enough to get what they want. I’m not saying that there aren’t systematic challenges that put certain folks at great disadvantage when it comes to reaching certain goals – but that doesn’t negate the fact that most of the time, people just don’t try hard enough.