This was not something easy to write. It was even harder to publish. It’s very personal and disarming but I believe in honesty and transparency with everyone, starting with myself. I hope I’m not coming across as conceited or arrogant, though I can be both at times. I encourage you to try this exercise. It might show you who you are, helping you get past who you think you are or who you’re expected to be.
Anyone who calls themselves a leader is frowned upon, as if leadership was some sort of medal you get when you’ve proven yourself. That’s responsibility. Leadership is a drive that is way bigger than yourself. It compels you, it motivates you. You can’t and shouldn’t stop it.
A few years ago (2008), I underwent SIMA training. I not only got my MAP1 (which you can see the outline section of mine here) but also went through their training for becoming a SIMA coach. I never completed the upper levels of training but absolutely loved what I did. That MAP gave me a very clear picture (and names) as to what motivates me. While the MAP helped me understand who I am, the training gave me the a framework that helps me see other people for who they are, what motivates them and where their strengths and weaknesses may lie.
Getting my MAP was incredibly useful. More so because everyone I work with right now understands it, most have done it too and so we can work better together, knowing each other’s strenghts and weaknesses. But that was only the beggining.
One thing I’ve learned about myself in the last couple of months is that I am what I’ll call a “supporting leader”. What that means is that I’m driven by leadership and speerheading an idea (mine or anyone’s, as long as I believe in it) but I’m only motivated to work in creating a supportive and productive environment for those actually working on the product. That particularity has always put me in a bad spot: I love leading the product and vision but I’ve always been a horrible employee (sorry bosses). That conflict has keept me from ever getting into leadership positions.
I’m not very motivated to work on the product after the idea phase. Instead, I’ll work my butt off to make things as easy and pleasant as possible for those actually building it. I enjoy being part of the development process though. I’m fairly technically proficcient, enought to be able to sit with a developer and/or designer, discussing solutions for our problems. Being involved in the process that deeply allows me to shape the vision with the input of the experts that are doing the actual design/code. I just simply can’t lose the 30,000 foot perspective… That kills me! One of the stages of development where I tend to get deep into the actual code/design is when polishing and/or refactoring come into play. I do also enjoy working directly with the development teams post-launch, bridging support and development, leading the way to a better product.
Here’s a few examples of things I love and am naturally motivated to do:
- Creating a product concept around an idea
- Kickstarting an idea
- Passing the vision to others
- Thinking of ways to monetize it from the get-go
- Looking for the best people that can help create a great product
- Hiring people smarter than me (or trying to)
- Researching and finding the (best) tools for the job
- Setting up a working/development environment (inc. tools, servers, etc)
- Coordinating and motivating the team
- Being part of the design & development process (a.k.a. leading from within)
- Translating “business talk” into “development talk”
- Researching, suggesting and debating technology (current and potential) with the team
- Envisioning design ideas, both UI and UX, workflows, etc and working with a design team to achieve them
- Relaxed and good-natured leadership but driven by product quality and success
- Face-to-face interaction with the team
- Use of technology to bring team members closer together
- Talking about the product to potential users
- Presenting innovation to peers
- Debugging (technology-related or not)
- Simplifying and removing distractions, both around the team and in the product
- Working on projects involving anything related to gaming (more than gaming itself)
- Products that make someone’s life better, with emotional gravity
- Writing, writing, writing… :)
And here a few examples of things I really don’t like or, at least, procrastinate to no end:
- Selling my own product (a.k.a. salesman)
- Low level programming work (a.k.a. actually programming)
- Working alone
- Defining individual tasks
- Charging people money for my work
- Start building anything from scratch by myself
- Enforced working schedules
- Publishing anything that is not quality
As you can see, I’m in a tough spot. I’m the antithesis of one who would “climb up the ladder”. I love working hard and accomplishing a lot. In all honesty, what I hate is the concept of business ladder. I actually think most managers should be paid less than the experts building the product. I rather manage people smarter than me at they do and who love their jobs, than having to constantly question what they’re doing, while they expect to move up the ladder.
As you can see, I most likely don’t fit most companies’ job offers’ descriptions. However, I’m always ready to listen for new and exciting opportunities.
Having said that, I have a couple of ideas I believe the right people could help turn into successful and profitable products/businesses. If you’re in a position to invest or you’re interested in working together, please let me know and I’d love to sit down with or call you. The ideas range from full-blown web applications to simple iOS apps. The only requirements I have is that you let me drive the idea (I’m fairly open to discussions and suggestions, obviously) and that you value a good friendship, not just a business relationship. The way I see it, I rather make friends in the process of making a product than making mere business partners because I think the final product will reflect that in, if nowhere else, its longevity and sustainability.
So, let’s talk. :)
- MAP stands for “Motivated Abilities Pattern”, which is a product from SIMA International (which itself stands for “System for Identifying Motivated Abilities”). The way a SIMA MAP is done is by having you write 10 or more stories, from childhood and adolescence preferably, of things that you felt good accomplishing. Not things which you’ve received praised for necessarily, but things you truly enjoyed doing. Those stories are than analyzed by a SIMA coach, who then prepares a phone interview with you, where you’ll go over some highlights and patterns they saw. That interview is recorded and a SIMA Biographer gets it along with your original stories. SIMA possesses a huge glossary of terms and concepts (which you only have access to via their training) and, using keywords from that glossary, the Biographer builds your MAP. You then receive your MAP, which contains the basic outline and a condensed glossary of the terms used in it. Another interview can happen afterwards, where you can review the MAP with the Biographer that prepared it. You can then proceed with training to help you identify your strenghts and the “dark side of your MAP”, things you probably dislike about yourself or that cause conflict with others, which are consequences of your *positive* motivated abilities. ↩