Hiring the right people for your Startup

Note: You can jump to Personality Plus Test here if you are already familiar with the four temperaments that are discussed below.

More and more companies are using Personality Tests to get the right people for the right positions. For example, if you are Technology Startup and hiring Developers, would you rather hire someone who is very talkative, extrovert, forgetful, not detail-oriented, doesn’t like to follow rules and regulations or someone who is calm, introvert, detail-oriented, persistent, thorough etc? I think the answer is obvious. But let’s say you were hiring a Sales Manager, I think again the answer would be obvious.. you wouldn’t choose an introvert for a Sales position.

The problem is, interview setting is a professional setting, so you don’t really see the real personality or the temperament of a person at interviews. Therefore, more and more companies are now starting to give Personality Tests to the candidates prior to the interview session. Knowing which temperaments are dominant in candidate’s personality will give you a better understanding of the candidate during the interview itself.

Personality Plus

One of such personality tests is Personality Plus which was created by Florence Littauer. It’s one of the popular ones among others, probably due to its straight-forwardness and easily understood nature.

She has divided people into four groups:

  • Choleric – considered to be leader and commander types, being dominant, strong, decisive, and occasionally arrogant. They tend to be good leaders because they are driven to get things done, however they might offend some people along the way. Cholerics are also known as the “Powerful” type. 

    Some famous examples are Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, Phil Donahue, Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Bill O’Reilly.

  • Melancholy – described by Littauer to be the mental types, with their personality displaying a strong emphasis on thinking, evaluation, and assessment. Their typical behaviour involves thinking, assessing, making lists, evaluating the positives and negatives, and general analysis of facts. They love maps, charts and graphs. They are usually the most intelligent of the four types, however they tend to dwell on details. A Melancholy is a planner, making sure things happen, although sometimes they can paralyze themselves with over-analysis. Lists and “doing things the right way” are characteristics of this personality type. Melancholies are also known as the “Perfect” type. 

    Some famous examples are Hillary Clinton, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh and Beethoven.

  • Sanguine – is a social personality type, displaying characteristics such as a predisposition to socialize and entertain. They enjoy fun, socializing, chatting, telling stories – and are fond of promising the world, because that’s the friendly thing to do. A Sanguine gets on well with people and can get others excited about issues, but cannot always be relied upon to get things done. They love interacting with others and play the role of the entertainer or center of attention in group interactions. They have a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver. Sanguines are also known as the “Popular” type. 

    Some famous examples are Bill Clinton, Robin Williams, Kelly Ripa and Richard Simmons.

  • Phlegmatic – described as having a flat-type personality, being laid back and desiring a peaceful environment above all else. They are easy going, laid back, nonchalant, unexcitable and relaxed. Desiring a quiet and peaceful environment above all else. They tend not to actively upset people, but their indifference may frustrate people. They try not to make decisions, and generally go for the status quo. They are good as mediators because they don’t usually have many enemies. They also have a “dry” and quick sense of humor. Phlegmatics are also known as the “Peaceful” type. 

    Some famous examples are Calvin Coolidge, Tim Duncan, Sandy Koufax, and Keanu Reeves.

Four temperaments can further be grouped into two: Extroverts and Introverts. Sanguine & Cholerics are naturally extroverts, and Melancholy & Phlegmatics are naturally introverted people.

personality_plus

It’s important to note that, normally each person will have two temperaments, one dominant and another slightly less dominant. For example, your primary temperament could be Choleric, but your secondary temperament could be Melancholy.

Before you use personality tests in your hiring process. Go ahead and test your own personality with this Personality Plus Test that I have created. If you like it, please share it with others. Enjoy!

Jack Ma’s Advice to Entrepreneurs

Summary, with some paraphrasing;

  • Before 20 years old – be a good student, gain experience. This is the time to take risks, fail and learn from your experiences.
  • Before 30 years old – follow somebody, go to small company. Choose a good boss and not chase after a good company. You will learn a lot of things from good boss.
  • Between 30 – 40 years – this is the time to be an entrepreneur and be your own boss.
  • Between 40 – 50 years – do the things that you are good at, don’t try to learn new stuff at this age. Focus on things that you are good at.
  • Between 50 – 60 years – work for the  young people, rely on them, invest in them. Because young people can do better than you.
  • After 60 years old – enjoy the life, spend time with yourself and family.

Jack Ma’s regrets are – that he worked too hard and didn’t spend enough time with his family. And that if he had another chance, he wouldn’t live his life the same.

Securing the Web for Your Kids with OpenDNS

Note: This is not a “technical” post, any parent can set this up to make the web little more secure for their kids. Read on..

I have three kids, all boys, eldest is 10 years old (Manas), followed by 7 years old (Aihan), and the youngest is 3 years old (Azat). Manas is now able to do his own research for his school assignments. Usually searching for specific topic in Google/Wikipedia. He is also into Minecraft. He follows some Minecraft YouTube Channels like DanTDMCaptain Sparklez, etc. He is almost entirely not watching any TV (he just joins in when Azat is watching some cartoons). He is either at the Home PC playing Minecraft or doing his homework, or on his iPad watching Minecraft videos and playing games. Home PC is located at the living room area, for obvious reasons.

I have talked to Manas and Aihan about basic security on Minecraft and the Web in general, such as;

  • Don’t give any specific info about where you study (school name, school address) and where you live (home address) to strangers in Minecraft. Just tell them general information, like I live in Malaysia etc.
  • I have explained to them that it’s ok to ignore people’s questions, you don’t have to always answer all the questions directed at you.
  • I have explained the possible consequences of the above points and how some people are not as they claim to be on the internet.
  • When you search for something in Google, use phrases instead of single keywords. Because single keywords are more likely to show something other than what you are looking for.
  • Can’t watch / play something that is violent with bloods, PG, PG13 etc.

Alhamdulillah, my kids are also very understanding, and they do their best to be good kids on their own. I don’t have to strictly monitor their browsing, watching or playing habits. In fact, they are the ones sometimes decline to go to cinema, because they perceive the movie to be too violent or not suitable to them..

Ok, these are given. How about those accidental things that might happen on the internet? Like clicking on a link or banner that might open an inappropriate website? You can teach your kids to be responsible (managing the pull factor) but we have to also try to protect them from push factors. And this is where OpenDNS comes to our ‘rescue’. Continue reading

Bitcoin Use Case: Reward System for Content Promotion

One of the advantages of Bitcoin is in micropayments. It’s very convenient to send small amount of funds to others at nearly zero cost. So much so that the funds that you are sending itself could be near to zero. The same couldn’t be done with other electronic payment systems, say; Paypal. Because the transaction fees for PayPal would be too high to run a profitable micropayment system.

Case Study: The Cointelegraph

The Cointelegraph has done an interesting reward system for its website. They have taken advantage of Bitcoin’s superiority in micropayments, combined it with Twitter’s capability to reach wider audience and came up with a reward system for its users to share their content on Twitter and get paid *tiny* amounts for each retweets.

btcretweet

With today’s price of Bitcoin, TC is basically paying you $0.000002 for every retweet your friends retweet your tweet. That means you tweet TC’s content on your twitter account, and if someone retweets that tweet of yours, you will get paid $0.000002. Continue reading

Book Review: How Google Works

howgoogleworksMy Rating: 6/10 How Google Works – Quite boring book to read to say the least. It’s written from 3rd person perspective too – referring to Eric Schmidt – “he did this and he did that..” which was kind of strange for me, since the book was supposedly written by Eric Schmidt himself (& Jonathan. Couldn’t they just write different chapters on their own?). It’s a very general book too, nothing special. It talks a lot about hiring “smart creatives”, so I think that could be the central theme of this book, everything else was just common sense stuff.

Smart creatives – are impatient, outspoken risk-takers who are easily bored and change jobs frequently. They are intellectually versatile, typically combining technical depth with business savvy and creative flair.

Physical Device Counters for your Social Accounts

This is, by far, one of the “nicest to have” (in other words – pretty useless) devices for your startup. It’s a physical device. Pretty portable. It can be connected to your Social Sites accounts and will display how many followers you have on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s a real-time counter too. This is what we call online-to-offline connection :)

device_counter

Setup is easy as well, it just needs power plug and wifi connection. Get yourself one at http://www.smiirl.com (not cheap).

Motivation, Ability & Attitude

All things being equal, from my observation success or failure of a startup boils down to three main characteristics of its staff: Motivation, Ability & Attitude. This of course, first and foremost applies to the founder, followed by his/her team that supports him/her behind.

  1. Motivation – is the founder motivated to make his startup-idea a success? Is this his own idea that he is passionate about? Or was he put in charge of this startup by someone else (board, investors..)?

    Level of motivation that a founder has for his startup-idea plays a major role in the success of his startup.

  2. Ability – is he capable, both as a leader and a manager? Does he have the expertise in the field that his startup is operating? How is his execution skills? Is he a doer? Does he have the required experience?

    Well-roundedness is the key characteristic of able people – people who get things done. They understand and appreciate the different complexities of running a company. From product development to HR to Operations etc. And they are able to navigate through the many challenges and still get the things done.

  3. Attitude – does he have the right attitude towards the idea, the startup, the way startups normally operate in a chaotic environment, agile methodology, continuous improvement, continuous customer feedback…? Or is he a 9am – 5pm, corporate type of guy?

    Having a right attitude will produce a right behavior and vice versa. (Definition of an attitude: a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.)

    It’s hard to change attitudes, and often times it’s impossible to change settled attitudes. Therefore, it’s absolutely critical to have the right person as the founder from the beginning. Same goes to the hiring of team members. Most hiring managers tend to pay more attention to CV credentials than an attitude of a person, which I think is a big mistake.

Often times, people have different combination of these three. I hope that your founder has the highest scores in all three, namely; high motivation, strong ability and the right attitude in order to achieve a fully connected cycle to run your startup smoothly.

full_cycle

But realistically, it’s difficult to find an individual that has a fully connected cycle. And it’s more difficult to build a team that has the full-cycle as well.

disconnected_cycle

Conclusion

This is not some sort of management theory from MBA books. It’s just my personal observation throughout the years. Being both as an entrepreneur myself and an employee of startups and big corporation. I, now can see these three characteristics that are needed in the founder & the team to get a good idea turn into a successful startup.

What do you think?

Snapchat at a Glance

Snapchat is becoming more than just a messaging app between teenagers. It’s transforming itself into a powerful media communication platform not only between users, but also between brands and users.

What’s Snapchat? – Snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend. They’ll view it, laugh, and then the Snap disappears from the screen – unless they take a screenshot!

Its LIVE feature has been quite popular recently generating a lot of buzz on the web. This is how you can access the LIVE section and see what’s going on in the world. 1) After you open the app, tap the burger menu 2) Choose one of the LIVE channels 3) And enjoy the videos in that particular LIVE channel.

snapchat_intro

Snapchat has also created a brand new opportunity for News channels like CNN to distribute their content to a new segment of users via their DISCOVER feature. And the way the content is designed and distributed is very unique to Snapchat, unlike the web or normal news apps. If you haven’t experienced it, you should really check it out.  Continue reading

Book Review: The Four Steps to the Epiphany

book_steveblank4stepsMy Rating: 9/10The Four Steps to the Epiphany – It’s a must read book for all Tech Entrepreneurs. Newer version of the book is called The Startup Owner’s Manual. Author of the book Steve Blank, was the lecturer of Eric Ries who popularized the Lean Startup book/movement. This book will teach you how not to build a company, and to avoid many pitfalls that early entrepreneurs normally do. It’s a highly recommended book that will change the way you approach building and growing startups.

Book Review: Don’t Make Me Think

book_stevekrugMy Rating: 10/10 Don’t Make Me Think – This was one of the first books that I read on usability, back in early 2000s. If you are into web usability and user experience (UX), this is a highly recommended book. It’s one of those foundation books that can set a solid base for someone who is foraying into the field of building usable user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX) for the web.