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Apparently I am presidential material

Last week I met a dear friend of mine who mentioned 16personalities.com and intrigued me to the point of actually taking the personality test while driving back home :) Here’s a brief of my results:

ESTJ Results

ESTJ PERSONALITY

ESTJs are representatives of tradition and order, utilizing their understanding of what is right, wrong and socially acceptable to bring families and communities together. Embracing the values of honesty, dedication and dignity, people with the ESTJ personality type are valued for their clear advice and guidance, and they happily lead the way on difficult paths. Taking pride in bringing people together, ESTJs often take on roles as community organizers, working hard to bring everyone together in celebration of cherished local events, or in defense of the traditional values that hold families and communities together.

Demand for such leadership is high in democratic societies, and forming no less than 11% of the population, it’s no wonder that many of America’s presidents have been ESTJs. Strong believers in the rule of law and authority that must be earned, ESTJ personalities lead by example, demonstrating dedication and purposeful honesty, and an utter rejection of laziness and cheating, especially in work. If anyone declares hard, manual work to be an excellent way to build character, it is ESTJs.

I never imagined that “Boromir” from The Lord of the Rings is ESTJ. Anyhow, the description of each of the 16 personalities is pretty detailed and at some point it’s like reading a book about yourself. It gets really weird when they dive into Strengths & Weaknesses, Romantic Relationships, Friendships, Parenthood, Career Paths, and Workplace Habits.

If you’re up to it go ahead and take the test, it only takes 12 minutes and you can learn so much about you.

When spending time with mentors becomes a waste of time

How to identify those mentors that are worth spending time with? Given that most mentors, angels or VCs are guided by a similar principle when meeting new entrepreneurs/startups, why shouldn’t you have the same approach? At the end of the day, YOUR time is the most valuable resource you own. Invest it carefully!

I have put together a list, based on my personal experience, that will help you identify toxic/unhelpful mentors. I’ve posted it on Medium: https://medium.com/@cborodescu/when-spending-time-with-mentors-becomes-a-waste-of-time-429d7e3746f7

The book I’m reading now: Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

I’m reading a book every 2-3 weeks and I thought of sharing that with any that might be interested. I’ve started reading Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds a couple of days ago and without being so much of a TED material myself, I have to say that I understood what makes a TED talk stand out, at least in theory:

  1. Unleash the Master Within
  2. Master the Art of Storytelling
  3. Have a Conversation
  4. Teach Me Something New
  5. Deliver Jaw-Dropping Moments
  6. Lighten Up
  7. Stick to the 18-Minute Rule
  8. Paint a Mental Picture with Multisensory Experiences
  9. Stay in Your Lane

That’s it, 9 rules to follow and I will become TED material :) Read it and you’ll become one too.

Practicing a sport is vital for one’s sanity

It’s sounds so obvious, yet not a lot of people do it. Hell, even I had moments when I didn’t go to gym because I didn’t have the time (for 6 months!) and I regretted it afterwards. The truth is that I could have made some room, but I was too lazy or I wasn’t in the right mood for it.

One of the best decision I’ve ever made in the last few years was to start taking tennis lessons. I was 28 at that time and I had not touched a tennis racquet until that age. It was embarrassing, especially when I saw myself on the tennis court, for my first lesson, surrounded by all these kids giggling and making fun of me because I really looked like a giraffe in search for its balance.

You know how hard it is to take in, absorb, assimilate the techniques of this particular sport, especially at this age? It’s insane. You need guidance, patience, perseverance, passion. Never give up, even when it feel like it’s a lost battle. Every day on court is a step closer to being able to practice tennis at a decent level.

1 year later I started playing tennis matches. 2 years later I started going to tournaments and losing most of the matches. 3 years later I played my first final at an amateur tournament. This is my 4th year and I’m having such a great time playing tennis. I have an immense satisfaction when I’m on court. I don’t play to win, I play to enjoy myself. Winning is just a bonus.

I think entrepreneurship is very much like that, don’t you?

The Story of an Intern

Jeremy Kaposy/Shutterstock

Jeremy Kaposy/Shutterstock

Ever since I started my first web development company in Romania back in 2005 (yape, 10 years ago!) I had an attraction to recruit people that were at the beginning of their career. Perhaps this has its roots somewhere in the first years of college when I wanted so badly to join a web development agency, even as a coffee bearer or something, it wouldn’t matter. The important aspect was that I wanted to learn from web developers: how they speak, how they code, how they do things in general.

Throughout the years I hired a few interns, in different positions, from social media and marketing to web development. Most of them evolved into having a full time job with us and that made me super proud. It’s an amazing feeling to see the progress of a person, from intern to senior developer. The thing is that I never called them interns. Never. Even when recruiting I would always post the job under the junior level. However, more often than not, the ones that ended up being hired, were not chosen based on their knowledge but rather on their attitude towards learning, their level of energy and passion.

I remember that one time I was interviewing for a Senior PHP position and the guy that I was expecting just for an informal discussion, calls to make sure it’s just a chat and not a coding test. We still had 15 minutes until the interview and this guy’s intervention already raised a flag. On a normal day, since I was looking for a Senior developer, this call alone should have ended the interview even before beginning. Something about this guy intrigued me and I choose to play his little game just to find out more about what he’s up to.

Sure enough, he gets to the interview (on time) and we start chatting. In fact I was doing most of the initial talk because he was busy fidgeting, sweating and blushing like a tomato. I knew I had this effect on interns and juniors, but not on seniors :). Something definitely snatched him out of his comfort zone, so I offer to get him a cup of tea, knowing that this would give him 2-3 minutes to calm down. Looking back, I was a real darling at that interview…

Anyhow, I get back with the tea and this time he has a piece of paper in his hands that looks like a CV. He starts telling me that although he applied for the job he was in fact a newbie in PHP which would qualify him for an intern position. He goes on:

You have two versions of my CV: the one in my hand, with my current level of knowledge and skills, and the one in your hand that I’ve used to get this interview. I didn’t lie on that one, I just fast forwarded 1 year from now in your company, from intern to junior (in 3 months) and finally senior. Should you choose to accept me as an intern now, the CV that you hold in your hand is my promise to you within 12 months.

I admired his courage and determination, so I hired him as an unpaid intern. The first month he came at the office like it was his full-time job, being really serious about his milestones, respecting everybody else’s time and always asking straight to the point questions. In the 2nd month he was already part of the development team that was just started developing a fresh web project for a big client. That’s when he got his first salary as a junior (1 month earlier than predicted) and 6 months later he a became PHP Certified Engineer.

This is one of my favorite intern stories. I love meeting this kind of people and I enjoy sharing my knowledge/experience with them. The best reward for me is to see them add value back to the team, whatever that might be in the following years because nobody is forever hired only in one place.

Working more with interns is definitely on my to do list for 2015.

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