Thursday, September 17, 2015

Falling in love at work

I just finishing watching Mandy Len Carton's Ted Talk on Falling in love. She was a small-time blogger who participated in a educational study about love, wrote a piece about how her and her significant other fell in love in the laboratory, and the article ended up making it into the New York Times.

You can read it here: To fall in love with anyone, do this.

Talk about clickbait! It's no surprise she admits the title of the article was the only part of the post she didn't write.

The Ted Talk isn't on Youtube yet so I can't embed it, but if you have 13 min to spare, check it out here: Falling in love is the easy part.

The reason this is so interesting to me is because I'm curious to know if these 36 questions would be applicable and even beneficial for startup teams to ask one another.

I was in a Fraternity and even then, you basically just do a bunch of "secret" stuff that helps you get to know each other on a more intimate level. (Shared experiences creating a bond of significant meaning)

As I go through the current job hunting process I find myself having conflicting feelings about how long the process can take. On one side of the coin it's just my ego getting wrapped up in the process, "why is it taking so long for me to find the right fit?" When I've only been back and actively seeking new gigs for a month. The other truth that I understand and agree with is that it would be foolish to hire and invest in someone without attempting to get to know the person as much as possible.

When we first started, I would literally let anyone join the team as long as I felt they were as excited about it as I was. That turned out to be a huge mistake. And one of the biggest lessons I've learned over the last 3 and a half years hiring writers.

There has to be some sort of interview process that breaks down walls and allows you to get to know a know, like, more personally. (We now have a 3 step process that includes providing a "Your Story" writing example)

But where do you draw the line?

At one of my recent employers where I got to interview candidates we had an interview question, "what is the hardest decision you've ever had to make?" And I was thrilled that I got it ask this in an interview one time...Only to have the other people in the room interviewing with me laugh nervously and add "he means the hardest decision in the work place of course!"

No I didn't.

I meant the hardest decision you've ever had to make. How did you make it. That's literally more important to me than anything else we might have asked. It tells you so much about a person and what they value, what they've lost, and how they've bounced back.

And I get it, some people want to keep work and their personal lives separate, but if you don't want to open up about your personal life, then what are we really doing here? The meaning that we derive from our relationships dictates the meaning in our lives, and if you're going to spend 1/3 of your day with someone, don't you want to get to know them on a deeper personal level before you spend all that time with them?

This is a real interview: Agency Wants Its Next Art Director to Be Cool, So the Interview Will Be Over Two Days in Vegas

Now that's what I'm talking about. Except I think 3 or 4 days in Vegas would REALLY allow you to see who that person is. You can survive Vegas for 48 hours and still be at 70-80% if you know you're being watched, but come hour 73 or 84, you better believe you're going to have some insight into who the other person is and how they handle stress. Lol.

I don't necessarily like the title of the article, I don't think it has to do with being cool. I think it has more to do with putting someone out into the wild and seeing how they react to precarious situations, which is, like, all day everyday in real life.

And again, there it is.

Real life. Real people.

Real recognize real.

It's the same reason Donald Trump is getting so much love, because he is way too real.

But people are responding to it because even if it is preposterous and ridiculous, at least it isn't clearly, obviously, and insanely fake. It doesn't sound good, but it doesn't sound like he's lying either.

(Uneducated, insensitive, and making things up, well, that's another story, he definitely makes a bunch of BS up).

It's just more like insanely too real. Which makes for great entertainment. (key word, entertainment).

So here are the 36 questions from the love experiment.

It's also worth noting that at the end, if you are doing this with someone in the pursuit of love, you're supposed to finish by staring into each others eyes for four minutes without speaking:

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?


25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.


Those were intense. But if we're working together at a startup...shouldn't we know a lot of these things about our coworkers?...Aren't these questions two startup founders have unintentionally asked one another during their conversations before deciding to start a company together? I sure hope so...Because starting a company together IS like getting married!

If you want to look at it from the opposite side of the table, I think I'd have a hard time investing in a startup where the founders didn't know what their co-founder felt was "too serious to be joked about" (question #32).

No where in this list of questions is anyone asked to reveal anything about their sex life or answer questions of a sexual nature...but the question you think they're too personal for the work place? Or would you adopt something like this for your own startup, pairing co-workers together one evening to sit down and have a heart to heart? Would you ask these questions in an interview?

Even if the person ended up not being a good fit for the team, or taking a job elsewhere, I have a hard time believing you wouldn't walk away with a new friend.

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