I’m a professional connector.
For the last seven years, I’ve run a one-man consultancy, connecting a very specific breed of CEOs with folks who can help them and their companies — subject matter experts, creative contractors, advisors.
In 2012, the CEO of Precision Nutrition, Phil Caravaggio, who I’d never met before, called me up out of the blue and asked me if I could connect him with a new, interim CTO. (The gent I recommended he consider — and who he ended up working with — was Pete Forde.)
A few hours before Phil reached out to me, I’d left a comment on a Signal v Noise blog post that asked their readers to help them find a solution to a thorny office architectural acoustics problem.
I grew up as a musician and knew a little bit about acoustics — just enough that I could tell his audience wasn’t going to provide him with the best solution. They were doing their darnedest to help, but this particular problem clearly needed a bonafide expert in architectural acoustics. In my comment, I offered to connect them with one. (The person I advised them to use was Russ Berger.)
Phil was a fan of Signal v Noise, too, read my comment, and thought I might be able to help.
It wasn’t long after starting to work with Phil — still my favorite client — that I decided to quit my other gig and hang out my shingle as a professional connector. Best career decision I’ve ever made.
A little more about Phil.
In 2015, he was looking for a way to communicate his leadership style to several high-profile potential collaborators. So I connected him with Toronto photographer-cinematographer Christopher Wahl and Montréal film editor-director Kara Blake, who made a film about him. Phil’s such an amazing guy, I thought I’d include an excerpt from the film, below.
The client profile.
The clients I work with are remarkably alike. Every single one is a tech CEO with the Myers-Briggs type ENFP, which is rare among CEOs (only 7% of CEOs are ENFPs).
Why ENFPs? I don’t really know. But here’s my working theory…
ENFP CEOs are disinterested in managing details. They don’t like hierarchical power structures. They’re sincerely empathetic and eager to develop humane friendships with their employees and collaborators. Business, to them, isn’t about making money. It’s about creating something of meaning.
So when they’re faced with any business problem, their instinct isn’t to fix it themselves. That would take away from their focus on the mission of the company. They want to be able to delegate the solving of the problem to someone totally trustworthy. And they’d rather not spend the time and energy to find the person to delegate it to. Essentially, they want to delegate the delegating.
One important note.
I’m not a headhunter. I don’t find full-time employees. I find outside subject matter experts, creative contractors, and advisors, who come in to address a particular problem.