I’m a professional connector.
Imagine you’re the CEO of a company with a poor brand strategy. And you don’t have someone maximally competent on staff to fix it. What do you do?
You have four basic options:
- Hire someone
- Assign it to the staffer least incompetent at brand strategy
- Shelve the project
I’m the person that a certain breed of CEOs come to when they choose option 2.
I do everything possible to understand the fundamental nature of the problem and then figure out what single person is most likely to set them on a course to getting it solved.
The type of CEOs I work with.
They’re all in tech and they all have the Myers-Briggs type ENFP. I’ve always found the ENFP connective tissue of my clientele to be really interesting, especially since ENFP CEOs are pretty rare (they make up about 7% of all CEOs).
I’m not sure why this is, but I have a 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.
If there isn’t someone highly qualified in-house they can delegate the solving to, they try to find someone new they can bring in to take it on.
This creates a secondary problem of finding that someone — which is yet another problem the solving of which they’d prefer to delegate.
That’s where I come in. My clients have me find the person who can solve the primary problem.
How I got into this line of work.
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.
An 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 for a finite period of time to address a particular problem.