I just abruptly ended a meeting with a designer… I clearly ended the meeting too abruptly, because when this guy was saying goodbye, he left me with the title for this article.
Look, in all dealings I try to be professional, decent and respectful. The feedback I’ve gotten, even after many rejections from customers and investors, is that I’m pretty consistent at it. But this guy did something which I just can’t tolerate. Let me step back and set up the scene. I’m not sure there’s anything for Yesware readers to learn (since you are all pros) but maybe something will stand out. If not, please indulge me while I vent.
The guy sent me an email three weeks ago with some feedback on the Yesware application. Awesome. I called him immediately to thank him for the comments and to learn more about what he was thinking. It turns out that he’s a front end designer/developer, freelancing a bit, working on a startup, and open to talking about a full time role at Yesware. Fantastic! We have a job opening for that role!
At the end of our phone conversation, I say “If you are interested in talking more about this, it would be great if you could come in and meet the team.” He says sure and sends me some dates. We picked today.
He arrives today at our new office. He and I chat a bit and then he sits down to talk with our fantastic front end engineer Rui. About 30 minutes later, Rui brings me in to hear his comments on our website and app. In general, we’re on the same page… simplify, make it clearer, less fluff on the website. This guy wants to make our app blend in much more with the Gmail UI. We talk about striking a balance between blending in and being easy to find and use. I ask about A/B testing, how he would do it, we’re basically on the same page.
In the back of my mind, I’m noticing all the time he says “For me” and “To me” and things like that while he’s giving comments, but that’s fine. I say to myself, “He’s a designer, maybe a little over-confident, but that’s cool. We can work with that.”
The conversation turns to a related Gmail extension, which he’s used. “They’ve gotten a ton of press lately. They just raised a big round. That’s an example of the kind of UI you should have.” Now I know this app and I like it. It’s not what we’re doing, and they didn’t raise a round or get a lot of press recently but whatever. I’m sure there’s something we can learn from them.
But, perhaps feeling a little defensive, or perhaps just wanting to check this guy out a little, I say “I didn’t know they raised another round, but we’ve been getting a lot of press lately too. Have you seen it?”
“You didn’t check our news page before you came in? You have no idea what we’ve been up to?”
“No, not really.”
I take a breath. I hate when this happens, and it happens a surprising amount. A job candidate comes in for a one to four hour long interview. We are all setting aside time and space to get to know him. Everyone who will be meeting with him has read his resume, reviewed his portfolio or sample code. We’ve had at least one phone screen. They come all the way over to our office… And they don’t even check our news page before they arrive? This is not the kind of person we will ever ever hire.
I take another breath. “Ok” I say. “This is not going to work out. Thanks for coming in. I appreciate your interest, but we’re not going to go any further in this discussion.” He and I shake hands. I go to the door to open it for him, and as he’s saying goodbye to Rui he says “Good luck with your shitty app.”
“Excuse me?” I say
“I said good luck with your app” he says.
I lose it. “That’s not what you said. You come in to our office, take our time to hear your feedback about how we should change what we’ve done, what more than 40,000 salespeople are using, and you call it a ‘shitty app’?”
“But you’re kicking me out. I’m giving you all this valuable insight. This stuff is gold and you are just going to kick me out?!?” He’s almost yelling.
Now I’m yelling. “I wasn’t kicking you out before, but now I am. Get out of here.”
I was going to title this post “Do Your Homework” because that’s the lesson I wish to impart. But like I said, Yesware users don’t need to hear that. You all know to do a quick check on the company news and people you will be meeting with. You all appreciate that peoples’ time is all they’ve really got, and if you have a chance to meet with someone, anyone, spend 10 minutes beforehand just checking out their status. It’s the smallest form of consideration, and it goes a very long way.
But this guy didn’t know. Please don’t be like this guy. And if you are in a meeting that’s not going well, that’s ending before you were ready to end it, at least have the mindfulness to leave without pissing all over everything. Please.
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