I was recently leaving a luncheon in Des Moines, when an individual approached me and started talking about business.
After only 2 minutes of conversing, and with multiple interruptions to my answering his questions, he declared, “What qualifies you to run a company?”
An emotional response to his aggressive questions would have warranted a defensive maneuver.
But, this was a moment for stoicism.
“I’m probably not qualified. But who really is at this stage?”
This was not the answer he wanted.
He immediately jumped into asking about my academic background, mentioning his PhD work before awaiting my response.
“English degree. 2-time college dropout. Poker player. I get beat up throughout each week, physically and mentally, inside and outside of a boxing ring.”
Again, not the answer he wanted.
He quickly jumped into giving me advice on how we need engineers who live and breathe the technologies. We need specialists to run the company.
“Everyone can write,” he stated.
At that moment, I decided he had taken enough of our time. I ended the conversation (even though he followed and tried to continue his questioning) with a simple belief.
“I’d rather be able to communicate on a broad list of topics, than to provide an expert opinion on a narrow list of topics.”
I’m fine being the dumbest person on any team. I’ll always be striving to learn more, do more, and be more.
A jack of all trades, master of none.
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