StartUp Season 4, #3: Shadowed Qualities

Alex receives feedback about his job performance

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I'm going to push back on this episode a bit. The first part makes sense: the 360 review, self-assessment, professional coaching. @abexlumberg is looking to improve as a manager, and those seem like valuable steps. One of the revelations is that Alex likes the editing work. He's skilled at it, and it's fun for him. He's asking whether that's interfering with his performance as a boss (that's a good question). Again, all that makes sense. Here's the part that doesn't make sense: The session where @jerrycolonna characterizes Alex's desire to do "fun stuff he's good at" as "not being a grown-up." (this part here) This just doesn't seem right. Is the central issue really Alex's inability to be a functional adult? He built a great career over 15 years. He (seems) to have a solid marriage, and be a good dad. Has he really been "abdicating the responsibilities of adulthood?" Seems so weird to be going there. There are many "grown-ups" who have great careers where they do "stuff they're good at" over a lifetime (@StephenKing, @iraglass). I don't think the central question is: "Is Alex ready to be a grown-up?" To me it's simpler than that: "Does Alex want to be a maker or a manager?" Yes, if you want to be a CEO, you have to accept the responsibilities of being a CEO (or find someone who can share them). (I keep thinking of Walt Disney, and his partnership with his brother Roy) But not wanting to lead a company doesn't make you less responsible in of itself. You can still be a responsible grown-up and not choose to be an independent creative (like @stephenking) or have a long career (like @iraglass). Different roles in life carry different levels of responsibility and differing amounts of fun, freedom, and creative expression. Alex could have continued to build a career in public radio. That would have been a fine, "grown-up" decision. That distinction feels muddied here.
@mijustin I took that part slightly differently. It felt like @jerrycolonna was more talking about growing up in terms of moving past his parents and their effect on his current way of thinking. He's becoming a grownup in that he can now start doing this his way instead of because his parents did things a certain way. As someone who has done quite a bit of therapy in the last year, my first as a founder, this really resonated. Sometimes you have to recognize and say goodbye to things in order to move forward and realize how you need to be. I do agree with you that if @abexlumberg doesn't want to be a manager, he should figure out how that looks within Gimlet. CEOs don't have to be managers. I've known CEOs who are fantastic ICs (and leaders!) who don't want to (and sometimes shouldn't) manage people directly, and in that case they surround themselves with great managers.
It takes guts building a company something as publicly as @GimletMedia do - and tell their audience everything! For @abexlumberg to put himself out there like that and get candid feedback from his co-workers is so awesome. Show Notes: This week, Alex receives feedback about his job performance from his co-workers, friends, and family. Some of it is good, some less so. But there is something else that comes up during the review process that shocks him. We explore what happens when you unpack your emotional baggage—or someone unpacks it for you—and you realize the unexpected effect that it has been having on your team. In this final Gimlet-focused episode of season four, we take a raw and intimate look at a defining moment in the trajectory of a CEO.
One of the best pieces of radio I've ever heard. Kudos for sharing @apexlumberg !
Loved Season 1. Time I tuned into Season 4! Love what @abexlumberg is doing!