Hire a Side-Hustler

There’s an old adage that goes:

  • If you want something done, give it to a busy person.

I think this would be a good modern corollary:

  • Given a choice of new-hire candidates, choose the one with an active side-hustle.

Consider this…

In the course of launching a Private Label product on Amazon, I have learned and succeeded at all of these things:

  • Branding
  • Setting up a DBA name
  • Buying a new domain
  • Creating a new website
  • Opening a business checking account
  • Establishing a county sales tax ID
  • Configuring an online accounting package
  • Product Ideation
  • Customer prospect surveys
  • Product Selection
  • Product Sales and Profitablity Analysis
  • Art concept selection
  • Product specification
  • Hiring artists
  • Hiring virtual assistants
  • Hiring content writers
  • International product sourcing research
  • Interviewing manufacturers
  • Materials selection
  • Price and order quantity negotiation
  • Cross-cultural written communication
  • Handling supplier staff changes
  • Product sample quality-checks
  • Hiring third-party product inspectors
  • Arranging international shipping
  • Scheduling international wire transfers
  • Creating Amazon product listings
  • Coordinating professional photography
  • Product search term/keyword analysis
  • Product launch planning
  • Product promotion
  • Automation vendor selection
  • Automating post-sales communications
  • Providing fantastic customer service

…and probably a half-dozen things I forgot.

The time and energy required to overcome all the obstacles one encounters when launching a new product on a new platform are significant. This process is not for the faint of heart. Or the lazy. Or the impatient.

Bottom line:

If I’m driven enough to put in months of effort to learn new skills and make some side money… imagine what I can do for someone who’s supporting my family with a regular paycheck?

Find out by hiring me… or anyone who has an active side-hustle. We’re a good bet.

What’s that you say? Where’s this alleged product I launched? Check it out here.


Image: Adam Freidin via Flickr

Feedback Please (but really, go away)

Yes, it’s the end of 2016 and forms like this really do exist.

What’s your take — do they want my feedback or not? The size of the buttons are telling, I think.

That, and the absence of an attachment option. I mean, describing technical issues is always better in text than with a screenshot, right?

Recruiters – Get Agile!


Above: Me after reading your exhausting list of job requirements.

Please. Enough of the the laundry list taken from the practice manual. These copy-and-paste job req’s are enough to make me ill. Wait, is that part of the test? Are you proving that I can stave off sleep long enough to read all 60 bullets and respond to your boilerplate ad?


Look. The people you really want on your team are not spending their days memorizing the “numerous well documented patterns and techniques for filling in the intentional gaps left in the Scrum approach.”

That’s syntax. That’s like advertising for a programmer and saying, “familiar with many clever ways of creating a conditional loop.”

Agilists reach for tools and techniques when we need them – as the need arises. The whole idea of “maximizing the amount of work not done” is that you don’t waste time doing things you don’t need yet. That includes memorizing pages from a book just so you can impress an HR screener.

My copy of Agile Retrospectives lists eight ways to gather information. Do you think there are less than eight more available with a quick Google search? Your “patterns and techniques” bullet might was well say, “Working knowledge of Internet search engines.”


Does your requirement of “at least two years” in the role really tell you anything? Wouldn’t you like to know if those two years were effective?

Why not skip that one and use this in the interview:

“Describe some of your favorite Retrospectives. What activities did your team enjoy and what experiments came out of them?”

If I crushed that question in an interview, would it matter that I had 6 months or 6 years of experience? Maybe I’m the kind of person who has run a tight continuous feedback loop for the last year and my team experiments resulted in a huge productivity boost, or reduced team churn, or created a leap in trust and transparency. On the other hand, maybe I’ve only led one Retrospective in the last year and it bombed. Your “two years” criteria tells you nothing about my effectiveness. Only about my ability to stay hired.


How about this: Maximize the amount of bullets not fired so we can all get to the interview stage. Start thinking like an agilist instead of someone writing a Scrum book.

Think MVP: What are the minimum skills we need in this position? How would we prove that the candidate has them so we can get someone good instead of someone who can cram well before a test?

Conduct a job requirements Retrospective. What is the quality of the product (candidate) I’m shipping (hiring) as a result of the material presented?

Maybe you find yourself in Mark Twain’s situation:

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

I get it. We’re all busy. As I’m writing this, I’m choosing to delay the six things on my written to-do list.

But let’s not bullshit each other. We prioritize every day. We do what we think is important and defer the rest.

We also make judgments about others based on the effort we perceive from them. We regularly judge a product or service company by the responsiveness (or lack of) in their sales department. First impressions matter.


If your company can’t find the time to write a creative, enticing job description… why would we as candidates assume that you’ve taken the time to do other important things like articulate your mission, define a good strategy, staff appropriate to the demand, or create a healthy culture?

Photo credit: Kerry Lannert