4 min read

To the IT Guy in the Back Room

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I am somehow always the corporate IT person, wherever I go.

At Chicken Soup for the Soul, part of my job in running the digital business was also to be the person running ethernet cables through the ceiling as we expanded offices.

When I was CEO of Finder, I was also the one who would climb on a wobbly chair and reset the Wi-Fi when it went down.

At my wife's CrossFit box, I just spent 20 minutes redoing some of the wiring so that her Sonos system would work. When I got it going, I blasted "We are the champions" over the speaker because I'm immodest.

i feel like i'm on shark tank

I've also repositioned satellite dishes on a roof in many feet of snow and reset my mom's Wi-Fi at least 3,000 times. Last week, she texted me because she had forgotten one of the passwords for the admittedly complicated system I set up.

Of course I knew what it was. What kind of tech support would I be if I didn't?

Most people hear about this, and they ask me why I don't just hire someone.


Ok, sure, I'm cheap. But it's not only that I'm cheap.

One of the main jobs of a leader is to make sure other people can get their work done. Once you've given them the benefit of your knowledge and access to the tools they need to be successful, your main job is to make sure that they can do theirs. This doesn't mean you stop with any direction – (most) people still look to the top of their organizations to know where they're supposed to go – but it's not a leader's job to tell them how to get there. That's the entire point of hiring other people: so they can figure out how to get there, and you can think about other things.

A side effect of this is that, when things go wrong that are outside the purview of everyone at the company – in my case, I never hired desktop support people that would normally be tasked with extra Wi-Fi help because that just didn't seem like a good use of money vs. hiring someone who could create revenue – you have to fix those things yourself.

That's why I wired ceilings, set up mesh networks, and did a whole bunch of other stuff that is un-C-suite-like.

Whenever I talk to other CEOs, the ones who have a team that seem to really, really believe in them are the ones who practice something like what I described. They may not be the corporate IT guy – sometimes, they're the lunch orderer, or the person screening resumes so that their staff doesn't have to do that incredibly painful first step in hiring. They do something that makes everyone else's lives a bit easier.

The ones that don't have a following seem to delegate everything, or tell you how wonderful they were for doing something instead of delegating.

plunderee the terrible boss

You have to be able to get into the weeds if you want people to respect you. And you have to give them the ability to respect you by giving them time and space.

I've been pretty lucky to have had a lot of people who gave me the time and space I needed.

Other neato stuff

I'm pretty sure this is what my cat feels like every day:

The giant gorilla also picks up your poop, feeds you, and gets you high AF once in a while. from webcomics

Last week, a friend and I were talking about key switches and custom-made mechanical keyboards, because we're dorks like that. To be fair, he's way more into it than me – I'm on my third (an ErgoDox), and I think he's on his sixth or seventh. If you've ever wondered what nerds like us are talking about when we talk about reds, browns, and so on, then these articles are for you. And yes... the reds in the Dead song are different than ours.

I have no tattoos, mainly because I can't think of anything I want on my body that's permanent. Now, there's a start-up that has tattoos that disappear in a year. That seems like something I might do.

That's it for today! Thanks!

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