-10X and Cheetos

Couldn’t resist my temptation to have a say in the recent 10X controversy.

Accel’s Shekhar Kirani tweeted about all the glorious features of a 10X engineer, though it was opposed (and to a certain extent, ridiculed) by majority of global product/tech leaders/entrepreneurs.

But then, 10X engineer isn’t the point here. For any company, the biggest challenge is to listen to the -10X* person in the team.

That is, your janitor, your cleaner, your last leaf in the tree, the freshers, the interns.

Can they ever have a great idea? Do they (and their ideas) even matter? Ask a founder / leader of 150+ people company and they won’t even know the names of the lowest-level employees, the -10X team members.

But then, that’s fair, given we all have only a fixed bandwidth and it is literally impossible to listen to every ‘stupid’ ideas, that too from people who aren’t supposed to have them.

Maybe not !

Break time: Do you love Cheetos?

The multi-billion dollar snack idea came from not that 10X ‘product or the marketing’ fella, but a janitor named Montañez.


“You’re the VP overseeing California?”

“No, I work at the Rancho Cucamonga plant.”

“Oh, so you’re the VP of operations?”

“No, I work inside the plant.”

“You’re the plant manager?”

“No. I’m the janitor.” (via)


The exec would have given him (and the multi-billion dollar idea) a pass, if not for his patience and *un-blindedness towards 10X fellas*.

The question for you is: As a leader/founder, are you open to -10X team members, the ones who ‘might’ have weird-yet-crazy ideas?

What do you think?
*PS: -10X, here is a reference to hierarchy and a possible ‘psychological’ distance from the decision makers. Don’t start another storm here 😀

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