Desperation Level – Do you Measure Business Partners on that?

There are people and there are ‘desperate’ people – who do you wanna work with?

Be it about partnership or be it about hiring an employee, do you evaluate one’s desperation for success, before inking the partnership?

In the last few months, I have met a good number of people – either for a professional partnership or just a general chit chat and have got mixed feelings about choosing a partner.

To cite an example, few B-school students (from premiere college) approached me for a specific project and while we worked on the details, I couldn’t see any significant passion in them to carry off the project (they actually backed off later citing study pressure etc), while I met these young chaps who were from Tier-III B-school and were really ‘desperate’ to be known to the outside world.

These ‘Tier-III’chaps, even convinced the college faculty to start off an e-cell, in order to get students more exposed to the industry (good start, if not the most ideal). I instantly connected them to couple of startups who were looking for ‘cheap’ (read: free) interns and now, one of them has even got a PPO, i.e. pre placement offer (nothing great to work for an unknown firm, but maybe this unknown startup makes it so damn big that their Tier-I counterparts will end up working for them).

Big B - Desperate for Success?
Big B - Desperate for Success (maybe that's why he is still around)?

‘D’ for Desperation

This is insanely true for finding one’s business partners as well – including advisors/mentors. You might have all the big brand names, while in reality they do not have ‘anything to prove’ to the world – so they will just hang around (and eat your equity).

Coming back to the question – if you are part of a big brand or have built a big brand, is your desperation level the same when you move on to the new new thing? On the contrary, if you aren’t part of any big brand and have an intrinsic motivation to succeed, don’t you go out and get things done? With certain level of desperation?

Do you judge partners/potential cofounders/employees on their ‘desperation’ level also?

For finding employees for startups, isn’t this a valid use case? I see many startups struggling with hiring rock stars, especially when the definition of ‘rock star’ is based on one’s paper credentials (and past success). While, if you hire somebody from Tier-II college, their probability of joining you is quite high (they even stick longer, maybe till they really find their self-worth!). [read: Zoho’s hiring strategy]

There are enough arguments on both sides of the table – but does an early success impacts one’s entrepreneurial streak (in some cases, it does bring a sense of ‘I know it all’ attitude)  ? Or rather, isn’t it one’s intrinsic desperation/motivation level that makes one tick in this competitive world?

Would you partner with a failed entrepreneur than the one who has made it big? For one who has failed earlier (assuming he has an intrinsic motivation to make it big in life), a lot of things are at stake – reputation, life, peer pressure (though none of this guarantees success!).

Most importantly, do you/your partners have the same ‘desperation’ parameters? You could be looking for money, while your partner wants more fame! – so think about it.

What’s your opinion? Do you measure your partners (i.e. employees/advisors/cofounder) on their ‘desperation’ level (and parameter)?  If yes, how?

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