It makes me cringe when people refer to me as their “boss.” I hate it, actually.
It goes back to my first gig as an entrepreneur. I was 24. The business was successful right away, and we hired people in droves. Almost all of them were older than me. Most, considerably so.
It was a classic case of imposter syndrome. I couldn’t believe all those people left cushy jobs to come work for us, and I sure as hell didn’t see myself as their superior on any dimension. I called everyone “my partner,” even though nothing on the cap table – or the debt liability – warranted it. I just wanted them to forget that their employer wasn’t old enough to rent a car.
The first person I ever had to fire was a retired, decorated Air Force General, 30+ years my senior. I can’t tell you why but I had no choice – or I probably would have chickened out. I’ve fired dozens of people since and I still can’t sleep the night before. But that night, I was a special kind of terrified.
It wasn’t as bad as I feared.
It was worse.
He yelled at me like a drill sergeant, straight out of central casting. He said – and I’ll never forget this as long as I live – that he used to make people my age “clean toilets with toothbrushes.” Right hand up to God. I was one demeaning comment away from shriveling up, handing him my office keys, and crawling back to my parents’ house.
Eighteen years later, I still struggle to see myself as “the boss.” I sometimes forget that I can’t just spout off a random idea because someone might interpret it as a directive, drop whatever they’re doing, and launch a full-blown company initiative around it. I don’t weigh in on product design because I suck at it and the team puts more stock in my opinions than they should.
The people who work here are way smarter than I am. Why would I hire anyone who isn’t?
Maybe someday I’ll grow into the “boss” mindset and realize I’m not 24 anymore. As if the three-day hangovers, Dad-bod, and rapidly-deteriorating eyesight aren’t reminder enough.
Here’s what I’m still able to see, even without reading glasses:
The early favorite for 2018 Comeback Player of the Year is…the U.S. movie industry. After kicking them while they were down following an abysmal 2017 summer, I owe Hollywood some love. Our recent tracking numbers (1.5MM U.S. adults and counting) have shown the steepest climb in monthly+ movie-goers since the blockbuster-laden summer of 2013 (ye of “Iron Man 3,” “Man of Steel,” “Monsters University,” and tons of others). Bravo, Tinseltown. Keep it up.
Just don’t spend too much time in the movie theater because it turns out that sunlight is really good for your soul. Hopefully, that insight doesn’t violate your sensibilities – seems like a no-brainer to me – but you can read a bit of research I did all by myself this week. Short story shorter, people who get more sunlight than their peers are over 3X more likely to be “Very Happy” in their lives. There was also a crazy correlation between how much sunlight people get and how likely they are to own an iPhone. Oh, and people who get more sunlight are more likely to drink wine. Maybe that’s why they’re so happy.
Also, you shouldn’t smoke cigarettes for breakfast. Am I being Captain Obvious this morning or what? Here’s what wasn’t so obvious. Even with all kinds of trends in healthy eating, breakfast products, and overall lifestyle the last decade, the percentage of people who do and don’t eat breakfast regularly hasn’t moved an inch. 19% of Americans don’t eat breakfast (admittedly I’m one of those, other than weekends) and they are generally much more likely to be overweight, avoid the gym, drink in excess, be addicted to a digital device, and smoke cigarettes every day. 4.4% of U.S. adults, we concluded, must smoke cigarettes for breakfast.
The self-checkout kiosk will eventually take over the world. At first glance, it appears self-serve retail has a long way to go, as a large majority of Americans still prefer the old-fashioned cashier over the self-checkout option. I generally fit into that category unless the lines are out of control. But Millennials. Ah yes, the Millennials. The majority of them prefer self-checkout and it gets more popular the younger they are. That’s where things are going, whether you like it or not. In related news, I asked a little-old-lady cashier at Home Depot last weekend if she was “checking me out” and apparently it was a lot funnier in my head than she thought it was. So, yeah, don’t ever do that.
Scooter-sharing services could be legit. After Uber’s recent investment in electric scooter company, Lime, and a few other startups percolating in the space,we began tracking consumer interest in the category. A respectable 1 in 4 U.S. adults say they would be either very or somewhat likely to use a scooter-sharing service if one was available nearby. They’re particularly enticing to Millennials (duh) and the environmentally-conscious, but the big correlation was among people who regularly use public transportation. This could be a phenomenon worth watching. However, I was just told that the scooters also come with shared helmets, which is gross, unless you BYOH. Lice-sharing is not cool.
Only about 6% of Americans are currently in therapy with a mental health professional but over half of those are Millennials or Gen Z. And an even larger percentage of Millennials say they are considering it. Are these younger generations just more enlightened and in touch with their feelings? Did weimprove availability of these kinds of health resources? Or have we just created a more stressful and anxiety-ridden world for them? I’ll bet it’s some combination of all of those things. And please don’t email me some rant about younger people being too sensitive and weak – because that’s not what this is. And, even if it was, whose fault is that?
Some of Our Most Popular and Random Questions This Week
Have fun with those.
Hoping you’re well.