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Sunday October 30th, 2022
What I learned this week | Choosing relationships that work
Hey you, Happy Sunday.
This past week my co-founder Stephanie Golik and I were guests on Daniel Stillman’s podcast, The Conversation Factory.
I met Daniel in 2018. He was introduced to me by Jake Kahana as “the best facilitator I know.” Which said a lot, considering Jake co-founded Cave Day. Daniel was a co-founder at The Design Gym and worked with Jake Knapp, who co-created The Google Ventures design sprint and wrote Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. So when Daniel reached out to talk about Huddle’s recent venture capital round and said he’d been following my career, I was excited.
In 2018, Daniel was riffing on the idea of “conversation design.” Like how he designed products, he wanted to create a framework that helped people have healthier communication. That seed has since birthed a book called Good Talk: How to Design Conversations That Matter and a podcast featuring… me? What a ride. Thanks, Daniel, for having us on.
Daniel has a knack for asking questions that draw out authentic answers. His questions throughout this series stem from a curiosity on what it takes to build and sustain a powerful co-founder relationship. Stephanie and I dive into the dynamics of our partnership, how we met, starting Huddle, having tough conversations, and building a company culture based on integrity.
Give it a listen and let me know what you think. You can find the episode summary, along with full text from Daniel’s website below.
My feed this week
What I learned this week
I switched up the format this week to provide a synopsis of the episode. A shameless plug perhaps? You bet your ass it is.
I learned it’s okay to take a pause and appreciate how far we’ve come.
In this conversation, I sit down with Huddle Co-Founders Stephanie Golik and Michael Saloio. Huddle is a platform for designers and builders to invest in startups with their time. Stephanie has spent her career building alongside founders at studios and leading design and product at fast-growing tech companies. She was an early design leader at Cruise, building user experiences for self-driving cars. Before that, Steph was Head of Product at Mapfit (acq. by Foursquare). She's a proud Cuban-American born, raised and currently residing in Miami.
Michael is a product and team-focused entrepreneur and investor. He’s spent his career working with technology executives and investors. As an investment analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., he followed some of the biggest names in technology including Cisco, EMC, and Apple. Prior to Oppenheimer, Mike covered special situations at Sidoti & Co.
Over the past five years, Michael reimagined his career to focus on early-stage businesses. He was the first employee at SuperPhone, a messaging application backed by Ben Horowitz, Betaworks, Bessemer, and more. Since 2014 he has consulted with, invested in, or advised more than 35 startups that have raised more than $200M in venture financing.
I met Michael years ago and have tracked his rise…when I saw that his latest venture raised 3.3M and was a co-founded company, I reconnected to include him in my co-founder conversations series.
My question throughout this series has been simple - what does it take to build and sustain a powerful co-founder relationship?
Michael and Stephanie shared some of the insights and principles that helped them do exactly that.
The biggest aha was the umbrella concept of an Integrity Culture, and how many powerful values fall into place with a focus on Integrity.
As Michael points out, it’s not just “I do what I say I will” it's also about a culture of Coaching and Feedback to help everyone right-size their commitments and to give themselves (and others) feedback along the way when they find themselves falling short.
Stephanie and Michael share a conversation format that they use over the course of each week to keep their team on track and in integrity!
Integrity Culture also implicates one of my favorite words: Interoception, a concept I learned from Food Coach Alissa Rumsey.
Michael and Stephanie’s vision of an integrity culture is one where you commit to a thing because you are intrinsically motivated to do it, not through force or pressure…you self-select the thing you are going to do. And that means you know what you want! Interoception is the ability to feel and know your inner state.
Some additional keys to a powerful co-founder relationship that line up with the other conversations in this series are the ability to have Healthy Conflict (rather than an unhealthy “peace”) and the regular asking and giving of generous and generative deep feedback.
One other insight that was fresh for me in this conversation was Michael’s idea of a good co-founder relationship as one that is “Energy Producing” vs. energy sucking. A powerful co-founder relationship is like a flywheel - the more energy you invest into it, the more energy it throws off.”
Try This On
Ask yourself a simple question after leaving your next meeting: Do I feel more energy or less? Do this for ten meetings and take notes. Make a list of three things from the conversation that gave you energy and three things that didn’t. There might be things you can shift to make the next draining meet generative. Relationships that work produce energy. Ones that don’t, don’t. Lucky for us, we get to choose who we regularly spend time with. And we can use frameworks like Daniel’s to get the broken ones back on track.
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