WTF is this?
This handbook is the no-nonsense guide to crushing it as a hustler on the internet.
1. Show up on time!
If you’ve been invited to a meeting, and you accepted it – PLEASE SHOW UP ON TIME. NOT 2 mins after the meeting starts. There is absolutely no reason to be tardy. I’ll be straight – if you can’t come to a meeting on time, you should not be working here. It shows, amongst other things, a lack of respect for everyone else in the meeting. If you can’t respect your co-workers and customers – no matter how much of a genius you are – you are not welcome here at QuestionPro. No exceptions.
If you going to be late to a meeting – slack the organizer as soon as you know and let them know. For global meetings like Townhall etc – you don’t get to make this call. Include the reason why you can’t be on time for a meeting.
If the meeting is at 7 am PST – please make sure you show up by 6:58. That way – if you have “headphone” issues – you have 2 minutes to resolve them. If you can’t resolve headphone issues in 2 mins – then you need a new pair of headphones or a new brain!
2. Meeting Calling
If you call a meeting, please send a calendar invite. Make sure all participants are visible. Send a zoom link along with the invite. DO NOT SEND A MEETING INVITE WITHOUT A ZOOM LINK. It’s a waste of time. How are we supposed to meet?
If you are sending meeting invites for external meetings (with customers, partners etc) – please include the dial-in number for zoom. Not just the link. Most folks don’t have zoom installed on their phones. Moreover – if folks are calling from a conference room – they have no way of joining the meeting without a dial-in number. Think ahead.
Recurring meetings MUST have a “ScratchPad” in the Meeting Invite – this is a Rolling Google Doc that has all the meeting notes by date. Make sure the scratchpad is in the Meeting Invite – so we can get to it easily.
3. Meeting Time
Schedule emails with executives for 30 mins. Not 1 hour. No one has 1 hour for talking about shit. Discovery and initial called should be scheduled only for 30 mins. If it goes beyond – great. There is nothing like a 1 hour discovery call.
4. Action items and recap email
Make sure you send a detailed action items and recap email within 30 mins of the end of the call. This will force you to take notes and actually listen to the call. This goes for internal and external meetings!
Don’t wait for the CEO to send an action item/recap email. Why? Why can’t you take the initiative and raise your hand?
In the action items/recap email have a clear call to action. What are the next steps. Who owns them. And what’s the deadline. A random ass “thank you for your time” is a useless email. Three things
1. What are the action items
2. Who owns what.
his process creates forward momentum.
5. Backchannel – On slack.
That’s our tool for backchannel. Don’t again wait for the CEO to create the backchannel for you. Why?
6. If you accept a meeting – show up.
If you can’t – then give everyone advance notice that you can’t make it to the meeting – via email or slack. There is absolutely no reason to accept a meeting and “forget” about the meeting. It shows a total lack of basic coherence
7. Meeting Confirmation
Please send a confirmation email to the clients on the “Day of” the meeting – to confirm that we are still on for the day. Things happen and change. If you know in the morning that the client meeting will not happen – you can schedule other meetings.
8. Sloppy Readjusting Deadlines
Don’t wait 48 hours to tell someone internally – that it will take 7 more days to meet a deadline. The _minute_ you know that you will not be meeting a deadline, its YOUR responsibility to let everyone know that you will be missing a deadline.
9. Good Fucking Internet
YOU NEED TO BE IN A LOCATION WITH GOOD INTERNET. If you shitty internet – then you SHOULD NOT BE PRESENTING. Just let everyone know that in 2020 – you can’t find good internet connectivity and you are too lame to figure this out by yourself.
Ride the mute button – if you are in a noisy place. This includes the Austin office. There are too many folks yelling and screaming in the background. Alternatively, go to a place which is quiet. It’s your responsibility to find a quiet place.
We are all professionals. If you are NOT going to respond or check email for more than 8 hours – PLEASE SET UP YOUR OOF! I can’t believe I have to say this – but this applies to everyone. Yes – by everyone I mean you. Developers, QA, Support – everyone. We are in a remote environment and if you can’t do simple things like this – you are wasting our time and your time here. I don’t want amateurs in this business. We are all professionals.
12. Google Docs
ALL DOCS should be on Google Docs – not in your personal hard drive. No exception. Your HDD is not backed up and any information will be wiped out. Again, If I catch folks sending me a Word document as an attachment – I’ll fucking loose it.
13 Regional Acronyms that don’t make any sense;
- PFA – WTF is PFA – Well – Only folks in India know what that is. Gringo’s have no idea what that means and they are usually scratching their heads. At least everyone universally knows WTF stands for. Here is a rule you can follow – if you google the acronym and the _first_ Wikipedia result does not explain what it is – then DON’T USE THAT ACRONYM!
14. Voice Discipline
Use Airpods or Earbuds – With today’s noice cancelling technology, using the computer’s speakers or your phone’s speakers / mic is kinda dumb. Just get a $25 earphone or win one of my LivePolls and I;ll send you an AirPod! BUT PLEASE DONT USE THE DEFAULT MIC & SPEAKER for your computer or your phone.
15. Calendar HOLDS
When emailing or slacking someone – and you propose/agree on a time to meet – PLEASE SEND THE CALENDAR invite within the next 5 minutes. Don’t wait 3 days to send a calendar invite – and book people’s calendar. The longer you wait, the less likely you are – to indeed get a slot in their calendar. We all are busy as fuck and our lives revolve around the calendar – its efficient. So PLEASE SEND THE CALENDAR INVITE as soon as you agree on at date/time – the benchmark is 5 mins.
16. Multi-Channel Connections – LinkedIn
- If you talk to a customer or email a customer – YOU Must find them on LinkedIn and send a connect request.
- If there are 6 people in a conference call or 6 folks in a email thread – then YOU MUST connect with all 6 of them.
- Clean up your LI page – it’s your CV/Resume
- If someone is ghosting you – you can now message them on LI!!
- Like & comment on content the leaders are generating / marketing is pushing.
If you see yourself in a recurring & useless meeting – GET OUT. Its OK to get out of meetings that you are NOT;
- Contributing meaningfully to the conversation
- Helping drive a decision
The corollary is that – if you do NOT have a DRI / Decision Maker in a meeting, then the meeting is useless.
There are only 4 kinds of meetings;
- Status Update Meetings – This is where a DRI or Primary stakeholder gives a status update and _drives_ the meeting – Anyone who is interested in the status update can come on the meeting.
Send an email with the Agenda 12-24 Hours BEFORE the meeting with all the details. If there are a bunch of people invited to the meeting – you can choose to come or NOT if you don’t need the status update.
Show up at the meeting and waste your time if this status update does not affect your daily life. If thats the case – just leave the meeting and explain that there is nothing you can add or this meeting does not affect you. Save your time and move the fuck on!
- Brainstorming Meeting – CALL THIS OUT. This is a “brainstorming” meeting and NO MORE THAN 3 people can be in a BRAINSTORMING meeting. If you want to make real decisions and make progress – DO NOT INVITE MORE THAN 3 people in a brainstorming meeting. This forces you to invite decision makers and people who _actually_ can help you make a decision for this meetings.
More people != better decisions.
More people = more entropy and useless “POV” Conversations.
More people = more analysis paralysis.
Even 4 people in a meeting kills the MOJO. If you want real progress and execution, stick to this rule!
Once the decision and ideas are sorted and made, you can inform others about the decisions and the rationale. Forward progress is made when we make decisions and move – not go around in analysis-paralysis.
- 1-1 Check In & Shoot The Shit Meetings – These meetings are more informal and for people to check in with each other and have 1-1. Just call the meetings as a “Check IN” or a “1-1” meeting – so we all know WTF this meeting is all about.
- Global / Townhalls / Informational Meetings – These are meetings where we are trying to get everyone updated – and largely informational and webinar style oriented. Any number of people can be in this meeting.
BTW – WTF is a DRI?
DRI = Directly Responsible Individual 😉
Also what’s a POV?
Haha – Point Of View 😉
18. Taking Notes in Meetings
When you come to a physical work meeting, please come with a notepad and a pen. Especially if it’s 1-1. In any meeting a bunch of ideas will be discussed and YOU NEED TO REMEMBER THEM and take notes. You are not a superhuman. You are normal. So fucking take notes.
No. AI will NOT solve this problem.
You cannot send an informative recap / action item email if you don’t take notes!
But – wait you say. Vivek – I don’t see you rolling around with a notepad. Well – when I pay your salary you take notes. When you pay MY salary, I’ll come to a meeting with a notebook! If you want me to take notes and send recap emails with action items – well then you need to pay my salary. It’s that simple. For me and for the whole planet. No matter which continent you are in!
But – wait. Why can’t I open my laptop or take notes or in my fancy Samsung that I paid 3.5k for?
Great observation! Two reasons;
- Laptop – I don’t know if you are watching porn on taking notes. So it’s annoying as fuck – when you are clacking away in your keyboard when we are talking 1-1. Don’t do it. If do it – your EQ (not IQ) is zero!
- Phone – Need I say more? Your ability to type on the phone while looking at me and disabling all the WhatsApp messages is zero. So. Don’t even try!
Use an old fashioned pen and notebook! It will show that you are NOT retarded!
Now – I know some people have the ability to remember all the important points and send an accurate recap email. But – the big question you need to ask, yourself is – is your IQ 140 and memory recall 100%? By definition only .4% of the planet has an IQ of 140 and I know I did not get into IIT/Stanford or Harvard- that attracts the .4%. So by definition, there is a 99% chance you don’t have an IQ of 140! By reductive reasoning – you should take notes on pen and paper!
So – please don’t have a meeting without thinking about how you will take notes!
If you are on a zoom call, have a Google Doc/Scratch Pad Open – Its online and it will save as you go instead of random in your desktop!
19. Lean In vs. Lean Back Conversations
Here is an interesting data point you may not know. The music rights for radio stations is 100x cheaper than folks like Spotify, Apple Music et all. This stems from a core principle the music industry and psychologists have uncovered. When you are focused and want something – you lean IN. When you want to relax – and don’t have an agenda – you lean back. Watch TV – sit back and listen to random music.
Now – how is this relevant to business and hustling? – while interacting with people in business you will be in BOTH situations. But your ability to understand and identify both situations and act accordingly will make all the difference.
I don’t like to mix lean in and lean back situations. It’s usually a disaster for me! That’s why – when in do zoom meetings – it’s usually for 20 mins and I “Lean IN” to the meetings. I’m not interested in talking about the weather or for that matter anything else for more than 30 seconds! 30 seconds of chitchat for a 30 min meeting is about the right level of spread.
But if we are in a “lean back” mode, then I can drink a whole bottle of Teachers and stumble to my bed at 3:26am after 8 hours of non/stop talking about…I don’t know what!
Now, I’m also aware that many folks have tried to mix Lean In with Lean back – examples include zoom happy hours. NO bro. Not happening. We all know that’s super lame and dumb.
My suggestion. Don’t mix. Keep your mistress/boy toys and wife/husband in two different cities. Or continents! You’ll last longer!