Let Others Call You a “Platform,” “Mentor,” “Low Maintenance,” & “Good in Bed,” Never Claim Them
Tall. I can call myself tall. It’s objectively true because I’m 6′ 3″. Sometimes I just joke that I’m ‘tall for tech’ but either way, I’m higher up than average. But there are some things I feel like I can’t just claim about myself. “Easy to work with?” That’s really not for me to judge, you’d need to ask my Homebrew partner Satya Patel. Or the founders we back. But there are four things especially cringey to say about yourself because they *only* matter when they’re said by others.
“We’re a Platform”
Whenever I hear a startup, especially one that’s just launched, declare itself a ‘platform’ I’m like nah, at best you have platform-aspirations. True platforms have more than just webhooks and APIs and partner programs. They have an ecosystem. They have created value for others. They have stable and predictable relationships with those who rely on them. Has any tech company ever just said “We hope to become worthy of being called a platform, but really that’s up to the people who will grow with us. And our job is to attract them, inspire them, support them. We hope *they* will call us a platform.” Someone should.
“I’m their Mentor”
Anything I can write here is going to fail to be as influential as just pointing out there’s literally a Seinfeld episode making fun of “mentors.” Don’t say you’re someone’s mentor; let them say it about you. “But Hunter, by saying I’m someone’s mentor it’s actually a vouch for them,” you insist, “It’s showing they are impressive enough that I’m dedicated to them in a non-casual manner.” Ok, maybe, I can buy this interpretation a little bit, but let me tell you, most people won’t get this. And it risks aggrandizing you and lessening this person you suggest you care about. Let them do it, not you.
Before I move on I guess it’s also fair to caveat this one by saying I refuse to be someone’s mentor nor do I want to be mentored by anyone. I love helping people and guiding them. I have my own role models from whom I seek ongoing help. So if you feel like you’re one of my mentors and I’ve just never called you that, know that I appreciate your care, I’m just not going to say it.
“I’m Low Maintenance”
Has ANYONE who said this within the first 24 hours of meeting you every actually been low maintenance? No! It’s like the biggest neon warning sign appears above their head, with a HUGE blinking arrow pointing down to their head, and giant “NO HE’S NOT” script font arcing through the air.
“Wow, you were pretty easy to work with,” seems like it does require another party to validate. And it probably should be said *after* you work together, not before. And maybe even only applied situationally until enough time has passed to prove that yes you are chill generally, not just when things are going well or when you have the power or when it’s sunny outside.
“I’m Good in Bed”