So we had a lot of great ideas when we started, but what I always felt that a team of people doing something that’s really believing is like…when I was a young kid, there was a widowed man lived up the street. And he was in his eighties; he was a little scary looking. And I got to know him a little bit…I think he migh pay me for cutting mow his lawn or something… One day he said “come along to my garage, I want to show you something.” And he pulled out his dusty old rock tumbler, that was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them, and he said “come out with me”, we went out to the back, and we got some just rocks, some regular old ugly rocks, and we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and a little bit of grits powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on, and he said, “come back tomorrow.” And this can was making rack of his stones, and I came back the next day, and we opened the can, and we took out these amazingly beautiful polished rocks, err…the same common stones that go in through rubbing against each other like this, creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had some out these beautiful polished rocks.
And that’s always been in my mind that, my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they’re passionate about. It’s that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other, and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these beautiful stones.
I built lots of my success of finding these truly gifted people, and not settling for being C players, really going for A players. And I found something, I found when you get enough A players, when you go through the incredible work to find you know 5 of these A players, they really like working with each other, because they never had a chance to do that before, and they don’t want to work with being C players, so they become self-policing, they only want to hire more A players. So you built up these pockets of A players and it propagates. And that’s what the Mac team was like, they were all A players, and these were extraordinarily talented people.
I… you know, when you get really good people, they know they are really good, and you don’t have to baby people’s ego so much, and what really matters is the work, that everybody knows that and that all that matters is the work, so people are being counted on to do specific pieces of little puzzle, and the most important thing I think you can do for somebody who’s really good, and who’s really being counted on is to point out to them when their work isn’t good enough, and to do it very clearly and to articulate why, and to get them back on track. And you need to do it in a way that doesn’t call in questions about your confidence and abilities, but…leaves not too much room for interpretation that the work they have done for the particular thing is not good enough… to support the goal of the team. And that’s a hard thing to do. err…I always take a very direct approach, so I think if you talk to people who worked with me, err… the really good people have found it beneficial, some people hated it you know, but… I am also one of these people, I don’t really care about being right, I just care about success. So you will find a lot of people that would tell you that I had a very strong opinion, and they present evidence in contrary and 5 minutes later I can change my mind, because I’m like that, I don’t mind being wrong. And I admit that I am wrong a lot, doesn’t really matter to me too much. What matters to me is that we do the right thing.