How Eric Schmidt identifies successful managers

Juan David Gomez
3 min readJan 25, 2021

Today I biked a couple of miles to shake off stress while listening to my new favourite podcast: Master's of Scale with Reid Hoffman. In the 6th episode, he talks with Erick Schmidt, ex-CEO of Google, about chaos management and how other entrepreneurs can learn from these well-known practices in Silicon Valley. What really got my attention was his ultimate criteria for hiring people. When your startup is in the early stages there might be limitations with budget and resources so conducting a super-advanced interview with the best practices of high-level corporations might be out of the question. What do you do then? The answer is surprisingly applicable not just to the Human Resources processes but also to any endeavour where you have to pick a partner or collaborator. Schmidt hires looking for resilience and curiosity.

Resilience

We grew up with this well know common wisdom that only people who persevere will make it to the end of the race. But I totally ignored the true value underneath this virtue until I faced my biggest burnout at Waykana, the startup I cofounded. Back then I lost the direction and purpose of the business which led me into a one-and-a-half-year journey where I had to drag myself out of bed every day to get to the office, to the company I founded myself. Yes, you can create your own company and actually struggle to work in it. But that's a story for another time. What really matters here is that I can not count (even with a calculator) how many times I wanted to quit during that period of time. I had plenty of reasons in mind but somehow, something inside me, a sense of responsibility and a deep desire to not become a quitter kept me going. I know that there is always a time to quit and that is ok but back then it was not the right thing, I stayed to practice my resilience and today I can proudly say I surpassed all my own expectations and I know that episode taught me the lessons I needed to learn at that time.

Curiosity

The great thing about curiosity is that you never can have enough of it once you get into the habit. Naval Ravikant, entrepreneur and investor, calls it "intellectual curiosity" and like Schmidt, he knows that to succeed as a business owner or professional you need to learn continuously about a wide range of subjects. The best advice here, like Naval explains, is to listen to your internal voice and look out for things that naturally call out your attention, and then research more about them. This process repeated time and time again will increase your general awareness opening doors to opportunities for new business, projects and innovation. After all, this is not very different from an old fashioned "Indiana Johns" explorer, the more you step into the unknown, the more likely you will find a treasure. This is true for life and business.

Let's do it

I have found this approach to be extremely useful even in personal purpose research. Persevere with resilience and grit while developing curiosity about different matters that naturally interest you and you will end up succeeding and growing beyond the average human being of our age. Allocate time in your agenda to make this a reality; rewards of discovery and accomplishment will be reaped. I truly tell you this works and is in fact one of the main reasons why I started this blog.

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Juan David Gomez

Entrepreneur, spiritual adventurer and musician. Searching for the best version of myself and the best legacy I can leave to my children's children.