Erik Reinertsen     Blog     Tech     Research     Teaching     Talks

A user manual to working with me


Brad Feld posted a great idea: a “user manual to working with you”.

This is helpful to your mentors, mentees, colleagues, investors, etc.

Still in progress.


Who are you as a person?

What are some honest, unfiltered things about you?

I strive to be focused, organized, and direct.
I am prideful but try to be humble and always learning.
I am impatient.

What drives you nuts?

  • Slow communication is unacceptable; we all have smartphones.
  • Buzzwords signals group-think and superficial thought.
  • Mandatory requirements instead of meaningful activities.
  • “Maybe”, “sometimes”, or “perhaps” are words of the imprecise.
  • Ellipses are passive-aggressive and imply rather than declare.
  • Mispelling my name; its there in my email signature, get it right.

What are your quirks?

I clean my house a lot.

What qualities do you particularly value in people who work with you?

  • Responsive: reply promptly.
  • Concise: say it in fewer words.
  • Competent: do it well.
  • Hustle: solve problems without excuses.
  • Clear: no BS; say what you mean to say.
  • Selfless: put the team first.
  • Quantitative: measure what matters.
  • Time-aware: use agendas and respect when time is up.

What are some things that people might misunderstand about you that you should clarify?


How do you interact with others?

How do you coach people to do their best work and develop their talents?

What’s the best way to communicate with you?

  • If we work on the same team: email me.
  • If you are reaching out: Twitter or email; be brief.
  • Personal: text me.

What’s the best way to convince you to do something?

  • Do you truly need my help, or can anyone do it?
  • Does it benefit many people +/- me, or just yourself?
  • Is the deliverable, due date, and time commitment clear?
  • Do I have bandwidth right now?

How do you like to give feedback?

I ask many questions to understand the situation. I then provide constructive, specific, and actionable input.

One of my mentors has a good approach of telling you 1) what worked well, and 2) how can you be better.

How do you like to get feedback?

The same way as I like to give feedback.


From a colleague after reading this:

In the future I’ll make sure to be slow and vague when communicating with you via your preferred method, Vine.