A designer with a soft pink cap. A programmer with a hair bun. These Indonesians have been growing proportionally in my product team. We speak different native languages, but we barter in the same currency -- respect.
Despite dedicating an entire post deconstructing why I suck with humans, I fare pretty well with developers and designers. Insofar to say I get along well with them.
More than just being "the same"
I will like to think I am a good programmer, but my CTO will disagree. Since a while ago, I have mostly stopped programming. My design skills are at most 2/10. So it cannot be that these people joined my company because I am a rockstar. Instead, I postulate that I can convince these individuals to commit and work hard for the product team because I care a whole lot more about technical people than I do other "types" of people.
Royyan is a new remote designer, and I have spent no more than one hour talking to him over video chat. On the second day of his work, I purchased a Macbook Pro couriered to his house in Surabaya. A Macbook Pro that costs at least 5x of his last-drawn salary. I did it because a good chef needs a good knife and I believe any investment in tooling for my team will pay dividends down the road.
When Royyan received the Macbook Pro, he was extremely grateful, and it made my day.
Sure, it carried the risk of a stranger bailing on me with easy money. But I like to take a bet with my employees. At worse, I lose 3.5k. The flipside of the equation is that I got a dedicated designer for a good time.
Got their back
My job as a product CEO is to serve as an umbrella for my product team. I take all the shit that the operation teams fling at them.
My lead designer spends three hours a day traveling to and fro the office. He will love to take some days to work remotely. So I spent the day today working backward on how we can make it happen knowing how the non-technical teams and managers might react.
I have always got their back first.
I make an effort
We have a few new faces on the team. So I made a trip down to Jakarta and bought everyone lunch and coffee. Because if they were to work for me, the least that I should do is to meet these people face to face. So I flew in the staff from Bandung and Surabaya, and have everyone converged in downtown Jakarta for a spanking buffet lunch.
Trusting, defending and caring
I am reasonably sure that my product team has got my back, as I have theirs. For some weird reason, I care deeply about them. I suspect because they are like me -- technical with no tolerance for bullshit.
I should probably apply the same attributes to non-technical people. Maybe then I do not have to attend an etiquette course.