Remote Work is Not A Perk

Allowing your employees to work from where they wish is not a perk, it is a part of your company’s genetic makeup or it is nothing.

Many big companies think that allowing their people to work from home on Fridays is similar to matching 401k – simply a cost absorbed by the company to attract and keep people. Remote work is not a ping-pong table or free lunch on Thursdays.

Remote work, if properly supported, is a powerful testament to the respect that you have for your people and their lives. You are saying that you trust and expect them to perform, and you trust your ability to tell if they are or aren’t. It show a results-focused attitude that speaks to a core value of your company: do you follow tradition blindly or do you support what works best?

I’m writing a book about successfully working from home; click here if you want to know when it is complete.

Silver Lining

I love hanging around with my kids because they say so many things that don’t make sense. They sound of wise crazy poets.

Yesterday while walking with my daughter she looked up at the sky and said birds are so happy, but they have sun in their eyes all day. I thought about this and smiled and she smiled at me. We were on our way to dropoff a picture she made into a neighbor’s mailbox.

Not all birds have sun in their eyes all day of course, they fly beneath the clouds down here with us, but it reminded me of the common saying every cloud has a silver lining which I often hear applied to mean: “from every bad thing, there is some small, good thing”. This is not the meaning of the phrase, although it is the common usage.

Silver lining refers to the fact that the sun is always shining above the clouds, and you can see this on the edges where it makes it shine brightly in silver. Every cloud has a silver lining means that the cloud’s days are numbered, that the heat on the other side – with the same intensity and consistency as on a sunny day – will move that cloud away and it will be sunny again to you.

If you a spiritual person, it means that He who brought the clouds promises He will take them away. The origin of the phrase speaks to this:

I see ye visibly, and now believe
That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were
To keep my life and honour unassailed.
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

— John Milton, Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634

Reflection Frameworks

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is typically a change of pace for most people – even if they don’t go on vacation – and a socially acceptable time to reflect and make large changes in your life. I am intentional about goal-setting and have found that having a framework – a simple set of questions – to guide the reflections helps.

Here are a few ways to help you reflect on 2016 and plan for the new year.

Reflection Frameworks

#1 Todd Henry’s “Questions for 2017″

  • What do I want to experience?
  • Where do I want to go?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • How do I want to change?

#2 Agile Development Process Improvement Questions

  • What should we start doing?
  • What’s something new we should add?
  • What should we stop doing?
  • What’s something we’re doing that we don’t need to do anymore?
  • What should we continue doing?
  • What are we already doing that’s going well?

#3 “If I took it seriously” exercise

This is one I made up and use in my yearly retreats; for each role in your life (father, husband, employee, etc.) ask yourself:

What would it look like if I took this completely seriously?

This provides a good list of actions you can take to get a little better at each role, and it helps you focus and prioritize certain roles over others.

#5 Morning Journal Questions, but for the entire year.

Ask yourself the daily questions, but apply them to the entire year:

  • I am grateful for ____ [3 things].
  • What would make 2017 great? [3 things]
  • Three Amazing Things that happened in 2016. [3 things]
  • How could I have made 2016 better?

Finally, some extra inspiration and some humor about resolutions. Good luck!

 

Play to your Strengths – Well, Sometimes.

You hear, and most act upon, the advice to “learn all you can and improve your weaknesses.” Traditional education focuses on being well-rounded and not having any major knowledge gaps, so we get used to pushing through learning things we don’t pick up quickly.

But there is another idea, most commonly learned by taking an assessment like StrengthFinder, to instead figure out what you are good at and then focus on it intensely. The thrust of this idea is that effort multiplies in your areas of power – a week of work improving your public speaking when you are naturally good at it pays off more than a month of working on a weakness.

Combining these, most of us just shore up the very important weaknesses but play to our strengths. Seems simple, well maybe not.

All strengths have blindspots

For example, I am good at solving problems, and I am (relatively) calm in a (work) crisis. Because of this, I’m not afraid of a small crisis. This is a blindspot.

I’m not going to prevent these things from happening as aggressively as someone who freaks out and jumps out of a window when a bug is found in production. This means that my strength is also a weakness – if I “play” to this strength then I, without knowing it, might make it more likely to happen so that someone like me is needed.

I used to work for an executive that had a similar strength: he was very good at convincing employees and clients to not resign or walk away from the contract. He excelled in last-ditch efforts and high-pressure situations. Being good at talking people back into the building is a good tool to have, but he seemed to use it an awful lot. Without meaning to do so, he did a number of other things that seemed to cause situations in which his particular set of skills would always be needed.

Maybe if it happens three times it is partially on you, brother.

I can manage more projects at a time than the average person. I read 3-5 books at a time and can keep track of where I am on each one. I have seen old friends years later and will continue conversations with them that we had two years ago and they will not remember them. I can mentally bookmark things and then return to them.

This means that I might say “yes” to too many things at a time and create situations in which I over-allocate myself, thus making it a weakness. It also means that I might multi-task, a common way to not be productive, more often than someone than can’t do this easily. It is a weakness and a strength.

You have to be careful to not play towards your strength, but instead, recognize when they are truly needed and then use them.

I’m writing a book about successfully working from home; click here if you want to know when it is complete.

Personal Pre-Mortems

If you are like me you can get into a mindset of negative thinking where you can poke holes in any potential project idea or action. After all, thinking of doomsday scenarios is a marketable skill when you actually take action to prevent them, but in our personal lives having this negative view is very bad for us. It makes us hesitate or not get started on an important project with an uncertain future. It makes us not surprised by failure or neutrality. If you expect the worst you will probably get it.

This same method of thinking can be a powerful ally, however, when used as a weapon.

Defensive Weapon

Think of an important project, relationship, or trajectory in your life. Now imagine the worst that can happen. I call this technique “pre-mortems” and it is not the most fun you will have today. Think of the following scenarios:

  • You are divorced
  • You are bankrupt
  • You have a terrible, but preventable, health issue
  • You have lost your job, and are suddenly unable to get another one in the same industry, geographic area, or market due to a damaged reputation.
  • All of your shoes have been replaced with pink crocs.

Now ask yourself this question: “How did this happen?” and list the reasons.

Well if I’m divorced it was probably because my wife and I stopped communicating, or stopped making sure that we spent time together and just focused too much on the kids, or maybe I got a wondering eye because of some unresolved problem, or because I stopped trying.

Well if I’ve got diabetes or cancer it might be because I order fried chicken from a car more times than I exercise most weeks. I guess that wouldn’t be a surprise.

If I’m bankrupt it is because I have become disabled and don’t have good coverage in that area. Since I’m the primary breadwinner and we have kids, my wife’s salary wouldn’t cover everything so we would have to lose the house.

If I can’t work in my field this is probably because some really bad scandal was slowly slipped into by a group of people encouraging or ignoring the warning signs.

If I only have pink crocs it is probably because I lost a bet of some form and am being forced to wear them as some sort of shame spectacle.

Now go and avoid those things, establish guardrails against those results, make contingency plans for those things:

  • I need to make sure I’m focusing and working on my marriage more.
  • I need to get better disability insurance.
  • I need to exercise, eat real food, and focus on my health.
  • I need to continue to avoid any financial or relational gray areas.
  • I should not bet on the New York Jets.

Now take a deep breath – none of these has happened; you still have time. During the life of a project you can apply this same mode of thinking – 60% into a software development project I can sit down and say: “OK this project is late – why?” and list three actions I could take to avoid the most common failure scenarios.

Offensive Weapon

For new projects, you can use the same method without depressing yourself. Let’s imagine something that you want to do but you keep putting it off or convincing yourself that you can’t do it. We all hear a voice that tells us “it won’t work out”, “you will fail and people will see”, “you aren’t good enough”, “your pink crocs are so dumb”, etc.

Maybe you want to write a book, try a new career path, take some time off of work to drive across the country, or audition for American Idol. Pick something you really want to do that you have talked yourself out of a few times.

Let’s listen to the inner voice, really listen for a minute. Give the little hater its chance to make a speech.

OK if you start this project and it fails, then you will have wasted $30,000, which means you would need to sell your crappy car and maybe live with your parents for awhile. As a twenty-eight-year-old man. If you are living with your parents it wouldn’t exactly be a secret, so that would be really embarrassing. Everybody that thought that you had it together would realize that you didn’t, so it would actually erode my reputation in a way that would be hard to crawl out of. From there – living in a basement – it would be really hard to recover emotionally. But I guess since you are not that special it would be what you deserve for trying to be.

Now filter out the emotions, insults, and judgments and just think of the real consequences of failure for your project. Split out how they would make you feel for a moment and just think logistically:

  • I would lose a lot of money
  • I would be spending time on something that didn’t work out, when I could have been doing other things
  • I would trade some of my reputation

Now make some plans to guard against these things being as bad – ways that you can hedge or counter these things – and list them.

  • I would lose some money, but I won’t touch a one-month emergency fund. If I got to the point that I touched this I would get a job at Starbucks. I look great in green.
  • Yes, there is an opportunity cost, but once I get started I would ignore this thought and really commit. Besides, anything else that I worked on would run into the same obstacles – I’ll be smart with the projects I pick to focus in on.
  • My reputation might get hurt, but I might also draw attention and respect for trying something bold – and perhaps I care about those people’s opinions more anyway. Besides, learning from failure means you have to actually fail sometimes.
  • Living with my parents would stink, but I wouldn’t have to do my own laundry. Plus my mom will not make fun of my pink crocs.

Now answer the inner critic with a detailed version of “So, what are you going to do about it?”:

I might fail and lose money, time, and face, but I would have really tried, and probably learned something. I would then be able to rebuild my life by taking a regular job and working to save like I have done so far in my life. Since I would have been following what I really wanted to do I wouldn’t regret it and wouldn’t feel “behind” in the years when I was re-establishing my financial stability. I would have failed doing what I want to do, rather than half-failing over the long-term doing something I didn’t care about.

Read some more about this technique at Business Insider and watch some other practical benefits to Pessimism.

I’m writing a book about successfully working from home; click here if you want to know when it is complete.

We Can’t Let People Work From Home Because _______.

We can’t let our people work from home, they might not work.

Sounds like you hire clowns.

I mean how would I know if they were slacking off?

You don’t have any way to tell if people are making progress?

If I can’t see them to make sure they are working, then I can’t manage them.

Sounds like you need to level up as a manager.

But we can’t let our people not see each other, they won’t communicate well.

Sounds like you hire people that can’t adjust.

If we let people work from home they might leave the company.

Sounds like if they want to and you don’t let them, they will leave to one of the many companies that let them. I hope none of them are your competitors.

I’m writing a book about successfully working from home; click here if you want to know when it is complete.

Why I Hate All These Morning Productivity Blog Posts

I really don’t like blog posts that tell you to get up early, or go for a run in the morning, or get up even earlier, or focus on your morning. I even wrote some satire to try to get it out of my system, but it didn’t work because I’m writing this now.

I think these posts have some truth in them, but they also make a large group of people feel like crap and provide them a false belief about something.

These posts “work” because:

  • Momentum does matter, starting out well lets you keep going well.
  • For many people their diet makes them sleepy in the afternoon, so working before they eat enough bread to choke a horse allows them to work when their energy is highest.
  • For many people who have trouble with “haters” (internal or external), getting up early allows you to work before the inner critic wakes up enough to speak. Once you are going well, you can’t hear them over the humming of your internal engines.
  • For those that have a problem with social media addiction, their mornings are emotional rollercoasters, so telling them to not check their email and not check social media is a much more stable manner of working.
The advice in these posts works accidentally for some, and in a very limited way.

I don’t mean to demean the audience for these posts, and I have described a person who eats badly, is addicted to social media, and is not positive in their thinking. I don’t hate these people; we are all these people – the default settings of culture are pushing us in this direction. I get why these posts are popular.

What else is wrong with these posts?

  • Most people can’t get up any earlier than they do now. For many who work and have either kids or a hellscape commute (or both) reading these posts is like “yeah, right – I wish,” so they just make them feel bad. The stories of people who get up at 5 AM to write or jog are even harder for those that are already up at 5 AM. “Should I get up at 4 AM then?” The blog posts seem to indicate yes, of course, you loser. That works for them, so if you can’t get up earlier, I guess you don’t want it that much.
  • These articles never talk about the rest of the day. Do they stop work at 3 PM? They better to have any credibility. If you are looking to pile on to the “just work harder” category, I’m afraid it has reached its maximum occupancy.
  • People are wired differently, and working at night offers many of the same benefits of morning work regarding lower blood pressure and infrequent distractions.

I am, honestly, more annoyed by how limited these articles are, and by how they don’t tackle the large and more interesting problem of how to manage your energy for the entire day. Maintaining your motivation, inspiration, discipline, and focus is a large problem that plays into your systems, your mindset, your personality, and your environment. You can’t just say: “start earlier, work harder” – this is pure foolishness.

Where is my solution then? If you are interested in real productivity advice, I go over:

If you are interested in real productivity advice, I go over:

  • Global Truths about Super Productivity
  • How to Track Your Productivity
  • Guerrilla Tips on Staying Productive
  • Working to Your Energy, Not Your Time
  • and many other topics related to getting massive amounts of stuff done….

In my upcoming book, signup to hear about it here.

Remote Work Terminology

Jobs in which you don’t have to show up at an office have a large number of terms that are applied to them. The terms have shifted and will continue to change for a few reasons:

  • This concept, although very large and growing, is a new one to many people, so we adjust our language to fit the reality.
  • There is a generational shift with the popularity in working this way – many people graduating from college are used to working / studying with their laptop from all over and get jobs that work this way. Because generations shift the language, there are clear age differences in the terms.
  • Remote work had some early negativity on it, and it still fights some bad stereotypes – negative terms change more quickly than positive ones.

Here is a partial list of terms associated with remote work:

Telecommuting

  • This is an old term that isn’t used as much anymore, probably because the “tele-” part feels very old. We have dropped the tele- from telephone already. Also the second part is “commute”, eww.

Virtual Teams / Virtual Work

  • An early term for a team that was across geographic lines. Not used that often anymore because virtual feels pejorative here – we are a real team, not virtually one. The rise of the term virtual reality also killed this term, as VR is clearly not close to real life (yet).

Work from Home

  • WFH is a general term for those that are able to work from their home.
  • Many part-time clerical jobs fall into this category as well as digital professionals.
  • Googling “work from home” typically finds you lower-paying jobs (and many scams) than googling “remote jobs”, and “remote” typically means full-time while WFH can mean part-time.

Remote

  • General term for people that work from wherever they want, typically digital “knowledge workers” – writers, programmers, analysts, etc..
  • Over time this term has been starting to be replaced by distributed, as “remote” feels negative to some people (they mean remote minority, which we describe below) – and because you can’t say that you have a “remote” team without people thinking you mean an entire team somewhere else, you have to say “remote friendly” or “remote first”, which is longer.

Remote Minority

  • A term that I use to describe a scenario in which a few people work from offsite, but the majority of the staff are co-located at a headquarters. This is not an easy situation to manage, extra steps need to be taken to make this work.

Remote First

  • A term you apply to a company which means that pretty much everyone works from where they wish, and that the founders worked this way very early and have kept it up. These companies typically have strong support for remote work and processes which support distributed teams well.
  • Remote-first essentially means “remote-only” – there might not be any form of office space anywhere.
  • You might have to get on a plane to visit a coworker at a remote-first company.

Remote Friendly

  • This term carries little consistent meaning and ranges from “you can work from home on Fridays” to “we have entire teams that are remote-first”. Be careful applying for jobs that list this with clarifying what they mean. They also might not know what they mean.
  • You might be able to visit a coworker at a remote-friendly company, and they may want you to do it a few days a week.

Distributed

  • A nice term that describes quickly a team with remote and/or onsite workers, or a fully “remote” team – they are distributed all over the place. “Distributed worker” does not sound right though, this sounds like some sort a medical emergency.

Nomad, Digital Nomad, Nomading

  • A person that has a remote job on a distributed team that typically does not work from a “home base”, but instead travels from place to place while continuing to work from wherever they are. Think young people traveling across Europe but working from hotels or a family traveling across the U.S. while the mom works during the day from the hotel.
I’m writing a book about successfully working from home; click here if you want to know when it is complete.

How To Read 118 Books In One Year

This year I continued my odd quest to read a lot of books and ended up reading more than last year. This feels very odd since I’m a big fan of making things rather than just constantly drowning in consumption.

In fact I’d like to send a special message to the hundreds of people that have visited my website because they typed “Bad Effects of Reading” or “Why Reading is Bad For You” into Google: It isn’t always bad for you, but just reading crap all day long is.

How I Read Two Books a Week

My system for reading this much is quite simple:

  1. When I am in a situation in which it is socially acceptable (or encouraged) to be staring at your phone I read on the Kindle app instead of doing things on social media. These social situations are more frequent than you think and are probably more than 15 minutes a day.
  2. When I am working I take at least one break a day and read for 10+ minutes.
  3. Some nights, not always, I read to help me relax and fall asleep. Some days I drive in my car and listen to books on Audible, about 8-10 of the books were consumed this way.
  4. I read things that I like. If I get 25% into a book and I hate it, I close it, loudly shout a curse word, and then donate it to the library or throw it away. After I shout the curse word I don’t regret having wasted some time on the book, and I try to not ever regret buying a book that I never read.
  5. I surround myself online with other people that read a lot, thus making this amount of reading seem normal.

My Favorite Book This Year

I read a lot of very useful books this year – ones that were fun to read but also actionable – and one that continues to standout is The Obstacle is the Way (by Ryan Holiday). Great writing, good structure, interesting historical anecdotes, and direct relevancy that you don’t see in many books of this form. I am currently reading through the rest of Ryan’s books and have also enjoyed Ego is the Enemy.

What Else I Read This Year

What follows is a partial list of the books I read this year (some items have been removed to protect privacy).  If I recommend that you, dear reader, should also read the book I have included it as a link.

Fun To Read:
– Modern Romance
– Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread
– Silver Screen Fiend
– Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself
– Consider the Lobster
– Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
– Le Metier
– Mere Anarchy
– Funny Girl
– True Grit
– Microserfs
Temporary Stories
The Whites
– The Abortion
– So The Wind Won’t Blow it All Away
Big Fish

Not Fun To Read, But Needed:
– Between The World and Me
– Erasing Hell

Parenting:
– Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why
– Rules for a Knight
– Keep Your Love On

Things That Defy Category and This is a Compliment:
We Learn Nothing

Books That Defy Category Because I am Lazy:
Stories of Your Life and Others
– Turing and the Computer
– Dirty Library
– Calvin and Hobbes
– Ready Player One
– Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine

Advice That I Have Ignored:
– Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
– The Short Guide to a Long Life

Memoirs and Biographies:
Bossypants
Yes, Please
– Little Black Sheep: A Memoir
The Inventor’s Dilemma: The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber: maybe 2016 wasn’t the right year to read about how quickly the Nazis took over, but a wonderful read overall about an amazing man.
– My Mother was Nuts

Work / Self-improvement:
Ego is the Enemy
The Obstacle is the Way
The Passionate Programmer
Building Great Software Engineering Teams
The Magic of Thinking Big
The Lean Startup
– The Greatness Guide
– The Greatness Guide: Book 2
– Awaken the Giant Within
– Flourish
– The Talent Code
Zero to One
– Catching the Big Fish
The Hard Thing about Hard Things
– Hooked
– Enough
– The Art of War
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
– Don’t Make Me Think
– The Difference Maker
High Output Management
– The 2-minute Leader
– Paper Towns
– Claw Your Way to the Top: How to Become the Head of a Major Corporation in Roughly a Week
– Manage Oneself

Distributed / Remote Working
– The Field Guide to Telecommuting
– Embrace Remote Working

Comedy:
– Egghead
– This is a Book
– Point Your Face at This
– My Life and Hard Times
– The 50 Funniest American Writers
– Fierce Pajamas
– Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans
– Sick in the Head

There is no such thing as Children’s Books:
The BFG
– Hatchet
– The Poet’s Dog
– The Phantom Tollbooth

Gerald Weinberg:
– The Secrets of Consulting
– More Secrets of Consulting
Are Your Lights On?
– Becoming a Technical Leader

Writing:
– The Elements of Style
– Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t
– The Writing Life

Written by Someone I Know, or About Someone I Know, or Just Self-Published:
– A Wicked Creature
– Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian
– Fearless Salary Negotiation
– Untethered
– The Zen Founder Guide to Founder Retreats
– What I’ve Learn from Failure
– Postmortem of a Failed Startup
– The Lost 10 Point Night

OK I guess but not something to base a religion on:
– The Four Agreements
– The Alchemist

Neil Simon Plays
– Biloxi Blues
– Brighton Beach Memoirs

Dave Eggers:
– The Wild Things
– How We are Hungry
– You Shall Know Our Velocity!

Written by Men with Mustaches Who I Wish I Could Meet:
– How to Tell a Story and Other Essays
– Armageddon in Retrospect

A Sudden Interest in Steve Martin:
– Shopgirl
– The Pleasure of My Company
– The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People
– Pure Drivel
– Born Standing Up
– Cruel Shoes

A Constant Interest in Elmore Leonard:
– Riding the Rap
– Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

Books That Took More Than Six Months to Finish:
– Fifty Great Short Stories
– 12 Essential Skills for Software Architects

I’m writing a book about successfully working from home; click here if you want to know when it is complete.

You Get No Credit for Talking

Most of my career has been spent working for companies with less than fifty people. My consulting career had me working with much larger companies often, and many of the stereotypes about big vs. small are true:

  1. At a small company you are a generalist; you “wear many hats” [Note: don’t literally do this – it confuses people].
  2. At a small company you have more responsibility – if you aren’t pulling your weight everyone can feel it.
  3. At a big company, there are more doughnuts and meetings. Also: office supplies.
  4. The coffee is better at small companies, but big companies offer better benefits in almost all other areas.
  5. People at small companies are much better at ping-pong.

How do small companies become big companies? By bringing on board people that might be from big companies. In fact, a common pattern is for companies to try to “level up” by hiring a Big Boy, Adult, More Experienced Leader, Other Mild Insult to Existing People. If the existing staff know what they are doing and are learners, and the new more experienced people are teachers then this can work out well.

But there is one minefield awaiting small companies hiring experienced leaders from big companies:

At big companies, you can be rewarded for thinking of potential problems even if you do nothing to solve them.

This is not pejorative, this can be good at a big company – there are people that are just thinking ahead, strategically and proactively.  These people struggle to exist at small companies, because at a small company if you bring up a problem without a solution you are just creating extra stress. Within the typical culture of a small company if you bring up a problem you are now tasked to solve it. Since you are already overworked when you come across a problem, you might not speak up. In the worst case, nobody is thinking far enough ahead because it is too painful to do so.

But then you start interviewing people, and they say things like “Hey, have you thought about the Newman protocol, and how you would perform under an audit?” And you think to yourself “Nope”, so you hire them to find and fix that problem.  And instead they sit around; at their old job their work was complete at this point, and here it is just getting started.

Ben Horowitz explains a similar dynamic well:

Your executive has been conditioned to wait for the emails to come in, wait for the phone to ring, and wait for the meetings to get scheduled. In your company, he will be waiting a long time. If your new exec waits (as per his training), your other employees will become suspicious. You’ll hear things like “what does that guy do all day long?” and “why did he get so many options?”

Well if the problem is so obvious then why are there so many bad hires from large companies? Ben’s list of screening questions is certainly effective, and I’ll offer my perspective to detect this as well.

One summer I rented an office in an old motel near my house. I was tired of working from home and wanted to change things up. This worked out pretty well until my second week when the air conditioner stopped working and the Georgia heat started to bring the air temperature up to sunspot levels. A few doors down from mine a small internet startup of four – five people was always around busily working and they did not leave when it happened. One of them went out and bought a few floor fans and they opened all their windows.

On the second day when the building manager announced that the air conditioner would not be fixed until the next week, the leader of that same group left but then returned with a saw and two wall unit air conditioners and installed them without permission. They didn’t appear to know what they were doing and made a mess of it, but their rooms were cool and comfortable.

When I’m interviewing a person from a big company I always ask myself if they would be the type to say: “We have a problem here, the A/C is out” or if they would be the type that would say: “I’m driving to Home Depot, buying an A/C unit, and cutting a hole in this wall”.