Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 5th, 2015

Hire the Scrapper: whose secret weapons are passion and purpose

Your company launches a search for an open position. The applications start rolling in, and the qualified candidates are identified.

Now the choosing begins.

Person A: Ivy League, 4.0, flawless resume, great recommendations. All the right stuff.

Person B: state school, fair amount of job hopping, and odd jobs like cashier and singing waitress.

But remember — both are qualified.

So I ask you: who are you going to pick?

Regina Hartley in her speech at a TEDx, Sept, 2015

00:52 My colleagues and I created very official terms to describe two distinct categories of candidates. We call A “the Silver Spoon,” the one who clearly had advantages and was destined for success.

And we call B “the Scrapper,” the one who had to fight against tremendous odds to get to the same point. You just heard a human resources director refer to people as Silver Spoons and Scrappers —

which is not exactly politically correct and sounds a bit judgmental. But before my human resources certification gets revoked — .

A resume tells a story. (And it should be written as a story to get attention)

And over the years, I’ve learned something about people whose experiences read like a patchwork quilt, that makes me stop and fully consider them before tossing their resumes away. A series of odd jobs may indicate inconsistency, lack of focus, unpredictability.

Or it may signal a committed struggle against obstacles. At the very least, the Scrapper deserves an interview.

To be clear, I don’t hold anything against the Silver Spoon; getting into and graduating from an elite university takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. But if your whole life has been engineered toward success, how will you handle the tough times?

One person I hired felt that because he attended an elite university, there were certain assignments that were beneath him, like temporarily doing manual labor to better understand an operation. Eventually, he quit. But on the flip side, what happens when your whole life is destined for failure and you actually succeed?

 I want to urge you to interview the Scrapper. I know a lot about this because I am a Scrapper.

Before I was born, my father was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and he couldn’t hold a job in spite of his brilliance. Our lives were one part “Cuckoo’s Nest,” one part “Awakenings” and one part “A Beautiful Mind.”

 I’m the fourth of five children raised by a single mother in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. We never owned a home, a car, a washing machine, and for most of my childhood, we didn’t even have a telephone.

So I was highly motivated to understand the relationship between business success and Scrappers, because my life could easily have turned out very differently. As I met successful business people and read profiles of high-powered leaders, I noticed some commonality.

 Many of them had experienced early hardships, anywhere from poverty, abandonment, death of a parent while young, to learning disabilities, alcoholism and violence.

The conventional thinking has been that trauma leads to distress, and there’s been a lot of focus on the resulting dysfunction.

But during studies of dysfunction, data revealed an unexpected insight: that even the worst circumstances can result in growth and transformation.

A remarkable and counterintuitive phenomenon has been discovered, which scientists call Post Traumatic Growth. (The term Post is becoming a funny invention)

In one study designed to measure the effects of adversity on children at risk, among a subset of 698 children who experienced the most severe and extreme conditions, fully one-third grew up to lead healthy, successful and productive lives. In spite of everything and against tremendous odds, they succeeded. One-third.

Take this resume. This guy’s parents give him up for adoption. He never finishes college. He job-hops quite a bit, goes on a sojourn to India for a year, and to top it off, he has dyslexia. Would you hire this guy? His name is Steve Jobs.

In a study of the world’s most highly successful entrepreneurs, it turns out a disproportionate number have dyslexia.

In the US, 35% of the entrepreneurs studied had dyslexia.

What’s remarkable — among those entrepreneurs who experience post traumatic growth, they now view their learning disability as a desirable difficulty which provided them an advantage because they became better listeners and paid greater attention to detail.

They don’t think they are who they are in spite of adversity, they know they are who they are because of adversity.

They embrace their trauma and hardships as key elements of who they’ve become, and know that without those experiences, they might not have developed the muscle and grit required to become successful.

06:37 One of my colleagues had his life completely upended as a result of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in 1966.

At age 13, his parents were relocated to the countryside, the schools were closed and he was left alone in Beijing to fend for himself until 16, when he got a job in a clothing factory. But instead of accepting his fate, he made a resolution that he would continue his formal education.

Eleven years later, when the political landscape changed, he heard about a highly selective university admissions test. He had three months to learn the entire curriculum of middle and high school. So, every day he came home from the factory, took a nap, studied until 4am, went back to work and repeated this cycle every day for three months.

He did it, he succeeded. His commitment to his education was unwavering, and he never lost hope. Today, he holds a master’s degree, and his daughters each have degrees from Cornell and Harvard.

Scrappers are propelled by the belief that the only person you have full control over is yourself.

When things don’t turn out well, Scrappers ask, “What can I do differently to create a better result?”

Scrappers have a sense of purpose that prevents them from giving up on themselves, kind of like if you’ve survived poverty, a crazy father and several muggings, you figure, “Business challenges? —

That reminds me…Scrappers know that humor gets you through the tough times, and laughter helps you change your perspective.

08:39 And finally, there are relationships. People who overcome adversity don’t do it alone.

Somewhere along the way, they find people who bring out the best in them and who are invested in their success.

Having someone you can count on no matter what is essential to overcoming adversity. I was lucky.

In my first job after college, I didn’t have a car, so I carpooled across two bridges with a woman who was the president’s assistant. She watched me work and encouraged me to focus on my future and not dwell on my past.

Along the way I’ve met many people who’ve provided me brutally honest feedback, advice and mentorship. These people don’t mind that I once worked as a singing waitress to help pay for college.  

09:36 I’ll leave you with one final, valuable insight.

Companies that are committed to diversity and inclusive practices tend to support Scrappers and outperform their peers.

According to DiversityInc, a study of their top 50 companies for diversity outperformed the S&P 500 by 25%.

So back to my original question. Who are you going to bet on: Silver Spoon or Scrapper? I say choose the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose.

UN Passes Five Resolutions In Favor Of Palestine

The resolutions endorse the return to peace talks, denouncing settlements in disputed East Jerusalem and in support of the work of the UN Committee fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people. (What of the settlements in West Bank?)

New York, New York (IMEMC) – The overwhelming majority of General Assembly of the United Nations, Wednesday, voted on five draft resolutions in favor of Palestine.

The decision comes after the Assembly discussed the two articles, “the Palestinian Cause” and “the Conditions in the Middle East.”

According to Al Ray, the first resolution was entitled, “Using Amicable Methods to Resolve the Palestinian Cause”. The voting results were 148 in favor to 6 against, with 8 abstentions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 file photo. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The second resolution regarding “Jerusalem” passed with 144 votes in favor to 6 against, and 10 abstentions.

The third resolution was entitled, “The Informational Program about the Palestinian Cause”, which is being handled by the administration of media affairs in the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and passed with 147 votes in favor to 7 against, and 9 abstentions.

The fourth resolution was entitled “Committee for Palestinians Right to Exercise Ownership of Their Inalienable Rights.” The voting results were 94 in favor to 7 against, with 56 abstentions. (Those abstending States do Not consider Inalienable Rights should cover the Palestinian people?)

The last resolution, entitled, “The Section of Palestinians Rights in the Secretary-General of UN”, passed with 91 votes in favor to 7 against, with 59 abstentions.

After the voting process, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, gave a speech to show his gratitude and thanks to the member countries of the UN for their initial stand, and their votes in favor of the resolutions that show their support to the Palestinian cause.

Mansour added that the international community represented by the United Nations’ protection of international law is a source of comfort and support to the Palestinian people.

It will help them in their continuing journey of resisting and striving to maintain their inalienable rights, and bringing an end to the Israeli occupation, which will liberate the state of Palestine and its capitol of East Jerusalem, and fulfill the two-state solution.

The ambassador also affirmed the importance of the resolutions approved by the UN concerning Palestine, saying that what affects the credibility of the United Nations is not as some claim, the adoption of these resolutions but the nonexistence of a necessary political will to force Israel to show respect to these resolutions and apply it.

Note: A reminder: the UN also voted in 1948 for the right of return to the Palestinians to their homelands. What it is Not reiterated and enforced?)

 

What No One Is Telling You

Mark Zuckerberg legal scheme of Donating 99% Of His Fortune To “Charity”

Transferring ownership of Facebook stock without paying capital gains taxes

It’s neither exclusively a charity, nor is his donation is going to a “charitable trust.”

By now you must have heard that Mark Zuckerberg along with his wife Priscilla Chan has pledged to give away 99% of his estimated $45 billion in Facebook stock to charity.

Basically, Mark is supposedly giving away enough money to fund one of the world’s biggest charities for the next 45 years. Instead, he is funding his own.

Here’s how:

  • The vehicle for his beneficence will be the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC, a family-run foundation that he controls and through which he will maintain control of Facebook for “the foreseeable future.”Which basically means:

    Mark Zuckerberg will transfer ownership of his Facebook stock without paying capital gains taxes.

  • He will also benefit from the possibility that his foundation will live beyond him, with his heirs and their heirs at the helm, untouched by estate taxes.
  • A Facebook PR, while confirming to BuzzFeed News, said that the initiative is structured as an LLC, and not as a charitable trust
    • Which means that unlike a charitable trust, which is compelled to spend its money on charity, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC will be able to spend its money on whatever it wants, including private, profit-generating investment.

      says.com

    • While charity will certainly be one of the money’s destinations, it will be far from the only one. The money, according to a Facebook SEC filing, will go to “philanthropic, public advocacy, and other activities for the public good.”One such activity: private investment. A Facebook release this afternoon stated as much.

      The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will pursue its mission by funding non-profit organizations, making private investments and participating in policy debates, in each case with the goal of generating positive impact in areas of great need,” it said. “Any profits from investments in companies will be used to fund additional work to advance the mission.”

      buzzfeed.com

  • One more thing about his pledge:

    • The Facebook founder is not giving away 99% of his Facebook shares all at once. He will be doing it over the course of the rest of his life.

      says.com

  • Also, Michael Maiello points out in this Daily Beast piece:

    • Mark will deduct the fair value of his gift to his foundation from his taxable income in the year he makes the donation.
    • A donor like Mark could realize a tax benefit equal to about one-third of the value of his gift. In this case, he stands to benefit as much as USD333 million, based on the USD1 billion he plans as his first transfer.

      says.com

  • Rather than give to existing nonprofits, Mark is doing what other business leaders have recently done. Increasingly siphoning their fortune into their own organisations and this can be problematic.

    Alexander C. Kaufman of The Huffington Post explains how:

    • The desire for control leaves the massive pool of money set aside for charities — about $358 billion in the U.S. last year — divvied between the roughly 1.5 million nonprofits registered in this country.
    • Creating a new organization every time a company or wealthy individual wants to foster change only shrinks the available slices of that pie. huffingtonpost.com
    • “Just because you were successful in the for-profit world doesn’t mean that nonprofits are a bunch of bleeding-heart idiots that need you to come in and show them how it’s done,” Ken Berger, the managing director of the social-good data service Algorhythm, told The Huffington Post in October.
    • He previously ran the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator. “We have one of the most complex and sophisticated nonprofit sectors ever seen. Partnering with others is the best approach.”That last part is key.
    • To sum up, his money is not going to a charity, but to his own LLC, which will let him evade tax by moving his private assets into a foundation.
    • See, Zuckerberg doesn’t need massive tax benefits to do whatever he wants. He can just do whatever he wants.
      • But he will get those tax benefits and estate planning benefits and he will be able to give up his stock while holding onto power over his company.As Michael Maiello in his Daily Beast piece reveals, “when we pay people like Zuckerberg to fund their own foundations, we are really helping the rich and coddled few even as we thank and honor them for their charity.”

        says.com

    • Additionally, as Anil Dash writes in his Medium piece, it’s necessary to be critical of Mark’s philanthropic efforts, both past and present, to ensure that this pledge of USD45 billion is put to good use

      • That is because the default dispensation of the money will be to waste it.For example, Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark schools to almost no effect, in a gift that was revealed to have been explicitly managed by Sheryl Sandberg to be timed to offset the negative publicity surrounding the release of the movie The Social Network.

        Given that track record, our default assumption should be that this is a similar move, though obviously this announcement being coupled to the birth of their daughter makes such assumptions seem churlish or rude.

  • Note: People, especially in the US and France, try to avoid paying taxes because they have no confidence that the institutions in their countries are meant to benefit all the citizens. The more the State receive money the quicker and foolishly spend it to foster the richer classes and the military infrastructure.

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2015
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