Venture capitalist Brad Feld’s idea of sending specific questions before interviews:

A while ago I came up with an approach where I could separate leaders from doers from everyone else. I’ve been applying this approach to the Boulder Startup Community, and a number of other things I’m involved in, since then and offer it to you as a simple, yet elegant way to triage an overwhelming amount of inbound requests to figure out who is really going to make shit happen.

The trick: I identify leaders by giving people assignments.

Here’s how it works. I’m going to use a really simple example. Recognize that the range of inbound is all over the place, from a wide range of people, with very different degrees of experience. The initial interactions can be complex and my assignments vary dramatically, but with a goal of intersecting (a) what the person is asking for and (b) a result that will be interesting to me in some way.

  • 50% of the people vanish
  • 25% of the people do the assignment
  • 25% of the people make shit happen well beyond what the assignment was

The folks who capture my attention and energy going forward are the ones in category 3. The leaders.

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