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My personal rules for fun and effective collaborations.

Hello, and welcome back. I started doing projects with other people when I was 15 years old. We organized crazy parties that still feel special to this day. Later on, I started many businesses, first at age 18. Startups, retail shops, educational institutions, collaborative art projects, and everything in between.

Sometimes those processes were smooth, but more often they were frustrating, stressful, and led to bad outcomes for the project itself and for relationships with my collaborators and co-founders.

Out of those experiences, I created 3 simple rules that help me choose people and projects wisely and create not only good outcomes but also enjoyable processes.

Rule 1: The Tea Test

If you decide to do something with other people, one of the first things I look for is vibe. To check it, I usually do what I call a tea test. If we just sit down, drink some tea, and talk, is this conversation enjoyable? Is it fun? Is it interesting? Do I want to repeat it, no matter if we're in business or not? If the answer is no, it's an indication that this will probably carry on into the future. And if you decide to do something tougher, the general emotions from the collaboration could be not so good. On the other hand, if the answer is yes, no matter the results of the projects, you will enjoy yourself, and their company, and most likely you will create good results together.

Rule 2: Vision

If you consider working with someone, it's a good idea to align your vision for the project. But not only the vision of what you want to create but also what the person wants to get from the project for themselves personally. A good question to ask in that scenario is, "What would you consider the success of the project for you personally in one year? Ten years?" With this information, you can put your potential partner in a role or situation where they can fulfill it. This makes people very motivated because they know why they are doing it. Also, it's useful for you because you can position optimally not only for their success but also for the success of your enterprise.

Rule 3: Competence - The impressed face test 

Certain projects require certain competencies. If you hire people just using the first two rules, there's a risk that the person could struggle with the challenges the position will bring. So, it's a good idea to check what they are actually capable of.

Usually, you can ask them to show their work or tell you about projects they are proud of, and their role in them. If you feel like nodding with a good impression, that could be a good sign that the person will be capable of doing what they say they can do. It's also not a bad idea to check with people they work with about their experience working with that person. Because people can be deceptive sometimes.

Bonus rule 4: Small project test

Before you get into the boat and float into building the next billion-dollar company sometimes it is a good idea to try something small together. Something that will take 1-3 months to complete. This will give you a clear understanding of how a person acts in the working environment and whether it is a good fit for you personally, and for a thing you try to create.

If you've got your own rules, please share them in the comments below. I'm here to share, but also to learn from you. 

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