"Okay guys, are we sorted out? I've got a few more things I've got to do this evening."
There's nods all-around. We just got our new office set up, and our first fulfillment staff just came in to sign the employment contract.
I pack up my computer and walk out from the glass-doored meeting room into the main room and head to the coat rack. I put on my winter coat, button it, and put on my ushanka Russian-style hat.
Then I remember - good, Tony's here.
I walk back into the meeting room. "Hey Tony, have you seen my scarf? I took it off the day we moved the furniture in and left it here, and I haven't it since."
Tony squirms. Tony never squirms, he's one of the most confident and controlled people I know. "Well, umm, maybe it's around here."
He walks out into the front room with me, and kind of half-heartedly looks on some obviously empty shelves. He looks behind a bookshelf. Okay, this is obviously stupid, but I'm not sure what to say.
He walks back into the meeting room and is about to halfway look around again - he's obviously thinking about what to say.
"Tony, you didn't throw my scarf out, did you?"
Our other partner laughs, which makes the new staff member laugh, and Tony laughs. In retrospect it was probably funny, but at the time it just ratcheted my pissed-off level up a notch.
Tony frowns. "Well, umm... was it the knitted one?"
"Yes, it was the hand-knitted scarf that was a personal gift, yes, that scarf!" My attempts not to look pissed are failing.
"Sorry Seb, but I think it might've..."
Okay. Don't look pissed. If it was just us guys, I could curse a couple times, but there's a new staff member here so I've got to keep decorum. I was leaving anyways and I've got things to do.
"Okay. Whatever. No problem, these things happen. I'll see you all later."
I walked out, trying not to be too terse.
I was pissed on my ten minute walk to Starbucks, but right as reached the entrance I laughed.
That's the nature of being a fast decisionmaker, which Tony is. Most people worry unnecessarily about all sorts of problems that never happen. And 99% of the time there is a problem, it can be fixed.
Hell, Tony could have thrown out any other piece of clothing I had, and we could have replaced it with just some money.
But there would be no sense getting upset about it - it's unfortunate it played out that way, but it's the nature of living a busy and expansive life. Tony is working on this project, he's an advisor to one of the top technology companies in the world, he's a top negotiator for a major investment fund, he owns a variety of majority and minority positions in a variety of different fields, and he's got a massively busy social calendar.
These little mistakes are a minor price to be paid for being an ultra-rapid decisionmaker - most people would be cautious and send out an email or ask everyone if it was their scarf. That would mean mean 3 minutes and 5 minutes of thinking about it, and it would be spread across 2-3 different times before coming to a resolution. Instead, Tony looked at the scarf, instantly made the decision that it wasn't a big deal to throw out, and did so.
Sure, it's a bummer to have that happen, but I wouldn't want to change him. Just the opposite, actually - I want to be more like that. Unfixable mistakes are rare - and in the final analysis, it is just a scarf, sentimentality aside. Making every decision instantly means a few more mistakes, but massively more good things that entirely overwhelm and mitigate the mistakes.
March 10, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Late morning.
I pulled on my swim trunks, trainers, and a tank top and walked out of my little guesthouse room, sliding through the cramped restaurant strewn with tables, and out into the hot, dusty air of Phnom Penh. It's a hot day. It'll be good to swim after lifting weights.
I said, "No no, thank you" to the tuk-tuk drivers offering to take me somewhere in the city, pushed through the little crowd, and out onto the street. The streets in Cambodia more resemble alleyways than streets, and I navigate around people and vehicles.
I went down to the end of the street, turned left, and skirted along close to the local restaurants, half-tent half-storefront type places to get food. I stepped into the crosswalk, the Hotel Cambodiana rising in front of me. I check right and then left, and I watch left as I cross, watching for oncoming traffic.
A loud scream rings out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
As far as I was concerned, she was perfect. She was at least as smart as I was, was a dancer and had the body to prove it, and had a smile that could disarm the national guard. Let's call her Julie.
So, like an earthworm stalking it's prey, I put my usual game on her. Since my last flowchart was so popular, I've made another one to show you how I dealt with the ladies back then:
Nedless to say, things went slowly. We hung out nearly every day for the last couple months of our Senior year summer vacation. Like many guys, I was totally oblivious to her attraction for me. One morning Julie came over really early while I was still sleeping, and squeezed into my twin bed with me. I woke up, and assumed that she must be tired - it didn't even occur to me that she might like me. Finally on the last week of that vacation she said to me,