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🔥 Prometheus and the Letter-Shaped Personas
A slice from my journey adapting to the evolving states of talent
Several years ago I was part of the founding team of a design and development house - Pyro 🔥
Prometheus brought fire, Pyro in Latin, from the gods to the people. With the exponential growth of the digital space that was very challenging to keep up with - we strived to constantly narrow this gap for clients and users by offering them digital disruptive fire. Pyro to date - as we see it - is a tech source of hope, progress and knowledge in an ever-changing world. Sharing our skills and expertise in the format of creative and flawless outputs really made a difference and moved the needle in our space.
Pyro is a successful merger of two previous separate small companies; ⚡️Sparqly - a 360 growth hacking and marketing campaigns boutique house, whom Liran & I ran together, and 🌋Volcano, a 3D animation and development studio founded by Joe & Elad. This remarkable talent blend and the roles we played in contributing to the company's success are what helped accelerate my own personal and business abilities more than anything else.
Elad, a true tech pioneer, is a bottom-up bootstrap persona who knows how to make businesses cost-effective. Moreover, what sets him apart is his exceptional 3D animation, web and coding abilities that I had never seen before. His expertise in these areas was invaluable to the company and helped us stand out from the rising competition.
Liran is a fast-thinker (sometimes a bit too fast), an exceptional leader who always thinks about his fellow man before himself - and somehow doesn't forget about his own family and wellbeing. A true phenomenon. His unique ability to see the big picture and understand how each individual's contribution fits into the overall success of the company until today catches me - and I tend to ask myself in complex situations "What would Liran do?".
Joe is a fantastic technical performer who knows how to develop code in every fu**ing language, a backend master who happened to come from an aeronautics background at the Technion,(?!) - still using his skills to their full potential. His technical expertise was crucial in encouraging the rest to deliver high-quality outputs.
>This distinct texture of our partnership made me realize how critical it is to be flexible in a business and social environment, even if our perspectives on life are completely different. Our diversity created a powerful moat for the company as each persona was a true talent in their own field and could prosper within it. I remember us keep reminding ourselves how much we're "worth" at the talent market and why we're here to 10x this potential while fulfilling Pyro's vision 🧯
As we evolved, we had in Pyro a number of efforts to raise capital for internal software products in preliminary stages, while managing a classic high-volume services daily operation with a variety of clients, 35± employees and a ton of projects.
I enjoyed every minute of it. It helped me understand how to see things from a higher perspective, cope with stress and foresee burnouts, manage different complex situations at once from multiple directions, and to approach future roles from a founder's pov.
I assume this experience in Pyro, from 0-1 - to acquisition, molded me back then as a "T-Shaped" persona - a very weird character, where its vertical bar on the letter T represents the depth of related specific expertise in a single field, while the horizontal bar represents the ability to collaborate across disciplines with peers in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than my own. In the '80s this term was used internally by McKinsey for recruiting and developing consultants and partners and it's also common in the agile software dev world and refers to the need for cross-skilled engineers.
For instance, an interaction designer who has worked in several areas such as analyzing user exploration, building sophisticated mockups while managing a team as a technical lead would be T-shaped. This designer needs to bring three different perspectives to their role. He probably knows exactly how the interface should look and work in order to satisfy user needs, and he has the technical know-how required to assist other teamates to realize their concept.
Polymaths and Renaissance
Moving forward - being involved in several startups that aren't in the same field, from founding an F&B marketplace to being an executive in an HRTech AI software startup - got me anxious that I'm not focusing on one industry. But as time went by I realized that my aspiration towards the "Homo Universalis"/ "T-Shaped" or "Polymath" - is the right trajectory to fulfill my curiosity, bridge disciplines that don't normally overlap - and stand behind the notion that as if at the beginning of the Renaissance era there were no differences between math, physics, and medicine - with no clear boundary between professions - you could be a writer, a physicist, a diplomat - and invent a lightning rod. Today's decentralized world demands it. Being involved in so many different areas of a company's verticals, while mentoring and teaching as well as building company growth moats - are the manifestation of my T-Shaped persona.
Teaching? Mentoring? so where's the leadership factor here? that's where T evolves, only if you want to push on - to an X-Shape leader.
Evolving to X
An “X” demonstrates the final frontier in his persona's bizarre evolution, with human skills grounded in empathy and purpose. The X moves from domains of knowledge to a constant state of learning, continually adapting to the environment, but most importantly - he's 🌶️ it up with strong leadership skills and credibility - passing his knowledge and vision to anyone who will pay attention.
And maybe all these tests to determine my shape are just an opportunity to propose a new letter?
I firmly believe that my personal and professional path takes me back and forth, jumping between the letters while exploring where I can make the most impact and influence my friends, colleagues, family and others' views on life - if they realize it's meaningful for them.
A day in the life of an elastic multi-letter-shaped persona
Evolving and shifting to different shapes may happen every few years - but what if it happens several times a day?
Focusing in the morning in your flow state on a specific task makes you an I, working together and providing value across different areas with your crew makes you a T, motivating them to follow your vision will make you an X.
No surprise that all these letters exist in the word; "exciting".
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