Someone comes at you with a bright idea, a proposal to collaborate or some opportunity you can’t miss out on. But this person doesn’t have the criteria, resume or respect you require them to have for you to take them up on any offer. So you curve them. You give them some level of dismissal, you brush them off or you keep it direct and just say ‘no.’
So, is this week’s sermon an attempt to warn you against curving people? No, follow your gut. If the flags are even the faintest shade of red, let the curving commence. This week’s sermon is more about how you should be curving people.
The universal fact we understand to be true and happen to conveniently forget when we’re under the pressure of solicitation is that potential is infinitely unpredictable.
In a situation where someone is elevator pitching you, potential is working in two ways. The first way is the potential of your response being wrong or right: Is the curve warranted or are you really missing out on some fringe opportunity that will bear substantial fruit? The second-way potential is working when someone is pitching their ideas to you is in a personal way. Is this person’s personal potential on par with greatness? A greatness that even you may never attain. Or are they as useless as you suspect them to be? Since potential is infinitely unpredictable you have no way of gauging its value. We simply cannot foresee the future.
Considering this, should you still go with your gut and curve someone? Yes. Should you be an asshole about it? In the name of infinite and unpredictable potential I say ‘fuck no.’
When you curve someone you should offer them a shot at a second chance. Make this chance conditional, make them show the work. ‘You know what? This sounds cool but I can’t talk about it right now. Can we meet sometime so you can show me your business plan?’ This curve is a call to action. You show moderate interest without making any promises at the same time. You’ve also activated a vetting mechanism. Someone who is not worth your time will never take you up on that offer.
If the person does rise to the occasion you can further decipher whether or not their potential has value. And yes I’m specifically talking about their potential, not the offer. In business, you place value on people, not their ideas.
Ideas are hit or miss but a person who possesses the right variables for success, like hard work and ingenuity are always worth keeping tabs on.
Let’s say they meet with you, elaborate on the pitch but you’re still not interested. It’d still advantageous to follow up with this person later and maybe quite possibly offer them an opportunity.
So we don’t want to be rude with a person offering a pitch. We want to curve them but we also want to seek out opportunities to maximize our own potential. We do that by taking chances on people. We also want to keep our reputations intact so that doesn’t just mean being polite and tactful. It also means that we remain genuine and don’t give false hope.
And we definitely don’t give people what I like to call a ‘metaphysical curve.’
That’s when you offer some type of philosophical advice to someone instead of just saying, ‘no.’ It’s unwarranted, unnecessary and annoying as fuck. People don’t care about the universe or the 10,000-hour rule. They care about whether or not you’re willing to take them up on their offer.
-Earl 'Wolf' Davis