Swim with the Dolphins — The Four Types of People

Looking for a new team member — or maybe a new boss? Looking for a VC — or maybe a founder worth investing in? Partnerships are a necessary and valuable element both of business and of our private life. To make the path toward a common goal smooth sailing, however, you need the right kind of partner.

Most of us are looking for partners that are both friendly and intelligent — let’s call them Dolphins. Realistically, many of the people we come across don’t combine those two traits in themselves; they’re Pandas, Bugs, or Rats.

Pandas might not be your ideal counterparts because they feel too slow for your tastes, but they are harmless to keep around, so don’t look down on them and instead return their kindness with kindness of your own.

It is the ‘asshole’ category of people you should want to avoid. Bugs, the ’dumb jerks’, will bring nothing but stress for you, so keep away and try not to mind them too much — they’re just one of the annoyances of life.

Rats, on the other hand, are the danger zone. Especially when it comes to business, we’re tempted to excuse bad attitude and behavior because someone has the smarts we need for our venture. This might seem like a good calculation at first glance. In the long run, however, this type of person can be very harmful to your partnership because they have both the wits and the personality to drag you down for their own benefit. Stay far away from them and always be alerted.

What you want for your partnership is clearly a Dolphin: someone both smart and nice, who brings in the skills and ideas, but is genuinely honest, friendly, and a team player. These are your go-to-guys who will bring success to your partnership and put it in a prospering zone for mutual benefit.

As with all valuable things, finding a Dolphin will require time and effort, but remaining patient in this is much more rewarding than settling with a Rat or a Bug even for the short term.

Stay away from the Rats and go swim with the Dolphins. Life’s too short to spend it with assholes.


P.S.: No offense intended to all actual bugs and rats — I’m drawing on unwarranted prejudice for illustration purposes only. Please bear with me ;)