How is it people can be both smart and shoot themselves in the foot?
Recently, a project has come my way where I’m collaborating with a like-minded individual on the subject matter, uncovering a financial scam. Nice guy, articulate, and smart as a whip. He’s the driving force in the endeavor,
He doesn’t realize it; he’s also his own worst nightmare, who single handed might sink the project. He needs to learn to play his cards much closer to his vest, and stop sharing every new fact discovered with all and sundry.
Now, I can understand his enthusiasm. It’s pretty heady and cool to be among the first to know something. A natural tendency is to want to show off your knowledge. To brag a bit.
Back in my Uni days, we had a wire service teletype that I would spend hours watching as stories of the day poured out of it – the chatter of the keys playing a staccato that reminded me of Cronkite’s nightly news opening.
I was seeing news reports as they came off the wire. Just couldn’t talk about it because it hadn’t made it to the public yet, no matter how much I wanted to. Drove me mad at first.
There was a reason for it. Reports that were preliminary, initially inaccurate or contained information you didn’t want the main subjects to know you had yet until sources were secured and vetted were top of the list. Ill-conceived release of such could cause problems for you later – publishers hated to print retractions.
So now I have a partner who can’t seem to grasp this on his own. Not his fault, really. He hasn’t the background or experience of my part of the world. (Nor I his, truth be told. That’s why we’re working this together. Our strengths should compliment each other.)
Sigh. I guess it’s time to have The Talk with him before it’s too late. He’s old enough.
John Lewis is a freelance writer and editor for hire. Reach him at email@example.com . To see his product write-ups on LinkedIn, join the group Products In Search of A Market . On Facebook, join Products in Search of a Market (Facebook).