It is great to see you again. If you are seeing this we have recently met, or, at the very least, you scanned my code. I would love to hear from you again though. If you have something you would like to discuss, please feel free to fill out the brief form below and your note will be delivered directly to me.
Thanks again for stopping by and I look forward to speaking with you again soon.
Matt Hampton’s User Manual
It is a bold yet intelligent thing to publish this about yourself. Update it annually. Apologize for nothing and set the clearest set of expectations about yourself, and what it is like for others to interact with you, that has ever existed. Empower others to choose to work with you or not. Or, if they have to, how to do so infinitely better.
What are some honest, unfiltered things about you?
- As the Brother’s Osborne once said, “I’m good for some, but not for everyone”. I am a lot, a lot of the time but know that it is simply the outward manifestation of an intense love of the act of living, an inexhaustible curiosity of the world around me, and an unparalleled passion for the wild tapestry that is the human condition. Crap, I am getting excited now. I will stop…
- I believe I am the farthest thing from perfect that exists. You will never see that, I will never tell you that, and you will sure as hell never see that in my work or play. That said, I am thinking it. Often.
- I swing big on a lot of things. If you can’t do it well, keep trying until you can. I don’t typically like doing things “just ok”.
- Once I do something well, being totally honest, I will likely buy the T shirt, take a selfie, and move on to the next thing.
- I value self-improvement and self-quantification in pursuit of better health & habits, and will cancel my day and talk to you endlessly about them if you think it would help you live a better life.
- Along those lines, if I offer to cancel my day to talk about this, stop me immediately. This is not productive for either of us. Let’s get a beer, coffee, kombucha, whatever and chat it out but, for now, we have shit to do.
- Sitting idle makes me uncomfortable knowing I could be using that time to do anything productive. My time on Earth is short and there is a lot I want to do. Sitting around scrolling on Twitter is absolutely not one of those things.
- My matutinal obsessions are becoming more and more sacrosanct. While not always the case, I am these days finding that mornings are amazing. And useful.
- I love stickers. I put them everywhere. My favorite to describe me says “I am mostly peace, love, and light with a little go fuck yourself.” Truer words…
- I believe strongly that you are born like a MadLibs. The blanks will be filled in for you if you let them but it is your responsibility to take an active role in your development and fill them in yourself. I use yoga, meditation, coaching, peer groups, friends, family, and intense research to manage my blanks. I touch most, or all, daily. Yes, daily.
- There are no Ron Popeil moments in your life. You can set and forget absolutely nothing. Don’t try as it sets you up for failure.
What drives you nuts?
- I abhor entitled behavior, self-righteousness, and bullies. If you exhibit these in my presence, know I will listen (within reason of course; it would be rude not to) but also know you will never have my respect. Not that this likely affects you if you are that person, but just so you know.
- Money is not impressive to me. Full stop. Telling me how much your new thing costs is the most vapid thing we could talk about and only draws attention to the fact that you are very likely unhappy on the inside. Spoiler alert, studies show that if you are exhibiting this behavior, no amount of purchases will make you happy. Find your passion and the finance chats will evanesce.
- Password managers. They are the worst. They don’t work well and often cause me more frustration than they solve. Seriously, I hate my password manager.
- Companies that don’t pay attention to the user experience of interacting with that company. It is inexcusable to have your credit card field say “September” when every credit card in the world uses “09”. It is 2021. Get your shit together people. This is absolutely loosing you money.
- Scrolling on your phone watching TikTok, reading Twitter, or “enjoying” Facebook while anywhere in my line of sight is an excellent way for us to stop being friends. If we are near each other, get off of your phone or know that our time together is limited. Also, for the love of everything holy, find a better hobby. Despite what you might think, this one is not serving you in any meaningful way and it is really irritating to many who have to watch you.
- There is no such thing as “always” or “never”. I try to correct myself when I slip. If you are lazy enough to use either in a sentence, then you are not thinking clearly about the topic and having a rational conversation with you will likely be a challenge.
What are your quirks?
- I swear like a drunken sailor most days. It is how I express my general enthusiasm for life. Some people paint with color, I with words, and sometimes “fuck” is just the right shade to adequately describe the situation at hand.
- Despite that, I do absolutely love vocabulary although I can get rhapsodic if I don’t watch it : ) Just in case you don’, you should. It yields endless conversation.
- I have zero qualms about allowing some healthy ADHD into the mix when I, or someone near me, has a good idea. You don’t know when they will come so, when they do, be prepared and let it go. You can always come back to what you were doing. That said, I try to not let it control me. A little leash to jot down some salient points is sufficient.
- I spend a lot of time working on making things in my orbit better. Often times that looks really, really funny to those watching. Just ask my kids.
- I have very little patience for laziness (physical, emotional, or philosophical varieties in particular), incompetence, or circuitous journeys to find out what your problem is. Get to the point or I loose interest. Be quick and ask the hardest question first if you want to use me to my highest and best use.
- If I ask you strange questions that seem as though they have nothing to do with what we were talking about, know that it does. Be patient, answer the question, and understand that I have absolutely nothing but the highest order of interest to getting to the point. It might take a moment, but that is where we are heading.
How can people earn an extra gold star with you?
- Teach me something I don’t know; preferably something that you are good at. I get wholly engrossed listening to people passionate about something and I instantly want to know more about it. This is exponentially more true if I don’t know anything about the topic.
- I believe in multi disciplinary thinking and envisioning ways of connecting facts in new ways. Help me to make new connections where I missed something.
- I appreciate a really, really stellar learning experience recommendation. Book, movie, show (but I really don’t love shows), whatever. Point me in the right direction and it is more valuable that almost anything else I can think of.
- Don’t beat around the bush. If you need something, or want something, just ask. And ask first. Getting to the point ensures our time will be well spent.
- Be interesting. I don’t care if you like stamp collecting, antique box tops, astro photography, microbiology, or physics. I will get on board with whatever you are selling so long as you are interesting.
What qualities do you particularly value in people who work with you?
- Immediate honestly above all else.
- Next to fearlessness. I didn’t say recklessness, I said fearlessness. There is a huge difference.
- Love. Love what you do. Love who you are. Love your life. If any of those are off, nothing we can do together will be meaningful long-term.
- As mentioned above, be interesting. If you are interesting it means you are engaged. I really, really like working with engaged people.
- I am obsessively goal and efficiency oriented. It is 100% up to you to defend your position with me; not the other way around. If you believe I am wrong, fight me. I will respect you more. None of us are always right and I am more than willing to accept when I am wrong. That said, don’t pout if you end up being wrong. That is a great way to remove the gold star.
- Remember this above all else – I believe we are all earnestly aiming in the same direction. Getting there in the most efficient, respectful, and meaningful way is my primary concern. If what we are talking about does not serve that, I likely will come off as ignoring you.
What are some things that people might misunderstand about you that you should clarify?
- I am not impatient, I have likely done this before and am skipping to the part where we jointly figure out how to solve the problem. It sounds abrasive sometimes to anyone outside of my head but it is coming from a place of respect for your time and my own.
- I am not angry with you, I just like to say “fuck”. The more I say it, the likelier I am to really, really like you.
- I am often thinking ahead of what you are saying. I am listening, but I am several steps down the road though most times. This can come off as me daydreaming. I am not. I am always thinking about what you are saying and formulating a response.
- I am a huge fan of hyperbole. I use it as a primary weapon in my communication arsenal. Please don’t take the words so literally. Listen to the concepts that I am trying to communicate. I have found that if you make insane exaggerations to illustrate a point, most of the time anyway, people are very clear on what you are trying to say and won’t likely forget either. Plus, I have a lot more fun talking like that.
- I am always focussed on the bigger picture of what it is we are trying to do. The destination to me is typically pretty clear and I am on a rabid mission to get there as efficiently as possible. Detours are ok, but the destination should be the supporting justification for all actions. I think like this and expect anyone working with me to be thinking along the same lines.
The first set, focused on how I interact with others:
How do you coach people to do their best work and develop their talents?
- I encourage people to take chances and act often. Most people have a tendency to stop progress out of fear of making a mistake.
- Keep it simple. It is harder that you think but the juice is worth the squeeze.
- Following individuals is misguided. Following what they follow though is not. Take inspiration from what successful leaders read, watch, and talk about. Following them sets you up for ideological blindness and gets you stuck in their echo chamber instead of finding your own voice.
- Remember the words of Jimmy Dean, “You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust the sails to reach your destination.” See above points on destination awareness.
- Ira Glass had a great observation on this. Essentially, if you have a good base, you have to do a massive volume of work to sort through the crap and get to the good stuff. Quitting during the crap phase will ensure you never get to the good stuff. SPOILER ALERT: the crap phase is likely years. Years, not months, not days; years. Did I say years yet? Years.
What’s the best way to convince you to do something?
- Ask nicely. Humorous slant gets additional attention.
- Tell me why, not what. What is a “right now thing” but “Why” will tell all of us where we are heading.
- Don’t be afraid of me saying no, tell me the best AND worst case scenarios (do not forget the latter). I want to understand the downstream consequences of what we are talking about. Decisions inherently are questions of risk tolerance and mitigation.
- Tell me how this sets us up to be better than we were yesterday. Lead with ways this opens up new opportunities for growth (personal or professional).
How do you like to give feedback?
- Email. First part is the short-short version. Then, I like to lay out the dirty details after. For the ADD folks, the top does fine. For the data nerds, the longer explanation is helpful. Either way, the paper trail is solid.
- Hyperbolic examples when I feel as though a major concept was overlooked.
- JIRA. It’s a life changer.
How do you like to get feedback?
- Just like my gin, straight up, possibly with ice. Lay it on me and do so quickly.
- When giving me feedback that is informed by religious, political, or ideological tenants you hold, please be clear about that as it is nice to know for one, but also is a great exercise in self-reflection for you.
- JIRA. It’s a life changer.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.