Rebel Intrapreneur
Rebel Intrapreneur
083 The CEO who screens for giving a sh*t
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083 The CEO who screens for giving a sh*t

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I did an episode (Ep 36) about giving a damn about one’s work, in which I reacted to a Pascal Finette newsletter article called Give a Damn in his The Heretic newsletter, which I like. This article resonated with me because giving a damn is what rebel intrapreneurs do. 

You know this. Rebel intrapreneurs want to further the missions of the organizations we serve. Yes, we also want to challenge/push/improve the system from within (the rebel part), but we do that in service of the mission.

Giving a damn. 

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So, rebel intrapreneurs, it is our responsibility to give a damn. 

We chose to give a damn. With actions. And words. Both. Not faking it. Actually giving a damn. 

So that’s our job as rebel intrapreneurs.

What about the other side of the coin? Entrepreneurs, founders, executives, hiring managers, etc. What’s their job? Their job is to hire people who give a shit. 

There is a yin yang relationship going on here. 

Intrapreneurs who give a damn and entrepreneurs who hire people who give a shit. 

Hiring people who give a shit is not my phrase. I just learned about it from Alexandr Wang, founder and CEO of Scale.ai. He wrote a newsletter article back in November 2020 called “Hire people who give a shit. A simple formula for success.“ 

Alexandr makes two main points: 

First: 

“Over time interviewing, I’ve found that I mainly screen for one key thing: giving a shit. To be more specific, there’s actually two things to screen for:

  1. they give a shit about Scale, and

  2. they give a shit about their work in general.

The first is critical, and will only become more important as time goes on. There is no future if we hire people who do not identify with our mission, our product, and our problem. We will become an undifferentiated crowd of uninspired people who will not have a shot at creating a generational company. While it is not guaranteed that someone who gives shit will do great work, it is guaranteed that they will not do good work if they do not give a shit.”

Second: 

The second (giving a shit about work in general) is equally important. It’s possible to fake fervor in the course of an interview and say the right things to convince us of enthusiasm for Scale, but the proof is in the pudding. If someone is applying to Scale and has never been deeply obsessed about something before, then it’s a bad bet to think Scale will be the first. I have a particular line of questioning around this…

He has a list of interview questions for figuring out whether people give a shit about their work in general, which I won’t list here. If you want those questions, please go subscribe to Alexandr’s newsletter. 

The point I want to make is that there is a way that entrepreneurs can find and hire rebel intrapreneurs by screening for people who give a shit. 

Links in the show: 

My episode 36 about Pascale Finette newsletter (The Heretic) about giving a damn

Alexandr Wang, founder and CEO of Scale.ai, wrote a Substack newsletter article back in November 2020. Hire people who give a shit.


Today’s episode is brought to you by Figma. Two important tools of the Rebel Intrapreneur are the business model canvas and the value proposition canvas. Figma has templates for both, so you can design your innovation projects fast. I used the value proposition canvas template to design the listener profile and value map for this show. Try Figma for free


Bill Cushard Rebel Intrapreneur Pascal Finette Alexandr Wang Scale.ai

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Bill’s book: The Art of Agile Marketing: A Practical Roadmap for Implementing Kanban and Scrum in Jira and Confluence 

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Rebel Intrapreneur
Rebel Intrapreneur
Rebel Intrapreneur is a podcast about a new category of high performing employee. Rebel intrapreneurs further the mission of an organization while simultaneous challenging the system from within. Founders and entrepreneurs are thirsty to find people who believe in their mission as much as they do, and pursue that mission relentlessly. Rebel Intrapreneur is hosted by Bill Cushard, who has reported directly to founder/CEOs four times in his career, which makes him an ideal guide on your intrapreneurial journey.