Current Minnesota Senator Al Franken was a satirical self-help talk show host named Stuart Smalley. That opening sentence is 100% true and ridiculous.
Smalley had a catchphrase that’s been repeated too many times by too many people who aren’t funny: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it people like me.” Though the character was a satirical self-help host, I have adapted it to be my actual credo when choosing who to work with. “I don’t know if you are good enough, I can’t tell if you’re smart enough, but I like you.”
This is especially true when working on startups because chances are the venture won’t succeed. As awful as it is to try and fail, I have found it is worse to try and fail with people you don’t like.
Likeability is also easier to distinguish in a short amount of time than ability and intelligence. I have yet to meet a person who has told me “Hi, I’m Fred. I’m not that capable and I’m super dumb.” I have not met anyone not named Fred to say that either. I’ll tell you what though, I’d probably work with a person who uttered that sentence. Sounds like I’d like them.