Surround Yourself With People Smarter Than You

It’s George Steinbrenner’s Golden Rule (as well as the HBO CEO’s). It’s something I always say and have for some time. I forget where I got it from. Maybe it was Mr. Steinbrenner, maybe my Dad… maybe somewhere else. No idea, but it’s a good one.

There are some nasty, bitter people (often times banned from my sites) who like to talk about my areas of knowledge. They say that I don’t know the martial arts and I can’t code anything for phpBB. Both assertions are true, of course. But, they use these as a means to discredit me and my sites, which include one of the largest martial arts communities on the internet and the first phpBB hacks site and largest source of phpBB related downloads.

The fact is, there are a few different reasons for them doing so well. It’s not dumb luck. Most of the time, there are reasons that some people are more successful than others. In my case – I work very hard, I give it my best shot and I know how to treat people, how to manage people and manage a website. I’m committed. These things are infinitely more important than simply knowing the martial arts or knowing how to program when it comes to managing communities of this nature. There are a lot of people out there who have the phpBB knowledge required to be on the Support Team, yet there are much less that actually have the right temperment, the right attitude, the ability to treat people kindly and with respect.

But, yet another reason is because I surround myself with good people. People who are experts on the martial arts can create a forum and it will not be as good as mine. Why is that? Because I’m better at managing a forum, better at managing a people – and I surround myself with good people – people smarter than me.

Via Brian.

Patrick O'Keefe

Managing online communities since 2000, I publish a collective of websites known as the iFroggy Network. I wrote the book Managing Online Forums and, as a public speaker, have presented for organizations like CNN, institutions like Australian National University and conferences like SXSW. More about me.



about 15 years ago

The last paragraph says it all.

I could careless what the admin/manager knows. Just that they are nice, and try their best.




about 15 years ago

This is the golden rule of business. Most people in management positions try to surround themself with clones of themselves. Unfortunately, very few can see their own weaknesses and surround themselves with people who fill the gaps. True leaders know how to build a successful organization by employing people smarter and brighter than themselves. Many managers are scared of someone taking their job, or knowing more than them. I'd much rather have people working for me that knew much more than me than the alternative.


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