I asked 52 Friends to complete a feedback survey about me as a person.

Here is what I learned:

42% of the people that I asked to review me completed the survey.

It is a bit of a weird request:

Random request, can you fill out a feedback survey about me as a person? I’m curious how different my perception of myself is from other’s perception of me. It’s completely anonymous.

Followed by this Typeform link.

Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.

So all said and done 42% (22 out of 52) is not bad.

I know this data isn’t scientific, it has many problems:

  1. I designed the questions to answer questions I have about myself. A lot of them could be considered “Leading” questions.
  2. There is massive self-selection, the people that chose to respond probably view me more favorably than those who don’t.
  3. Theres sample bias in that I’m asking my friends to do this. I attempted to have a good selection of good friends to acquaintances but admittedly the process was not scientific.

All that said, the exercise has been valuable. I have more data than I did before and have confirmed a few things I suspected while learning a few new things as well.

The rest of this article is structured like this:

  1. The Results (long)
  2. Summarized Takeaways (skip to here if you’re impatient)
  3. Next Steps to Address Takeaways

The Results:

How well do you know Konrad?

The self-selection bias is obvious, I would have preferred to have a more even distribution.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Konrad?

This was a tough one to summarize but were grouped into 5 types:

  1. Persistence, structure, commitment or similar appeared in 7 responses.
  2. Opinionated, independent, principled or similar themes were mentioned 5 times. Including “Does and thinks what he wants shamelessly.”
  3. Blonde, tall, strong or other physical characteristics appeared in 3 answers
  4. “Cyborg” was used 2 times.
  5. “Interesting” was used 2 times.

So far the vast majority are positive and things that I like or want to project.

Section 1: First Impressions

Here I asked people to rate me on a set of attributes that I care about when I first meet people. The data here is a bit skewed in that a few people either put 1s or 6s for everything as they have known me for so long that they do not remember first impressions. Even so, there are some interesting trends:

Intelligence

Helpfulness

Arrogance

Clothing

Warmness

Friendliness

Ability to Relate

Judgmental

To give these numbers so more meaning, I put them in a ranked list:

A few key things stand out:

  1. Obviously nobody really wants to hurt my feelings as the scores are all in more or less the same range.
  2. The two that I was worried about, Judgmental and Arrogance are not as high as I might have thought, but are also both about 5. 5 is halfway to 10 which is much higher than I would like to be on both of those metrics.
  3. Warmness & Ability to Relate, attributes that I wasn’t too worried about are significantly lower than I would like. This is also supported in later comments about coldness on first impressions.

Anything else positive or negative you’d like to share about what you thought of Konrad when you first met him?

Another free form answer and another one that is a bit hard to show good data for but here but there were several clear categories:

8 people had nothing to add or didn’t remember the first meeting.

5 people indicated an impression of prevention or general coldness.

  1. “Came across a little booshie and pretentious the first time.”
  2. “I thought he was an Upper East Side pretty boy when I first met him.”
  3. “He was a little “cool”, meaning he didn’t say much.”
  4. “I think I may have wanted to be his friend more than he wanted to be mine.”
  5. “Sitting back and listening, judging”

4 people were intrigued

  1. “It was fun and interesting and I wanted more.”
  2. “I remember being struck by his unique mindset.”
  3. “Immediate sense of depth.”
  4. “Driven, formulaic yet open to question and adapt to every assumption. Good listener.”

3 people were generally positive

  1. “I had no idea that we would end up becoming good friends.”
  2. “Cool dude! He’s awesome!”
  3. “I thought you were funny and had a good sense of humor when we were kids (still true).”

2 people thought I was immature

  1. “When I met Konrad he was a drunk kid, not yet an adult”
  2. “As a kid we gave an impression as he didn’t care about anything.”

Ok not so bad.

The immaturity I’ve definitely grown out of.

That pretension needs some work though :/.

Largest section of people of people giving me feedback from a self-selected sample of people willing to give me feedback are telling me that I came off as pretentious and distant. Imagine the % who don’t give me another chance because of that.

Lets see what else we got.

Section 2: Now That You Know Konrad

This section is kicked off by a another set of 1–10 scales. These are different than the first impression set. I got feedback that I should have the same set for “First Impression” and “Now That You Know Konrad”, next time I will do that.

For now, these are based off of a framework that I use for what it is possible to get out of an interaction with another human being. It may not be a full framework but it covers the bases that I’m interested in intellectually.

Konrad provides intellectual stimulation.

Konrad gets things done.

Konrad provides useful advice about my challenges.

Konrad connects me to people that are interesting and helpful.

Konrad pulls me into partying and drinking.

Konrad likes to reminisce.

Konrad is passive.

Konrad is negative.

Konrad is reliable and does what he says he will do.

Konrad is someone I get value from spending time with.

Definitely some interesting things in there, lets see the ranked list again:

Mostly positive things with a few takeaways to look at:

  1. It looks like my talk is stronger than my walk. Although the difference is slight, it is important to pay attention to it given the biased audience we’re looking at that is more likely to be positive about me. I provide useful information but am less reliable at following through or accomplishing goals.
  2. Connecting people to others also doesn’t seem to be up to par with my other strengths and is important as I would like to be able to do that well.
  3. Partying and drinking have a higher score than I’d like.

What is one (or more) thing(s) that Konrad does that you love?

The first of a few text questions and one that is filled with a variety of positives. I will summarize the sentiments that were most poignant and novel for me:

  1. “His never ending curiosity about everything in the world.”
  2. “I like that Konrad gets people together. What happened to the entrepreneur meeting groups that he used to host?” (stay tuned to the bottom for more on this)
  3. “You’re an experimenter and an inventor in an unusual way, which is amusing and instructional, as if you do the hard work of figuring out how to live, and publish the results for the rest of us.”
  4. “Very Observant, remembers the things you like and dislike, even if you didn’t say them out loud. It goes a long way when he shows he listens and appreciates you.”

The interesting thing about these is that some of these are qualities that I forget I have. Or worse, qualities that I neglect to improve upon because I take them for granted. Time to make a mental note to focus on these.

And now to the other side of the coin:

What is one (or more) thing(s) that Konrad does that is annoying or frustrating?

These group into 5 general categories:

8 people had no answer.

7 people said I was too analytical, not emotional or not spontaneous, a few examples:

  1. “Does not enjoy nature/art for its emotional qualities.”
  2. “Sometimes trying too hard to quantify and perfect you life doesn’t lead to the end you want to achieve.”
  3. “Be more creative and expose yourself to more art. … Listen to more music. Stroll the paintings at the Met.”
  4. “Seemingly cannot do anything off a list or calendar. He is not good at leaving time open for spontaneity.”

3 people indicated I could be arrogant:

  1. “He can be quite arrogant”
  2. “Arrogance/just do it/hides emotions”
  3. “Konrad sometimes checks out of the conversation.”

3 people indicated I was unrealistic:

  1. “Not always grounded in reality”
  2. “Start things and don’t follow them through.”
  3. “Extend deadlines”

3 people had other feedback:

  1. “Goes home unexpectedly when we’re hanging out.”
  2. “Falls off the radar once he’s in a relationship.”
  3. “He waves his hands a lot when he talks.”

This feedback is interesting. I’m not really interested in becoming less analytical which was the biggest piece of feedback I received.

That said, based on the suggestions give it seems that part of the problem may be one of communication. I do love to frequent museums, to listen to music, and to enjoy artistic experiences. I do not communicate that well or often focusing instead on my desire to give more structure to the world rather than my desire to make the world more beautiful to look at.

Definitely something to think about.

The arrogance goes along with my first impressions. I need to be more present in my interactions and conversations. Care more about the people I’m with rather than the thoughts in my head.

Finally, being unrealistic. Ah what a perfect match with the discrepancy higher up that I am a talker and not as much of a doer. Although it is not the biggest category of feedback, it is definitely the one I care the most about. That will need to be addressed in my next steps.

Back to the positive side:

What does Konrad do best?

This one fell into four categories:

8 people indicated high ability to network, converse and have interesting thoughts, some examples:

  1. “Lively conversation.”
  2. “Philosophize and socialize.”
  3. “Think/have ideas.”
  4. “Listens.”
  5. “Empathy and helpfulness.”
  6. “Have good ideas, put people together.”

6 people indicated good tactical follow through, some examples:

  1. “Follows through on promises.”
  2. “Gets things done.”
  3. “Plan and follow through.”

4 people indicated impressive self-improvement:

  1. “Proactiveness and openness to sharing his personal journey.”
  2. “Experiment.”
  3. “Bettering / Program himself.”

4 people had other responses:

  1. “Not laugh at my jokes”
  2. “Strategic thinking”
  3. “Thinks creatively and communicates his ideas very well, he’s very convincing in his arguments/”
  4. “His own thing.”

These are mostly in line with things that I care about. Although, they are different than the previous question of “What does Konrad do that you love?”

These are mostly things that I do inherently and don’t need to focus too much on.

The positive feedback on tactical follow through, as opposed to creating results, is also telling. It shows that I’m more likely to focus on the things that are easy to show progress instead of the areas that create real results. Something to work on.

What does Konrad do poorly?

Again some of the results were similar to what people found frustrating but enough were different to keep it interesting:

8 people didn’t have a response.

4 people indicated I don’t create results:

  1. “Holds onto projects too long that might not be succeeding.”
  2. “Execute ideas, turn them into a business.”
  3. “Following through on more of his projects.”
  4. “Has not yet achieved the success that he wants”

4 people indicated I’m poor with emotions or others:

  1. “Share his emotions.”
  2. “Empathetic thinking.”
  3. “Pay attention to other people and their feelings”
  4. “Very quick to judge.”

4 people want me to be more open minded or spontaneous:

  1. “You might find a certain release in forfeiting control.”
  2. “Casual dress.”
  3. “Think outside of his own socio-economic and urban bubble.”
  4. “Letting go of structured narratives.”

2 people had other criticism:

  1. “Keep in touch.”
  2. “He has to have the last word.”

Now that is some good feedback.

Not creating results resonates deeply with current frustrations I have with myself. Definitely something to work on.

The emotions theme is recurrent here in a slightly different way, need to be more aware of other’s in the moment.

Finally, open mindedness. To spontaneity, other opinions and relaxing. Recurring themes that I’m not sure I care about but worth considering at least in as far as portraying it in interactions with other people rather than changing beliefs that I have.

Summary of Takeaways

That was interesting, a lot to consider. Looking in the results section it is hard to pull out key trends so, here is an attempt to do that.

Pros

  1. My first impression is one of general intelligence, mostly friendliness and intensity and respondents consider me to be generally persistent, structured, opinionated and interesting.
  2. The vast majority of respondents consider time spent with me time well spent.
  3. I’m generally good at following through on specific promises.
  4. I generally have interesting things to say, create good conversation and sometimes connect people to other interesting people.
  5. I’m focused on experimentation and relentless self-improvement while sharing progress with the world.
  6. I generally listen and remember what people like.

Cons

  1. My first impression is of more style than substance. I come off as slightly arrogant, aloof and cold. Stereotypically “Upper East Side”.
  2. My talk is stronger than my walk, I talk about interesting things but have trouble creating results with my endeavors.
  3. I’m unrealistic and have a tendency to overpromise and underdeliver while sticking to a not working plan longer than I should.
  4. I’m not as good at connecting people to others as I’d like.
  5. I don’t deal well with emotions instead choosing to ignore them and use structure to avoid them. I might benefit from some more free-form time and leaning into the emotional aspect of life.
  6. I’m more likely than I would like to cause excess drunkenness.

Next Steps

The obvious next step is that I will definitely be doing something like this again. Maybe in a year with the same or different people, not sure but the experience has been extremely valuable.

In terms behavior change, there are two types of things that I want to do:

  1. Reinforce my strengths.
  2. Shore up weaknesses.

To that end, my next steps are:

  1. Re-start the Juntos that I used to host to connect like minded interesting people. This hits two birds with one stone: create interesting conversations & connect interesting people. If you’d like to join read the description here and message me.
  2. Re-evaluate wardrobe to be less preppy a big part of my first impression is my clothing and tied to my tendency to be judgmental it seems to be creating not the ideal first impression. In the last few years my wardrobe has been defined by Sebastian Ward shirts (now 70% off 😀) but I should be able to work them into a less polarizing look. Comment or message me if you have any suggestions, this is similar to my current look.
  3. Focus and commit to hard decision points on projects. In reaction to my tendency to drag projects out and not lead to results I’ll begin publishing commitments on a time frame of 1–3 months and then publish write ups of whether I reach the goals and which decision I must make next. Follow me here on medium to get these update. The first of these will be an update by 9/31 on the progress on these next steps.
  4. Spend a day a month wandering around NYC with no plan. Pretty self explanatory, first one is scheduled for 9/9. Sure, sure, I shouldn’t be scheduling spontaneity. Whatever. Baby steps.
  5. Be friendlier to new people I meet. This one will be tough to change. The good news is I have a tool that I can use for this. Evolution 2. I’ll be adding a habit for myself “Find out an interesting hobby of a new person 3 times per week.” I’ll keep track of the hobbies and people in a spreadsheet to publish in my accountability post by the end of September. Lets see how it goes.

So that’s it. If you made it this far thanks for reading my in-depth self-examination and hope its useful to you.

What do you think I’m missing the point on?

This post also appeared on Medium.

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