M&Ms: Why You Should Tip
As soon as he walked in, he'd say, "Louie, how many guys are in today?"
Then Uncle Bill, that's what we called him, handed me $100 dollar bills for everyone working that day—even the kitchen staff, whom he never really saw since they were in the back.
He was a jolly old guy who used to come in and eat with his wife. His wife was a quiet and very nice older lady. It was easy to like them, not just because they handed out money. They never complained, either. Always happy. There were people who came to the restaurant who were a lot richer than they were but much more miserable.
But the effects of handing out hundred dollar bills to each one of us were dramatic and almost immediate on all of us.
After just a few visits to the restaurant, the entire staff started bending over backward; as soon as he'd show up, someone would say, "Give me the keys to your car, Uncle Bill. I'll park it for you." Or if he had already parked, they'd say, "Don't worry about putting quarters into the meter today, Uncle Bill. I got that for you."
We'd tell the Chef, "This order is for Uncle Bill." And the Chef would immediately say, "No, no, no. Go back and tell him, this fish just came in an hour ago; he should try that."
But Uncle Bill wasn't a show-off; he didn't drive a fancy Benz. Although it was pretty clear he could afford it. He had a nice, successful run at starting a small business that grew and was now retired. And as far as I could tell, he didn't do any of this for the attention. He had a Warren Buffet dress style and demeanor but, as far as I am concerned, way more generous. He didn't live in a mansion but in a modest house in The Bronx. I know because I offered to deliver to his house once with my friend John, one of the other waiters. Trust me, if a guy hands out hundred-dollar bills every time he comes to eat with you, you, too, would drive to his house to deliver whatever he needs.
Tipping is a very controversial topic around the world. People would rather just transact than tip; my real uncle, whom I like to nag at because he is a little bit of a cheapskate when he visits the US from the UK, always says back to me, "Just let me know the price and ill pay; I don't want to guess."
But I saw how much joy a nice tip used to bring me. All the tiredness of a long day running around as a waiter would disappear. And for a few moments, I'd feel like I did an amazing job and was being rewarded for it—a feeling a boring set transaction could never bring me. I saw what it did to other staff in the restaurant, too. Luis, the Bus Boy, whose job title is a misnomer because he was a 50-year-old man, would try to kiss Uncle Bill's hand after he got one of those sweet, crisp $100s. Uncle Bill would laugh and pull his hand away.
But there was a lesson I took from Uncle Bill that I try to mimic: tip well when someone performs a service for you.
I'm not rich, so I can’t hand out hundreds, but even I can afford to give a tip; if my barber does a nice job cutting my hair, he's getting a nice tip. If the Taxi Driver chats me up on the way to the airport, she gets a nice tip. And so on.
These things make the people on the other side feel good, but they make you feel good, too. This is probably why Uncle Bill was always happy.
A Small Update from Me:
Daniel Vassallo and I have plans for the Small Bets community; we plan to change a lot of things after September.
So, this next cohort of the Small Bets Live Course, which runs in September, is the last one in its old format—six live sessions across two weeks. And, of course, the membership price includes all of the old recordings, the community, and all the future classes and changes we make.
But if you want to see what Small Bets used to be like, this is the last chance.
Three Finds: CIA on How to Destroy an Organization, Excercise & Cancer, Video Games
This is a manual by the CIA on how to destroy an organization from within. David Perell had shared it on Twitter a few years ago.
It’s interesting because a lot of what is described in it is what happens in big companies regularly by people who are supposedly trying to build these places up.
A nice study (paper can be found here) that shows even more benefits to exercise. As if there weren’t enough.
The Video Game industry is massive.
And yet, it gets almost nowhere near as much respect as the movie or music industry.
Three Memes: Out There, Keep Coding, Useless Features
In all seriousness, though, the internet rewards those who are themselves and just take ownership of all their flaws and put themselves out there as they are.
Depending on where you work, sometimes this is what you’ve got to do.
Don’t waste too much effort, time, and money building useless features.
P.S. You can reply to this email; it will get to me, and I will read it.