Feb. 18, 2021

How makers, visionaries, and outsiders succeed with Jonathan Littman | Partnering Leadership Global Thought Leader

How makers, visionaries, and outsiders succeed with Jonathan Littman | Partnering Leadership Global Thought Leader

In this episode of Partnering Leadership, Mahan Tavakoli talks with Jonathan Littman, co-author of The Entrepreneurs Faces: How Makers, Visionaries and Outsiders Succeed, and several other best-selling books. Jonathan Littman talks about the importance of innovation in business and how business leaders can learn to create an entrepreneurial spirit in their teams and organizations.

Some highlights:

  • The importance of creating an intrapreneurial culture to reinvent an organization.
  • Jonathan Littman talks about a human-centric approach to entrepreneurship.
  • The importance of understanding entrepreneurial archetypes.
  • How to bring more entrepreneurship and an intrapreneurial spirit into the organizations.
  • Jonathan Littman on the importance of embracing change and transformation. 

Also mentioned in this episode:

Susanna Camp: Co-author The Entrepreneurs Faces: How Makers, Visionaries and Outsiders Succeed

Connect with Jonathan Littman:

Jonathan Littman on LinkedIn

Jonathan Littman on Instagram

Entrepreneur's Faces Book

Connect with Mahan Tavakoli:


More information and resources available at the Partnering Leadership Podcast website: 



Mahan Tavakoli:
Welcome to Partnering Leadership. I'm very excited this week to be welcoming Jonathan Littman. He's the author of 10 books, including best-selling books. He wrote for IDEO, the art of innovation and 10 faces of innovation. His latest book, along with his co-author Susanna Camp, is The Entrepreneurs Faces: How makers, visionaries, and outsiders succeed.

We talk about how to be an effective entrepreneur. And just as importantly, how business leaders can learn to create an entrepreneurial spirit in their teams and organizations, which is critical as we are dealing with a faster pace of disruption than ever before. Thank you for all of you that are supporting this podcast.

Love hearing from you, Mahan at  mahantavakoli.com, microphone icon on partnering leadership.com. Leave me a voice message there, please. Don't forget to share this podcast episode with at least one other friend, and those of you enjoying it on Apple. Don't forget to rate and review when you get a chance. Now, here is my conversation with Jonathan Littman.

Mahan Tavakoli:
Jonathan Littman, welcome to the partnering leadership podcast.

Jonathan Littman:
Thanks for having me on the show.

Mahan Tavakoli:
You have a brilliant book, but before we get to that, I want to find out a little bit about your background. Whereabouts you grew up, Jonathan, and how that impacted the kind of person you've become.

Jonathan Littman:
 I had an English father, but I grew up near San Francisco.

I went to Cal Berkeley. I'm very proud of being a Cal. Graduate. I was a journalist in High school. And I studied rhetoric, which is a very unusual degree and the art of persuasion. And I've got a few years on me and so came out of school and was writing for tech magazines, exit learned how to code, which I think is something I advise almost everyone to do today And, started writing about hackers, crazy computer hackers. And this led me on this journey eventually, to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mahan Tavakoli:
Yes. If you've written 10 books on hackers on innovation. So before we go on to your current book, I wanted to get some of your thoughts and perspectives.

Having studied hackers and having studied innovation right now, we are going through one of the most massive disruptions in society and with respect to businesses that we've experienced in most of our lifetimes, what lessons did you learn from the hackers and in studying innovation that you think apply to leaders today?

Jonathan Littman:
 Well, my new book, we'll talk about in a second. It's the Entrepreneurs Faces and it, the word faces it's personal.

I understood entrepreneurship before we were even talking about entrepreneurship because I was talking to notorious computer hackers, as you just mentioned. Kevin Mitnick is the most famous one that I wrote about, he was on the front page of the New York Times, twice, not for good reasons, because of course he was eventually arrested.

But he was very clever and creative and he had to figure out how to get into systems, how to manipulate people, to figure out vulnerabilities. And I think, jumping forward now to today, and this is last year, we've had to be hackers. We've had to be hackers for our careers. And I know you dive deeply into leadership on your series here. And my gosh, people had to think hard about where they wanted to go, how they were going to lead their team or their company or their family.

And we were kind of adrift many of us at the beginning. And there were the sort of classic leadership questions like, do you hold on. Do you do, hold on, do you just cut costs? And  bury your head in the sand? Well, that, wasn't a good strategy. And I'm happy that, something of course I started on early on with these hacker books and I mean, I was deeply talking to these hackers and then later innovation. It's another chapter of my career we could talk about, but now has been a year for either entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship.

I think this coming months, I'm going to be the same thing. And our ability as individuals and teams to adapt is going to be critical.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And Jonathan, that's why your book really resonated with me because even though the focus is on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial faces, it is really also important for leaders of established organizations, as they create a more entrepreneurial culture, to be able to reinvent their organizations.

Now to study entrepreneurship, you took the chance and left the San Francisco bubble. What got you to do that?

Jonathan Littman:
Yeah my, my coauthor Susanna Camp is very gifted in her own, right. She was early team member at wired, an iconic tech cultural magazine.

And what we saw happening is around 2013, 14, there was this shift where the center of the, sort of the tech universe was moving from Silicon Valley to San Francisco. And the reason was that San Francisco is a very international,  diverse city. It's got close contacts to Asia, to Europe, to Latin America, and the young, vibrant founders, startup founders were coming there and they were starting companies there in this sort of older established companies, it's hard to believe they're so established, but Google, Facebook, et cetera, we're coming to the city also because they saw this shift and Susanna and I started attending these incredible pitch nights with startups pitching.

I do workshops and was teaching with the university of San Francisco and almost all of our workshops were people from Europe or China or Latin America.  And there was this vibrancy there and this, this wonderful sort of serendipity where you might go to two different events on an evening and meet somebody from France and someone from Peru,

or somewhere from China.

And we saw this happening and we realized, wow, you know, this entrepreneurship thing, it's not just San Francisco. And I mentioned I had an English father, so I traveled quite a bit in Europe when I was young. And I knew there was more to the world than San Francisco, California, although I love the state and we decided let's go and see how this plays out around the world.

And we took this, this thrilling trip from about 15 different countries in Europe. And it also had about three trips to China and Hong Kong just before this. And we started to see different kinds of entrepreneurs, and we've all seen these sort of big media stories about celebrity founders and entrepreneurs.

We realized there were different types and that not everyone had to be a billionaire. To be interesting. And we started interviewing people and realized, wow, we, we have a book, you know, we have, we had this concept of 10 archetypes and sort of iconic archetypes. And we also don't believe they're purely for someone who knows they're an entrepreneur. They can be for someone who's an entrepreneur within a corporation and they could be someone who's aspiring even when you're in college or what have you aspiring to be a business person to have success in their career.

Mahan Tavakoli:
 And before we talk about a couple of the archetypes, Jonathan, a couple of aspects that I love about your approach is that number one, rather than a process driven approach to entrepreneurship, you took a human centric approach, which is somewhat different than a lot of other entrepreneurship books out there.

And secondarily you didn't focus on just the types of archetypes that we see flashed in the media. Each and every individual, I know you have a great test the quiz on your website,  can take it and can see their own archetype and their entrepreneurial strengths. So we each can have this whether we want to aspire to be entrepreneurs on outside or intrapreneurs within our organizations.

Jonathan Littman:
 Yes, I'm glad you enjoyed that. We, you know, I'm quite fortunate to have collaborated on two international bestsellers with IDEO, which is a great firm in the area of innovation. And they started quite some time ago with product innovation and tech products, medical products, and evolved throughout the decades.

And they have what's called a human centric approach to trying to innovate a new thing, a new product. And I realized all these books are out on innovation and there's not really a human centric approach to being entrepreneurial, to being a great leader as a founder of a growth mechanism, a startup.

And they're excellent books you know, lean startup, et cetera, but they're usually more about product development or organizational approaches. And we saw that when we talked to the VCs and we have a number of VCs who are sources and, and colleagues, they always say that you invest in the team that, you know, obviously you need a good idea and you need a good market potential and so forth. But you're investing in the team. And then we realized there wasn't really any articulation about who should be on the team and how the team should behave.

And we started to see that there are distinct types and we can go into them in a minute, but that there are different kinds of people that are really essential for different paths of growth and that's where we all also realize this was sort of a three-dimensional approach that we were thinking about. It's not just you and your colleagues, but there's a growth path.

And we believe that starts with what we call the awakening. That's when you're like. Okay. I don't want to have the same boring task or job. I try something new either within my company or apart. The key thing there is most people awaken and don't shift, which is the key second step on the seven stages. And the difference is in the shift, you actually do something. And this I also learned from my innovation days is you have to prototype here and you have to.-- So a lot of people get stuck and they have great awakening, they get all excited by an idea and they make the mistake of writing a business plan or waiting for the right time and the don't shift.

Mahan Tavakoli:
Yeah. And it's interesting as you talk about the entrepreneurs arc that a lot of us go through the awakening, whether inside organizations or as potential entrepreneurs and daydream in the awakening and don't go to the shifts stage before then moving on along the entrepreneur's arc.

Jonathan Littman: 
Yeah. Here's where I'm at. I mentioned a couple of archetypes.  I also believe -- this is --  our method is not a Myers-Brigg or a disk assessment. We're not going to tell you "you can only be one type and this is the type you are forever everyday."

We believe you may find you are very strongly correlated with one type. But you may be correlated with another type and you may aspire. And more importantly, when you think of a leader in your organization, you will begin to have empathy in collaborative ability by recognizing the value of people who bring completely different skills and approaches to business problems.

So I am the archetype of the athletes. I happened to have been an elite soccer player, but that's not the same athlete in  The entrepreneurs faces. The athlete is that person in your team who loves the fact that you give them an impossible deadline, that they have to figure it all out in the next day, that there are huge ups and downs and swings.

So that's a key person often to have on a team, whether you're in a corporation or a startup, I have aspired to be a second type, which I think is another core type, especially today, which is the type we call the outsider. And many corporations and leaders would benefit by having an outsider on their team, and the mindset the outsider actually  brings what we call the beginner's mind to a new market opportunity, a new product opportunity and sees it fresh. And we have seen it talked about in the media. We've seen huge success with people who are outsiders. This is the story of Airbnb, of Uber, they were not experts in hotels, or taxi cabs or transportation.

And this is a huge element of entrepreneurial growth mentioned another one that's really core at the beginning here, which I am not, but fortunately my colleague Susanna is, is the maker. And we were talking a moment ago about the reality that we awaken, we daydream, and usually what we're missing is the maker and the maker makes, they prototype,  they create a quick splash page for something. They do an experiment to see if someone will pay for this service or this new product.

And unfortunately, many of us have great educations from fine universities and it is a non maker education, right? It's an academic education and we study and we plan. And then the maker is the antithesis. The maker does and learns through experiments.

Mahan Tavakoli:
You know, one of the things that I've done, I'm involved with a group of thought leaders and we have looked at our own main archetypes and how in many respects were complimentary. So it has served as a form of conversation and understanding each other, as you said, it's not necessarily a personality type.

But it does lend itself for conversation as you're launching new initiatives and new projects.

Now, a couple of stories that, that really resonated with me in the book, one of them is Allan Young and he fits the leader archetype.

Jonathan Littman:
Exactly. So Alan is a great story to my mind because I see leaders at all levels.

Allan's not a billionaire. But a tremendous leader story. He actually grew up in Chinatown, San Francisco, neither of his parents had finished high school. He was on his way to dropping out of high school and he would skip class, but he was a curious boy. He would steal newspapers and business books and Forbes magazines when he was 16,  And decided that he wanted to go into business.

So he was already had the sort of entrepreneurial mindset is barely getting by in class. And one day he was skipping class and he needed to use a restroom and he wandered into a big hotel in San Francisco, heard this inspirational speaker waited for him to be done, and this 17 year old boy says, "how can I be like you?" And then this senior executive very accomplished ask questions, you know, found out he was failing in school. You'll never be like me, but you should join the military and study the leaders.

And incredibly about a year later, Alan Young, this was not typical for a Chinese American joined the Marines, he rose to the top of his class, he was an honor man, and he wasn't there to become a marine. He was there to study leadership. That one experience sat him on a course of studying leadership and thereafter, every experience he had, he was looking to learn from other leaders and eventually practice leadership.

Incredibly by the time he was 22, he was in college. And he was not going to class. We know this is a thread we've seen with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, et cetera, that sometimes it pays not to go to class. And Alan Young joined a business club that decided these crazy students in Utah is the university of Utah, we're going to try to study startups to try to invest in startups. Now, they had no money, they had no business doing this, and they started researching all the tech  and this was 20 years ago or more, there was some big opportunities, and they started getting some people interested that didn't get any money, but they were invited by Warren Buffet to spend a day with Warren Buffet.

Now, can you imagine you're 22 years old, you want to be a success and he spent an afternoon with Warren Buffet. Warren Buffet did not invest and that was one of his mistakes because Alan and the rest of them, they got one investor to invest a million. Then they got huge banks, Wells Fargo, bank of America, They got 20 million in investments and four of their 15 investments went public. That's huge returns. And that's, as you know, in the startup world, that's outsized results to have four out of 15. You know, have 40 X, 50 X returns.

And he was 22. So, he continued on this path, he studied under Seth Goden and I'm sure many of your listeners, Seth Godin, very entrepreneurial, obviously the leader himself created his own alternative MBA program. And Alan applied, was one of the few to get in. There were hundreds of wanting to get in and it was free and he studied under Seth Goden. So it was sort of always looking for this guru, this mentor, did the same thing with Y Combinator. We've heard of the great Y  Combinator, Alan Young wasn't hoping really that the startup he joined would be a success in Y Combinator, he knew he wanted to learn from this new modern curriculum of growing companies.

And from that experience, he decided to create his own accelerator incubator in San Francisco, which I have been to many times it's in the Twitter building and he was, he was very wise about, we have a section in our growth path of the seven stages we call place.

Alan knew the place was San Francisco. He knew the place was Twitter. Cause this was. Just when Twitter was taking off and he created this amazing accelerator called Runway that had 70 startups in it. Huge exits a boy who 15 years earlier was going to drop out of high school. But he dedicated himself to leadership and then practiced.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And his story is inspiring, It's instructive, and also like the other stories that you have in the book, it helps people visualize different versions of entrepreneurial success than again, some of the same stories that we hear over and over again.

Which is why another one that really resonated with me also is Carlos Muela's example and his experience in entrepreneurialship,

Jonathan Littman:
 I met Carlos at the university of San Francisco, where I was teaching and it was captivated immediately. Carlos. In another age would have followed in his father's footsteps. Great footsteps. His father was from Madrid, immigrant, you know, didn't have the advantage of education, but he had two wonderful tapas Spanish restaurants, and Carlos was working there from the age of, you know, eight or nine.

And he was going to take over these restaurants, but he attended the university of San Francisco and he studied not just hospitality, but entrepreneurship. And he did what I'd recommend like so many leaders to do. He started looking for change and he saw a huge change taking place, which was the growth of food truck, parks, not parks, but just food trucks.

And that we would have these sort of fairs at certain places on the weekend. And there'd be a certain day. And he saw this happening and he saw something missing this. Another thing I often talk to students and entrepreneurs, like what is missing and what was missing was a permanent place. For these food trucks to live. It turns out that in most cities, you can't just pull up the truck anywhere and you get a huge fine, you know, where they have regulations. So the food truck doesn't actually have enough places to sell food and deliver food.

So he and his father who was actually quite entrepreneurial, started brainstorming and they finally found an abandoned lot. And this is every entrepreneur has to have a little bit of an archetype we call, which is the visionary. So the place he found was filled with homeless, drug addicts, giant rats, right, and it was bordering an off-ramp in San Francisco. It was not paradise. And it was cheap and he could get a lease on it.

And the guy had no idea what he was going to do. Sure. I'll give you a lease on this. And then he had to do another thing, entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial people have to do, he had to sort of break the ground, which is no one had done this before. So, you know, it was a physical business, so you had to get permits.

So he would go to the city and they say, are you a restaurant? No, I'm not a restaurant. You know, are you a park? No, I'm not a park. Right. And, and so it was a nightmare of actually getting the approval. He actually did. He was only, I think 23, he actually had a panic attack, a real panic attack the day before, because he was worried so many things could go wrong. And he survived that, they opened, and it was serendipity because it was sunny for weeks and it was a massive success. And no one had ever really created this park with like 10 different trucks and the trucks didn't all want to be there every day at the beginning. And he thought that was a bad thing, but it turned out to be a good thing because the social media, they could tease, you know, who was there, the Thai food here's today, the Chinese food, et cetera. And it was massively successful. And then after a few years he created a second park and then even created one with a miniature golf course. And he is actually the type we call the conductor.

And we've seen a lot of success in the tech industry of conductors. Uh, you know, a huge conductor is Mark Benioff of Salesforce. A lot of people think about platform when they're trying to create a larger offering. And Carlos realized it was better for him not to sort of be the employer, to all these people that he created, the platform, the food trucks were independent.

And another serendipity came about when this is when you're in the right place with the right idea. He became a broker for 300 food trucks and he controlled this platform, this network. And then if you were Airbnb and you wanted two trucks to come to your corporate offices, you would call Carlos and he did something else, which was very generous. He saw that all of these musicians really in his orchestra, all these individual truck owners who were really mom and pop entrepreneurs, that if he could make them successful, that would be an exponential change and the word would get out and more and more would come and want to be part of this larger platform.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And it is one of the great things about the book, it's inspiring story after inspiring story, including Carlos'.

So, as I'm thinking about leaders, that lead organizations that are more established, based on the lessons that you learned in studying entrepreneurship and these different entrepreneurial faces, how would you recommend for them to bring more entrepreneurship and an intrapreneurial spirit into the organizations that they're leading?

Jonathan Littman:
I think one of the things in our book is that we think it's very important to start with as awareness to recognize these different types. We've mentioned in a few other, we have another type we call the accidental.

Now you might think, if you're an executive right now, listening from a big corporate, I don't want an accidental entrepreneur. Well, it turns out that might be the new business model, a new product idea that transforms your company. It also turns out that Google and others created methods to encourage the accidental mindset.

And this used to be called like the 20% rule or the 10% rule where one could spend company time on your passion. Craig Newmark spent was working at Charles swab and he was a lonely introverts and he created a list of things, right. And this became Craigslist.

And so one of the big things I'd say for an executive and someone in management is to have this apathy in awareness for these different types. We talked a little bit, but not an integrated bill about the visionary type. My colleague Susanna Camp and I are working currently with a visionary. And one of the reasons I think we're pretty good at collaborating with the visionary is we really understand how he texts. And visionaries take big leaps and big chances, and they're enthusiastic, and of course they're not always right and not every vision comes true.

And so a big learning for executives is you need that person on your team and you need to have an acceptance and an empathy for their different way of dealing with the world. I'd say the other biggest type I would really encourage executives to embrace is interestingly, in our book, we have an entrepreneur. And that entrepreneur is his name in real life is Joe Boggio. He came from a very humble background and he rose up in corporate ranks and has had a great career. And he actually, by the way, studies leadership and he is the type we call the collaborator. And I think we all know these people, but we don't always appreciate them as well as we might.

And the collaborator really lives for collaboration. And they get great joy out of helping others and building others, their careers, their success. And let's face it in too often in too many companies, there's been a bit of a dog eat dog mindset. And the collaborator is the antithesis of that. And I believe today with the pandemic and this sort of enforced isolation, we have to learn new ways to collaborate digitally, that this collaborative, you know, ethic and mindset is going to be absolutely critical for a company's growth. 

Mahan Tavakoli:
 Yeah. And that's why I think the book is very relevant to both entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs that want to become more effective, but also organizations and executives as they want to embrace an intrapreneurial spirit, which is more important now than ever before, as we're going through disruptions.

Now, another thing I love is that you yourself also embrace a growth mindset as many of your entrepreneurs did. And I learned that you are studying a new language. You want to master Portuguese.

Jonathan Littman:
 I think this year has been a year for all of us, I'm sure this has happened for you where you realize it's a time to find greater meaning in our life.

And I think there are a few things greater than finding something and trying to achieve some level of mastery in something. And it doesn't have to be directly work-related in my case, it is actually work-related because I have done a lot of international workshops. I had been prior to the pandemic, working with some Portuguese and in doing workshops here and sometimes in Portugal, and I decided a few months ago that I should become fluent and it's not an easy language to learn. And I decided that was a better thing, that it was difficult. And I came up with my own creative way of learning. I think that's another big belief is that there's going to be a lot of mastery and learning in this next few years.

So I have a tutor in Portugal through Zoom. I'm addicted to a Portuguese soap opera  and, it has a (se fala legendas) it has some subtitles in Portuguese. I actually write down, I can't write down everything because sometimes they're saying I'm going to kill you, or I love you, or, but I write down the great phrases and I've become quite fluent very quickly so that I now can have meetings with my Portuguese colleagues in Portuguese and  Susanna and I have written our first article in Portuguese for a Portuguese magazine. I'm talking to my editor tomorrow morning and it's given me a lot of joy. And I think we all, we all need that something something new.

And for other people it might be music, right? It could be art, it could be learning a new technical skill. And as a person who comes from innovation, I'm very proud that I created my own sort of creative way of learning, which is watching the soap operas. I'm reading the romance, facili, you know, Portuguese romance novel. I don't really study, but I'm becoming fluent. So that's another part. I take certain joy in.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And that's what I love. Jonathan. You don't just tell people that they need to embrace transformation. You're embracing transformation yourself. And that's really important.

Jonathan Littman:
Yeah, I'd say another thing that's happened for me this year is in something I'm going to be writing more about and Susanna and I will write about is we really believe in this concept of collaborative mastery that these months, this year has shown that you have to take control of how you collaborate. And that otherwise you're going to be isolated. Otherwise you're going to miss out on huge trends and changes and you have to be the agency for this. You have to sort of take command.

And Susanna and I created something we're proud of, we call the reset club, which is our own club. It's inspired by Nassim Taleb, the author of Black Swan who came up with this concept that we should all have a reset this year. And we decided to do something about it so we awakened, we shifted, we launched and we have a little club of about a dozen really talented people all over the world. And we share our resets. So we share, it's like a collaborative sort of coaching, like cross mentorship. And it's been really rewarding to see how one another is making quite big changes in their careers and their lives. And there's been a such great value in doing this with a group

Mahan Tavakoli:
That is  great insight. And I also, as my listeners know, love Nassim Taleb and he is a changed my thinking on a lot of things also, most especially to anti-fragility that, to use this breakage to become better and stronger as a result.

So, uh, Jonathan, in addition, obviously to entrepreneurs faces, which is a fantastic book, what other books or resources do you find yourself typically recommending to leaders of organizations?

Jonathan Littman: 
Well, I should have Susanna jump in right now, but I would tell you that there are about three great books around habits.

So my tip to leaders would be that, both classic books 'cause there've been several good books on habits last year in new books about habits and behavioral change.

I think some of the work we've been doing with some of our clients that unfortunately some companies have seen this as we're going to go back to normal or we're going to go back to almost normal. No, the world just changed, and these new habits and behaviors are going to change, and I believe some of them are going to be good habits and some of them are going to be terrible habits.

And I think that the, the challenge for a leader is to become much more attuned to both what have been the habits in the past, what are emerging habits. And then, I have a better word I think I'd like to share with the leaders, which is creating positive rituals. And that the responsibility of a great company, is to allow this talent and to allow these different entrepreneurial types to blossom and for them to organically create positive rituals. That's what has always happened at great organizations, great companies in a physical realm.

And now the challenge that we have to do that in a digital realm and what I eventually believe will be a hybrid digital, physical realm. So I'd say study the habits and look to create beautiful new rituals.

Mahan Tavakoli:
 I love that Jonathan create positive rituals. Fantastic. So we are going to put links in the show notes, but where would you send the audience to find out more about you, your book and resources?

Jonathan Littman:
And so the book is available on Amazon obviously, and we have a site, the entrepreneurs faces.com and Susanna, the maker created this wonderful quick sort of a quiz to find out your core type. And we encourage people to go check it out. We've also been fortunate to be in a lot of media. So, if you go to that site, you'll find quite a few articles, actually with a slant of your show, with leadership already in mind.

And we hope people will discover the book as well. And we're happy for people to reach out to us. My coauthors, Susanna Camp with a C and of course I'm Jonathan Littman and happy to hear from folks on LinkedIn.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And that's a fantastic Jonathan. Obviously it's a great book and I would recommend for  all leaders and aspiring leaders to read it.

And I absolutely love the little quiz on the website because part of what makes leaders great is a better understanding of themselves before trying to understand others. And even I found I understood myself a little better after taking that quiz. So I absolutely loved it. Yes.

Jonathan Littman:
You didn't tell me you're type.

Mahan Tavakoli:
Actually, I'm the collaborator and it made a lot of things make more sense to me. And I love the fact that Ray Dalio is also a collaborator because I love Ray Dalio's approach to transparency with respect to how he deals with his entire organization too.

Jonathan Littman:
 That's great. Well, that's one of our favorite. I'm aspiring to be a better collaborator. And I think it's, I'd say the collaborator path has a lot in common with the leadership path, because not everybody wants to make that kind of commitment. It's not actually the easiest path to take. And there is a selflessness, especially with the collaborator.

Mahan Tavakoli:
 But the other, the other point I wanted to mention before closing Jonathan, is that as I mentioned with this group of thought leaders, we are all different types, but it enabled us to see the different types and the roles they play in this entrepreneurial journey.

In that it's not that the collaborator is better than the outsider or accidental, but when combining those efforts and understanding ourselves and each other better, we can support each other on the entrepreneurial journey or on the leadership journey within the organization. So there can be value from each of the different types, all brought together.

Jonathan Littman: 
I think there's this team symmetry and this cohesiveness that can come about. And I mentioned, I'm the athlete type and I played what I think is super wonderful game, the great game of soccer football, which the modern football in the last 30 years has been all around teamwork and synergy. And far less in the past when it was individual efforts in individual talents.

Mahan Tavakoli:
Thank you so much, Jonathan Littman for this wonderful conversation and look forward to many more conversations learning from you as you are studying entrepreneurship, helping reinvent yourself and having an impact on leaders in the community. Thank you so much, Jonathan Littman.

Jonathan Littman:
It's been a great conversation. Thank you, Mahan.


Jonathan LittmanProfile Photo

Jonathan Littman

Author of The Entrepreneurs Faces: How Makers, Visionaries and Outsiders Succeed

Jonathan Littman is the author of ten books. His bestselling books with IDEO, The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation, have sold 750,000 copies worldwide and been published in 20 languages. He is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, where he teaches “Innovation, Creativity, and Applied Design.”