“Your team put in a lot of effort, and the plan you’ve proposed works quite well. I especially appreciated the behavioural algorithm you devised. Crude, but fundamentally it works. I was impressed with your work.”
“How did you know I wrote it? It was a team effort.” It wasn’t. The team hated the idea.
“Your team reached out to me and said you should be taken off of the project. They felt your ideas didn’t align with their recommendations. They were wrong, I told them so and clearly you argued well enough to have your work included. Well, most of it anyways.”
Those #$%@^#. “Really? Those #$%@^# wanted to kick me out?”
“It’s ok, you are a team, succeed or fail, you will do it together. Your report is sound. The venture will prove extremely profitable for both parties. I agree with your annotations. Moving forward, Netflix will still need to produce its original content to stay relevant.”
“And Disney making a play on Netflix?”
“I think….” He just sat there and stared at his drink for almost 15 seconds. Enough to make the air in the room feel stale. Then he looked up at me. “You did great work, but sometimes it’s not greatness people want. Sometimes people simply want you to agree with them. Sometimes above average is all we need.” He looked deflated. For a moment, I felt like we were both defeated, yet we also achieved our goal. That feeling never went away.
We never disclosed my thoughts in the report. I do remember leaving the meeting though and letting it “slip” to one of the programmers. I learned a very valuable lesson that day, one that has shaped much of my career. I smiled and went to the closest bar and bought Those #$%@^# from my team a round of drinks.