“UpWork has determined you are a bot. Please complete the CAPTCHA to prove you’re a human.”
Ok, so that set off quite the cascade of thoughts at 6:17 pm on a Tuesday.
I was hunting around for a job description that we wrote so I could share it with a client.
If only clicking a checkbox were enough to prove I’m human.
My team and I have been helping a lot of clients hire and train staff lately. And, well, we want humans on our staff and on our clients’ staff.
We build well-oiled machines, but we want humans to run them. Here’s why.
Better Living through Art
I love art. My whole Instagram feed is art. I wanted to make art and I wanted something quick and mindless but fun and colorful. I didn’t feel like I had headspace to learn something new right at the time I was moving back home, but I wanted to experience something new.
I have enjoyed those kits and I’ll keep doing them.
But one day, I ran out of color #18 much before I was done needing it.
“Ok, now what?” I asked myself.
I got out my cheaparino box of acrylic paints I bought during an online shopping frenzy and mixed my best approximation of #18 so I could finish the job. I took what little knowledge I had picked up from observing the colors I was using and I problem-solved.
The next week I purchased a Skillshare membership so I could take Amy Stewart’s watercolor class about mixing and adding greens. I bought a watercolor book. I started learning to properly mix my own colors.
Paint by numbers have their place. I was able to observe color combos. I learned how to use different paintbrushes and different paints. I’ll keep doing them. They’re great for a pop-in-pop-out-workday project. They’re great for end of day tune out. They’re great for producing predictable results because a robot generates the template you use to create them.
Sometimes predictable results are enough. Truly. I am not knocking paint by numbers. I love doing them. Sometimes you need a human touch.
How to Prove You’re Human
I’ve observed there are two ways people prove they’re human at work that have nothing to do with the modern equivalent of a captcha box, the resume.
1. They make mistakes. Robots don’t make mistakes. Robots can be programmed to do perfect work according to specific instructions.
Robots, however, don’t know how to mix more of #18 when it runs out. They can’t decide when it’s time to mix more of #18, and they can’t tell if you really need to add a touch of #17. (Well, someday they’ll be able to, but I might want to not be here when A.I. reaches the point of nuanced decision making.)
A few mistakes are human. Tons of mistakes result in a mess.
2. They deliver excellent work that goes above and beyond the checklist. They deliver work that is what a robot could do (all links working, all brand standards followed, all email responded to within the window of time, all requests checked off), but they also go the extra mile.
They ask, “how can I help?” They say, “Oh, I saw we needed a checklist for this so I made one.” They look at your business performance and your plan and they say, “I think we can slot in this secret sale. Ok if I make it?” They meet and exceed standards.
PLEASE NOTE: Before you can exceed standards, you have to be able to meet them. That is so so so so soooooooooo important. That’s its own newsletter. Before I could really learn to watercolor, I had to practice with paint by number to learn how to hold the brush.
How to Hire Humans
Luckily now it’s easier than ever to try before you buy. (Or try a little bit before you buy a lot.)
- Do you want a human or a robot to get the job done. There are options for both for all kinds of jobs.
- Do you want someone to paint only by numbers or do you want someone who can paint by numbers AND mix more of #18 when they run out? You can hire both types. You’ll manage each type differently. You’ll pay each type differently. You’ll get different results from each type.
Then go on UpWork and try some people. Post a job. Do a test project. See if they can deliver what you need. See if they deliver what you need and more.
Real Help from Real People
We’re busy getting ready for three Cultivate talks next week, and we’ve enlisted the help of our clients to contribute real experiences from real business owners. You’ll want to tune in.
Thank you to Mark from Organic Mechanics, Nick from Easy to Grow Bulbs, and Andrea from the Digging In Gathering, as well as my new friends, Liz, Aurelia, and Tricia from Rockledge Gardens for sharing their experiences with us to share with you.
Did the metaphor land?
I don’t know. I’m human, too. But if Kanye can run for president, I can share my business intel. Hope you found a helpful nugget.
I haven’t talked with you for a while. Whatcha up to? Hit “reply” and tell me.
And if you send me your mailing address and a picture of your favorite flower, I’ll draw and paint you a card.
It will, predictably, come in the mail, and it’s nice to get mail. That’s all I can guarantee you’re “buying” by spending effort to send me a pic. #SettingExpectationsIsKey.
P.S. Who had fire ants in the kitchen for July on your bingo card? Just me? That was fun to wake up to this morning. At least I was able to mentally draft most of this email while I cleaned up that mess. Nothing makes you feel more alive than a fire ant bite.