Thoughtfulness never fails

September 15, 2009 by Jared Goralnick

Aaron Dragushan Do you deliver or do you delight?  The difference–and this applies to personal relationships as well as it does to business—is all about thoughtfulness.

When I look at who I value most, the top of the top are thoughtfulness personified, and they’ve been that way all along.

Let’s start with Aaron (pictured above), who I spent today working alongside.  We met at a big group lunch in Austin in 2008.  The restaurant service was exceptionally bad and, sitting outside, I was fairly thirsty.  Someone I hadn’t seen before went in and brought everyone water.  I asked him for a refill of my coke and he replied that he’d go ask inside at the bar.  I figured out later that this was Aaron and he wasn’t a waiter but a fellow tech business owner.

When he moved from Honolulu to Washington that year I looked for every chance I could to help him out.  It wasn’t a tit-for-tat sort of thing, it’s that there aren’t many people who just exude warmth and a want to make your life more pleasant.  It was so obvious that I wanted someone like that in my life.

Many people deliver.  You hire them to do a job and they do it.  If you’re lucky they do it well—they don’t miss things and there’s little need for additional follow-up.  That’s great.

But some people don’t just deliver, they want you to succeed with what they’ve provided you.  They document the deliverable in a way that wasn’t required.  They offer a phone call to walk you through it.  They call back a week later and say, “I just thought of a way to improve it…and here it is.”

There are kind people and fair people and intelligent people.  I’ll do business with them and be friends with them.   But someone who’s thoughtful, who goes above and beyond for me, you can’t beat that.  You can have a respectful argument with a kind person.  You can take genuine exception with a fair person.  You can appreciate the perspective of intelligent people (and we often rate intelligence a bit too much.)  But it’s very hard to find fault with someone who’s thoughtful—while they may be on their side, they’re also on your side.  How can you take exception to someone who’s looking out for you as much as they are themselves?

It’s not about going above and beyond, though it may be.  It’s not just about being honest and respectful.  It’s about making it clear that you’re on their side and are interested in making things easier for them.  It’s a way of approaching people and problems.

Be thoughtful.  You may not succeed at everything, but you’ll never fail with the people involved.

You should really subscribe to Technotheory via Subcribe via email email or rss.

5 Responses to “Thoughtfulness never fails”


  1. Aaron Dragushan

    Well, that made my day. Thanks Jared. :)

  2. Greg Bulmash

    I’ll vouch for Aaron. Met him at a business conference and have corresponded with him on and off since. Definitely a good person to know just because he’s a good person.

  3. Jared Goralnick

    ‘Very welcome, Aaron!

    And Greg, you’re quite right : ).

  4. Clay Collins

    Aaron is one of the best people in the entire world. Few people have both the depth AND openness of heart. What an inspiration. Truly.

  5. Jacqueline

    Well – all these younger people have lovely things to say about Aaron – but I am the “older woman” in his life and I can tell you….that smile tells it all – it’s open, kind, generous and humourous…and he is all those things and more…but what do you expect….I know his mom and dad…and they all that and more!

Impart Your Theoretically Interesting Wisdom

Your Comments