Sebastian Marshall is a Great Boss

by Aaron on December 16, 2011

I woke up this morning and saw Sebastian’s new videos on his blog. After watching them, I wanted to talk about why working with Sebastian is great.


He talks about friendliness (looking out for other people’s interests) vs. politeness (following social norms) in the context of a business deal that he conducted and the publishing industry.


You can watch those here, I’m done talking about them.


Friendliness and Politeness aren’t necessarily¬†opposed to each other, except that many people use Politeness to substitute for Friendliness. They make you do stuff you don’t want to, and use oppressive social norms to try and compel you to do so. More on that some other time, I want to talk about why Sebastian’s a Great Boss.


Everyone I’ve worked for has been really cool. They’re polite, and even fairly friendly.¬†Sebastian Marshall is one of the friendliest humans I’ve ever met.


It’s true that I’m working for him, and he appears to be my boss, but the ways in which he’s awesome aren’t really captured by the word.


Boss comes from the Dutch baas, which the British used instead of the word “master” with free laborers. A boss oversees work, and has only slightly more responsibility to his workers as a slaveholder has to his slaves.


So yes, Sebastian is my boss in the sense that he does direct me to do things, but he’s not a boss in terms of every other part of our relationship. Imagine if your boss wanted to help you get everything you’ve ever wanted. Weird, right? Well, Sebastian does actually want that for the people who help him.


It’s more of an alliance than an employer/employee sort of thing.


We’re on the same team. We want the same things. We have common purposes. Serving is a better word.


I serve Sebastian because I honestly believe that working with him will help me build things that I want to see in the world. I serve at my leisure, because I actually think that it’s a really good idea.


On the selfish end, I expect working with him to teach me awesome skills that will help me later on, I expect him to pay me well, and I expect him to move me up in the world. On his end, I expect that helping him accomplish things and making his life easier will free his time up to do even more awesome stuff that moves the world forward that I’ll totally endorse. I say this without even knowing specifically what the hell else he’s doing. (Though, everything he’s mentioned so far sounds awesome).


Originally, he had wanted me to fly out to Beijing and work for him there. I sent him an email thanking him for the opportunity and asking him on what time scale he was talking about, because there were some things that I wanted to consolidate in DC.


That night, I felt really anxious. I was worried that I may have messed up and would miss out on working with him, and my parents were worried about this whole businessman in China offering me a job over email and asking me to fly to Beijing thing.


Then, he sent an email about this project. We Skyped about it. He was totally cool with me staying in DC a while to finish up some things, referred me to this project so that I could still work with him, and sent me as much of an advance as Amazon Payments would let him send to an account that didn’t exist.


My mind was blown. My parents trusted him. I look forward to working with him.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sebastian December 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Wow, thanks Aaron. You’re one of the most impressive people I connected with over the last year – fearless, tenacious, rational, driven, etc. It’s really a pleasure to work with you. Also, our whole team just kicks a lot of ass which is cool. It’s really a good time.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: