When hiring freelancers, beware of hidden assumptions

I recently got a call from a woman I’d presented to years ago, since then a senior executive in several technology companies. She wanted me to edit her book.

“What’s the book about?” I asked.

“It’s about web3; you know, NFTs, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and all that stuff,” she explained.

“I can’t help you,” I responded.


“Because I don’t believe in all the hype around that stuff, and you need an editor who believes in what you’re writing about.”

She was totally shocked. Because, in her mind, of course I’d be on board with web3. After all, I had been a social media proponent 15 years ago. Lots of my fellow social media (Web 2.0) enthusiasts had gone on to web3. So naturally, of course I’d be a believer, too.

Beware the “of course” assumption

People have made a lot of assumptions about me.

I ghostwrote a book, so of course I’d be up to ghostwrite a memoir, right? (Not at all the same thing.)

I worked at Forrester, so of course I’m an expert on IT in corporations, right? (Umm, I was on the marketing side, and that was more than a decade ago.)

Of course I voted for Biden — or Bernie — or Andrew Yang. It’s obvious. (Actually, it isn’t.)

Of course I’m knowledgeable about AI/machine learning/robotics/agile/devops/disruption/TikTok/podcasting/your corporate technology here. After all, I write about technology in business, right? (I don’t think anybody is expert in all of those things.)

Of course I use Windows or of course I use a Macintosh. Of course my phone is an iPhone or of course it is an Android. Of course I live in Silicon Valley. Of course I have an MBA. Of course I have a podcast.

Of course I want to have dinner with you the night before our meeting. Of course I drink alcohol. Of course I’m a runner. Of course I’m a Christian. Of course I’m an extrovert. Of course I work for exposure.

Wrong, all wrong.

Where did you get those assumptions?

Ironically, the assumptions that people make about me are the same kind that ChatGPT makes — assumptions based on patterns that seem obvious to the person making them based on patterns they’ve chosen not to examine.

Beware your assumptions

The Odd Couple

As Felix Unger of “The Odd Couple” once said, when you assume, you make an ass of u and me.

If you’re going to hire a freelancer and these things matter, it pays to ask about them.

Not everyone is exactly like you — and not everyone is exactly as they appear.

And that’s what makes life interesting.

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