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So I want to talk about smallercircle, the name and what it means to me. It’s something that’s been with me for quite a while now. I’ve carried the domain smallercircle.com through my life since 2002. Wow, it seems like yesterday and simultaneously ancient history at this point.

The idea was simple back then. I was in college again and really beginning to explore who I was in this world in the intellectual sense. The conclusion I came to was that I was at my best when I was surrounded by my smaller circle of friends as opposed to the larger circle of friends with whom I associated.

It was in this smaller circle where I was able to talk more freely, engage more intimately, and generally be the best version of me. I extrapolated that idea to the larger stage of the world, realizing that this was likely true for everyone.

I’ve always been an intent observer. When I would look at someone, especially in a large group dynamic, I could see that who they were at that moment was almost unquestionably not who they were in a more intimately sized group. Let’s be honest here, some people when they’re in a large group can be real asses. But invariably when I could find time and circumstance to get that same person in a small group of 3-4 people the facade would fall away. Their brashness would soften. The annoying jabs and jokes would attenuate. The shyness would become sincere curiosity. All those things that might make me recoil would subside, and I would see past that to a person of true value. No matter how I might judge a person in the context of a large group, I felt like and continue to feel like if I can get that person into a smaller circle then and only then would I be able to judge their character. Time and time again I’ve proven this belief.

That’s why smallercircle is important to me. It is the idea that lets me see the truth underneath. I now take that insight with me into business. When I look into an organization, I can see the whole but I also see the teams within forming their own smaller circles. I know that it’s their overlap and cohesion that make the larger entity function.