How To Out-hustle A Hustler

Do you have what it takes To get under the skin of this most conflicted of people?

A couple of weeks ago in these “pages” we discussed what being a “Hipster” is really all about, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to look deeper into the characteristics of a true Hustler, while we’re at it.

First, the definition – we all know it was Rei Inamoto who first coined the term “Hipsters, Hackers and Hustlers”, but it took Forbes columnist Andy Ellwood to extrapolate what Inamoto meant when he said “To run an efficient team, you only need three people”

The Hustler, says Ellwood, “has the tendency to be the most misunderstood member of this trio. The Hipster is likely to accuse the Hustler of having sold out to the man because of their constant question of “It’s cool, but is it something our partners and clients want?” The Hacker is likely to do their best to avoid one on one conversations with the Hustler as a result of jock vs. geek episode back in high school.”

Wow, so the Hustler is a down on his luck, cynical ex-jock who turns a deaf ear to creativity?

In a sense, yes – the Hustler has possibly “seen a bit more of life” as it were, than his esteemed colleagues, the Hacker and the Hipster. He is the member of the team who probably worries about money the most, for example; possibly because he has alimony to pay.

The Hustler isn’t likely to get carried away or distracted by the imaginary or the ephemeral – the Hustler believes in results and knows better than to let anyone down who is higher up in the food chain than they are. Ideally, you don’t want to be below the Hustler on the Food Chain, and especially not if you want to get to know them better.

But, says Ellwood, “when the Hipster brings the creative design and cool factor, the Hacker brings their utility belt of technology solutions, and the Hustler finds the right way to package it all up and take it to the masses in the form of sales and partnerships, it is a combination that is tough to beat.”

Ellwood is right when he says the Hustler is misunderstood. Many people wonder what the Hustler is doing at a startup – if they are so worldy-wise, how come they don’t work for Goldmans, or run their own company already?

It’s a question that probably even the Hustler can’t answer, wrestle with the problem as he might.

The Hustler is a tortured soul; on the face of it he is cool, calm and collected, think AC Slater from Saved by the Bell, or even the Fonz from happy Days, but this cool exterior often disguises a fatal flaw; a sentimentality,  an urge to go against the grain; that means the Hustler, brilliant fixer tho he or she may be, will always need a Hipster or a Hacker, or both, to function how they are happiest functioning.

Most of all, Hustlers love to hustle – they can peacock with the best of them – and when the chips are down, they will fight your corner. But ironically, when things start to get really big, it is usually the Hustler that gets hot under the collar first.

We don’t mean to paint a gloomy picture here; at their best, the Hustler makes business happen, with a smile and a strut – always winning, and never complaining. But when the lights go down after the show – that’s when the Hustler could do with Hacker and Hipster TLC.

Too often, companies founder because nobody is looking out for hustler – which confirms their sometimes cynical worldview. Don’t let it happen!

We’d love to know your thoughts – what makes a hustler a hustler? Write it down right here!

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