Catching boastful pretenders:
Updated: Jul 14
Who should read?
Those who get intimated by people who claim to know it all
Those who are in recruitment candidates (either kind; job, dates, marriage etc.)
With enough information available around: correct body language to lie, tricks of flirting, how to impress in an interview, pretending has become easy. This clearly indicates that screening needs to get smarter. For that, one needs to first develop an understanding into how pretenders get their identities. There are 3 important pieces to it: right physical appearance (Clothes, beard, hair etc.), right research, and right audience. I would walk through these rights with two examples: a nerd and a thinker.
Right Appearance: A nerd pretending to be likes of Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg, would try to limit the clothing in ward robes. Minimalistic shades of blue and black with basic lowers or jeans. Some would go a notch above and try to have “cool tagline” t-shirts (ones which show star trek and bla). A thinker would typically spend effort in bigger beard/hair, choosing the right spectacles, and carrying a correct book in hand. Clothes would be shabby or elegant traditional.
Right Research: One has to give credit to pretenders for their homework. Pretenders who forge being nerds do a lot of research to be one. The research involves regular homework and arbitrage of information. They pass information from research sources (such as prophesies on cults as game of thrones, stock tips from broker friends, etc.) as their own. A thinker can’t quote very popular sources. So, the guiding force here is non-popular school of thought. It has unique flavor and often less thought about. These could come from infamous blogs, friends who are thinkers but don’t publish etc. to add credibility, they would also partner with an esteemed social club.
Right Audience: Pretenders are aware of their limitations. They don’t pretend everywhere. It is easier to talk about being a coder in front of a writer, who does not know about open sources.
There are degrees in pretense. It is hard to catch the ones who have spent time on homework or the professionals in the spy world. But that is not what we are cracking today. We are looking at people in our day to day lives who may influence our lives. Level 1 pretenders quote from 5 blogs, books, or videos. This information is easily accessible. Catch phrases which are repeats. Example: One of the “techie” pretenders I met quoted a lot of philosophy from the movie “social network” and “Beautiful Mind”. When I researched the profound quotes I did realized where did the school of thought lie.
What needs to be done:
If someone looks out an out intimidating (multiple talents, creator of more things than one can on an average) then do homework/research on information quoted.
Cross question a lot and observe pauses and logic there. Keep in mind, cross questioning gets better if you also know a little about the subject. So, it helps to do a little homework.
Show interest in the hobby and ask for further help on the subject. Example: Help on launching a business or connecting to a VC. Observe reaction and follow up.