Introducing: The Monocle 🧐

Why is management the way it is?

Adrien Guilmineau
4 min readDec 9, 2017

👋 My name is Adrien. I’ve never worked in a company with more than 6 people (Tinbox team unite! cc David, Samuel, François, Lucas & Miguel) or had a boss. But with, the company I founded with Eric, former CEO of Wanadoo and Victor, my college roommate (I did go to college for a bit), I’ve helped hundreds of managers, interviewed countless HR & talent management teams and listened to successful startup founders talk about their management scaling issues. I did this, all while being outside of the day-to-day routine of being a manager or being managed.

Long story short, has given me a unique view of “Why management“ and I want to share it with you in this “The Monocle” series.

So put your monocle on and let’s theorize.

🧐 [monocle → on]

My “How did we get here?” framework 🕵️‍♂️

Whenever I’m trying to wrap my head around a topic, I like to go way back and answer the “How did we get here?” question.

Example: How did we get to meat-based diets?

I tried going vegan (yes, I was living in Los Angeles at the time) for 2 weeks a few months ago. Apart from the obvious environmental benefits of going vegan, what convinced me to give it a shot was the “we aren’t designed to eat meat” argument.

This is when I used my “How did we get here” framework by asking: How did people eat 20,000 years ago and why?

As descendants of apes, we originally had a plant-based diet. But, in harsh conditions (read: most of human existence), animals were the largest source of preservable calories.

During times of need (read: most of human existence), people who owned meat-based supplies therefore became dominant. This meant that, socially, meat symbolized wealth and power.

Fast forward thousands of years → Mass food production has made meat cheaper and more people can now access meat-based “luxury” diets.

And this is how we got here.

A bit dramatic, I agree!

This reasoning doesn’t need to be the whole story, and lots of academic research has gone into lots of the details I’m skipping over. But it gives me a clear lesson focused on the most essential, need-driven behavior (food security) rather than getting lost in complexity.

Foraging for berries (a couple of fleeting calories) vs. killing a boar (hundreds of thousands of conservable calories): what seems to give you a better chance of survival?

Applying my framework to management

I started working along-side Eric Abensur, my now co-founder, who used to head up a small startup called Wanadoo ;) where he managed over 250 people.

We started out trying to disrupt the executive coaching market by making it accessible to more people, but quickly saw the huge impact we were having on team management. So we had to… Pivot. #pivot-hype

This got me thinking. How did [management] get here?

Some of the first questions that popped into my head…

  • Where does the concept of a manager come from?
  • What are a manager’s responsibilities and why?
  • Have they evolved over time? Why?
  • Are there different management styles? Why?
  • What type of human need is management solving?
  • What inefficiency is it solving?
  • Who is a good manager and why?
  • Why is a manager 1 person and not 2 or 3?
  • Why do managers think they’re great while 78% of people quitting their jobs say it’s because of their manager?
  • Who is to blame for bad management?
  • Should direct reports be held accountable for their manager’s poor performance?

So many questions!

I want to share with you my journey exploring some of the most radical management techniques I encounter.

It’s no BS. I don’t want to get lost in the “These are the 5 techniques that will make you a great manager — You won’t believe #4”.

We’re here to look at the fundamentals 🧐.

I think that’s the real way we can move forward and find bold new ways to build frictionless management that enables companies to grow, rather than slowing them down.


And by the way, if you want to know more about what Eric, Victor & I are working on: it’s called and it’s the idea of empowering employees to self-manage, thanks to third-party humans (the best executive coaches in the world) and an AI (we call him Spot ⚡️). Check it out here →

We’re always happy to chat and learn more about radical management practices. We’re going to be interviewing great managers regularly so if you know a really good manager, nominate them below or PM me their name & email so that I can reach out.

Lastly, follow me on Medium and clap! 👏

🧐 →🤔

[monocle → off]

Thanks to Mohamed Shanaa, Arthur de Villemandy, Paul Labayle & Joris RENAUD for the proofreading :-)



Adrien Guilmineau

Co-founder @ariacaptions @sidekick_hq @tinbox_app • Hangout @_thefamily • Kinda-studied @warwickuni