• Dharaa Rathi

Episode 1: Daniel Chait & Emotional Intelligence

Updated: Jun 22, 2018

Kicking off the first season of the podcast, Sumay Parikh interviews Daniel Chait of!

The Essence

“The magic is when you conjure an image out of thin air, sit at this computer in your own head and type as if you’re writing a letter... someone else using it, getting value out of it, appreciating it, that’s the magic for me.” Daniel Chait, CEO & founder of, relays the way he feels about being an entrepreneur. While starting and growing a company, all anyone wants to hear about are sexy success moments. Chait experienced one of these when watching a stranger on a flight use the productivity tool he and his team built from scratch.

The Focus

But that’s not what The Unsexy Startup is about. Host Sumay Parikh digs into the truly challenging, distressing moments every founder faces when scaling their business. As a founder himself, he and Chait both offer the advice of focusing on emotional intelligence and resilience as a company and team. Parikh & Chait explore this concept with different angles, from political turbulence to hiring processes. We have all been at a loss on how to best lead our team in hard times. Chait and Greenhouse are no exception!

"There's a whole industry geared at making startups seem like an awesome adventure... but the real learning is in the day-to-day struggle."

The Unsexy Time(s)

Chait remembers how he was at a loss when trying to help his team get through politically & socially troubled times in America a few years ago (and still today). As a leader, he says, his role is normally to provide solutions to dilemmas his team may have. But in this case, his position was not to stand up and “read a political manifesto to make everyone feel better.” By talking to his team, he realized that all they needed was a “safe space to share and discuss what was on their mind to get to know their coworkers more personally & feel more comfortable around them.” This experience is now a tradition at Greenhouse.

"Human capital is business capital. Don't forget that."

… And What Came From It

It has also propelled Chait to focus more on behavioral interviews for new hires. He emphasized the importance of asking questions about a candidate’s past struggles to see how they dealt with it. He argues that this is the best way to tell if the candidate has true emotional intelligence, and if they’ll be an asset to his team. Chait also believes that in order to be a successful business, prioritizing a culture of empathy and maturity will set the business apart, not only from a consumer standpoint (citing the example of Google’s programmer gender gap controversy), but from an innovation standpoint. We hope you’ll remember the importance of emotional intelligence in your business as well, because it truly is useful in making the right decisions. Give the episode a listen for more details on Daniel Chait’s experience, like the advice he would give his former, pre-founder self, on how to start a company.