I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the kinds of people I’d like to hire for Stry. I’ve been asking myself, Who’s going to join me on this startup adventure? Where am I going to find reporters willing to chase stories and travel and venture forth into a world where the only structure is the one we define for ourselves?
And lately, I’ve been thinking that I’ve got to find some treetop flyers.
See, back in Vietnam, the American military trained pilots to fly low-altitude, high-risk flights. But when those pilots returned from war, there wasn’t much need for someone with such a skill set.
So, the story goes, these pilots became treetop flyers: Smugglers, drug-runners, danger-seekers. They took risks that other pilots wouldn’t take; they flew places that other pilots wouldn’t fly.
They were outlaw pilots, and they were much in demand.
I’ve used a lot of words for the type of reporters I’ll need for Stry. I’ve referred to them as hobo journalists, as backpack journalists, as reporter vagabonds.
But what I’m really looking for are treetop flyers: Reporters with skills that no one else really values, reporters who aren’t afraid to fly a bit too close to the ground, reporters willing to go at it without a safety net, reporters for whom adventure is just something that happens when they show up at the office. Working for Stry isn’t going to be a glamorous job. It’s going to be a lot of work, and it’s going to require a hefty amount of improvisation. My reporters at Stry are going to have to deal with stress, strain and general chaos without spontaneously wigging out.
I need reporters willing to go to the Biloxis of the world, willing to dig where others aren’t digging, willing to crash and burn and get back out there the very next day to do it all over again. I’m looking for a new kind of a reporter.
I’m looking for treetop flyers.