Saturday, July 22, 2017

The 10 Commandments of Startup Success

Tim Ferriss has a great compilation from the "Masters of Scale" podcast titled "The 10 Commandments of Startup Success with Reid Hoffman". Here are the commandments themselves (along with the audio time stamps) including some quotes and extracts from the audio that I found especially interesting (in italics).

1: Expect rejection. [09:14]

2: Hire like your life depends on it. It does. [19:26]

“A combination of Persistence and Curiosity (what you care about) is a great indicator of future success of a knowledge worker” - Eric Schmidt

“For sales, we hire Olympian and football players, because it indicates the level of discipline they have developed at an early age.” - Eric Schmidt

“Are your people self confident enough to have people stronger than them around them. You should never hire someone to work for you who you would not like to work for (in an alternate universe”)” -  Mark Zuckerberg 

3: In order to scale, you have to do things that don’t scale. [25:37]

4: Raise more money than you think you need — potentially a lot more. [36:18]

"Take the money whenever and wherever it becomes available. You never know when funding might become unavailable." -Reid Hoffman

5: Release your products early enough that they can still embarrass you. Imperfect is perfect. [44:45]

6: Decide. Decide. Decide. [1:00:16]

The fighter pilot who has the faster OODA loop wins. The other one dies.” - Silicon Valley saying (OODA = Military origin decision cycle of Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.).

Commandment 7: Be prepared to both make and break plans. [1:03:13]

“Figure out what your systems are going to be later (when you become a larger company) and do it now” - Sheryl Sandberg. (She provides the “not so silly” example of how there was resentment among employees when Facebook - since it had become large so quickly - had to take back its practice of celebrating everyone’s birthday.)

8: Don’t tell your employees how to innovate. [1:07:21]

9: To create a winning company culture, make sure every employee owns it. [01:12:32]

Netflix compares themselves to sport teams (which is about performance) and not family (since the latter implies unconditional love).

10: Have grit and stick with your hero’s journey. [1:23:22]

11: Pay it forward. Use the momentum of your own success to move the success of others. [1:26:03]

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Avoid the Time Sinks called Meetings

A great episode of Seeking Wisdom points out why and how any company that is serious about productivity, should minimize its number of meetings. If at all, these Necessary Evils need to happen, the accompanying blog post provides some "guardrails". Extracts:

  • Please try to minimize the number of meetings we have. Try hard to get it done without a meeting.
  • When you do have a meeting please keep them small and focused on a clear agenda. Unless the meeting is a 1:1 there should be clear questions we are trying to answer during the meeting.
  • No Sidebars — please don’t have side conversations during a meeting.
  • No Laptops / Phones. Unless you’re presenting please leave your laptop/phone behind.
  • Participate or excuse yourself — if you’re not adding value or could spend your time better please politely excuse yourself from the meeting. One exception, all-hands meetings.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Martin Reeves: How to build a business that lasts 100 years

In this TED Talk, Martin Reeves offers an inter-disciplinary approach on how entrepreneurs can build long lasting companies with ideas from Biology.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sattvik Mishra: Experimenting with content

In this Ink Talk, Sattvik Mishra, Scoop Whoop shares his lessons and the thinking that drives stories at ScoopWhoop.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Best Video on Blockchain (Maybe)

In a TED video, Don Tapscott (@dtapscott) lucidly explains Blockchain, the technology underlying Bitcoin and how it can be used in other areas including securing land ownership rights, cheaper remittances, protect private data and make self enforcing contracts for music and financial instruments. The talk includes how Blockchain overcomes the problem of "Double Spend Problem" faced in the Internet of Information in order to create an Internet of Value.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Off Topic: How exactly does corruption money find its way to Swiss Banks & NY Apartments?

NPR's Planet Money has a fascinating account of how the son of Taiwan's (now former) President routed bribery money from suitcases full of cash to a Swiss Bank and from there (via 3 layers of shell companies) used it to buy an high-end apartment in New York.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Marc Andressen with Tim Ferriss

Click Here for this good interview with the founder of pioneering web software firm browser Netscape and disruptive VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Parts I liked best:

Difference & Similarity between VCs and Value Investors [42:25]

"Anything Warren Buffet is willing to invest in, we run screaming in the other direction. He invests in Heinz Ketchup since people have been using it for over a 100 years and therefore it's a good guess that they will continue to do so for the next 100. Basically, he's betting against change and we are betting for change. When he makes a mistake, it's because something changes that he doesn't expect; we make a mistake when something doesn't change.

But what both schools have in common is Original Thinking and the willingness to look at things as they are ("the core of the business") as opposed to what somebody says about them or it's believed to be. Also, Value Investing is the only place in the market where there's Long Term investing."

Importance of inculcating a Culture of "Building Things" [44:50]

"Smart People Should Build Things" (based on a book title) and "Be So Good that they can't Ignore You" (from the book Born Standing Up by Steve Martin)

Importance of Reading Biographies: "Technology changes; people don’t." [22:28]

"While following contemporary stuff is good, I find it more useful to go further back and read (well written) Biographies about Edison, Disney, Ford, Rockefeller, etc."

How he deals with FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to investing [38:47]

Why he does not believe AI is going to either kill jobs or people . [48:01]

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why & How to Harness Young Men: The Sebastian Junger Interview (by Tim Ferriss)

Awesome Awesome Interview with the Author and War Correspondent.  Huge insights into human behaviour - especially into what makes young men tick and why some kind of national service must be made compulsory. Once you listen, you would also understand exactly what Winston Churchill meant when "Never let a good crisis go to waste".

My Favorite segments:
  • On striving for political correctness in gender [43:59]
  • PTSD, the C-Train, and returning to New York City after being at war [1:08:14]
  • On the lonely nature of society [1:12:01]
  • On the role of journalists:
    • “The point of journalism is to tell the truth. It is not to improve society. There are facts and truths that feel regressive, but that doesn’t matter. The point of journalism isn’t to make everything better; it’s to give people accurate information about how things are.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Quick Link: Seth Godin with Tim Ferriss

Fun & Thoughtful interview.

Highlights include:

How Seth Godin processes email [51:44]

What would Seth do to educate children [1:34:22]