2020年9月13日 星期日

Picky vs difficult


Picky people have consistent preferences and standards.
Difficult people change their preferences frequently, and often in response to who is presenting to them or the mood they’re in.
It’s pretty easy to figure out which makes for a better client or colleague.

“That’s a good idea”

        


“And then what happens?”
Repeat the second question 100 times. Because after every good idea, there are at least 100 steps of iteration, learning, adjustment, innovation and effort.
Starting with the wrong idea is a waste of energy and time.
But not committing to the 100 steps is a waste of a good idea.
We put a lot of pressure on the idea to be perfect because it distracts us from the reality that the hundred steps after the idea are going to make all the difference. Nearly every organization you can point to is built around an idea that wasn’t original or perfect.
The effort and investment and evolution made the difference.

Creation/recognition


If you buy an old painting at a garage sale for $1,000 and then sell it for $25,000, was the change in value due to a change in the magic involved in the creation of the painting, or is it because the market now recognizes the painting for what it is (and was all along)?
When Alta Vista refused to pay a million dollars to buy Google, was the problem in the value of what Google had, or in Alta Vista’s recognition of that value?
There’s often a significant lag between the creation of something useful and when the market recognizes it.
That’s an opportunity for speculators and investors, who can buy before the recognition happens.
And it’s an opportunity or a trap for creators, who might get disheartened about the lack of applause and upside immediately after they’ve created something.
When we look to the outside world for valuation and recognition, we might be confused about the intrinsic value of what we just created. Over time, those things may come into alignment, but that’s rare indeed.
Creation plus persistence can lead to recognition. But creation without recognition is still a worthwhile endeavor.
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Worthy adversaries and useful allies


Change happens more efficiently when we have both.
Often, they’re not individuals. It could be a status quo or a system.
In the early days of the Mac, Jobs chose Microsoft to be Apple’s adversary. But keeping the focus on them too long was an expensive and distracting mistake.
An adversary focuses the mission, but it also gives agency and leverage to the opponent.
It helps to have accomplices, leverage and a focus for the long haul as well.

Measuring systems


I tried to recharge the lithium battery that works with my drill. After twenty minutes, the charger said the battery had failed.
Fortunately, I have a second battery. I put that into the charger and it also showed a failure.
Neither battery had failed. The charger had.

Should schools reward skills or talent?

        


Talent is something you’re born with.
Skill is something you earn.
Skill comes from commitment and practice and self-discipline. The skill of earning skills is a lifelong advantage.
Without a doubt, encouraging kids to leverage their talents is a skill. And yet…
Who gets to be the center of the kids’ volleyball team–the tall kid or the one who practices the most diligently and brings the most teamwork to the game?
Who gets an ‘A’ in math–the one who can breeze through the tests or the student who asks intelligent questions and challenges the assumptions?
Who gets into a fancy college…
You get the idea.
Leaders talk about developing real skills and encouraging people to develop into their full potential, but too often, we take the short-term path of betting on raw talent instead. And of course, what looks like raw talent might not be. It could simply be our confusion about first impressions compared to the power of commitment, enrollment and persistence.

2020年8月23日 星期日

Getting what the customers asked for


Why is there so much short-term hustle? Because that’s what we buy.
Why is there so much negative campaigning? Because that’s what changes our actions.
Why is social media filled with manipulation and vanity? Because that’s what we click on.
We buy foods that are engineered to make us fat and we watch shows that are designed to numb us instead of inspire.
Not all of us, not all the time.
It’s not our fault alone. The gears in the system are too often turned by short-term profiteers and people who seek to manipulate us for their own ends. They need to own the responsibility for their selfishness and not blame us for it. Leadership requires a commitment to make things better. Don’t blame the market.
But the system is extraordinarily sensitive to what we click, what we buy and what we talk about. If we can do the difficult and heroic work of acting differently, the system can tell. As soon as we shift to long-term thinking, the market will too.
The same thing can happen to our culture if we can shift our timeframe and our focus.