Archive | books

In Business, Informal Tribes Matter More Than Formal Teams

Not long after I joined my last employer, a colleague provided me with an incredibly important insight on how to get things done. Informal networks, she explained, were much stronger than the official hierarchy. Top-down decisions were usually met with questions which delayed their implementation. On the other hand, powerfully-connected people could implement decisions virally…

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The Red Queen Effect Explains Why You Aren’t Getting Ahead

For much of my career, I’ve argued that people design key performance indicators (KPIs) incorrectly. One of my own favorite blogs made the case that, unless you compare yourself against some external benchmark, you might be making progress towards achieving your KPIs but actually losing ground. Simplistically, if you’re growing by 20% and the market…

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Every company needs a compelling origin story

Every company needs a compelling origin story. An origin story reveals how a character became the protagonist (or antagonist), usually providing a compelling event which explains their intentions or behavior. Comics and movies use origin stories to explain how characters got their superpowers or why they are supervillains. Recently, entertainment companies have rewritten the origins…

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How to Avoid the Conjunction Fallacy

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning and stumbled upon one of my favorite University textbooks: Tversky and Kahneman’s “Judgement Under Uncertainty”. This book taught me the basics of probability, a ridiculously useful skill which I’ve relied on far more frequently than I ever would have imagined. A better understanding of probability can help us overcome…

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Unleash Your Inner William Gibson

Welcome to the future. It is a common complaint that we were promised jetpacks and flying cars but all we got was… something less cool. But the complaints are mostly unwarranted. Things that seemed like science fiction not long ago are now commonplace (or soon will be): under-the-skin GPS, 3D printing, hoverboards, lab-grown leather, self-heating…

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Successful Authors Explain Why They Write

If writing were illegal I’d be in prison. I can’t not write. It’s a compulsion. — David Baldacci For most, writing isn’t a lucrative profession; it’s a passion. According to Meredith Maran, “one million manuscripts are currently searching for a U.S. publisher. One percent of these will get the nod.” But publishing a book isn’t…

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