I am your fairy tale. Your dream. Your wishes and desires, and I am your thirst and your hunger and your food and your drink.
— Klaus Kinski
Klaus may well have been referring to what often eludes business operators — Great Strategy. You recognize it instantly when you see it. The better your instincts, the faster this happens.
But how do you come up with one?
Early in my career, without the faintest notion of what strategy was, I mostly winged it with some vague notion of competitive differentiation.
Technology and our collective knowledge have advanced at a breakneck clip. Our exponential progress is evidenced by humanity’s transition from the Industrial to the Information Age within a generation (previous such step transitions have taken centuries or millennia).
But in the relentless pursuit of advancement and achievement, we left something behind.
Among all the talk of unicorns, new business models, super-smart AI, smart devices, self-driving cars, quantum computing and colonizing Mars, something else hangs in the air, something unsaid, unseen, and dark, cloaked by the pomp and enthusiasm for all this shiny new stuff.
I didn’t always feel this way…
I spend a lot of time on Twitter. Probably an unhealthy amount. But now and then, I hit gold in the feed. Here’s three tweets and some quick thoughts on each across three different but related themes.
2020 has turned into a meme because it is catalyzing major shifts that were already unfolding:
In Part 1, I broke down the drivers behind the powerful shifts that are now taking place, namely our transition in the outer to the information age, and the evolution of the inner, heralding the rise of heart-based consciousness. These shifts have deep implications for us but by far the biggest and most important are the empowerment of the individual coupled with an unraveling from centralization to decentralization. Change is uncomfortable, and radical change more so. 2020 has turned into a meme because it is destroying and dismantling outdated 20th century structures from the industrial age and the ego-consciousness matrix…
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
― Alan Wilson Watts
2020 isn’t playing around. It feels like we’re being initiated into something new. An uncomfortable sense of change hangs in the air. If 2020 is any indication, this next decade promises to be nothing like the last, or unlike anything that’s come before.
‘Destruction’ is the first word that comes to mind when I sit back and think about this year. It feels like a lot of existing structures and ways of being are being…
“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”
— Carl Jung
This essay will probably read more like a treatise on the human psyche. You’ve been forewarned. The mysteries of the psyche and it’s practical implications can be an extremely powerful liberator of performance and success, so it’s especially important for entrepreneurs and business leaders to understand.
Over time and with experience, I’ve come to believe that career, business and life in general is…
There is a legendary story of Henry Ford, a man who understood that efficiency is important AND so are ideas and innovation. As the story goes, an efficiency expert complained about a man sitting in his office with his feet up on his desk. Ford’s response was, “That man once had an idea that saved me a million dollars. When he got it, his feet were right where they are now.”
Notwithstanding the recent shutdown due to the pandemic, our society as a whole is geared towards doing and action.
Most people and companies are constantly on the move…
In startup land, where most startups fail, a company that gets to a valuation of over $1 billion is called a unicorn, signifying the rarity and almost impossible odds of making it this far and this big. It’s certainly cause for giddy investors and the company to celebrate. This is the holy grail for most investors and entrepreneurs, ever on the hunt to fund or build the next great unicorn.
Ask a child what a unicorn is, and they will likely gush, “a beautiful and magical creature!”. It’s the stuff of their dreams and wildest imaginations.
Ask a venture capitalist…
(Note: This expands on my thoughts on product management from a recent essay I wrote on having the courage to build from one’s heart).
I’ve built products over the past 18 years. I’ve had some great success, but there’s also been a lot of duds. Here’s some sage and simple advice to my young, eager product manager-self, and something that can elevate any PM or Product team’s game.
First, let’s quickly review the typical PM process at most companies. You build out your product and roadmap of features with a combination of: