It’s Week #7 of the #yenBOOKCLUB and here are a few of my personal notes that I’ve captured in last week’s reading (Chapter #6) — and, of course, I’d love chat over the book with you during #yenHOURS today! Feel free to stop by if you have time!
And what about the daily
#yenQUEST? Get it in! Some links before we jump in:
- Roblox. Mow-Rio. Collide. Just walk. TikTok. Huh. Red team.
- Not fucked. What’s going on. Land, expand. Fix this. Thread. Don’t freak.
- Evolution. Focus, niche. Close-minded. Win. $100M fund. Safety.
- Congrats! Vidds. Duckly. Turn on sound. Treasury invest. Diversity.
- Presence. BMW. Famous. iRithm. Metaplayer, Mode. Legend.
- Team. Wisdom. Creator economies. It got crazy. All-time. Zero sum.
- Sash. In-app shopping. Juggular. Community isn’t hard. Big, small.
- End well. FB crypto. Neat! Garnet. Paco. Trends. Icons. Compensation.
- Score. Pretty. Broadcast. Useful. Foal. Great name. Collective. Old.
- The future. Urban bot. Fangs. Lightforge. No more lies. Elearning.
To infinity & community
Today’s reading had some juicy bits! Here are some of my more-important notes:
- Design thinking requires story telling to create context and to give meaning.
- The “fourth dimension” is designing with time; a structure of sequenced events that build upon one another, across time. It means thinking of people as living, growing, thinking organisms who can help write their own stories.
- There are three self-reinforcing phases of medical treatment: The patient must first understand their condition, then accept the need for treatment, and then finally take action.
- Allowing customers to write the last chapter of the story themselves is only one more example of design thinking in action.
I haven’t always appreciated the relationships between design and story; now, it seems inextricably tied together in a way that would be utterly harmful if removed. In many real ways, the best story wins. Give that some thought.
The last bullet might be something interesting to do for today’s #yenQUEST; feel free to share your thoughts!
There are 3 broad areas “biz ops” typically falls into for a business:
- Operations — the supporting functions
- Business Operations — the customer value chain
- Strategy — steering the business to maximize value (for all stakeholders)
Although, for many folks on IH, we’re in the pre-PMF category of ops:
At an early stage company (pre-Series A), operations — as a general rule — should serve to maximise the productivity of the rest of the business in the pursuit of product-market fit. At the most basic level you’ll be stopping the wheels falling off the bus so everyone else can concentrate on building the product. It’s broad in remit, flexible to the skills and interests of the individual, and relatively unpredictable. Your role will likely span all of the supporting functions. The role could also expand to include a heavy strategic component — market analysis, product management, financial modelling, raising finance.
The Charlie Munger Playbook
Everyone and their mother is talking about Berkshire Hathaway and all of the nonsense that those two are sharing from their lofty positions behind billions of billions of billions upon billions. But, they do, on occasion, still have things we need to hear.
Charlie is one of my favorite “old timey” characters that I grew up watching from afar as he amassed his wealth in ways that I’d only come to understand in my mid-to-late 30’s. Here are some of the better high-level considerations that drive his life and financial philosophy:
1. Change your mind. Evolve. Reinvent.
- Without Charlie’s influence, Warren may have stuck to chasing cigar butts his entire career, and missed out on wonderful businesses like See’s Candy, The Washington Post, Capital Cities, Geico (for the longterm) and Coca-Cola.
- Charlie’s life experience taught him that the world can change on a dime, and what worked in the past won’t necessarily work in the future. To succeed over the longterm you have to be a constant learning machine — which sounds obvious, but the difficult part is being willing to question your own deeply held assumptions and beliefs, and then discard them when they no longer fit reality.
2. Focus on getting a few simple things right — and the rest takes care of itself.
- Adapting his beloved grandfather’s motto (“Concentrate on the task immediately in front of you, and control your spending.”), Charlie learned early on that there are only a few bedrock sort of things in life that never change — and that if you just focus on getting those right, you’ll do well. Find a great spouse who makes you better in life; buy wonderful businesses at fair prices; never get into a position where you’re over-extended; be philanthropic when you can; have fun along the way. It’s hard to argue much else matters.
- Reflecting back on his and Warren’s success, Charlie says, “It isn’t that we were so good at doing things that were difficult. We were good at avoiding things that were difficult — finding things that are easy.”
3. Risk ≠ volatility. Risk = chance of going out of business.
- The Efficient Market Hypothesists of the 1970s-80s proposed that all investing risk could be reduced to “beta”, or volatility relative to the market. This led to the 1980s’ explosion of debt, derivatives and other “weapons of mass financial destruction” which people believed “riskless” because their volatility was hedged. Charlie and Warren recognized before anyone else that to the contrary, these instruments greatly ratcheted risk in the system! Operating with so much leverage, a single small but unexpected event could topple the whole house of cards. Unfortunately Warren and Charlie didn’t listen to their own advice when entering the Salomon Brothers saga…
4. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.
- Some people (and companies or even whole industries) are addicted to “getting dirty” — deceiving, betraying, evading, cheating, belittling, and generally pursuing their own self-interest above all else. It can be tempting to engage with such people, because they often have or promise great financial rewards. But you can’t win in the long run. As the saying goes — you’ll both get dirty, and the pig will like it. Unfortunately again, Warren and Charlie didn’t always listen to their own advice…