I was brushing my teeth this morning while doing hamstring stretches with one of my feet propped up on the bathroom counter. I do this every time I brush my teeth. I do this because it’s part of my physical therapy back pain prevention routine. I do it to offset the impact of sitting at [...]

Over the arc of my career, I’ve done extensive work in professional development. This work included learning an endless list of strategies, tactics, and skills. When I look back over that time, the parts that I have valued the most are things I call “first-order principles.” A principle is a rule of thumb that’s timeless [...]

Over the last two years, I’ve been active in my local emergency response volunteer community. I’ve participated in several mass casualty training exercises (e.g., earthquakes, plane crashes, collapsed building structures). In several of those exercises, I had the opportunity to train in the role of incident commander (IC) and other leadership roles. It was a [...]

As I’m writing this email from just outside Seattle, there’s a ton of smoke from the forest fires that are all over the western United States. It looks like the end of the world. Between the pandemic and terrible air quality, it’s not safe to be indoors with others and now it’s not safe to [...]

Today, I want to introduce you to (or perhaps remind you of) the concept of the minimum efficient scale. Let’s take a look at what this phrase means. First, the word “scale” refers to size. In the software startup world, “to scale up” means to “get big fast.” In economics, economists talk about “economies of [...]

Last week, Citigroup announced that they are appointing Jane Fraser to be CEO. She will be the first woman CEO of a major Wall Street investment bank. Jane was actually the very first person I ever worked with at McKinsey. She was my first manager on my first engagement during my first week at the [...]

One of the ways to have power and influence in an organization is to become a trusted advisor to someone in a position of power. This usually involves providing immense value to your client, members of your professional network, your boss, your peers, or peers in other departments that are one or two levels above [...]

Warren Buffett’s right-hand man is Charlie Munger. I’ve read transcripts from several of Munger’s speeches, and I really love the multidisciplinary way he approaches investment decisions. When he cites the idea of market niches as a way to build a durable competitive advantage, he borrows that concept from the field of ecology. In nature, it’s [...]

In industry, whether your ideas get taken seriously depends on more than the quality of your thoughts. If the receptionist shares an idea and the CEO shares the exact same idea, more people will take the idea seriously when it comes from the CEO. Most people intuitively grasp that the last sentence is true but [...]

When you’re an interesting person, people want to connect with you. They want to work with you, hang out with you, or work for you. Candidly, being interesting is a major advantage in both your personal and professional lives. An interesting person can’t easily be categorized, stereotyped… or ignored. When you meet an interesting person, [...]

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