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There is a simple principle the underlies the relationship between client and consulting firm. It is something I call the uncertainty arbitrage. While uncertainty is self-explanatory, if you’re not from a finance background, the concept of arbitrage may be new to you. In its usual context, arbitrage is a financial trading strategy design to exploit goods that are inefficiently priced. [...]

Four years ago, my old college dorm neighbor, Brian Acton, was looking for a job. Up until that point, he had spent 11 years at Yahoo in a variety of engineering jobs. He landed an interview with Twitter — but they didn’t give him an offer. He interviewed with Facebook — and they too did [...]

One of the biggest jokes about working in industry is how many stupid useless meetings one “must” attend. Whether you are a low-ranking member of your team or the CEO, here are several strategies to stop wasting your time and everyone else’s. 1) Define the objective of a meeting. If a meeting has no objective, [...]

I spend the bulk of my time in my career either learning, teaching, or troubleshooting. I just got off the phone with a new client and had a small epiphany. During the call, I essentially gave away one of my secrets to one of my new clients. We were discussing the concept of idea transplantation. [...]

When I left McKinsey to start my own company, a number of my McKinsey friends also left to do the same. My two back-to-back startup attempts failed. A number of my McKinsey friends’ startups succeeded, in some cases wildly so (one of them was StubHub). For the first time in my career (and actually life), [...]

My favorite quote from the 2014 Superbowl was, “Why Not You?” It was a saying attributed to the father of Russell Wilson, quarterback of the 2014 champion Seattle Seahawks. The quote was referenced by the sports commentators and again by Wilson in a post-game interview. It was something Wilson’s father said to him many years ago when [...]

I find the word paradox fascinating. Definition: A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking. A paradox I’ve noticed in my own writing is how sometimes I will knowingly contradict myself. One of [...]

Over the last decade, I have continually found myself intrigued by a field I never thought would interest me: linguistics. In particular, I’m fascinated by how linguistics intersects with psychology. The words you use profoundly impact how you think and behave. Here are a few examples. I often encounter clients who tell me there is [...]

When you first learn a craft, it’s useful to learn the rules. As you master the rules, it’s useful to break the rules. The difference between learning, mastering, and then breaking the rules comes from understanding why the rules exist. Rules, rules of thumbs, or conventions exist around problems in a field that recur frequently. [...]

I am grateful to have a roof over my head and a warm place to sleep at night. I am grateful to be in good health. I am grateful to call three amazing human beings my daughters. I am grateful to have the time and space to raise and watch my three little girls grow [...]

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