Success in Life

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 [...]

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, [...]

Most people see the world through the lens of success vs. failures, or winners vs. losers. While our world certainly has competitive aspects to it, it’s worthwhile to ask the following: Is it useful? Is it useful to think in terms of success versus failure? Is it useful to think of winning versus losing? Regardless [...]

The other day, someone asked me about how to be more emotionally resilient in the face of obstacles and failures. While being completely immune to disappointment isn’t realistic, I do think it’s possible to reduce its impact on your life by 80% to 90%. My working process is that all disappointment comes from… expectations. If [...]

Risk is defined as the statistical probability of a negative event occurring. When you walk across the street, there is a statistical risk that you may be hit by a car. Whether you are aware of the risk or not is irrelevant. The math still applies. Whether you believe the risk is real is not [...]

I have a few female friends who were raised by fathers in the military. It’s been interesting to notice how well trained they are to be aware of their surroundings — assessing potential threats, planning escape routes, managing time and space between themselves and potential threats. As I understand, the military term for this is [...]

Every meeting has two types of people in it. Those with power and those without. Most people tend to think of power in terms of job titles and positions on the organizational chart. The CEO has power. A vice president has power. Your boss has power (over you and your career). While this is somewhat [...]

I’ve had a multi-decade debate with myself about solving one problem at a time or multi-tasking and trying to solve multiple problems concurrently. After much internal debate, I’ve come to a conclusion that’s a slight hybrid of the two. The hybrid approach presumes that you know your objectives. It further presumes that your objectives are [...]

One of the single most powerful, life-changing, and career-changing tools is the ability to understand what somebody else needs. I know that sounds terribly anticlimactic but hear me out. Every breakthrough product came about because someone figured out a customer’s underlying need (which is sometimes different than what they ask for) and figured out a [...]

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