life in industry

Exploiting Salary Discrepancies in Industry

Today I’d like to borrow a concept from Wall Street and apply it to accelerating your career in industry. Wall Street traders engage in something called “financial arbitrage.” This refers to noticing discrepancies in market prices for two financial instruments and exploiting it for profit. For example, the orange juice manufacturer notices that the cost [...]

What Makes a CEO a CEO?

  Is the CEO the best engineer in a company? Usually not. Is she the best salesperson in the company? The best marketer? The best in finance? Usually not. If you look at the CEO and her top direct reports, she’s usually less technically competent in sales, marketing, finance, and engineering than the executives that [...]

How to Speak the CEO Code

  CEOs speak a particular language. The language is not English, Spanish, Mandarin, or Hindi. It’s a metalanguage that lays on top of the grammatical languages we all speak. CEOs very quickly recognize who else speaks their language — the CEO Code. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was very fluent in [...]

The Single Most Important Skill in Learning to Sell

I’ll share with you one of the single most important skills and lessons about selling. It’s something my sales mentor taught me many years ago. My mentor was quite the character. She was this Pakistani woman who wore skin tight leather pants to work every day while selling to the Chief Information Officers of the [...]

Gay Marriage & New Market Opportunities

The U.S. Supreme Court just made a major decision to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry throughout the country. It is pretty big news here in the U.S. Most people I know personally are pretty happy and celebrating. Some are really disappointed. What’s no longer up for dispute is that gay marriages will now [...]

How to Stop Having Stupid Useless Meetings

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, [...]

How I Ran from the “Police” and Got a 50% Raise

In my prior articles, I stated the importance of developing a cross-functional understanding of businesses, and thinking not just tactically, but strategically. I mentioned how to do the latter requires you to see through all the downstream implications of a particular decision or lack of a decision. I also promised to share an example of [...]

A Major Weakness of Industry Lifers

In a previous article, I wrote about the first of the two major weaknesses that professionals who’ve spent their entire careers in industry face, that ex-consultants transitioning to industry do not. The first was that while most industry lifers are functionally strong, they are often terribly weak cross-functionally. In today’s article, I’ll discuss the second [...]

The Problem with Professionals in Industry

Having spent time in consulting and in industry, I’ve noticed several key biases and weaknesses about people who’ve spent their entire careers in industry. This is in comparison to those who have spent some time in consulting first, before working in industry. There are two key weaknesses. I’ll address the first weakness below, and the [...]

How to Deal with Irrational People (aka everyone)

When I was at Stanford, I did my undergrad degree in Economics. For a brief time, I considered majoring in Psychology and took a number of classes in that field. During this time, I was always puzzled by an inherent conflict between the fields of economics and psychology. Economics presumes “man” (and woman) is rational. [...]

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