Latest Observations

On Communicating with Entrepreneurs

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Nov 25, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

Communicating to entrepreneurs is different than communicating with academics. This is a point that doesn't need much elucidation. Still, it is important to understand a critical distinction:

The entrepreneur operates from a set of common sense assertions. These warrants only receive a cursory examination and then the entrepreneur proceeds to action. His willingness to do this is based upon at least two factors:

  1. He is, by nature a risk taker, and he will risk the truth of his assumptions, believing that the probabilities are high and that he would lose too much of his time in a prolonged attempt to validate.
  2. His bias for action is a gift, and it is within his nature to exercise that gift.

If one is to communicate successfully to an entrepreneur, then one must be careful not to spend too much time on those warrants that he has asserted. The entrepreneur will quickly lose interest, as his mind is focused on immediate execution rather than contemplation.

On the Priority of Achievement over Brilliance

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Nov 24, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

The men remembered for their genius are not necessarily the most brilliant. Rather, the most brilliant men are remembered for their achievements. Their intelligence serves a greater end. The leader should not draw focus to his intelligence, but rather to the achievement of the team.

On the Philosopher as Merely the Man Who Tries

Topic:Philosophy
Posted on:Nov 21, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

When reading the works of a philosopher, it is a mistake to think of the writer as a philosopher. The word "philosophy" can distort our understanding of the human being. Every philosopher should be considered only as this - a man trying. Philosophy is effort, not a study. Philosophy is effort, not attainment. Philosophy is effort, not a profession. Philosophy is trying. If there be any virtue in philosophy, it is only because the philosopher tries in a world where many never make the attempt.

On Content as Marketing and Marketing as Content

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Nov 20, 2014
Method:Previous Writings
Captured by:Austin M

We are in a new advertising era. We are moving from advertising as interruption to advertising as utility. Advertising should not be served; it should serve – it should be useful. And we should be moving from the notion of “content marketing” to the notion of "content as marketing" and "marketing as content." Why is this distinction important? Because the content is not just a means to an end; it is an end in itself – the best advertising is content.

On Leadership and the “Humble-device”

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Nov 19, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:David J

The leader should never confuse a state of humility with a “humble-device.” True humility is often feigned by the employment of such devices: self-depreciating humor, a moment of vulnerability, a calculated self-criticism. The problem is this: Humility is not a single action. It is an internal state from which all action should flow. 

On Leadership and the Question Beneath the Questions

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Nov 18, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Phillip A

When making a decision of significant consequence, the first question that a leader should ask is this: Have I asked the right questions? In particular, the leader needs to go down to the level beneath the levels and make certain that he sees the biggest possible picture across the longest possible term. From there, he can move to the granular thinking of the particulars. Most decisions will make themselves if the leader is clear about the underlying principles. 

On Leadership and Disagreeing Agreeably

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Nov 17, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Austin M

When a leader makes a decision contrary to the council of his top advisors, he needs to be careful that he does not misunderstand his task. He can agree with them, or he can agree to disagree with them agreeably. However, he should never just disagree. This third way costs too much equity, and even if you win by virtue of your authority, you lose the value of your influence. 

On Leadership and the Effective Message

Topic:Leadership
Posted on:Nov 14, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:David J

Every leader delivers an offer — marketing is not limited to a division. The leader’s messaging must be guided by three maxims: Explanation precedes declaration; value precedes cost, and clarity precedes persuasion. 

On the Priority of Clarity Over Persuasion

Topic:Communication
Posted on:Nov 13, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:Jon P

Start with clarity, then and add persuasion. An attempt to be compelling that does not involve clarity is neither clear nor compelling. 

On How a Temporary “Yes” Can Buy a Permanent “No”

Topic:Method
Posted on:Nov 12, 2014
Method:Dictation
Captured by:David J

Sometimes one painful, yet temporary, "yes" buys you an opportunity for a smart "no."  By saying "yes" once to something unpleasant, you create the opportunity for you to think through how you would (graciously) give a permanent "no" in the future. This can be a small price to pay for a strong relationship.