On partnerships

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One lesson we learned a long time ago. That, that we learned a long time ago is that you can’t make a good deal with a bad person. Just forget it. Now, if you think you can draw up a contract that, that is going to work against a bad person, they’re gonna win. But one thing, they, they probably enjoy litigation but ah, Berkshire Hathaway as an entity, or me personally, or anything, we don’t wanna spend our life, you know, doing that sort of thing. And, and besides, the bad guys win. They know more games. They may lose eventually in the but, but it’s no way to spend your life.

Warren Buffett

Success common denominators

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1. It is a numbers game

Doing a high volume of tasks and constantly improving by iterating is a sure way to getting what you want

  • Getting a job requires many job applications and many interviews
  • Selling involves knocking on many doors – Grant Cardone
  • Being an influencer means posting more – Gary V
  • Investing involves analyzing many companies – Warren Buffett
  • Being great at basketball requires practicing more – Jordan

Loonshots by Safi Bachall Book Summary

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How do unleash creativity in your organization.

1. Separate the phases

  • Separate your artists and soldiers: Create separate groups for inventors and operators: those who may invent the next transistor vs. those who answer the phone; those who design radically new weapons vs. those who assemble planes. You can’t ask the same group to do both, just like you can’t ask water to be liquid and solid at the same time.
  • Tailor the tools to the phase: Wide spans, loose controls, and flexible (creative) metrics wor k best for loonshot groups. Narrow spans, tight controls, and rigid (quantitative) metrics work best for franchise groups.
  • Watch your blind side: Make sure your loonshot nursery seeds both types of loonshots, especially the type you are least comfortable with. S-type loonshots are the small changes in strategy no one thinks will amount to much. P-type loonshots are technologies no one thinks will work.

2. Create dynamic equilibrium

  • Love your artists and soldiers equally: Artists tend to favor artists; soldiers tend to favor soldiers. Teams and companies need both to survive and thrive. Both need to feel equally valued and appreciated. (Try to avoid calling one side “bozos.”)
  • Manage the transfer, not the technology: Innovative leaders with some successes tend to appoint themselves loonshot judge and jury (the Moses Trap). Instead, create a natural process for projects to transfer from the loonshot nursery to the field, and for valuable feedback and market intelligence to cycle back from the field to the nursery. Help manage the timing of the transfer: not too early (fragile loonshots will be permanently crushed), not too late (making adjustments will be difficult). Intervene only as needed, with a gentle hand. In other words, be a gardener, not a Moses.
  • Appoint and train project champions to bridge the divide: Soldiers will resist change and see only the warts on the baby-stage ideas from artists. Artists will expect everyone to appreciate the beautiful baby underneath. They may not have the skills to convince soldiers to experiment and provide the feedback that is crucial for ultimate success. Identify and train bilingual specialists, fluent in both artist-speak and soldier-speak, to bridge the divide.

3. Spread a system mindset

  • Keep asking why: Level 0 teams don’t analyze failures. Level 1 teams assess how product features may have failed to meet market needs (outcome mindset). Level 2 teams probe why the organization made the choices that it did (system mindset). They analyze both successes and failures because they recognize that good outcomes don’t always imply good decisions (got lucky), just as bad outcomes don’t always imply bad decisions (played the odds well). In other words, they analyze the quality of decisions, not just the quality of outcomes.
  • Keep asking how decision-making processes can be improved: Identify key influences—people involved, data considered, analyses conducted, how choices were framed, how market or company conditions affected that framing—as well as both financial and nonfinancial incentives for individuals and for the team as a whole. Ask how those influences can be changed to enhance the decision-making process in the future.
  • Identify teams with outcome mindset and help them adopt system mindset: Analyzing a product or a market may be technically challenging, but it is a familiar and straightforward exercise. Analyzing why a team arrived at a decision can be both unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It requires self-awareness from team members; the self-confidence to acknowledge mistakes, especially interpersonal ones; and the candor and trust to give and receive delicate feedback. The process is likely to be more efficient, and less painful, when it is mediated by a neutral expert from outside the team.

4. Raise the magic number

  • Reduce return-on-politics: Make lobbying for compensation and promotion decisions difficult. Find ways to make those decisions less dependent on an employee’s manager and more independently assessed and fairly calibrated across the company. • Use soft equity: Identify and apply the nonfinancial rewards that make a big difference. For example: peer recognition, intrinsic motivators.
  • Increase project–skill fit: Invest in the people and processes that will scan for a mismatch between employees’ skills and their assigned projects, and will help managers adjust roles or employees transfer between groups. The goal is to have employees stretched neither too much nor too little by their roles.
  • Fix the middle: Identify and fix perverse incentives, the unintended consequences of well-intentioned rewards. Pay special attention to the dangerous middle-manager levels, the weakest point in the battle between loonshots and politics. Shift away from incentives that encourage battles for promotion and toward incentives centered on outcomes. Celebrate results not rank.
  • Bring a gun to a knife fight: Competitors in the battle for talent and loonshots may be using outmoded incentive systems. Bring in a specialist in the subtleties of the art—a chief incentives officer.
  • Fine-tune the spans: Widen management spans in loonshot groups (but not in franchise groups) to encourage looser controls, more experiments, and peer-to-peer problem solving.

For anyone championing a loonshot, anywhere:

  • Mind the False Fail: See chapter 2 for the False Fail of Friendster (social networks) and the False Fails of the statins (the spurious results in mice and in dogs). Is a negative outcome due to a flaw in the idea or the test? What would you have to believe for it to be a flaw in the test? How might you evaluate that hypothesis?
  • Listen to the Suck with Curiosity (LSC): When you have poured your soul into a project, you will be tempted to argue with critics and dismiss whoever challenges you. You will improve your odds of success by setting aside those urges and investigating, with genuine curiosity, the underlying reasons why an investor declines, a partner walks, or a customer chooses a competitor. It’s hard to hear no one likes your baby. It’s even harder to keep asking why. (Chapter 2)
  • Adopt a system rather than an outcome mindset: Everyone will make wrong turns in navigating the long, dark tunnel through which every loonshot travels. You will gain much more (and feel much better) by trying to understand the process by which you arrived at those decisions. How did you prepare? What influenced you? How might you improve your decision-making process? (Chapter 5)
  • Keep your eyes on spirit, relationships, and time (SRT): A final word below, which is not in the main text. It’s an added thought for anyone who makes it this far in the book. When championing a loonshot, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important, of why you are doing what you are doing. A little obsession can be good. Too much can backfire. What’s helped me, on occasion, to pull back from the edge—to create a more sustainable and productive level of obsession—is stepping back to think on SRT: spirit, relationships, and time.

Spirit

Some people find meaning in serving a higher power. Others find it in serving their country. Still others find it in providing for their families, or spreading joy, or helping others live better, freer lives. Everyone has a mission or noble purpose. William Faulkner, for example, spoke of the noble purpose of the writer and the poet:

I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. When diving deep into a project or career it’s easy for the head and the heart to stray to things that don’t matter. I began in the academic world, in which the noble purpose is to seek truth. I switched to the biotech world, with a mission to improve the lives of patients in need. Both worlds, like all pursuits, offer fool’s gold and true gold. Only by coming back to noble purpose could I tell the two apart.

Purpose feeds spirit, and spirit is the engine that keeps us going. It steadies us for the battles ahead.

Relationships

The support needed to survive the long tunnel of skepticism and uncertainty doesn’t come from things. It comes from people. Several years ago, a physician who treats the terminally ill shared an insight with me that had changed his life. In hundreds of end-of-life conversations, he said, he never once heard anyone speak about what kind of car they have in their driveway, or even what kind of driveway they have. They always spoke of family and loved ones. At the edge of obsession, relationships are often the first to go. But they are usually our most important need. When I catch myself making that mistake, I think back to those end-of-life conversations.

Time

The anxiety from championing a crazy idea, challenging experts, and facing repeated rejection can spill over into mindlessly filling a calendar. Completing urgent, but not important, tasks creates a sense of accomplishment and control. But time is our most precious resource, just as relationships are our most precious source of joy and support. We all juggle many balls, a wise friend named Philip Lader likes to say, but what makes all the difference is knowing which are made of rubber and which are made of glass. For me, the ones to handle with great care, to avoid dropping and losing forever, have always been spirit, relationships, and

Coming up with creative ideas

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1. An idea is a combination of other ideas.

Say it five times out loud. Say it to your cat. Yell it out your car window at strangers waiting for the bus. Every amazing creative thing you’ve ever seen or idea you’ve ever heard can be broken down into smaller ideas that existed before. An automobile? An engine and wheels. A telephone? Electricity and sound. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Peanut butter and chocolate. All great creative ideas, inventions, and theories are composed of other ideas. Why should you care? Because if you want to be a creator instead of a consumer, you must view existing ideas as fuel for your mind. You must stop seeing them as objects or functional things — they are combinations of ingredients waiting to be reused.

2. Filter out less ideas

One way to think of creative people is that they have more control over their fears — or less fear of embarrassment. They’re not necessarily smarter or more capable of coming up with good ideas, they simply filter out fewer ideas than the rest of us. Creativity has more to do with being fearless than intelligent or any other adjective superficially associated with it. This explains why many people feel more creative when drinking, on drugs, or late at night: these are all times when their inhibitions are lower, or at least altered, and they allow themselves to see more combinations of things than they do normally. Environment Creativity is personal. No book or expert can dictate how you can be more creative. You have to spend time paying attention to yourself: when do ideas come easiest to you? Are you alone? With friends? In a bar? At the beach? Are there times of day when you’re most relaxed? Is there music playing? Start paying attention to your rhythms and then construct your creative activities around them. To get all Emersonian on you, this is called self-knowledge:[189] you can’t be

Source: Myths of innovation

The war of art

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1. Rule of thumb: Th e more important a call or action is to our s o u l ‘ s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

Self doubt and fear are two indicators that tell you that what ever take you are afraid of is important to you and the growth of your soul

What makes a professional?

It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life. – Telamon of Arcadia,

  1. Work out of the love of the game

The professional, though he accepts money, does his work out of love. He has to love it. Otherwise he wouldn’t devote his life to it of his own free will.

2. Be Patient

The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work. He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. He accepts that. He recognizes it as reality.

3. Be Ordered

He will not tolerate disorder. He eliminates chaos from his world in order to banish it from his mind. He wants the carpet vacuumed and the threshold swept

4. Craft not art

A pro views her work as craft, not art. Not because she believes art is devoid of a mystical dimension. On the contrary. She understands that all creative endeavor is holy, but she doesn’t dwell on it. She knows if she thinks about that too much, it will paralyze her. So she concentrates on technique. The professional masters how, and leaves what and why to the gods.

The sign of the amateur is overglorification of and preoccupation with the mystery.

The professional shuts up. She doesn’t talk about it. She does her work.

5. Fear can never be overcome, act in the face of fear

The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist

6. Get today’s work done today

The professional has learned better. He respects Resistance. He knows if he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he’ll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow.

7. Be realistic

The professional conducts his business in the real world. Adversity, injustice, bad hops and rotten calls, even good breaks and lucky bounces all comprise the ground over which the campaign must be waged. The field is level, the professional understands, only in heaven.

8. Stays prepared

The professional prepares mentally to absorb blows and to deliver them. His aim is to take what the day gives him. He is prepared to be prudent and prepared to be reckless, to take a beating when he has to, and to go for the throat when he can. He understands that the field alters every day. His goal is not victory (success will come by itself when it wants to) but to handle himself, his insides, as sturdily and steadily as he can.

9. Masters technique

The professional dedicates himself to mastering technique not because he believes technique is a substitute for inspiration but because he wants to be in possession of the full arsenal of skills when inspiration does come.

10. Asks for help

Tiger Woods is the consummate professional. It would never occur to him, as it would to an amateur, that he knows everything, or can figure everything out on his own. On the contrary, he seeks out the most knowledgeable teacher and listens with both ears. The student of the game knows that the levels of revelation that can unfold in golf, as in any art, are inexhaustible.

11. Doesn’t take things personally

The professional cannot let himself take humiliation personally. Humiliation, like rejection and criticism, is the external reflection of internal Resistance.

The professional endures adversity. He lets the birdshit splash down on his slicker, remembering that it comes clean with a heavy-duty hosing. He himself, his creative center, cannot be buried, even beneath a mountain of guano. His core is bulletproof. Nothing can touch it unless he lets it.

12. Doesn’t take critics seriously

On accepting what it is

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1. It is what it is

“Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well.”

—EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION, 8

Something happened that we wish had not. Which of these is easiest to change: our opinion or the event that is past?

The answer is obvious. Accept what happened and change your wish that it had not happened. Stoicism calls this the “art of acquiescence”—to accept rather than fight every little thing.

And the most practiced Stoics take it a step further. Instead of simply accepting what happens, they urge us to actually enjoy what has happened.

Daily stoic

Tell your self if it didn’t happen, will I be where I am now. Or if did happen, something worse could have happened.

2. Give it your best and let it be

Before the battle strategize, plan and prepare. After that let it be, since now it is out of your hands and what will happen was meant to happen. And whatever that ends up being will be the best outcome for reasons beyond your understanding

On changing

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1. Drive out bad habits with good habits

“Since habit is such a powerful influence, and we’re used to pursuing our impulses to gain and avoid outside our own choice, we should set a contrary habit against that, and where appearances are really slippery, use the counterforce of our training. —EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.12.6

The same goes for us. When a bad habit reveals itself, counteract it with a commitment to a contrary virtue. For instance, let’s say you find yourself procrastinating today—don’t dig in and fight it. Get up and take a walk to clear your head and reset instead. If you find yourself saying something negative or nasty, don’t kick yourself. Add something positive and nice to qualify the remark.

Oppose established habits, and use the counterforce of training to get traction and make progress. If you find yourself cutting corners during a workout or on a project, say to yourself: “OK, now I am going to go even further or do even better.”

Good habits have the power to drive out bad habits. And habits are easy to pick up—as we all know.

Daily stoic

On influence/ leadership

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  1. Behavior is always a better example than a lecture.

2. If you manage people based on title or your position, they will give you the least amount of energy. In order to change that, you will need to build rapport with them, so that they allow you to influence them

3. Good leaders, know how to create momentum. Even though it takes a lot of energy to develop momentum, it will take care of 80% of your problems

4. 80% of how productive an employee is based on their own self . You can improve on what you have but it takes an extra ordinary amount of energy to change people and or is not recommended. To get a great workforce, hire the right people, observe their strengths and put them on the right roles based on their strengths

5. Sometimes you need feel the pain and sting of defeat to activate the real passion and purpose that God predestined inside of you

On forgiveness

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1. Don’t seek revenge

The best way to avenge yourself is to not be like that.” MARCUS AURELIUS, M EDITATIONS, 6.6

Let’s say that someone has treated you rudely. Let’s say someone got promoted ahead of you because they took credit for your work or did something dishonest. It’s natural to think: Oh, that’s how the world works, or One day it will be my turn to be like that. Or most common: I’ll get them for this. Except these are the worst possible responses to bad behavior.

As Marcus and Seneca both wrote, the proper response—indeed the best revenge—is to exact no revenge at all. If someone treats you rudely and you respond with rudeness, you have not done anything but prove to them that they were justified in their actions. If you meet other people’s dishonesty with dishonesty of your own, guess what? You’re proving them right—now everyone is a liar.

Instead, today, let’s seek to be better than the things that disappoint or hurt us. Let’s try to be the example we’d like others to follow. It’s awful to be a cheat, to be selfish, to feel the need to inflict pain on our fellow human beings. Meanwhile, living morally and well is quite nice.

Daily stoic

On patience and letting things go

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1. More than often it is better to hold your tongue

“Better to trip with the feet than with the tongue.”ZENO, QUOTED IN DIOGENES LAERTIUS, LIVES OF THE EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS, 7.1.26

You can always get up after you fall, but remember, what has been said can never be unsaid.

Especially cruel and hurtful things

2. Definition of anger

Anger can be broken down into three stages

1. Anger: the feeling that arises when someone provokes you

  • The feeling cannot be controlled, but the situation can be put into perspective to empathize with the person who provoked you
  • Usually, people who misbehave do it out of ignorance

2. Rage: how you deal with that feeling when you are provoked

  • How you react, can and must be controlled. Don’t do something purely as an emotional response
  • Controlling your emotions show a man with character

3. Resentment: how long you stay angry after you react to the provocation

    Resentment is like holding a burning coal in your hand, the only person you are burning is yourself. And the longer you hold onto resentment, the only person you are damaging is yourself
    The best way to forgive and let go; the energy can be better deployed to do other great things

3. Raat gai baat gai

There a famous saying in Pakistan “Raat gai Baat hai” which literally translates to when the night is over the thing you are upset about is as well.

Take it one day at a time, and add the closes so should the grievances associated with that be over with them as well

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