11 – April 21, 2019
“We are all born into the world with nothing. Everything we acquire after that is profit” – Sam Ewing, former MLB outfielder
1. What I’m Reading
Are you a buyer, a seller, or someone constantly pitching ideas?
I finished Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss–excellent!
If you listen to the book (I did), you’ll either want to listen to it again or read it so that you can capture notes and key points. Voss teaches us about mirroring, tactical empathy, getting the other person to say ‘no,’ using the F-bomb (not the word that comes to mind), and other skills leading to a successful resolution through true stories. Great book.
Remember, take notes. These are skills that will be with you for a lifetime.
2. What I’m Learning
I’ve read several books about Henry Ford and his own autobiography. I would not have enjoyed working for the man. However, I learned that Lean was not innovated 20 to 30 years ago or originated in Japanese manufacturing. The first Ford plants were lean machines pumping out hundreds of automobiles a day. They didn’t talk Lean; they lived Lean.
I’m being reminded of this fact while reading Freedom’s Forge by Herman. A few weeks ago, I mentioned the impossibility of the American colonists beating a more powerful and skilled enemy. They needed help from mother nature and the French to prevail.
Similarly, after reading the introduction and preface of Freedom’s Forge, I’m now wondering how the U.S. was able to prepare for World War II. For instance, Patton had to buy nuts and bolts from a Sears catalog for a tank division he was training. The remaining pages will tell its readers how an unprepared nation met the challenge.
3. What I’m Reading Beyond Books
I follow Taylor Pearson’s writing on his blog. This week, I read 8 Ways to Read 60 Books a Year. He nailed it.
4. What I’m Listening To
I started using Smartsheet the year after the online project management tool was released. For sentimental reasons only, I bought some of their post-IPO stock last year. To keep up with the company, I listened to Mark Mader’s (the CEO) last earnings call, which I found insightful and interesting.
Twenty-plus years ago, I read hundreds of annual reports and probably kept more than 500 at any given time in my basement for reference. I enjoyed scanning, skimming, and reading the MD&As from CEOs and Chairmans of these companies. Looking back, that learning was foundational in my finance career, which continues to evolve.
Likewise, earnings calls give us glimpses into a CEO’s vital few, key numbers, and whether or not their strategies are working. The Q&A sessions are just as fascinating. Still, you’ll need to have your BS filter on alert.
5. Homework Assignment
Pick your favorite industry, and then find a favorite company in that industry. Head over to Seeking Alpha, and sign up for a free account. Type in the ticker of that favorite company and read a recent earnings call (you can only read the transcripts with a free account). Do that 2-3 times, and your thinking on strategy and the vital few will begin to shift.
Thank you for reading. If you like the above and the posts at CFO Bookshelf, may I ask a favor? Feel free to share this with other readers and comment on your favorite blog posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
Take care, and have a great week. Always be learning.