32nd Edition — September 15, 2019
If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end.
Jeff Bezos as told to the New York Post
1. Financial Statement Order
Monthly, I meet with one of my favorite CEOs named Bill who runs a professional services firm generating a top line of nearly $50 million annually. We go through many reports, financial and non-financial. The first 5 to 10 pages are P&Ls. Yet, we spend a great deal of time on the balance sheets, working capital, LOC analysis, and cash flow reporting.
Which report do you include first in your company? Do you even present balance sheets? How about cash flows? If you are presented the numbers by the finance team monthly, ask them about the reasoning for their order priority.
In 2017, the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business learned from 400 public companies that the lead-in financial statement is typically the balance sheet. Surprised? You can read/scan the report here.
2. Looking for a Good Book List?
I’m always eager to see the top business books listed by the Financial Times whom they collaborate with McKinsey and their Business Book of the Year. The winners go back to 2005. Scroll down and you’ll see the 2019 top books which include Range and Loonshots, two of my favorites this year.
In the 2018 section of the same page, I’ll be reading Damaged Goods later this year, the story of one of Britain’s biggest business scandals.
Be forewarned. That book section on the Financial Times website is addicting.
3. Should We Read About Business Failure?
This week, I wrote a couple of Quora answers about business failure. In one answer, I mentioned that one of The Home Depot founders, Bernie Marcus, insisted that every executive in his company read The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears.
“I wanted our people to read that book so that they understood how important our core business is,” Marcus said. When The Home Depot hired its first in-house attorney, he was required to be in the stores for 2 months because one of the Sears CEOs hated to be in their retail locations.
Speaking of business failure, do you believe Bezos when he says Amazon will ultimately fall? “Amazon will go bankrupt one day,” he told The New York Post. He says the key to staying alive is to obsess over customers. Interesting read.
4. In the Book Queue
I have a short wall of heroes that you can only find on my hard drive. One of the people listed is Teri Walden of Columbia, Missouri who has given the past few years of her life to serving young men and women with autism. Specifically, the non-profit that she runs teaches and trains those on the autism spectrum so that they can be better prepared for technology jobs and other positions.
Accordingly, I’m finally going to be reading at least one book by Temple Grandin. Being a conative Fact Finder, I’m sure that I’ll be watching the 2010 movie about her and scores of interviews she’s given when I’m finished. I think I’ll start with Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World.
5. Turn Off the Music?
When I write, I like to listen to non-lyric music (mainly the classics) on a Bose Bluetooth speaker which I have in all of my offices. I know a few developers for a couple of tech companies that I work with wear earbuds listening to their favorite sounds while coding away. But does listening to music while working poison our productivity?
According to this 2016 Atlantic article, silence is golden. You might want to have your surgeon read this article too before she drills into your skull. Yes, the author mentions this, seriously.
Thank You For Reading. Holy cow! Two weeks ago, the open rate for this newsletter passed 60%. A gazillion thanks for opening reading/scanning a few lines that hopefully take your A-Game to a whole new level.
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.