33rd Edition — September 22, 2019
Epiphanies are rare. And when they appear in origin stories, they’re often oversimplified or just plain false.”
Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix
1. Did You Love The Phoenix Project?
A few years ago, I listened to The Phoenix Project and probably spent more on gas than the book by several times. I kept going home the long way to maximize my listening time of this highly-entertaining novel about an IT team in jeopardy of losing their jobs to an outsourced staff on a faraway continent.
I just pre-ordered the co-author’s new book, The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data. Both books are not just for IT folks – all of us will get something useful from the stories.
2. Tilman Fertitta Who?
How is it possible that I have not heard of this billionaire? He’s ranked 394th on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires and is the author of Shut Up and Listen! Hard Business Truths That Will Help You Succeed. Tilman is a no-nonsense, non-pretentious business person who gives advice in easy and simple terms.
I gave him a mental standing ovation in chapter 6 when he wrote, “Nothing bothers me more than an entrepreneur who doesn’t know his or her numbers.”
“Knowing your numbers inside and out doesn’t stop with the numbers themselves. It’s also essential that you put them in perspective, so you know whether your numbers are where they should be.”
3. Terrible Business Ideas to a Decent Idea to Dialing It In
Scott Hedrick is the founder and President of Pro Athlete, Inc. and probably one of the coolest business leaders I’ve ever met. One of his favorite terms is ‘dialing it in’ when improving a process. Those three words came to mind as I was reading the account of how Netflix came to life. On car rides to the office with (the) Reed Hastings, Marc Randolph kept pitching business ideas to his mentor, many of which were just terrible.
I appreciate what Randolph says about ideas as I sense that some founders ‘try’ too hard. “The best ideas rarely come on a mountaintop in a flash of lightning. They don’t even come to you on the side of a mountain, when you’re stuck in traffic behind a sand truck. They make themselves apparent more slowly, gradually, over weeks and months. And in fact, when you finally have one, you might not realize it for a long time.”
Randolph’s book is entitled That Will Never Work and chapter 2 is a gem as readers observe how a seed of an idea comes to life.
4. Getting Lean
I have a manufacturing client that’s somewhat of a rugged individualist as in, “I do things my way.” But he’s finally starting to adopt lean management principles albeit slowly. Accordingly, to get my head back into the game, I’ve been re-reading Who’s Counting by Solomon, a business novel about lean.
The dialogue is a bit forced and even cheesy at times, but the message is solid if this is new territory for you. Chapter 15 is the best discussion I’ve ever read on the follies of full absorption costing.
5. No One is Average
This week I’ll start a book where I’m already hooked. Yesterday, I previewed about 20 minutes of The End of Average – How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness, a book I’ll probably be giving every family member for Christmas in a few months. Todd Rose appears to have written a book that’s as mind-stretching and sticky like Range and Loonshots. I promise I’ll share a few notes on this book next week.
Thank You For Reading
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.