Jun 20th, 2020

Pragmatism and Poetry

The other day a dear friend of mine asked me about a post he thought I had written about how you need to run your company between stories and spreadsheets. Turns out, I never wrote that. But it is, indeed, a very good point. And one which reminded me of a line we used at Mozilla all the time: Pragmatism and Poetry. Stories and Spreadsheets.

See, you need both to be successful. Stories are what fuels the imagination and thus gives you, your people, your customers, and your stakeholders the path forward. Or as Ron Sheik, founder of Panera Bread, once told me: “Our approach has always been to discover today what matters tomorrow and then to transform the company into a future that is unfolding before us.” — to do so, you need story. Poetry.

But no company runs on poetry alone. And the best ones are the ones which run like a Swiss clockwork. Where the spreadsheets are not there to satisfy some desire for order and/or control but to provide crystal clear insight and understanding. Pragmatism.

The art is to balance the two. To bring together what feels, oftentimes, at odds. We call this a polarity. And as luck has it, we are running a live online workshop on managing polarities and thus the tension between things like pragmatism and poetry (and also speed versus quality, or core and edge, or any other two poles which seem at odds with each other) on June 30th at 8am PDT / 5pm CEST. Come and join us…

Jun 14th, 2020

Be Known (or be Nothing)

A few days ago, at a Learning Exchange we did with a client, one of the participants mentioned a video from Simon Sinek (of “Start With Why”-fame) to me. It is a recording of an internal team meeting where he talks about “These Are Not Unprecedented Times”. It’s a good prep talk. But that is not my point.

Watch the video and you will see him talk repeatedly about “the infinite mindset”...

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Jun 1st, 2020

This Too Shall Pass

The other day I watched a standup comedy on Amazon Prime where the Indian-born comedian made fun of the Persian adage “This too shall pass”. During his routine he commented on the fact that this sentiment is meant to remind us that not only the bad things will pass (as I heard many people use this phrase in the context of COVID-19) but we also have to realize that the good things are temporary,...

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May 28th, 2020

Get Your PhD in Leadership in 30 Seconds

Dee Hock, architect of payment juggernaut VISA, inventor of chaordic organizations and visionary-extraordinaire once summarized his most important leadership advice as:

Make a careful list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don’t do them to others, ever. Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.

It truly summarizes a PhD in leadership in four short sentences.

Mulling this over, it...

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May 16th, 2020

The Future of (Most) Everything

Prof Scott Galloway (of No Mercy / No Malice) recently made some pretty bleak predictions about the future of higher-ed in light of COVID-19. The tl;dr: As classes move online, campuses enforce social distancing and the whole allure of a $100,000 have-as-much-fun-as-possible while building a network-for-life essentially gone, money will dry up for colleges. This will lead to a dying of the middle (here it is again, our hourglass economics model)....

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May 12th, 2020

Competition vs Customers

It has been a while…

COVID-19 ripped through my life most likely very similar to what it did for yours: It went from 💩 to 😝 to 😱 to… you get the picture (or emoji)?

Now let’s resume (somewhat) regular programming.

The amazing Kevin Kelly recently turned 68. In best KK fashion he posted a list of 68 bits of unsolicited advice.

Pretty much in the middle you will find this:

You...

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Apr 6th, 2020

Now, Next and Beyond

Let me start with the most important question: How are you doing?

As many of you, I find myself in a “💩 is hitting the fan”-moment of epic proportions. And we are truly he lucky ones — we have a business which, I expect, will make it through these batshit crazy times; we have enough money in the bank to keep paying our employees for the short- and mid-term. It’s hard, but it will be...

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Mar 12th, 2020

This Too Shall Pass

Heretics — it has been a little while since our last dispatch. We have been insanely busy building be radical — including the launch of a revamped version of our radical Briefing (for which you should sign up here; the radical Briefing is a monthly easy-to-read email digest on the future of business — covering ‘radical’ news, research, lessons, people, and ideas).

And then COVID-19 happened.

Much has been written about the virus, its...

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Feb 12th, 2020

Are You Working on the Right Thing?

Together with many, many others I regularly put my finger on the pulse of ProductHunt to explore which products and services are new, hot and trending. Going through the list of “next favorite things,” one can only wonder what the rationale behind quite a few of the listed products is. Clearly some of them are meant to be a personal project or a side hustle — but quite a few seem to aspire to be...

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Feb 3rd, 2020

Should I Stay or Should I Go

On June 10th, 1982 the English punk rock band The Clash released their namesake No. 1 hit single asking the age-old question “Should I Stay or Should I Go”.

In many ways it is the same question startup founders all over the world ask themselves from time to time: Should I continue to work on my startup or should I give up?

The other day a founder posed this exact question to me. I...

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