The 3 Levels of Employees: Level 1 — You do what you are asked to do. Level 2 — Level 1 + You think ahead and solve problems before they happen. Level 3 — Level 2 + You proactively look for areas of opportunity and growth in the business, and figure out how to tap into them.
How to generate great ideas as a team: 1) Brainstorm privately. Any idea goes. Avoids groupthink. 2) Compile ideas, but hide the sources. Avoids "highest paid person" winning. 3) Discuss as a group to find the best answer. 4) Reveal the winner so the right person gets credit.
In business, you'll learn more by making friends with peers who are two steps ahead of you than you will from mentors. In life, you'll learn more by making friends with someone who is two decades older than you than you will from peers.
Most people consider what is possible and then decide what result they want to create. Entrepreneurs decide what result they want to create and then consider what is possible. Start with your vision and deal with reality—not the reverse.
The 4 qualities of a great career: 1) I enjoy it 2) I’m good at it 3) I make good money 4) I’m around fascinating people Answer in reverse order: 1) Where are fascinating people? 2) In what ways can I make money with them? 3) Which ones am I good at? 4) Which ones do I enjoy?
When negotiating, I have a habit of softening my request by adding a second option to the end of my question. “Can you offer a discount—or is that not possible?” Skip the last part. Ask only for what you want. It’s not your job to help them say no. “Can you offer a discount?”
People are free when they can move. Ideas are free when they can travel. The way to increase freedom is to increase movement. Technologies that move people increase physical freedom: bike, car, plane. Technologies that move ideas increase mental freedom: book, phone, internet.
A brief guide to success 1) Lots of research. Explore widely and see what is possible. 2) Lots of iterations. Focus on one thing, but do it in different ways. Refine your method. 3) Lots of repetitions. Stick with your method until it stops working. Research. Iterate. Repeat.
Reduce the scale, not your standards. Aspire to do exceptional work and apply that standard to everything. Book. Article. Tweet. Doesn't matter the size. In the long run, your brand is the quality of work you do. Sacrifice quality—anywhere—and you sacrifice the brand.
Build a small team of exceptional people. Recruit exceptional employees. Hire exceptional freelancers. Work with exceptional partners. Always seek to work with the best and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Great people want to work with you because great people already do.
Stay small even if you can afford to be big. The more people you have on the team, the harder it is to get everyone rowing in the same direction. The cost of consensus is more expensive than the cost of payroll.
Be easy to work with. Nobody wants to add friction to their life. Make sure each relationship you build is a win for the other side. Win-win is the only kind of relationship that is sustainable.
The Paradox of Focus: Moving boldly in one direction not only increases your odds of getting there, but also increases your odds of picking up unexpected rewards along the way. Make the most of one opportunity and more opportunities come your way. To get more, focus on less.
We need to redefine "hard work" to include "hard thinking." The person who outsmarts you is out working you. The person who finds shortcuts is out working you. The person with a better strategy is out working you. Usually, the hardest work is thinking of a better way to do it.
1. Do great work. 2. Share it publicly. 3. Cold email people 2 steps ahead of you. 4. Talk about your work and trade ideas. 5. Host events and meet in-person. 6. Become friends. 7. Rise together.
A lesson I learned while playing baseball: Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean it was the wrong choice. Maybe you get a bad hop. Maybe the other guy makes a great play. Good decisions can have bad outcomes. The world is full of probabilities, not certainties.
The more you learn, the likelier you are to become famous. The more you do, the likelier you are to become rich. The more you pause, the likelier you are become peaceful. The more you help, the likelier you are to evolve.