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Library

Below is the visual library for all the books I have summarized
To access the searchable library, click here

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519MS8HD0CL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_  1152-2 0399139435 41SNnGFamQL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_   51EOw3BYhrL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51fIjlYbsVL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51g8CrvBr8L._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_ 51pmlYf63+L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_ 51T7HIMnjvL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51y+hZEulnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Fooled_by_Randomness_Paperback  Steve_Jobs_by_Walter_Isaacson the-fountainhead  tumblr_mzf8b0ZtUv1tq3nx5o1_1280  WceGgDUNlCA8RPHOz66AbHHs4RI12Vqg+OoBRGBrKx2plCphEkAr3aizNSRpuGHkIoDZcS4gLRs3LNNbucM2tzHjr1b6gOv!JK2gG4iMspVQ5iDKyCBWtzAWMsmQ+7PK41cpg1ESArL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 41OLNqCiM0L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 41ujSlRdt3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51dOQ2ytN-L._SX374_BO1,204,203,200_  51mF+0T9o5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_  51oHuRxOgIL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_ 51q71sE7c5L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ 51xwPegEzlL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_ 51Z6PrTDb4L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 413fr2eoPPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 416qS30-lQL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_ 830 23289992 Organized-Mind 9900241KHCQnx1EL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51aUygppA+L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51cx5AfHpZL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_ 51ETE8NqvcL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_ 51kbKLCazgL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_ 51XkLHJz++L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 71ahJkud8uL 71X3Y9yRtlL 81wBzBcSclL 857333 littlebets  prophet-cover_1_op_397x548 Screen-Shot-2015-09-14-at-2.22.25-PMreagan-151fc0+DDh9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51iuMfmHHHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 51tkKRzS5YL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ 51xrAg9mceL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ FINDING-ULTRA-COVER-FINAL1  TheBoysintheBoat9780812993257 How_We_Decide_cover  OmnivoresDilemma_full  brothers k Happiness-Hypothesis unbroken-crjpg-ce0987f837463333  mans_search_for_meaning  simplicity  9781571745712 81B9+kACYLL BotanyofDesire_full 300x300 cn_image.size.swerve-book rise of superman  year-without-pants-752x1128  getting to yes 51V38NLW5zL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ TheIntelligentInvestor 51XcaFJirNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Jesus  BP Diet  Zorba_book Flowers for Algernon  1776 Auto of Black Hawk Genghis Khan Making Onward God Delusion Moonwalking_with_einstein Stroke of Insight Einstein Isaacson Siddhartha Titan fooling super brain Lila Meditations Fahrenheit 451  On the Road   Cooked On the Shortness of Life What every body is saying Aleph Animal Farm Sports Gene Love WinsBorn to Run  Emotional Intelligence Cool Tools Sun also rises Inutition Pumps  Moby Dick  Free to Choose  Power of Positive Thinking Experiments with Truth Vagabonding Slaughterhouse Five Aristotle in Outline the social animal_3.indd Cat's Cradle Thinking Fast and Slow  The Alchemist  Walden  Art of War  The Charisma Myth  Flatland  Mr. Feynman Money master the game 51qwpkjNP7L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_  7126 41ry6MoUc3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 51JNMx5G3iL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Berkshire 51K28NKVF3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ 1984-by-opallynn-d4lnuoh 6596 17184 cover2 cvr9781451695182_9781451695182_hr Mastery_Cover movieposter PicofDorianGray-728143 Rye_catcher subliminal_seduction  TheJungleSinclair  The-Richest-Man-In-Babylon-George-Clason Continue reading

A Treatise on Efficacy

This book ties together so many recent themes for me – Werner’s effortless mastery, strategy, philosophy, psychology, and more.

A book well worth reading and re-reading. One of my all time favorites

A Treatise on Efficacy

Propaganda by Edward Bernays

Summary
  1. Edward Bernays is the father of propaganda and this book takes a deep look into how governments, corporations, “people behind the scenes” control how we think and act using Bernay’s principles. This manual of mass manipulation provides a detailed examination of how public discourse and opinion are shaped and controlled in politics, business, art, education, and science, making it an essential read for all who wish to understand how power is used by the ruling elite of our society. (I stumbled on this book after watching Century of the Self – a bit dark and disturbing but educational if you’re interested in this space)
Key Takeaways
  1. Background and Fundamentals of Propaganda
    1. Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea, or group.
    2. The first mass use of propaganda was for WWI and it forever changed business and government, making public relations scientific for the first time. The “manufacture of consent” was needed in the public sphere in order to get buy in for the war and for people to sign up to fight
    3. Only through the active energy of the intelligent few can the public at large become aware of and act upon new ideas
    4. An entire party, a platform, an international policy is sold to the public, or is not sold, on the basis of the intangible element of personality
    5. The public relations expert seeks to make a gradual impression, after long research and sober planning. In the hearts of such methodical manipulators there would seem to be no streak of mad commitment, as their enterprise is not infuriating and millenial but businesslike, mundane, and rational. And yet those who do such work are also prone to lose touch with reality; for in their universe the truth is ultimately whatever the client wants the world to think is true. Whatever cause they serve or goods they sell, effective propagandists must believe in it – or at least momentarily believe that they believe in it. Even he or she who propagates commodities must be to some extent a true believer. To advertise a product you must believe in it. To convince, you must be convinced yourself.
    6. The counsel on public relations, after he has examined all these and other factors, endeavors to shape the actions of his client so that they will gain the interest, the approval, and the acceptance of the public. The means by which the public is apprised of the actions of his client are as varied as the means of communication themselves, such as conversation, letters, the stage, the motion picture, the radio, the lecture platform, the magazine, the daily newspaper. The counsel on public relations is not an advertising man but he advocates advertising where that is indicated.
    7. The whole basis of successful propaganda is to have an objective and then to endeavor to arrive at it through an exact knowledge of the public and modifying circumstances to manipulate and sway the public
    8. Father’s of propaganda – Bernays, Trotter, Le Bon, Wallas, Lippman
    9. No matter how sophisticated, how cynical the public may become about publicity methods, it must respond to the basic appeals, because it will always need food, crave amusement, long for beauty, respond to leadership. If the public becomes more intelligent in its commercial demands, commercial firms will meet the new standards. If it becomes weary of the old methods used to persuade it to accept a given idea or commodity, its leaders will present their appeals more intelligently. Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos.
    10. Men do not need to be actually gathered together in a public meeting or in a street riot, to be subject to the influences of mass psychology. Because man is by nature gregarious, he feels himself to be member of a herd, even when he is alone in his room with the curtains drawn. His mind retains the patterns which have been stamped on it by the group influences. Trotter and Le Bon concluded that the group mind does not think in the strict sense of the word.  In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions. In making up its mind, its first impulse is usually to follow the example of a trusted leader. This is one of the most firmly established principles of mass psychology. It operates in establishing the rising or diminishing prestige of a summer resort, in causing a run on the bank, or a panic in the stock exchange, in creating a best-seller, or a box-office success. But when the example of the leader is not at hand and the herd must think for itself, it does so by means of cliches, pat words or images which stand for a whole group of ideas or experiences.
    11. Men are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions. The successful propagandaist must understand the true motives and not be content to accept the reasons which men give for what they do. It is not sufficient to understand only the mechanical structure of society, the groupings and cleavages and loyalties.
    12. Instead of removing sales resistance by direct attack, the propagandaist is interested in removing sales resistance. He creates circumstances which will swing emotional currents so as to make for purchaser demand. The modern propagandaist therefore sets to work to create circumstances which will modify the custom. He appeals perhaps to the home instinct which is fundamental. The interests of the client, service, product, idea, etc. and the communities which it impacts mutually interact and feed one another. The ideas of the new propaganda are predicated on sound psychology based on enlightened self-interest.
    13. Propaganda’s great enemy is inertia
    14. Continuous interpretation is achieved by trying to control  every approach to the public mind in such a manner that the public receives the desired impression, often without being conscious of it. High-spotting, on the other hand, vividly seizes the attention of the public and fixes it upon some detail or aspect which is typical of the entire enterprise. When a real estate corporation which is erecting a tall office building makes it ten feet taller than the highest skyscraper in existence, that is dramatization
    15. There is no detail too trivial to influence the public in a favorable or unfavorable sense
    16. Public relations should often be put in the hands of an outsider for the correct approach to a problem may be indirect
    17. Propaganda may be abused, it may be used to over-advertise an institution and to create in the public mind artificial values. There can be no absolute guarantee against its misuse
    18. The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
    19. Napoleon was ever on the watch for indications of public opinion; always listening to the voice of the people, a voice which defies calculation. “Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The impotence of force to organize anything.”
  2. Propaganda in Government
    1. Governments, whether they are monarchical, constitutional, democratic, or communist, depend upon acquiescent public opinion for the success of their efforts and, in fact, government is government only by virtue of public acquiescence. Public opinion is the unacknolwedged partner in all broad efforts
    2. Nowadays the successors of the rulers, those whose position or ability gives them power, can no longer do what they want without the approval of the masses, they find in propaganda a tool which is increasingly powerful in gaining that approval
    3. Democracy is administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses
    4. There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes. Now, what is still more important, the extent to which our thoughts and habits are modified by authorities. In some departments of our daily life, in which we imagine ourselves free agents, we are ruled by dictators exercising great power. Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government
    5. Propaganda is of no use to the politician unless he has something to say which the public, consciously or unconsciously wants to hear
  3. Propaganda in Media
    1. The media by which special pleaders transmit their messages to the public through propaganda include all the means by which people today transmit their ideas to one another. There is no means of human communication which may not also be a means of deliberate propaganda, because propaganda is simply the establishing of reciprocal understanding between an individual and a group. The important point to the propagandaist is that the relative value of the various instruments of propaganda, and their relation to the masses, are constantly changing. If he is to get full reach of his message he must take advantage of these shifts of value the instant they occur. The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation. Because pictures are made to meet market demands, they reflect, emphasize and even exaggerate broad popular tendencies, rather than stimulate new ideas and opinions. The motion picture avails itself only of ideas and facts which are in vogue. As the newspaper seeks to purvey news, it seeks to purvey entertainment. Another instrument of propaganda is the personality.
  4. Propaganda in Business
    1. Business realize that its relationship to the public is not confined to the manufacture and sale of a given product, but includes at the same time the selling of itself and of all those things for which it stands in the public mind. To make customers is the new problem. One must understand not only his own business – the manufacture of a particular product – but also the structure, the personality, the prejudices, of a potentially universal public. Modern business must study on what terms the partnership can be made amicable and mutually beneficial. It must explain itself, its aims, its objectives, to the public in terms which the public can understand and is willing to accept. The relationship between business and the public can be healthy only if it is the relationship of give and take
    2. Big business studies every move which may express its true personality. It seeks to tell the public, in all appropriate ways, by the direct advertising message and by the subtlest aethetic suggestion, the quality of the goods or services which it has to offer. A store which seeks a large sales volume in cheap goods will preach prices day in and day out, concentrating its whole appeal on the ways in which it can save money for its clients. But a store seeking a high margin of profit on individual sales would try to associate itself with the distinguished and the elegant, whether by an exhibition of old masters or through the social activities of the owner’s wife. The public relations activities of a business cannot be protective coloring to hide its real aims. It is bad business as well as bad morals to feature exclusively a few high-class articles, when the main stock is of medium grade or cheap, for the general impression given is a false one. A sound public relations policy will not attempt to stampede the public with exaggerated claims and false pretenses, but to interpret the individual business vividly and truly through every avenue that leads to public opinion.
      1. Lateral networks, who the customer cares about impressing, is so important
    3. Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion
  5. Edward Bernays
    1. He sold the myth of propaganda as a wholly rational endeavor, carried out methodically by careful experts skilled enough to lead “public opinion.” Consistently he casts himself as a supreme manipulator, mastering the responses of a pliable, receptive population. Conscious and intelligent manipulation, invisible governors, they who pull the wires which control the public mind, shrewd persons operating behind the scenes, dictators exercising great power, and, below them, people working as if actuated by the touch of a button – these are but a few expressions of the icy scientific paradigm that evidently drove his propaganda practice, and that colored all his thinking on the subject. The propagandaist rules. The propagandized do whatever he would have them do, exactly as he tells them to, and without knowing it.
    2. His vision seems quite modest. The world informed by “public relations” will be but a smoothly functioning society, where all of us are guided imperceptibly throughout our lives by a benign elite of rational manipulators. As the population has grown and whose members – by and large incapable of lucid thought or clear perception, driven by herd instincts and mere prejudice, and frequently disoriented by external stimuli – were not equipped to make decisions or engage in rational discourse. “Democracy” therefore requires a supra-governmental body of detached professionals to sift the data, think things through, and keep the national enterprise from blowing up or crashing to a halt
    3. He had no equal as a propaganda strategist. Always thinking far ahead, his aim was not to urge the buyer to demand the product now, but to transform the buyer’s very world, so that the product must appear to be desirable as if without the prod of salesmanship. What is the prevailing custom, and how might that be changed to make this thing or that appear to recommend itself to people? The modern propagandaist sets to work to create circumstances which will modify that custom. Bernays sold Mozart pianos, for example, not just by hyping the pianos. Rather, he sought carefully to develop public acceptance of the idea of a music room in the home – selling the pianos indirectly, through various suggestive trends and enterprises that make it de rigeur to have the proper space for a piano. The music room will be accepted because it has been made the thing. And the man or woman who has a music room, or has arranged a corner of the parlor as a music room, will naturally think of buying a piano. It will come to him as his own idea
      1. Must think of the customers’ lateral networks and how they influence the buying decisions, downstream effects…
    4. In his universe, it is pre-eminent consensus which determines what is true
What I got out of it
  1. Quite scary how this one man and his ideas impacted generations of people, companies, movements and ideas. Becoming aware of these principles can help you guard against them if needed. I think the context in which this was written is also important to keep in mind. People are rarely truly aware of what drives them to act and make the decisions that they do and, because of human nature, this is unlikely to change – although the medium may differ

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

Summary
  1. Studying algorithms and how they might be implemented to help us better solve every day problems. Thinking about human cognition and behavior through this computer science lens helps shed light on how we think, why we make the mistakes we make, why and how we have such incredible computational powers, and what rationality really means. We can learn how to make the best decisions given the limited knowledge, time and other resources we have and how to do it with imperfect insights all while dealing with yourself and other messy people. Many problems are intractable but these algorithms will at least give you a jumping off point to begin.
Key Takeaways
  1. Master key algorithm for getting stuff done
    1. Earliest due date and shortest processing time is the master key to determining what to work on and in what order. Work on what has the highest value when importance is divided by completion time. Something must be twice as important if it takes twice as long.
    2. If all you want to do is get through tasks and reduce your to do list, do those things you can accomplish quickest first.  There are many algorithms to follow, it all depends on what your goal is and what you want to maximize.
  2. The Optimal Stopping Problem
    1. These cases you should have two phases: a looking phase where you commit for a certain period of time (usually 1/3 of the total amount of time you’re willing to look) and then a leap phase where you take anything that’s better than what you’ve seen during the look phase
    2. If there is some objective criteria you could set, you can then create a threshold and anyone or anything above the threshold should be accepted
    3. Our time horizon or the intervals of which were looking at strongly determine how much we explore and try new things and how much we exploit – going back to well known favorites. Since the interval determines the strategy we can also determine the strategy from the interval. An overload of sure things such as sequels is a good signal of short-termism.
    4. Optimism is the best solution for regret and we should give people, things, and experiences the benefit of the doubt because we don’t know their upper bound – how good they can be – because we don’t have enough information yet. You should be willing to explore when there’s not enough information to make a reasonable conclusion. However, in real life people tend to over-explore and not know when to lean towards the optimal solution. Win – stay, lose – shift
    5. Older people tend to have fewer social connections but that’s because they have refined over decades the type of people they want to spend time with and that naturally seems to decrease over time. This ties together our explore / exploit phenomenon because younger people who have a longer time frame are more on the explore phase and older people with a more finite time frame are in the exploit phase. As you get older and switch from seeking pleasure from exploitation versus exploring, your quality of life will necessarily improve as you are going back to well-known favorites more often
  3. A | B Testing
    1. Tinkering on an extreme scale is done today by some of the world’s largest companies to see what little tweaks between two options can cause. This iteration is done over millions of times per day so that the product/service/experience is ever improving, at least maximizing what is being measured and sought after. You can use this iteration mindset to make small changes and adjustments to your routine, habits, behaviors, thoughts, and see how it impacts you and others over time
  4. Sorting
    1. Fundamental lesson learned about sorting is that scale hurts.
    2. Simply by breaking tasks or projects down into more manageable units can sorting be reduced by multiples.
    3. However, the first question should be whether it needs to be sorted at all. Efficient sorting which is unnecessary is extremely inefficient and sometimes mess and disorder is the optimal solution
  5. Cache
    1. Keeping around pieces of information that you refer to often or anticipate needing shortly at hand so you can quickly retrieve it
    2. Keep things you use often in close physical proximity so that you can get them quickly
    3. It has been found in many different domains that events that have recently happened are more likely to happen in time and the longer it goes without happening the less likely it is to happen again (Lindy Effect)
  6. Over-Fitting
    1. Over fitting is when we try to use too much data too many factors into making our decisions and they not only make things more complex but actually lead to worse predictions and decisions. If there is high uncertainty and unlimited data, paint with a broad stroke and make it simple. Going into the nitty-gritty only hurts you
    2. It’s better to be approximately right then precisely wrong
  7. Other
    1. Procrastination is often associated with laziness but it can simply be that people lose sight of the important things and are racing through their tasks. They have the right strategy for getting things done but it is the wrong metric – favoring the easy over the meaningful
    2. Be aware of context switching costs. Flow and deep work sometimes takes an hour just to warm up and get into the flow and interrupting people or getting interrupted can ruin hours worth of work or more.
    3. There is a constant tension and trade off between throughput and responsiveness. If you’re too responsive you got nothing done and if you’re throughput is all you’re maximizing you’ll never respond to anyone.
    4. Thrashing is the point when your interrupted so often and have so much to do that you get no actual work done and at this point you can step back and reevaluate and often just do whatever you can get done and not worry about the optimal way to do it.
    5. Batching tasks and having set times to do things such as only looking at emails first thing in the morning and at night is a good way to keep from being interrupted too often
    6. You can become better at predicting by knowing if you’re dealing with power laws or normal distributions and the better information you have of course the better guess you can make. That’s why we are quite good at predicting how much longer a person can live for we know the general lifespan of people
    7. Our predictions tell us a lot about who we are because they’re based on our experiences.
    8. If you can’t explain things simply you don’t understand it well enough
    9. If you can’t solve a problem, relax the constraints and try to solve an easier version of the same problem to see if it gives you any clues or jumping off points for how to solve the real problem
    10. Exponential back off is a technique you can use when things fail or you don’t know how to proceed. For example, if people cancel their plans with you last minute wait a week to reschedule. If they cancel again, wait two weeks. Then four, etc…
    11. The first and only rule of hierarchy is that the hierarchy must be preserved
    12. The innovators dream is not a eureka moment but rather a situation that makes you say, “huh, that’s funny.”
    13. Seek games in which honesty is the ultimate policy and then just be yourself – Vickers Auction – where the winning bid pays only the second highest bid price
    14. Sometimes even the optimal strategy will yield bad outcomes which is why you must focus on process over outcome
    15. Sometimes good enough is simply good enough
What I got out of it
  1. Some good techniques and thought processes for how to make better decisions

Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin

Summary
  1. A compilation of some of Benjamin Franklin’s best sayings
Key Takeaways
  1. Make haste slowly
  2. Little strokes, fell great oaks
  3. The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise
  4. Necessity never made a good bargain
  5. Beware of the young doctor and the old barber
  6. ‘Tis easy to see, hard to fooresee
  7. Hear Reason, or she’ll make you feel her
  8. Observe all men; thyself most
  9. Well done is better than well said
  10. The things which hurt, instruct
  11. Search for others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices
  12. Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one
  13. People who are wrapped up in themselves make small packages
  14. A little house well fill’d, a little field well till’d, and a little wife well will’d, are great riches
  15. Where there’s marriage without love, there will be love without marriage
  16. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise
  17. Diligence is the mother of good luck
  18. If ou would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing
  19. ‘Tis easier to suppress the first Desire, than to satisfy all that follow it
  20. Content is the Philosopher’s Stone, that turns all it touches into Gold
  21. Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults
  22. A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough
  23. Vice knows she’s ugly, so puts on her Mask
  24. Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, supped with Infamy
  25. The doors of wisdom are never shut
  26. How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them!
  27. Who has deceiv’d thee so oft as thy self?
  28. Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it
  29. The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money
  30. Wish not so much to live long, as to live well
  31. Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others
  32. Wink at small faults – remember thou hast great ones
  33. Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout
  34. As pride increases, fortune declines
  35. When you speak to a man, look on his eyes; when he speaks to thee, look on his mouth
  36. You may be too cunning for one, but not for all
  37. Hide not your talents, they for use were made: what’s a sun-dial in the shade?
  38. Learn of the skillful: he that teaches himself, hath a fool for his master
  39. Well done, is twice done
  40. Promises may get thee friends, but non-performance will turn them into enemies
  41. He’s a fool that cannot conceal his wisdom
  42. Reading makes a full man – meditation a profound man – discourse a clear man
  43. Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself a slave to it
  44. He that cannot obey, cannot command
  45. The poor have little – beggars none; the rich too much – enough not one
  46. Eat to live; live not to eat
  47. The proof of gold is fire; the proof of woman, gold; the proof of man, a woman
  48. Keep conscience clear, then never fear
  49. Would you live with ease, do what you ought, and not what you please
  50. What is serving god? ‘Tis doing Good to Man
  51. Beware of little expenses: a small leak will sink a great ship
  52. He’s the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines
  53. There is no little enemy
  54. A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder, but rest and guilt live far asunder
  55. Let thy discontents be thy secrets; – if the world knows them ’twill despise thee and increase them
  56. It is not leisure that is not used
  57. If what most men admire they would despise, ‘Twould look as if mankind were growing wise
  58. Friendship increases by visiting friends, but by visiting seldom
  59. Neglect mending a small fault, and ’twill soon be a great one
  60. Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of
  61. When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water
  62. Most people return small favors, acknowledge middling ones, and repay great ones with ingratitude
  63. Don’t judge of men’s wealth or piety, by their Sunday appearances
  64. The wise and brave dares own that he was wrong
  65. The busy man has few idle visitors, to the boiling pot the flies come not
  66. Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards
  67. Praise little, dispraise less
  68. Friends are the true scepters of princes
  69. A full belly makes a dull brain
  70. A good example is the best sermon
  71. Wise men learn by other’s harms; fools by their own
  72. A wise man will desire no more than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully and leave contentedly
  73. Plough deep while sluggards sleep; and you shall have corn to sell and to keep
  74. He that’s content hath enough. He that complains hath too mcuh
  75. Life with fools consist in drinking; with the wise man, living’s thinking
  76. Tell me my faults, and mend your own
  77. The wise man draws more advantage from his enemies, than the fool from his friends
  78. Men take more pains to mask than mend
  79. Dine with little, sup with less: do better still: sleep supperless
  80. Many foxes grow grey, but few grow good
  81. What signifies knowing the names, if you know not the nature of things
  82. Be not niggardly of what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, and countenance
  83. We keep the vices of others in sight; our own we carry on our backs
  84. Silence is not always a sign of wisdom, bu babbling is ever a folly
  85. A pair of good ears will drink dry a hundred tongeus
  86. Many complain of their memory, few of their judgement
  87. He that won’t be cousnell’d, can’t be help’d
  88. Fools need advice most, but only wise men are the better for it
  89. Sudden power is apt to be insolent, sudden liberty saucy; that behaves best which has grown gradually
  90. Clean your finger, before you point at my spots
  91. You can bear your own faults, and why not a fault in your wife
  92. Teach your child to hold his tongue, he’ll learn fast enough to speak
  93. Who is strong? He that can conquer his bad habits
What I got out of it
  1. Friends are so important, equanimity vital, small things matter, humility above all else, moderation in all, knowledge and mastery of self

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

Summary
  1. Navigating in such the uncharted waters of the chasm requires beacons that can be seen above the waves, and that is what models in general, and the chasm models in particular, are for. Models are like constellations—they are not intended to change in themselves, but their value is in giving perspective on a highly changing world. The chasm model represents a pattern in market development that is based on the tendency of pragmatic people to adopt new technology when they see other people like them doing the same. This causes them to hang together as a group, and the group’s initial reaction, like teenagers at a junior high dance, is to hesitate and watch. This is the chasm effect. The tendency is very deep-rooted, and so the pattern is very persistent. As a result, marketers can predict its appearance and build strategies to cope with it, and it is the purpose of this book to help in that process. To be specific, the point of greatest peril in the development of a high-tech market lies in making the transition from an early market dominated by a few visionary customers to a mainstream market dominated by a large block of customers who are predominantly pragmatists in orientation. The gap between these two markets, heretofore ignored, is in fact so significant as to warrant being called a chasm, and crossing this chasm must be the primary focus of any long-term high-tech marketing plan. A successful crossing is how high-tech fortunes are made; failure in the attempt is how they are lost.
Key Takeaways
  1. Background & Fundamentals of Crossing the Chasm
    1. It is only natural to cling to the past when the past represents so much of what we have strived to achieve. This is the key to Crossing the Chasm. The chasm represents the gulf between two distinct marketplaces for technology products—the first, an early market dominated by early adopters and insiders who are quick to appreciate the nature and benefits of the new development, and the second a mainstream market representing “the rest of us,” people who want the benefits of new technology but who do not want to “experience” it in all its gory details. The transition between these two markets is anything but smooth. Indeed, what Geoff Moore has brought into focus is that, at the time when one has just achieved great initial success in launching a new technology product, creating what he calls early market wins, one must undertake an immense effort and radical transformation to make the transition into serving the mainstream market. This transition involves sloughing off familiar entrepreneurial marketing habits and taking up new ones that at first feel strangely counterintuitive.
    2. The basic forces don’t change, but the tactics have become more complicated. Moreover, we are seeing a new effect which was just barely visible in the prior decade, the piggybacking of one company’s offer on another to skip the chasm entirely and jump straight into hypergrowth. In the 1980s Lotus piggybacked on VisiCalc to accomplish this feat in the spreadsheet category. In the 1990s Microsoft has done the same thing to Netscape in browsers. The key insight here is that we should always be tracking the evolution of a technology rather than a given company’s product line—it’s the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, after all. Thus it is spreadsheets, not VisiCalc, Lotus, or Excel, that is the adoption category, just as it is browsers, not Navigator or Explorer. In the early days products and categories were synonymous because technologies were on their first cycles. But today we have multiple decades of invention to build on, and a new offer is no longer quite as new or unprecedented as it used to be.
    3. If we step back from this chasm problem, we can see it as an instance of the larger problem of how the marketplace can cope with change in general. For both the customer and the vendor, continually changing products and services challenge their institution’s ability to absorb and make use of the new elements. What can marketing do to buffer these shocks? Fundamentally, marketing must refocus away from selling product and toward creating relationships. Relationship buffers the shock of change. Marketing’s first deliverable is that partnership. This is what we mean when we talk about “owning a market.” Customers do not like to be “owned,” if that implies lack of choice or freedom. The open systems movement in high tech is a clear example of that. But they do like to be “owned” if what that means is a vendor taking ongoing responsibility for the success of their joint ventures. Ownership in this sense means abiding commitment and a strong sense of mutuality in the development of the marketplace. When customers encounter this kind of ownership, they tend to become fanatically loyal to their supplier, which in turn builds a stable economic base for profitability and growth.
    4. The fundamental requirement for the ongoing, interoperability needed to sustain high tech is accurate and honest exchange of information. Your partners need it, your distribution channel needs it and must support it, and your customers demand it.
    5. The fundamental basis of market relations is to build and manage relationships with all the members that make up a high-tech marketplace, not just the most visible ones. In particular, it means setting up formal and informal communications not only with customers, press, and analysts but also with hardware and software partners, distributors, dealers, VARs, systems and integrators, user groups, vertically oriented industry organizations, universities, standards bodies, and international partners. It means improving not only your external communications but also your internal exchange of information among the sales force, the product managers, strategic planners, customer service and support, engineering, manufacturing, and finance.
      1. Must see through every stakeholder’s eyes and create win-win relationships. This becomes even more complicated with public, high-tech companies given the number of constituents
    6. The problem, since these techniques are antithetical to each other, is that you need to decide which one – fad or trend – you are dealing with before you start. It would be much better if you could start with a fad, exploit it for all it was worth, and then turn it into a trend. That may seem like a miracle, but that is in essence what high-tech marketing is all about. Every truly innovative high-tech product starts out as a fad—something with no known market value or purpose but with “great properties” that generate a lot of enthusiasm within an “in crowd.” That’s the early market. Then comes a period during which the rest of the world watches to see if anything can be made of this; that is the chasm. If in fact something does come out of it—if a value proposition is discovered that can predictably be delivered to a targetable set of customers at a reasonable price-then a new mainstream market forms, typically with a rapidity that allows its initial leaders to become very, very successful. The key in all this is crossing the chasm—making that mainstream market emerge. This is a do-or-die proposition for high-tech enterprises; hence, it is logical that they be the crucible in which “chasm theory” is formed.
    7. The rule of thumb in crossing the chasm is simple: Pick on somebody your own size.
    8. These are the two “natural” marketing rhythms in high tech— developing the early market and developing the mainstream market. You develop an early market by demonstrating a strong technology advantage and converting it to product credibility, and you develop a mainstream market by demonstrating a market leadership advantage and converting it to company credibility. By contrast, the “chasm transition” represents an unnatural rhythm. Crossing the chasm requires moving from an environment of support among the visionaries back into one of skepticism among the pragmatists. It means moving from the familiar ground of product-oriented issues to the unfamiliar ground of market-oriented ones, and from the familiar audience of like-minded specialists to the unfamiliar audience of essentially uninterested generalists.
    9. Market Development Strategy Checklist. This list consists of a set of issues around which go-to-market plans are built, each of which incorporates a chasm-crossing factor, as follows:
      1. Target customer
      2. Compelling reason to buy
      3. Whole product
      4. Partners and allies
      5. Distribution
      6. Pricing
      7. Competition
      8. Positioning
      9. Next target customer
  2. Technology Adoption Life Cycle – The Cause for the Chasm
    1. To recap the logic of the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, its underlying thesis is that technology is absorbed into any given community in stages corresponding to the psychological and social profiles of various segments within that community. This profile, is in turn, the very foundation of the High-Tech Marketing Model. That model says that the way to develop a high-tech market is to work the curve left to right, focusing first on the innovators, growing that market, then moving on to the early adopters, growing that market, and so on, to the early majority, late majority, and even to the laggards. In this effort, companies must use each “captured” group as a reference base for going on to market to the next group. Thus, the endorsement of innovators becomes an important tool for developing a credible pitch to the early adopters, that of the early adopters to the early majority, and so on. The idea is to keep this process moving smoothly, proceeding something like passing the baton in a relay race or imitating Tarzan swinging from vine to well-placed vine. It is important to maintain momentum in order to create a bandwagon effect that makes it natural for the next group to want to buy in. Too much of a delay and the effect would be something like hanging from a motionless vine—nowhere to go but down. As you can see, the components of the life cycle are unchanged, but between any two psychographic groups has been introduced a gap. This symbolizes the dissociation between the two groups—that is, the difficulty any group will have in accepting a new product if it is presented in the same way as it was to the group to its immediate left. Each of these gaps represents an opportunity for marketing to lose momentum, to miss the transition to the next segment, thereby never to gain the promised land of profit-margin leadership in the middle of the bell curve. The key to winning over this segment is to show that the new technology enables some strategic leap forward, something never before possible, which has an intrinsic value and appeal to the nontechnologist. This benefit is typically symbolized by a single, compelling application, the one thing that best captures the power and value of the new product. If the marketing effort is unable to find that compelling application, then market development stalls with the innovators, and the future of the product falls through the crack.
    2. It turns out our attitude toward technology adoption becomes significant—at least in a marketing sense—any time we are introduced to products that require us to change our current mode of behavior or to modify other products and services we rely on. In academic terms, such change-sensitive products are called discontinuous innovations. The contrasting term, continuous innovations, refers to the normal upgrading of products that does not require us to change behavior.
    3. Of course, talking this way about marketing merely throws the burden of definition onto market, which we will define, for the purposes of high tech, as:
      1. A set of actual or potential customers
      2. For a given set of products or services
      3. Who have a common set of needs or wants
      4. Who reference each other when making a buying decision.
    4. The goal should be to package each of the phases such that each phase
      1. Is accomplishable by mere mortals working in earth time
      2. Provides the vendor with a marketable product
      3. Provides the customer with a concrete return on investment that can be celebrated as a major step forward.                                                                                                                                                    
    1. Innovators
      1. Visionaries are not looking for an improvement; they are looking for a fundamental breakthrough.
      2. In sum, visionaries represent an opportunity early in a product’s life cycle to generate a burst of revenue and gain exceptional visibility.
    2. Early Adopters
      1. What the early adopter is buying is some kind of change agent. By being the first to implement this change in their industry, the early adopters expect to get a jump on the competition, whether from lower product costs, faster time to market, more complete customer service, or some other comparable business advantage. They expect a radical discontinuity between the old ways and the new, and they are prepared to champion this cause against entrenched resistance. Being the first, they also are prepared to bear with the inevitable bugs and glitches that accompany any innovation just coming to market.
    3. Early Majority (Pragmatists)
      1. The real news, however, is not the two cracks in the bell curve, the one between the innovators and the early adopters, the other between the early and late majority. No, the real news is the deep and dividing chasm that separates the early adopters from the early majority. This is by far the most formidable and unforgiving transition in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, and it is all the more dangerous because it typically goes unrecognized. The reason the transition can go unnoticed is that with both groups the customer list and the size of the order can look the same.
      2. The early majority want to buy a productivity improvement for existing operations. They are looking to minimize the discontinuity with the old ways. They want evolution, not revolution. They want technology to enhance, not overthrow, the established ways of doing business. And above all, they do not want to debug somebody else’s product. By the time they adopt it, they want it to work properly and to integrate appropriately with their existing technology base. This contrast just scratches the surface relative to the differences and incompatibilities among early adopters and the early majority. Let me just make two key points for now: Because of these incompatibilities, early adopters do not make good references for the early majority. And because of the early majority’s concern not to disrupt their organizations, good references are critical to their buying decisions. So what we have here is a catch-22. The only suitable reference for an early majority customer, it turns out, is another member of the early majority, but no upstanding member of the early majority will buy without first having consulted with several suitable references.
      3. Of course, to market successfully to pragmatists, one does not have to be one—just understand their values and work to serve them. To look more closely into these values, if the goal of visionaries is to take a quantum leap forward, the goal of pragmatists is to make a percentage improvement—incremental, measurable, predictable progress. If they are installing a new product, they want to know how other people have fared with it. The word risk is a negative word in their vocabulary—it does not connote opportunity or excitement but rather the chance to waste money and time.
      4. If pragmatists are hard to win over, they are loyal once won, often enforcing a company standard that requires the purchase of your product, and only your product, for a given requirement. This focus on standardization is, well, pragmatic, in that it simplifies internal service demands. But the secondary effects of this standardization—increasing sales volumes and lowering the cost of sales—is dramatic. Hence the importance of pragmatists as a market segment.
      5. When pragmatists buy, they care about the company they are buying from, the quality of the product they are buying, the infrastructure of supporting products and system interfaces, and the reliability of the service they are going to get. In other words, they are planning on living with this decision personally for a long time to come.
      6. Pragmatists won’t buy from you until you are established, yet you can’t get established until they buy from you. Obviously, this works to the disadvantage of start-ups and, conversely, to the great advantage of companies with established track records. On the other hand, once a start-up has earned its spurs with the pragmatist buyers within a given vertical market, they tend to be very loyal to it, and even go out of their way to help it succeed. When this happens, the cost of sales goes way down, and the leverage on incremental R&D to support any given customer goes way up. That’s one of the reasons pragmatists make such a great market.
      7. Overall, to market to pragmatists, you must be patient. You need to be conversant with the issues that dominate their particular business. You need to show up at the industry-specific conferences and trade shows they attend. You need to be mentioned in articles that run in the magazines they read. You need to be installed in other companies in their industry. You need to have developed applications for your product that are specific to the industry. You need to have partnerships and alliances with the other vendors who serve their industry. You need to have earned a reputation for quality and service. In short, you need to make yourself over into the obvious supplier of choice. This is a long-term agenda, requiring careful pacing, recurrent investment, and a mature management team
      8. Conservatives like to buy preassembled packages, with everything bundled, at a heavily discounted price. The last thing they want to hear is that the software they just bought doesn’t support the printer they have installed. They want high-tech products to be like refrigerators—you open the door, the light comes on automatically, your food stays cold, and you don’t have to think about it. The products they understand best are those dedicated to a single function—word processors, calculators, copiers, and fax machines. The notion that a single computer could do all four of these functions does not excite them—instead, it is something they find vaguely nauseating. The conservative marketplace provides a great opportunity, in this regard, to take low-cost, trailing-edge technology components and repackage them into single-function systems for specific business needs. The quality of the package should be quite high because there is nothing in it that has not already been thoroughly debugged. The price should be quite low because all the R&D has long since been amortized, and every bit of the manufacturing learning curve has been taken advantage of. It is, in short, not just a pure marketing ploy but a true solution for a new class of customer. There are two keys to success here. The first is to have thoroughly thought through the “whole solution” to a particular target end user market’s needs, and to have provided for every element of that solution within the package. This is critical because there is no profit margin to support an afterpurchase support system. The other key is to have lined up a low-overhead distribution channel that can get this package to the target market effectively.
      9. Just as the visionaries drive the development of the early market, so do the pragmatists drive the development of the mainstream market. Winning their support is not only the point of entry but the key to long-term dominance. But having done so, you cannot take the market for granted. To maintain leadership in a mainstream market, you must at least keep pace with the competition. It is no longer necessary to be the technology leader, nor is it necessary to have the very best product. But the product must be good enough, and should a competitor make a major breakthrough, you have to make at least a catch-up response.
      10. The key to making a smooth transition from the pragmatist to the conservative market segments is to maintain a strong relationship with the former, always giving them an open door to go to the new paradigm, while still keeping the latter happy by adding value to the old infrastructure. It is a balancing act to say the least, but properly managed the earnings potential in loyal mature market segments is very high indeed.
      11. So the corollary lesson is, we must use our experience with the pragmatist customer segment to identify all the issues that require service and then design solutions to these problems directly into the product.
      12. In sum, the pragmatists are loath to buy until they can compare. Competition, therefore, becomes a fundamental condition for purchase. So, coming from the early market, where there are typically no perceived competing products, with the goal of penetrating the mainstream, you often have to go out and create your competition. Creating the competition is the single most important marketing decision made in the battle to enter the mainstream. It begins with locating your product within a buying category that already has some established credibility with the pragmatist buyers. That category should be populated with other reasonable buying choices, ideally ones with which the pragmatists are already familiar. Within this universe, your goal is to position your product as the indisputably correct buying choice.
      13. In sum, to the pragmatist buyer, the most powerful evidence of leadership and likelihood of competitive victory is market share. In the absence of definitive numbers here, pragmatists will look to the quality and number of partners and allies you have assembled in your camp, and their degree of demonstrable commitment to your cause.
    4. Late Majority
      1. Simply put, the early majority is willing and able to become technologically competent, where necessary; the late majority, much less so. When a product reaches this point in the market development, it must be made increasingly easier to adopt in order to continue being successful. If this does not occur, the transition to the late majority may well stall or never happen.
    5. Laggards
      1. Skeptics—the group that makes up the last one-sixth of the Technology Adoption Life Cycle—do not participate in the high-tech marketplace, except to block purchases. Thus, the primary function of high-tech marketing in relation to skeptics is to neutralize their influence. In a sense, this is a pity because skeptics can teach us a lot about what we are doing wrong
  3. The D-Day Strategy – Choose a Target Niche
    1. Entering the mainstream market is an act of aggression. The companies who have already established relationships with your target customer will resent your intrusion and do everything they can to shut you out. The customers themselves will be suspicious of you as a new and untried player in their marketplace. No one wants your presence. You are an invader. This is not a time to focus on being nice. As we have already said, the perils of the chasm make this a life-or-death situation for you. You must win entry to the mainstream, despite whatever resistance is posed. That’s it. That’s the strategy. Replicate D Day, and win entry to the mainstream. Cross the chasm by targeting a very specific niche market where you can dominate from the outset, force your competitors out of that market niche, and then use it as a base for broader operations. Concentrate an overwhelmingly superior force on a highly focused target. It worked in 1944 for the Allies, and it has worked since for any number of high-tech companies.
    2. The D-Day strategy prevents this mistake. It has the ability to galvanize an entire enterprise by focusing it on a highly specific goal that is (1) readily achievable and (2) capable of being directly leveraged into long-term success. Most companies fail to cross the chasm because, confronted with the immensity of opportunity represented by a mainstream market, they lose their focus, chasing every opportunity that presents itself, but finding themselves unable to deliver a salable proposition to any true pragmatist buyer. The D-Day strategy keeps everyone on point—if we don’t take Normandy, we don’t have to worry about how we’re going to take Paris. And by focusing our entire might on such a small territory, we greatly increase our odds of immediate success.
      1. This isn’t rocket science, but it does represent a kind of discipline. And it is here that high-tech management shows itself most lacking. Most high-tech leaders, when it comes down to making marketing choices, will continue to shy away from making niche commitments, regardless. Like marriage-averse bachelors, they may nod in all the right places and say all the right things, but they will not show up when the wedding bells chime.
      2. “Never attack a fortified hill.” Same with beachheads. If some other company got there before you, all the market dynamics that you are seeking to make work in your favor are already working in its favor. Don’t go there.
    3. One of the most important lessons about crossing the chasm is that the task ultimately requires achieving an unusual degree of company unity during the crossing period. This is a time when one should forgo the quest for eccentric marketing genius, in favor of achieving an informed consensus among mere mortals. It is a time not for dashing and expensive gestures but rather for careful plans and cautiously rationed resources—a time not to gamble all on some brilliant coup but rather to focus everyone on making as few mistakes as possible. One of the functions of this book, therefore-and perhaps its most important one-is to open up the logic of marketing decision making during this period so that everyone on the management team can participate in the marketing process. If prudence rather than brilliance is to be our guiding principle, then many heads are better than one. If marketing is going to be the driving force-and most organizations insist this is their goal—then its principles must be accessible to all the players, and not, as is sometimes the case, be reserved to an elect few who have managed to penetrate its mysteries.
    4. The consequences of being sales-driven during the chasm period are, to put it simply, fatal.
    5. Segment. Segment. Segment. One of the other benefits of this approach is that it leads directly to you “owning” a market. That is, you get installed by the pragmatists as the leader, and from then on, they conspire to help keep you there. This means that there are significant barriers to entry for any competitors, regardless of their size or the added features they have in their product. Mainstream customers will, to be sure, complain about your lack of features and insist you upgrade to meet the competition. But, in truth, mainstream customers like to be “owned”—it simplifies their buying decisions, improves the quality and lowers the cost of whole product ownership, and provides security that the vendor is here to stay. They demand attention, but they are on your side. As a result, an owned market can take on some of the characteristics of an annuity—a building block in good times, and a place of refuge in bad—with far more predictable revenues and far lower cost of sales than can otherwise be achieved.
    6. For all these reasons—for whole product leverage, for word-of-mouth effectiveness, and for perceived market leadership—it is critical that, when crossing the chasm, you focus exclusively on achieving a dominant position in one or two narrowly bounded market segments. If you do not commit fully to this goal, the odds are overwhelmingly against your ever arriving in the mainstream market.
    7. The key to moving beyond one’s initial target niche is to select strategic target market segments to begin with. That is, target a segment that, by virtue of its other connections, creates an entry point into a larger segment. For example, when the Macintosh crossed the chasm, the target niche was the graphics arts department in Fortune 500 companies. This was not a particularly large target market, but it was one that was responsible for a broken, mission-critical process—providing presentations for executives and marketing professionals.
    8. The niche wins—presuming the beachhead strategy is conducted correctly—by getting a fix for its specialized problem. And the vendor wins because it gets certified by at least one group of pragmatists that its offering is mainstream. So, because of the dynamics of technology adoption, and not because of any niche properties in the product itself, platforms must take a vertical market approach to crossing the chasm even though it seems unnatural.
    9. The answer is that when you are picking a chasm-crossing target it is not about the number of people involved, it is about the amount of pain they are causing. In the case of the pharmaeutical industry’s regulatory affairs function, the pain was excruciating.
    10. This is a standard pattern in crossing the chasm. It is normally the departmental function who leads (they have the problem), the executive function who prioritizes (the problem is causing enterprise-wide grief), and the technical function that follows (they have to make the new stuff work while still maintaining all the old stuff).
    11. The more serious the problem, the faster the target niche will pull you out of the chasm. Once out, your opportunities to expand into other niches are immensely increased because now, having one set of customers solidly behind you, you are much less risky to back as a new vendor.
  4. Next Target Segment
    1. The second key is to have lined up other market segments into which you can leverage your initial niche solution. This allows you to reinterpret the financial gain in crossing the chasm. It is not about the money you make from the first niche: It is the sum of that money plus the gains from all subsequent niches. It is a bowling alley estimate, not just a head pin estimate, that should drive the calculation of gain.
    2. First you divide up the universe of possible customers into market segments. Then you evaluate each segment for its attractiveness. After the targets get narrowed down to a very small number, the “finalists,” then you develop estimates of such factors as the market niches’ size, their accessibility to distribution, and the degree to which they are well defended by competitors.
    3. Now, the biggest mistake one can make in this state is to turn to numeric information as a source of refuge or reassurance. You need to understand that informed intuition, rather than analytical reason, is the most trustworthy decision-making tool to use. The key is to understand how intuition—specifically, informed intuition—actually works. Unlike numerical analysis, it does not rely on processing a statistically significant sample of data in order to achieve a given level of confidence. Rather, it involves conclusions based on isolating a few high-quality images—really, data fragments—that it takes to be archetypes of a broader and more complex reality. These images simply stand out from the swarm of mental material that rattles around in our heads. They are the ones that are memorable. So the first rule of working with an image is: If you can’t remember it, don’t try, because it’s not worth it. Or, to put this in the positive form: Only work with memorable images.
    4. Target-customer characterization is a formal process for making up these images, getting them out of individual heads and in front of a marketing decision-making group. The idea is to create as many characterizations as possible, one for each different type of customer and application for the product. (It turns out that, as these start to accumulate, they begin to resemble one another so that, somewhere between 20 and 50, you realize you are just repeating the same formulas with minor tweaks, and that in fact you have outlined 8 to 10 distinct alternatives.)
    5. It is extremely difficult to cross the chasm in consumer market. Almost all successful crossings happen in business markets, where the economic and technical resources can absorb the challenges of an immature product and service offering.
    6. The elements you need to capture are five:
      1. Scene or situation: Focus on the moment of frustration. What is going on? What is the user about to attempt?
      2. Desired outcome: What is the user trying to accomplish? Why is this important?
      3. Attempted approach: Without the new product, how does the user go about the task?
      4. Interfering factors: What goes wrong? How and why does it go wrong?
      5. Economic consequences: So what? What is the impact of the user failing to accomplish the task productively?
  5. Whole Product Package
    1. Systems integrators could just as easily be called whole product providers—that is their commitment to the customer.
    2. The whole product model provides a key insight into the chasm phenomenon. The single most important difference between early markets and mainstream markets is that the former are willing to take responsibility for piecing together the whole product (in return for getting a jump on their competition), whereas the latter are not.
    3. Tactical alliances have one and only one purpose: to accelerate the formation of whole product infrastructure within a specific target market segment. The basic commitment is to codevelop a whole product and market it jointly. This benefits the product manager by ensuring customer satisfaction. It benefits the partner by providing expanded distribution into a hitherto untapped source of sales opportunities.
    4. To sum up, whole product definition followed by a strong program of tactical alliances to speed the development of the whole product infrastructure is the essence of assembling an invasion force for crossing the chasm. The force itself is a function of actually delivering on the customer’s compelling reason to buy in its entirety. That force is still rare in the high-tech marketplace, so rare that, despite the overall high-risk nature of the chasm period, any company that executes a whole product strategy competently has a high probability of mainstream market success.
    5. Review the whole product from each participant’s point of view. Make sure each vendor wins, and that no vendor gets an unfair share of the pie. Inequities here, particularly when they favor you, will instantly defeat the whole product effort—companies are naturally suspicious of each other anyway, and given any encouragement, will interpret your entire scheme as a rip-off.
    6. The fundamental rule of engagement is that any force can defeat any other force—if it can define the battle. If we get to set the turf, if we get to set the competitive criteria for winning, why would we ever lose? The answer, depressingly enough, is because we don’t do it right. Sometimes it is because we misunderstand either our own strengths and weaknesses, or those of our competitors. More often, however, it is because we misinterpret what our target customers really want, or we are afraid to step up to the responsibility of making sure they get it.
  6. Distribution
    1. The number-one corporate objective, when crossing the chasm, is to secure a channel into the mainstream market with which the pragmatist customer will be comfortable.
    2. In other words, during the chasm period, the number-one concern of pricing is not to satisfy the customer or to satisfy the investors, but to motivate the channel.
    3. To sum up, when crossing the chasm, we are looking to attract customer-oriented distribution, and one of our primary lures will be distribution-oriented pricing.
    4. When functioning at its best, within the limits just laid out, direct sales is the optimal channel for high tech. It is also the best channel for crossing the chasm.
    5. All other things being equal, however, direct sales is the preferred alternative because it gives us maximum control over our own destiny.
    6. First and foremost, the retail system works optimally when its job is to fulfill demand rather than to create it.
  7. Positioning
    1. To sum up, your market alternative helps people identify your target customer (what you have in common) and your compelling reason to buy (where you differentiate). Similarly, your product alternative helps people appreciate your technology leverage (what you have in common) and your niche commitment (where you differentiate). Thus you create the two beacons that triangulate to teach the market your positioning.
    2. You can keep yourself from making most positioning gaffes if you will simply remember the following principles:
      1. Positioning, first and foremost, is a noun, not a verb. That is, it is best understood as an attribute associated with a company or a product, and not as the marketing contortions that people go through to set up that association.
      2. Positioning is the single largest influence on the buying decision. It serves as a kind of buyers’ shorthand, shaping not only their final choice but even the way they evaluate alternatives leading up to that choice. In other words, evaluations are often simply rationalizations of preestablished positioning.
      3. Positioning exists in people’s heads, not in your words. If you want to talk intelligently about positioning, you must frame a position in words that are likely to actually exist in other people’s heads, and not in words that come straight out of hot advertising copy.
      4. People are highly conservative about entertaining changes in positioning. This is just another way of saying that people do not like you messing with the stuff that is inside their heads. In general, the most effective positioning strategies are the ones that demand the least amount of change.
    3. Given all of the above, it is then possible to talk about positioning as a verb—a set of activities designed to bring about positioning as a noun. Here there is one fundamental key to success: When most people think of positioning in this way, they are thinking about how to make their products easier to sell. But the correct goal is to make them easier to buy. Think about it, most people resist selling but enjoy buying. By focusing on making a product easy to buy, you are focusing on what the customers really want. In turn, they will sense this and reward you with their purchases. Thus, easy to buy becomes easy to sell. The goal of positioning, therefore, is to create a space inside the target customer’s head called “best buy for this type of situation” and to attain sole, undisputed occupancy of that space. Only then, when the green light is on, and there is no remaining competing alternative, is a product easy to buy.
  8. Pricing
    1. Set pricing at the market leader price point, thereby reinforcing your claims to market leadership (or at least not undercutting them), and build a disproportionately high reward for the channel into the price margin, a reward that will be phased out as the product becomes truly established in the mainstream, and competition for the right to distribute it increases.
  9. Other
    1. So how can we guarantee passing the elevator pitch test? The key is to define your position based on the target segment you intend to dominate and the value proposition you intend to dominate it with. Within this context, you then set forth your competition and the unique differentiation that belongs to you and that you expect to drive the buying decision your way. Here is a proven formula for getting all this down into two short sentences. Try it out on your own company and one of its key products. Just fill in the blanks:
      1. For (target customers—beachhead segment only) who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternative), our product is a (new product category) that provides (key problem-solving capability). unlike (the product alternative), we have assembled (key whole product features for your specific application).
    2. So building relationships with business press editors, initially around a whole product story, is a key tactic in crossing the chasm.
    3. The purpose of the postchasm enterprise is to make money. This is a much more radical statement than it appears. To begin with, we need to recognize that this is not the purpose of the prechasm organization. In the case of building an early market, the fundamental return on investment is the conversion of an amalgam of technology, services, and ideas into a replicable, manufacturable product and the proving out that there is some customer demand for this product. Early market revenues are the first measure of this demand, but they are typically not—nor are they expected to be-a source of profit.
    4. How wide is the chasm? Or, to put this in investment terms, how long will it take before I can achieve a reasonably predictable ROI from an acceptably large mainstream market? The simple answer to this question is, as long as it takes to create and install a sustainable whole product. The chasm model asserts that no mainstream market can occur until the whole product is in place.
    5. The key is to initiate the transition by introducing two new roles during the crossing-the-chasm effort. The first of these might be called the target market segment manager, and the second, the whole product manager. Both are temporary, transitional positions, with each being a stepping stone to a more traditional role. Specifically, the former leads to being an industry marketing manager, and the latter to a product marketing manager. These are their “real titles,” the ones under which they are hired, the ones that are most appropriate for their business cards. But during the chasm transition they should be assigned unique, one-time-only responsibilities, and while they are in that mode, we will use their “interim” titles. The target market segment manager has one goal in his or her short job life—to transform a visionary customer relationship into a potential beachhead for entry into the mainstream vertical market that particular customer participates
What I got out of it
  1. Awesome playbook for building out a high-tech company and framework for how to invest in them (see The Gorilla Game for further notes on the investing portion). The innovators gladly take on new technology but it is the pragmatists or the early majority who need proof of concept, who need evidence that you will be around for a while and that other respected players are using your product or service before they buy in, and they are where the real profits lie. The chasm is formed between these innovators and pragmatists and your strategy, focus, and mindset has to shift when attempting to tap into the mainstream.

And Then They Fired Me by Jannie Mouton, Carie Maas

Summary
  1. My business philosophy is really quite simple: I believe in strategic planning, and then follow an entrepreneurial approach. I empower the right people completely, enable them to secure a percentage of the shareholding, and then believe in their ability to, with help and proper corporate control, establish good businesses. Perhaps this definition is not all that easy to digest, but as I explain it, it will be clear how simple the principle is. What it eventually boils down to is that my contribution almost shrinks to that of a possible idea or the creation of a culture of ideas. Other guys do all the hard work. The smaller one’s role as so-called chief executive or chairman, the better for any company and its growth.
Key Takeaways
  1. Early Days & SMK
    1. We had a sense of duty from an early age, because my father, Jan, made us work in his shop, even for a large part of the holidays. Initially I thought it unfair, having to work while everyone else could gallivant on their wide-rimmed bicycles, but later I realised how valuable it was, compared with the nonsense of the so-called gap year that pupils and students insist upon nowadays.
    2. We were young and had lots of plans. Added to that, or maybe because we were that young, we were very enthusiastic and hardly anything scared us. Now, in hindsight, I pale with fright because we had responsibilities, wives, children, cars and houses.
    3. I had grown too big for my boots. I remember phoning Kango Beachbuggies to ask in which colours they had the vehicle available, and then saying I would take one in each available colour – five altogether. Now I can only marvel at the memory. To be that self-confident, and with gearing to the point of bursting, was asking for trouble. Like all bubbles, this one also burst, on October 22, 1987, and a lot of us were cut down to size and got quite a kick in the teeth financially. Let me tell you, there was blood on the walls. It was the mother of all market carnages – the decline of about 30% was the most significant in a single day in living memory. I was almost done for. One day we were the kings of the development capital market, the next day humble servants. As in many other times in my life, I should have listened to Dana, because she used to say when I started pretending to be a sage and it was only “me, me, me”, then the end was in sight. Those were prophetic words. From him I learnt that one’s people and one’s clients are the most important assets. He was a humble leader, armed with vision, courage and cool-headedness.
    4. We had gigantic successes and made excellent profits. The listings of Rand Merchant Bank and Richemont were climaxes, and my children still remember my picture on the front page of Beeld with the listing of Naspers.
    5. Because we were partners and not shareholders, the profits had to be divided every year. In other partnerships the managing director would decide what the share of each partner would be, and the mistake we made was trying to do it democratically. Everyone had to give himself and every other partner a mark out of 100 for the value each had added, in his opinion. Nobody ever scored himself lower than any of the other 19. It was my unpleasant duty to convey the auditors’ calculation of the total to everyone. If the group then gave someone an average of 5% and he thought he really deserved 8% of the total of 100%, it raised suspicion. Instead of motivating someone, I had to call him in and tell him he wasn’t as good as he thought he was. Among the changes I wanted to make was to convert the partnership into a company.
    1. A negative person has never started or established anything positive. The people at PSG also know they shouldn’t come and tell me something doesn’t work – they have to come up with an alternative.
    2. After reading for a while, I decided to do a SWOT analysis on myself and, according to the acronym, started jotting down strong points, weak points, opportunities and threats. I realised my and Chris Otto’s frequent (and long) lunches at Late Night Al’s in Auckland Park were no long-term solution and at age 50 I was not ready for retirement yet. I had to persuade myself that I was doing something useful, that I was devising plans and ferreting out opportunities. I knew I had to fight against the threat of stagnation. The personal space in the office forced me to contemplate my future and that of my family. Thinking would be my new project, and it wasn’t at all the child’s play it appeared to be. I wanted to start a new business and I had to find the key for it. With dedication I started reading and focused on books in the investment world, from Warren Buffett and his philosophies to the management approaches of successful business people. What I read made me think, and to arrange my thoughts I summarised many of the books in Afrikaans. Not every book changes one’s life, in a manner of speaking, but there is always an idea or two that one can use. Apart from the work and academic advantages, this study made me reorient myself. Collecting specialised knowledge demands sacrifice, but it stimulated me and broadened my mind in my planning for the future. Now I realise there were quite a few points that prepared the ground for PAG, the precursor to PSG. I can summarise it as a sounding board, a self-analysis, a dream, a plan of action, a positive attitude, decision making and communication. And I can recommend it to someone who has got into a rut like the one threatening me back then. One has to work through a setback realistically. You need someone to help you if your enthusiasm exceeds your realism, but that person can’t be a yes-man. It needs to be someone with good judgement and enough respect for you to answer the difficult questions honestly.
    3. Honest introspection is not always pleasant, but without it one would struggle to work towards one’s better points and eliminating one’s weaker traits. Yet, clever as it might sound after the fact, my old diary is testimony of how I toiled and bothered and reworked my SWOT analysis until later I knew exactly what I wanted to and could do. The simple question is: What’s your personal mission statement, your goal, your dream? If you know the answer, it unleashes a power that draws you towards the destination. My plan that I wrote down in November 1995 and had typed was: I want to be free and not to work for others. I want to make a difference to the lives of others and have empathy with my fellow human beings. I want to write a book (there you have it). I want to tackle something with my children. I want to take on a new game farm after Nokonya. By doing great things I’m happy. I want to develop a new company successfully. Many things have changed over the years, but the framework is still valid. My plans of action had to direct my dreams: I want to be in control of a listed company. I want to focus on the financial services sector. I want to procure capital for a strong capital base. I want to manage in a decentralised and delegated way. I want to draw in good people. I want to move from Johannesburg to Stellenbosch. I want to have a small, creative head office with a relaxed vibe. I want to think more and do less. To know I had figured out what my dream and final destination were, made me positive. Aiming high requires as much strain as aiming low, as is expressed in this little rhyme by Jessie B Rittenhouse I’ve read so often: I worked for a menial hire, Only to learn, dismayed, That any wage I asked of Life, Life would have willingly paid. Without a decision, one is never wrong, therefore people hesitate to take decisions. Taking a responsible risk brings me freedom and joy. Even now a successful business decision like an SMK or PSG or Capitec that works gives me far more pleasure than the money I gain from it. And if something doesn’t work, close that business and move on. From all the business books I read then and still read, it’s apparent: the most important element of success is to speak out. By conveying one’s dreams and plans to friends, you place yourself under pressure to fulfil them. And that truth applies right through the investment world – your shareholders are interested in where you’re going, your successes and your failures. But even more important than speaking is to listen to them in turn.
    4. Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success
    5. What has remained with me though is that I never want to be in a position again where I don’t have control over a company. Even in subsidiary companies where we have a stake warranting it, I want to have a say at board level, at least.
  2. PSG
    1. PSG Group is an investment company that acquires strategic stakes in established businesses with strong management, good corporate governance, a history of earnings growth and positive cash-flows, and creates innovative ideas at existing businesses.
    2. Maybe I should start by clearing up a misconception some people have: PSG is not a financial services company; we are an investment company. That means PSG is not an operating company. We don’t manage a business like Plascon or Edgars. We invest in and also start other businesses like manufacturers or retailers or service companies. The group comprises of more or less three main parts. Under PSG there are the financial giants like PSG Konsult and Capitec, but under the tradename Zeder we have unified all our agricultural companies like Pioneer Foods. Some of the smaller private equity investments like Thembeka that don’t belong elsewhere reside under Paladin.
    3. Maybe that’s also one of the reasons why I’m such an avid buyer of PSG shares and have never sold a single share. Advisors of readers of financial pages would be horrified, but I often borrow money to get hold of more PSG shares.
    4. My business philosophy is really quite simple: I believe in strategic planning, and then follow an entrepreneurial approach. I empower the right people completely, enable them to secure a percentage of the shareholding, and then believe in their ability to, with help and proper corporate control, establish good businesses. Perhaps this definition is not all that easy to digest, but as I explain it, it will be clear how simple the principle is. What it eventually boils down to is that my contribution almost shrinks to that of a possible idea or the creation of a culture of ideas. Other guys do all the hard work. The smaller one’s role as so-called chief executive or chairman, the better for any company and its growth. For me, strategic planning is the alpha and the omega. In the book The Art of War the principles of the Oriental military strategist Sun Tzu are expounded: “Strategy is the great work of the organization.” According to the book, that determines survival or extinction in situations of life or death. It inspires people to share the same ideals and expectations. Because they’re in the struggle together, they don’t fear perils. The military strategist said that was why leaders who understood strategy could lead people and determine how stable the venture was. Regarding successful warfare, Sun Tzu strongly emphasised that an understanding of one’s own capabilities and limitations, one’s opponent and the circumstances in which the fight would take place, should be thoroughly contemplated and then integrated into a strategy that was applied in a disciplined way by a leader that inspired his subordinates with trust. I love his wisdom: If you have your strategy, you hit fast and hard, then you win. Colleague Chris Otto says I’m the only person he knows who would go to the seaside for four weeks and use ten of those days to draw up a business plan. That’s true, I can’t simply lounge around. I get bored and then I devise schemes. It was also after a holiday that I returned with my Keerom plan for Naspers, a controversial but quite exciting deal I’ll tell you more about in the next section. Chris has also quipped that I should not get time to think, but let him rather do the talking, because I don’t want to say this about myself: I always tell Jannie one day I’ll write on his tomb stone: “Here lies an unreasonable man.” He has a great ability to think and work out strategies. He always has a plan, and then he can’t imagine that something can’t happen. He challenges us and eventually everyone starts thinking like that – how one makes something happen. He’s not interested in technical details about why something can’t work. I think that’s why PSG often manages to do things others thought impossible. If then, according to Sun Tzu’s searching one’s own heart, one of my abilities is to think, or to want to think, one of my limitations surely remains not always working gently with the people helping with those thoughts and applying them – I still struggle with that even now.
    5. By this time our size makes us look at smaller investments more realistically: corporate management, attending meetings and managerial time are expensive. At Paladin and Zeder we have the framework that we invest in businesses that are easy to understand, and have a cash flow and good management. Our share of the profit after tax has to exceed R10 million. That means if we have a 25% stake in a company it has to make at least R40 million before we would look at it. However, many mice can turn into men and PSG never wants to neglect its entrepreneurial approach. That’s what brought us to where we are.
    6. Shareholders are the owners of a company and an owner should always be in control of his own assets. The board is appointed by the owners – and that’s why I like a company with a strong owner. In PSG’s case, 77% of the shares are in the hands of confidants – relatives, friends and directors. While many similar companies are susceptible to takeovers because a large number of their shares are with the big institutions, we are covered against that in this way
    7. At present my children and I own more than 30% of PSG’s shares and, along with the shareholders mentioned above, Thys du Toit (former KWV chairman) and Christo Wiese have huge stakes.
    8. Let me be honest: one can continue ad infinitum about PSG’s ingenuity, but the role luck sometimes plays can’t be ignored. PAG’s sale price was plain darn luck; don’t let anyone tell you a different story. Sheer luck. That’s how PSG started. We started small and slowly achieved success. Success gives one self-confidence and that’s quite contagious on the market. It makes it a little easier to run risks when one is stronger. If you have capital you can grow, and you can even afford to make mistakes.
    9. Whatever investment you do, you should know in what kind of underlying business you invest and understand that some companies won’t yield the kind of investments you hope for overnight. You can start something new, like a Capitec, develop it while you can take pride in a high price/earnings ratio (PE) of 25, or how much you’re willing to pay for the expected earnings in rand. On the other hand you can be extremely patient and make and keep an investment in agricultural companies with a PE of 4. You would buy at a good price, but then you should not be obsessed with a running clock. Few people understand both kinds of investments.
    10. I knew Keerom was a much cheaper way of securing a stake in Naspers. Some unlisted shares can be bought at a rebate. Therefore one could get a big chunk of Naspers through Keerom or Naspers Investments, as well as control with high voting rights. It’s a principle I’ve applied time and again since then.
    11. The trick is to try to buy where limitations are still in place and when the old board is still in charge. Then one buys cheaply – one might even buy only the buildings at 60% of the real value. That’s something we understand very well at PSG. Yet one needs patience, because at these businesses the change towards being more commercially-minded happens rather slowly. The management are not lying yuppies, but down-to-earth people, honest and upright, whose business has been in existence for years. The opportunity is in the fact that for many years co-operatives have been attuned to delivering a service, rather than seeking profits. The best is that one can take this kind of wisdom even a little further, which is what we are doing through our agricultural arm, Zeder.
    12. The biggest value is unlocked where management is poorest.
    13. With decisions one should not hesitate, and rather apply straight away whatever is agreed upon. A major lesson PSG has learnt often is to immediately admit if a purchase had been a pig in a poke.
    14. At Paladin we refer to the “refinement” of a portfolio over time, perhaps because we do business in the winelands. One should try selling the bad companies systematically and rather invest in the winners. You always want to keep your company streamlined.
    15. It took me several years to figure out what the most important objective of a company is. I struggled with “increasing shareholders’ wealth”, for many years the main goal of PSG. Gradually I started thinking it sounded too arrogant and cheeky, with an overbearing focus on the collection of wordly assets or wealth. It was if one only cares about one’s pocket, and I started developing a different philosophy. There are more people involved than shareholders, like staff and clients. One’s staff members are happy when they feel fulfilled, when they have freedom and a goal – in my opinion that’s the main motivation. I wouldn’t be happy if everyone else around me was unhappy. One’s clients need to believe in one too. A company is a success if the client, shareholder and employee are all happy. If you manage that, the company can grow and you’re doing something right. Growth in client numbers indicates profitability, and that’s why for growth in the share price one has to focus on clients. Moreover, over time people don’t really remember all that much about dividends, special dividends, unbundlings and other windfalls. What they do remember is by how much the share price has risen. It’s a simple criterion and it measures everything – risk, past performance, future prospects, management and the integrity of the figures – yes, everything.
    16. Pure pleasure is what PSG Konsult signifies to me. If you’ve ever seen a business that’s running like a well-oiled machine, that would be Konsult. The only reason I’m still on the board of directors is because every time I want to step down, chief executive Willem Theron persuades me otherwise. The management team is so strong that they don’t need even a little support. Konsult’s business plan is so simple that one can’t believe it hasn’t always existed.
    17. The mistake I then made is a classic one. Instead of appointing a single managing director for the bank, I put a committee of four at the helm of the new entity: Botha Schabort, André la Grange, Charles Turner and Hugh Oosthuizen, all of them strong personalities. I thought the four divisions could work together well and with time the best guy would emerge. How stupid that idea was I did not realise at the time. It was a breeding ground for conflict. Because the guys were fighting amongst one another, that was what they focused on, instead of their divisions.
    18. Many of our branch employees are later lured away by other banks with offers of bigger salaries, but it’s great to see how many of them want to return three or four months later – at their old salary. Capitec is an employer of high calibre, and then people enjoy working there too. Capitec is a dream come true. It’s a reality that shows how many opportunities there really are in South Africa, and what fantastic potential its people have. With access to capital, poverty can be eradicated over time.
    19. I reiterate: it’s a gigantic risk to put all your eggs in one basket, but woven grass or not, PSG as an investment company has many divisions. Apart from the properties and art I own, my own money is only in PSG, the furniture group Steinhoff, on whose board I serve, and the PSG Flexible Fund, the unit trust managed by my son Jan. Do I have the right to talk other people into it? I can honestly believe it’s good counsel, but I would neglect my fiduciary duty by only picking one share for someone.
    20. An irrefutable truth is that you have to have time on your side. A young person might not have money to invest, but he has to learn to save right from the start. It’s amazing how much money can grow if one saves. There’s a reason why it’s called the eighth wonder of the world.
    21. The cornerstones are transparency, honesty and sincerity. And every company does have an issue.
  3. Entrepreneurial mindset
    1. The soul of a company – the culture determines the performance
    2. The role of the entrepreneur is the collection and use of knowledge, his ability and readiness to see and use profitable opportunities and to use scarce resources effectively.
    3. The point is: entrepreneurs create value. They create jobs and they make money. But that’s not easy. A unique talent, coupled with hard toil, is what’s needed. Successful entrepreneurs are attuned to what they’re busy with. They have self-confidence and flair. Their need for success makes them restless and they don’t cower in the face of big risks. Such a person doesn’t lie awake because of spelling errors in minutes of a meeting, but quickly masters his field. This guy spots opportunities and can bring theory and practice together.
    4. PSG Capital chief executive, calls PSG a family of entrepreneurs: A family that gives one the security of being together, but doesn’t shy away from asking straight questions or hauling you over the coals. It’s a bunch of individuals who can and want to function independently. It’s a company that provides one with the great opportunity to convert this freedom and independent thoughts into palpable profits in which you can share.
    5. I have a list of what I regard as the characteristics of successful people, probably an obvious bunch of traits. People who are well read, have well-considered opinions, are honest, can communicate and stick it out, are self-confident and care for people and on top of that can think, are the best. Clear goals direct all these characteristics.
    6. So many people who come to present an opportunity uhm and ah so incoherently that I now ask beforehand whether someone would just like a cup of tea or sell or buy something so I can focus. My patience runs out with a wishy-washy presentation – does one really need more than ten minutes to explain how a business works and maybe ten minutes for a possible deal? And then there are those who just come to fish for advice. Those who don’t shy away from setbacks and are prepared to take hold of the future are the people you want at your side.
    7. The assistance to entrepreneurs or management firstly consists of striving to help someone focus on their goals. Directors have to see to it that a business plan is carried out.
    8. We can, however, help them with the negotiations and contracts and they have to stay alert, then opportunities will appear. One just has to be attuned to them constantly.
    9. It’s amazing what one can come across, and then one has to sit and think. One has to think outside the parameters. That way you will come up with an interesting business opportunity. The same alert attitude can also prevail in your daily dealings. One has to keep wondering all the time. When you have your hair cut . . . where does your hairdresser buy, and why? If you have a cup of coffee . . . what would happen if Famous Brands cut off one of its trademark entities like Mugg & Bean? If you’re driving around  . . . why is somebody erecting such a huge building in a new property development? Who owns the mall where you do your shopping when you furnish your holiday home?
    10. What have I learnt? Don’t generate business from technology, but let technology support and drive the business. I believed the clients of PSG Online had wanted to stay anonymous and preferred no human interaction. That was a big mistake. Online clients prefer a computerised service mechanism, but welcome personal contact from Online’s side.
    11. With e-insurance the trick is that the money you save in brokers’ fees because the client buys directly from you, you spend on advertising.
    12. At a dinner hosted by William H Gates, father of the same Microsoft founder Bill Gates, for a number of hand-picked business people, he asked those present to write down on a piece of paper a single word that they deemed of utmost importance in the business world. Coincidentally two of the guests chose the same word: the host’s son and one Warren Buffett. And the word? Focus. When I read that story I realised how important focus was for discipline and success. I always admire Whitey Basson, chief executive of the Shoprite Group, for the same thing. He is incredibly attuned to trends in the retail industry.
  4. Ultimate Empowerment
    1. After many lessons I only invest in companies I understand, whose management I know and whose character and culture I like. Three questions kept me busy for a long time: How does one make a company grow, when are people happy and what’s the key to making a success of a company? The answer is ultimate empowerment.
    2. The former American president Theodore Roosevelt’s encapsulation is the best, in my opinion: “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
    3. In PSG people are allowed to think and do themselves, and everyone knows that. A company grows when all of the employees perform to the best of their abilities. People perform well when they are happy and people are happy when their talents are recognised and when they are given the space to act and make decisions independently. To me, ultimately empowering someone therefore means delegating authority and responsibility. Empowerment in that sense means everybody is involved and knows how the company is performing. The decision-making process is shortened and the spirit and status are created that no one has terrific titles, but people get a lot of recognition. That creates a company with responsible managers who feel free and proud. People who are encouraged to think strategically themselves take their own future in hand. That freedom means not looking over people’s shoulders, but trusting them. On a more practical level it means that everyone can draft their own business plan, that every unit decides on its own remuneration packages and incentives, and that some services can be contracted out to an entity shared by a few companies in the group.
    4. The group makes significant investments in successful businesses and stands by its entrepreneurs without exception. Jannie’s policy of ultimate empowerment enables entrepreneurs to realise their vision. Ultimate empowerment also means there is no place to hide. It gives you just enough opportunity to engineer your own downfall if you don’t tread carefully. In PSG the prevailing culture entails low overheads, strict financial reporting, a high return on share-holders’ capital and the premise that the shareholder is always king.
    5. That, supposedly, begs the question when a board of directors does step in. A board has to have a relaxed leash on everyday matters and only get involved when overarching problems emanate in or outside the group. One has to concentrate on what’s important.
    6. Jannie builds around the jockey when he sees a business opportunity, provided of course that it’s a special opportunity in PSG’s field of play. Then the business model is almost the jockey’s prerogative, within bounds of course. Often the model is not the point. Jannie would pick the guy and respect his opinion and say: “You tackle it for us.”
    7. Willem Theron, chief executive, got rid of all the stress by devolving all decisions about remuneration to branch level. Each branch may keep 70% of its income and do with it as it likes, including paying bonuses to deserving people. In that way everyone is responsible for their own welfare concerning profits and all is fair in the garden again. Once the thorny issues and the remuneration differences have been sorted out, the satisfaction of the right person in the right job is huge. A testimonial to the calibre of people we draw is how many have remained loyal to the company over the years and how many have even been with us from the time of SMK and the very start in 1995. Another reason for great joy is the number of friends’ children and their spouses working for PSG
    8. Thus I naturally am my own boss, because I believe directors should have big share investments in the companies they represent. They are custodians of the shareholders’ assets and will definitely do a better job if they are big shareholders themselves.
    9. People laugh when I say this, but it’s true. I’ve overdone delegation to the extent that I do almost nothing. I don’t really work at the office. It’s a singular privilege. I want time to think. I want to philosophise and I want to come up with opportunities. There are people who like being involved everywhere, as if that would make them seem important. One should rather become unimportant. It consumes an endless amount of time if you as manager don’t trust people. Chris Otto will also tell you I’m the best delegator he’s ever met. He also knows that in fact I do nothing: Jannie doesn’t want to be on boards. He’s not a control freak, but he expects something to be done, and then it gets done. There’s something else to the art of empowerment. If you trust others to take good decisions, you also have to respect your employees and give credit where it’s due. Labour can never be rewarded with money alone.
  5. On Investing
    1. In a nutshell: start with about four or five good shares in the long term, diversify your investments across more shares for less risk and forget about short-term speculation. Five or six shares are optimal for diversification, as long as you invest in fairly diverse sectors. If you invest over a lifetime, you can afford to keep a cool head. And don’t put all your money in one share. Timing is also an issue to keep an eye on. Look at the profit potential and the net asset value. Long-term investments are like having a happy family – it requires love over a lifetime and not speculative moments. Just as one outburst wouldn’t alarm you, neither would a single share with the hiccups. Just as your good friends carry you through emotional crises, good investments carry you through economic storms.
    2. One gets to know the market over time. If everyone is optimistic and even people who don’t work with the stock exchange every day start chatting about it, it’s selling time, as sure as nails. By that time you have to have the cash in your hand, else you’re going to be very sorry. And if nobody is interested in the stock exchange anymore, it’s buying time. In the long term one has to sit back from the noise, but timing can’t be ignored completely.
    3. In every person’s life there are about four or five investment cycles. One needs to use them and be patient; then you’ll make a lot of money. These five principles are as plain as the nose on one’s face: Even if you’re a layman, you need to understand the company for personal investment, as I’ve written in part three about companies.
      1. If you can’t tell someone else what the company is doing, don’t invest there. I’ve never made money from mining shares, especially gold, because I don’t understand it. Yet one can understand that Sasol produces petrol from gas.
      2. Investigate the people in control of the company. Are they honest and hardworking or flashes in the pan? Through the years PSG has benefited a lot from learning as much as possible about the management before investing in a company.
      3. I’ve tried to explain above that you have to go against the current and buy at a low price-earnings ratio in a bear market, determine a realistic price to the net asset value and be on the lookout for a strong balance sheet and good cash flow. This strategy is as difficult as the opposite, to sell in a bull market, but the pain and insecurity when everybody else keeps swimming with the current will bear fruit.
      4. Do research. Read a lot and develop a feeling for investments. Listen, think and learn from your mistakes and successes. Good investment experts can always help you, but don’t underestimate your own role. The long term is imperative if your focus is on year-on-year growth in the share price.
      5. A share will only grow if the underlying profits of the company grow, which is the challenge of management.
    4. Only once you’ve mastered the management of a first franchise should you dare to borrow money for a second.
    5. Speculation and investment are two different matters. Speculation is short-term positions for which you don’t use your brain and investment is long-term. Speculation is the worst thing there is and you have to stay away from it as far as possible or you’ll get into trouble.
    6. Forget about investment clubs with friends. It only leads to indecision and bad blood. Don’t ever talk about the market as if it’s your pal – nobody ever understands the market. The pain of a loss is worse than the pleasure of a profit. Don’t ever take a loss lightly. If you get worried and sleep badly, you’re in trouble already. Forget about the trendy shares of the day. Don’t invest further in a losing situation. Liquidate your position.
    7. There are many clever investors who only look at listed shares. For those with a lot of perseverance and who want to trust my judgement there might be another option – to watch what PSG is doing and buy the same unlisted ones we buy. As I’ve said in part 3, a share register is public knowledge. With a little effort one can get hold of it. PSG is wide awake and constantly on the lookout for unlisted businesses we can acquire at a discount and where we can help add value. As buyers we want the price to remain low initially, and for that many investors don’t have the patience. But if you have it . . .
    8. Hierarchy paralyses . Colleague Chris Otto will tell you I’ll open a closed door in the office, for closed doors create a vibe we don’t want in PSG. It surprises newcomers that anyone can walk into my office without an appointment. The days of levels have long been numbered and titles are undesirable too.
    9. Drowning in the e-mail ocean of a bureaucracy – formality is stupidity. I detest senseless communication that wastes time and attention. As useful as e-mail can be, there are people who measure “indispensability” by how many e-mails there are in their inboxes when they return from two days out of the office. I simply get worried about my business if I get too many “in case” e-mails. I plainly call it cover your arse, for why do you send me e-mail so you can have the excuse of “I’ve told you about it” if something goes wrong? If something is important enough, someone has to phone me; else I don’t want to know about it. A problem is not solved because you’ve sent e-mail about it.
    10. Directions, rules and regulations stifle a company. We encourage an open, informal and creative environment where decisions can be made quickly. Yes, the more haste the less speed and because of that culture we sometimes make mistakes, but only someone who never takes a decision will go through life without mistakes.
  6. Other
    1. The Scottish-American entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the wealthiest American ever apart from John D Rockefeller, used to say one has to use a third of one’s life to get an education, a third for the creation of wealth and the last third for giving it away. Indeed that little yellow note found in his desk drawer after his death indicated that he had got rid of every last cent when he laid his head down.
    2. On a certain income level, giving money naturally gets relatively easy. Time is scarcer. Generosity can also entail giving time and therefore the transfer of wisdom or assistance.
    3. Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble – humility is admirable
    4. The American columnist and radio presenter Herman Cain rightfully said success was not the key to happiness, but happiness was the key to success – if you’re crazy about what you’re doing, you will achieve success.
    5. “If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm,” said Bruce Baron, American member of congress and author of books on personal success. That same cornerstone I desire for my offspring, PSG. That we don’t break or brake, but build. It took me many years to realise that enthusiastic and positive people inspire me, but the “it won’t work” of negative grumblers make me see red
    6. Next to honesty and work ethics, caring for your company and colleagues and good manners are paramount. I’m passionate about the adages of CJ Langenhoven, one of the fathers of the Afrikaans language, like this one: “Treat your superiors with courtesy because it is your duty; your inferiors because it is your privilege.”
    7. Yet who would one choose: a Warren Buffett who has built up so much; or a Jack Welch who might have managed the largest company in the world, General Electric, but by means of cracking whips and a culture of fear about who would be fired next? PSG subsidiaries have been compelled to retrench people, but I hope I’m leading from the front rather than from behind.
    8. For me, creativity borders on enthusiasm, for the energy levels and success of a business are boosted when people challenge one another with innovative ideas. A sexy plan grabs people and motivates them to take calculated chances. It gives me no end of pleasure to establish something out of nothing.
    9. What has a director contributed by spotting a spelling error in the annual report? If you can generate two or three fresh ideas when the executive committee gets together, it’s a successful meeting, not when you’ve worked through an agenda item by item. I put in some effort to, an hour or two before a meeting like that, come up with a few things that could get the guys to think a little. The possibility of alternatives is what gets the grey matter going. If you think outside of the existing parameters, the result is a Curro; or the investment possibilities of alternative energy; or the financing possibilities of non-redeemable preference shares, where you never have to pay back the loan capital until the business ceases to exist, and which can never land you in hot water during a financial crisis. Curiosity is a winning characteristic. An interesting proposal and a fresh idea or new angle from which to look at an old problem is an approach that needs to be cultivated and encouraged. It has to become a mindset in a company. Creativity is much harder work than the useless buzz-words visions and missions.
    10. One of the major challenges and most exciting aspects of the business world remain identifying opportunities.
    11. Yet I’m convinced that businesses that are started in one’s own interest are more successful and that the impact of successful businesses trickles down into and benefits society as a whole.
    12. The business magazine Finweek published a story in its Piker column on July 30, 2009 about a local economics professor who gave everyone in his class a single average mark in order to illustrate socialism. Before the next test the clever students wondered why they should work hard and the underachievers also thought they didn’t have to do anything, so the second average mark was about 30% lower. And for the third test all of them got close to zero.
    13. The best thing about contributing to a country or a community is that it’s something you do because you want to, and not due to compulsion or for monetary remuneration. It’s great to plough back something of your knowledge and experience or ability because you are so privileged. You often get more out of it than what you put in.
    14. But being generous and wasting are light years apart. And like stinginess is a bad thing and ugly, frugality is a virtue. People who waste money will indeed lose everything, for if you waste something you don’t have respect for it.
    15. We tease him, calling him Radio JFM – and that’s not a station where listeners may phone in and say something of their own! My dad doesn’t believe in complaining and moping in self-pity at all. For him it doesn’t exist.
    16. Apart from PSG I hope what I leave behind for my children are above all a mindset of enthusiasm in everything they tackle, the tireless search for solutions, and the ethos to work hard in order to make a success of whatever they try to achieve.
    17. A negative person sees insurmountable hurdles and the proactive person looks for alternatives
    18. There is a very thin line between being assertive and aggressive, as I probably know better than anyone else. Yet I know even better that stumbling about is an unproductive waste of time. One has to take a decision and that’s it. If you’re wrong, you simply have to take the rap afterwards.
    19. The services of the best lawyer or accountant are for sale, but with a guy with general knowledge you can take anything on, because he can think further than his textbooks. On a board it’s also the guy with the integrated knowledge and well-considered opinion who makes a contribution. The rest only waste your time with superficial questions. Closely connected to that is the will to think. In The fall of the human intellect Swami Parthasarathy writes that people have lost the ability to think and reason. Knowledge is absorbed passively, but it doesn’t develop independent thoughts: “You need to wake up from this slumber. Start thinking, questioning, enquiring as to the cause of all this strife and struggle. Examine the truths of life. Do not accept anything without reason and logic.”
    20. A leader is someone with an interesting vision who knows the environment. He has the power of drawing people to follow him instead of pushing them, and therefore people have respect for him. Eventually leadership is about the ability to get the best from people and to combine their input effectively to reach a common goal.
  7. The PSG Stable
    1. PSG Group is an investment company that acquires strategic stakes in established businesses with strong management, good corporate governance, a history of earnings growth and positive cash-flows, and creates innovative ideas at existing businesses.
    2. Propell is a niche financing company specialising in financial products for the property industry, especially bridging finance, and also…
    3. Capitec Bank is a retail bank that provides accessible and affordable banking facilities to clients via the innovative use of technology, in a manner that is convenient and personalised. Its client base has historically been the… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    4. PSG Capital is PSG’s boutique corporate finance division, with teams based in Stellenbosch and Johannesburg. It provides a complete suite of corporate finance and advisory services to a broad spectrum of clients, both nationally and internationally. Its services include capital… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    5. PSG Fund Management’s business consists of local and offshore collective investments, asset management, hedge funds and prime broking. The funds include PSG Flexible Fund, PSG Alphen’s bouquet of funds, PSG Preferred Dividend Fund, PSG Money… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    6. PSG Futurewealth is an investment facilitator that offers investment solutions to the retail and institutional market. Apart from linked investment products it also offers guaranteed investment… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    7. PSG Konsult is an independent financial services company that offers a value-oriented approach to clients’ financial planning requirements. Services encompass investments, short-term insurance, life… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    8. Zeder Investments is an investment company that focuses on the agricultural, food, beverages, food-processing and related sectors. It offers investors exposure to the current inherent… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    9. Agricol is a seed company with an extended network of branches and agents all over South Africa. Their products include most well-known crops, alternative crops like forage seed and agronomy crops like cereals, canola and hybrid sunflower. It has a strong emphasis on research… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    10. BKB’s business entails the handling and marketing of agricultural products; wool, mohair and livestock, the provision of farming requisites and the rendering of related… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    11. Capespan is an international integrated logistical supplier of fruit. The company is the major role player in South Africa and sources fruit from 44 countries worldwide and distributes to 55 countries around the world. It is… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    12. Capevin is the ultimate investment holding company of Distell, Africa’s leading producer and marketer of fine wines, spirits, ciders and ready-to-drinks. Zeder owns 37% of Capevin Holdings, which… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    13. Kaap Agri came into being as a result of the merger between WPK and Boland Agri in 2005. The company’s footprint stretches through the Western and Northern Cape up into southern Namibia where it has recently acquired a number of trading branches. The focus of its retail branches (the Agrimark stores) has… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    14. Pioneer Foods is South Africa’s second largest food company and is structured into four divisions that manufacture household food and beverage products: Sasko, Bokomo Foods, Agri Business and The Ceres Beverage Company. Pioneer also has… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    15. KLK Landbou is a small but diversified agriculture-focused company headquartered in Upington. The company primarily serves the sheep farmers in the Kalahari and Northern Cape areas through 21 retail branches. The bulk of its profit comes from the distribution and retail sales of BP… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    16. MGK Business Investments operates through three divisions: Obaro, Prodsure en All-Gro. Obaro offers agricultural, gardening and pet products and services to the public from 17 commercial retail outlets. Its main clientele requires products and services mainly relating to irrigation agriculture. Its BEE programme has received widespread praise. NWK is a provider of agricultural services and inputs, primarily in the North West province. The company is involved in a wide spectrum of activities in the following fields: grain industry, agricultural management services, trade, financial services and industries. It owns 19% of the country’s grain storage capacity. OVK Operations is a diversified agricultural business. Its primary activities involve general trade, fuel distribution, the sales, servicing and repairs of agricultural machinery, motor dealerships, short-term insurance broking, grain handling, storage and marketing, livestock slaughtering and marketing of carcasses, and client financing. Its service area includes the Free State, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape. Suidwes Investments operates in the maize-producing area of North West, with its head office in Leeudoringstad. It is involved in all aspects of meeting the needs of grain and other farmers, from supplying inputs and requisites to grain handling, storage… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    17. Paladin Capital is an investment company with a private equity bias and PSG’s preferred investment vehicle in areas other than financial services and agriculture. Paladin Capital’s investment principles are based on the following: not industry-specific, encompassing listed and unlisted companies; strong sustainable… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    18. African Unity Insurance provides illness benefit management, a range of life insurance and funeral schemes for groups and individuals. Algoa Insurance merged with African Unity in 2009 and it has 29% BEE ownership. Curro Holdings is the parent company of all Curro private schools. Their role is to establish new private schools and to back each school with a solid management team experienced in the field of education. The schools offer parallel medium education in Afrikaans and English, have a Christian ethos, positive discipline and balanced academic, sport and cultural activities. Erbacon is a construction company predominantly in infrastructure (roads and bridges) and general construction (through Armstrong). It also has a tool hire division. Civicon operates on contract sites throughout Southern Africa. Its services include general civil engineering construction, industrial and process plants, mining infrastructure and support both surface and underground, and design and construction of turnkey industrial projects. GRW is a manufacturer of steel and aluminium tankers and specialised liquid containers. Apart from South Africa it also has clients in the UK and Middle East. It has a highly advanced robotic plant. Iquad Group is a specialised outsourcing company, focusing on treasury management, investment incentives and BEE verification services. Petmin is a minerals, mining and processing company that services the metallurgical and industrial sectors. It is listed on the JSE and the aim in London, and has two operations mining in silica and anthracite. Precrete specialises in the production and distribution of pre-mixed concrete for the construction, support and other related mining applications. Its wholly owned subsidiary, GFC Construction, focuses on guniting or shotcreting, which involves applying concrete pre-mixes to walls of mine shafts. Protea Foundry is a non-ferrous casting operation based in Gauteng, the largest in South Africa. Top Fix Holdings’ business comprises the following: the supply and leasing of scaffolding and scaffolding personnel to industrial plants and construction sectors; the supply of personnel to the chemical, petro-chemical, power generation, construction and coal mining industries; and supply of safety surveillance and access control equipment on chemical and petro-chemical plants. Thembeka Capital is a broad-based… Some highlights have been hidden or truncated due to export limits.
    19. Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill. The single book that has changed my life and positively inspired me to start PSG. It’s not only about money and wealth, but rather about the philosophy of believing in oneself
What I got out of it
  1. Ultimate empowerment, alignment, people above everything, long-term, speak your mind, be authentic to yourself, speak out for what you believe in and make sure you have a voice/control, delegate fully and the best companies allow the head to be least involved on a day to day level, absolute enthusiasm / curiosity / looking for opportunities and scheming

September 2018

The Rabbit Hole by Blas Moros 
     
Jump In. 
 

My monthly newsletter covers the books I have read over the course of the month, the challenges I undertook as well as some other interesting articles, blog posts, interviews, tools, hacks, etc.   

Books

Full list of books read in 201820172016, 2015, 2014

Any book, which is at all important, should be immediately re-read

 

Teacher’s Reference Guides

Monthly Challenges

  • 3 day fast – boring but surprisingly easy. A lot of energy but don’t sleep great on the fasts

Other

Amor Fati

Blas

 

 
     
   
   
 
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August 2018

The Rabbit Hole by Blas Moros 
     
Jump In. 
 

My monthly newsletter covers the books I have read over the course of the month, the challenges I undertook as well as some other interesting articles, blog posts, interviews, tools, hacks, etc.   

Books

Full list of books read in 201820172016, 2015, 2014

Any book, which is at all important, should be immediately re-read

 

Teacher’s Reference Guides

  • Jordan Peterson Biblical Series – really enjoying these and have a couple left – will probably re-watch once I finish because there is so much depth to them…

Monthly Challenges

  • HeartMath HRV – doing just 5-10 minutes in the morning and at night in order to get into coherence and measure my heart rate variability (HRV). Definitely not a replacement for meditation but it is a great, quick way to get many of the physical benefits associated with coherence and meditation
  • Avoid lectin heavy foods (tomatoes, potatoes, legumes, beans, more) – wanted to try this after digging into Dr. Gundry’s Plant Paradox. I personally didn’t feel a huge difference and probably won’t keep up but I definitely didn’t feel worse and I know a lot of people who have felt huge differences on this protocol.

Other

Hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Amor Fati

Blas

 

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung

 
     
   
   
 
To unsubscribe click here, to edit your profile click here.

July 2018

My monthly newsletter covers the books I have read over the course of the month, the challenges I undertook as well as some other interesting articles, blog posts, interviews, tools, hacks, etc.   

Books

Full list of books read in 201820172016, 2015, 2014

Any book, which is at all important, should be immediately re-read

 

Teacher’s Reference Guides

Monthly Challenges

  • Review journal entries – helps me see where I spent my time, what was useful/useless, what brought me stress or joy, what I’ve learned, what I’ve done, etc. Broadly, this process helps me more clearly see what I should be doing more and less of
  • How to shoot a bow and arrow – not a ton of progress but learned the basics

Other

Amor Fati

Blas

 

“If you want to make money, you need to find the simple things before they become simple things.” – Phillip Lehman, one of three founding Lehman brothers

June 2018

The Rabbit Hole by Blas Moros 
     
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My monthly newsletter covers the books I have read over the course of the month, the challenges I undertook as well as some other interesting articles, blog posts, interviews, tools, hacks, etc.   

Books

Full list of books read in 201820172016, 2015, 2014

Any book, which is at all important, should be immediately re-read

 

Teacher’s Reference Guides

Monthly Challenges

  • Pareto Spring Cleaning – done twice per year, I find this helpful to evaluate how things are going, where you’re spending your time, what’s working and what isn’t…
  • Write down one thing per day that you love about someone and give it to them at the end – great thing to do for anyone important in your life

Other

Amor Fati

Blas

 

“We have truly learned that what we really keep is what we give and that the returns are immediate. Therefore, under this new philosophy, the standard of success will eventually be the measure of service given.” – George Mecherle, Founder of State Farm

 
     
   
   
 
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