Freedom is Best

This is my bias.

If you want to create a high-performing anything, freedom needs to be built into the foundation. (Those who disagree have (a) hired poorly  (b) can only ever hope for solid employees (SE) and (c) their businesses will die.)

Top-down management doesn’t work well in solving the biggest problems. It can minimize errors, it can get stuff done in the short-run, but it can never fully maximize employee ability. Which, considering employees are a company’s most valuable resource, is an outcome to avoid.

Furthermore, top-down management sucks innovation out of an organization. Innovation is the ONLY medicine when markets change. And markets will change. And if the organization doesn’t also change, ideally before the external shift occurs, the organization will die. Simple, but true.


Do I Offend?

I would not give this gift to just any baby. I wouldn’t because you happen to be born into a world where people have turned “taking offense” into a sport.

If playing this perverse game, you could score points by being appalled that anyone would gift a book containing ideas some people find loathsome. Depending on your competitive spirit, you’d push back on my consideration that a girl (you) might have a higher affinity for a book written by a fellow girl (Ayn Rand). Or one could take the other side and complain that Ayn Rand isn’t girly enough. To which a third person would shriek that there’s no such thing as “girly.”

Final score: we all lose.


Smiling Through Pain


“I’ll race you and win by throwing sweet potatoes on the side of the track.”

I’ve returned back to that joke several times since learning of your departure. To think that in your last moments at Brighton you were still able to laugh. To then think that basically everyone is going through something, and that only the best among us can keep smiling in spite the pain.

Yes, I saw you as the “best among us.” Never has my ambition been lower than the moment I first comprehended the insanity of your schedule. Up early. Up late. Meeting to meeting with no time to prepare, yet audiences always expecting that you would be “on.”


I still think, for the most part, our meetings (the deal call in particular) are pretty wasteful.

Don’t get me wrong, I love talking with the team, but I think it would be better for everyone if the discussion was operating at a higher level.

Currently, the majority of meeting time is “chit-chat” about deals on the table. Problem-solving and/or strategic thinking is almost totally absent.

Now, there is value in “network updates” (a.k.a. chit-chat), but I contend that bringing everyone together for 30min+ is not the best way to disseminate that information.

I personally think written updates would be preferable. Why?


Realizing Reality

You may not have signed up for this, but it’s the reality. Don’t accept this reality? Fine. Know this: denial of this reality means xxxxxxxxx will die.

And, if you ask me, it’s a pretty incredible reality.

Because it means you have the opportunity to fix arguably the largest problem in our country: overpriced, opaque, excessive and uncompetitive healthcare. (I will buy you the book. Tell me your address. Seriously. Don’t like reading? Fine. Watch this interview. )

That is what you get to work toward every day.

Good news: unlike those punk kids one-year out of college, you can leverage the insights of an actual money-making business to inform your startup.

Bad news: this leverage can turn into a crutch and halt innovation – xxxxxxxxx becomes merely another version of xxxxxxxxx. (more…)

Oooh. I like that.

My general answer is to deliver tremendous value.

What is value?

One form is making the company money by doing things that aren’t being done today. The xxxxxxxxx program is a perfect example of this.

Or by fixing things that lose us money in both the short and long-term.

Measuring the long-term, more indirect effects of your actions is a bit challenging. But through creativity and logic, it can be done.

Value is also visible when you innovate. (more…)

Give to Get

In many ways, human interaction is driven by a give-to-get (GTG) system. Yes, we want to give things (time, money, presents, help, etc.) to others. This is genuine. Just as genuine, though, is a ubiquitous desire to get something in return.

Given the omnipresence of this system, it’s conspicuous whenever someone operates outside of it. And that someone is both xxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxx.

I legitimately know of nobody else who repeatedly gives gifts without ever receiving any in return. I mean, yes, of course, you receive the good feelings one gets from being generous, but something tangible? Nope.