No. 499 — November 20th, 2022
Brain Food is a weekly newsletter with the insights you need.
Complexity is like energy. It cannot be created or destroyed, only moved somewhere else.
My conversation with Tobi Lutke on innovating in large companies, why following best practices ensures mediocrity, founders vs. professional managers, keeping your head while others are losing theirs, the technology he’s most excited about, and so much more. Here’s an excerpt:
“The best thing founders can do is subtraction. It’s much, much, much easier to add things than it is to remove things. Adding things is a lot more expensive than removing things. However, it requires some measure of bravery and risk-taking.”
Anne Lamott on good relationships:
“A good marriage is one in which each spouse secretly thinks he or she got the better deal, and this is true also of our friendships.”
Pondering on that, I remembered something Jim Collins told me about a conversation he had with Bill Lazier:
“I asked Bill, “So what makes for a great relationship?” And Bill said a great relationship is one where if you ask each person independently who benefits more from the relationship, they would each say, “Well, I do.” And I said, “Isn’t that a little bit of a selfish way to look at it?” And he said, “No. Let’s think about this for a minute, Jim. Let me ask you, who do you think benefits more from our relationship?” I said, “Clearly, I do.” And he said, “Isn’t that just great, because I would answer that I do.”
Bill said, “See, the reason both people can answer that way is because both people are putting into the relationship, not for what they’re going to get from it, but for what they can give to it. Because both people are doing that, both people would feel that they are the ones who are the ultimate beneficiary because of how much the other person gives.”
The right strategy doesn’t always offer immediate rewards.
Former GE CEO Jack Welch on what he regrets:
“The only time he spoke about his children was when he told me that he ‘loved them to pieces’ but that he had made ‘a mistake’ when he gave each of them a bunch of G.E. stock when he first became C.E.O.,” Cohan writes. Because the stock had performed well, they each had something like fifty million dollars in company shares. Although two of his four kids went to Harvard Business School and one went to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, they all quit their jobs, disappointing their father. “They turned out differently than I’d hoped,” Welch tells Cohan. “We’re close. But they got too much money. . . . If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have given it to them.” A father reflects, after a lifetime, on his troubled relationship with his children, and concludes that he should have adjusted their compensation.”
P.S. The unexpected sound of baby crocodiles.