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Learn from history's greatest entrepreneurs. Every week I read a biography of an entrepreneur and find ideas you can use in your work. This quote explains why: "There are thousands of years of history in which lots and lots of very smart people worked very hard and ran all types of experiments on how to create new businesses, invent new technology, new ways to manage etc. They ran these experiments throughout their entire lives. At some point, somebody put these lessons down in a book. For very little money and a few hours of time, you can learn from someone’s accumulated experience. There is so much more to learn from the past than we often realize. You could productively spend your time reading experiences of great people who have come before and you learn every time." —Marc Andreessen
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#288 Ralph Lauren

#288 Ralph Lauren

2023-01-3101:03:50

What I learned from reading Ralph Lauren: The Man Behind the Mystique by Jeffrey Trachtenberg.This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: Tiny is the easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders.----Follow one of my favorite podcasts Invest Like The Best and listen to episode 311 John Fio — Creating Magic for Consumers, episode 307 Jeremiah Lowin: Explaining the New AI Paradigm, and episode 293 The Business of Gaming. [2:01] When I lumped him together with a handful of other designers during casual conversation, he snapped: “Don't put me with those designers. My business is not compared to anybody else's."[3:00] In practice Ralph Lauren is a tough, intensely ambitious businessman.[3:00] Ralph has always possessed immense self-confidence; it is central to his character, an asset as valuable as his sense of color, fabric, style.[4:00] Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie. (Founders #199)[7:00] Few outsiders understood fully how lucrative the licensing business had become. Ralph would have been a successful designer in his own right. However, he would never have qualified as one of the world's richest men without licensees willing to pay him 5 to 7 percent of sales.[7:00] His privately held fashion empire was on the brink of bankruptcy. Geffen surmised that the company should be transformed from a manufacturing firm to a design, marketing, and licensing company. "You guys stink at manufacturing," he said. "You need to get out of that business." Instead, Geffen continued, the company needed to focus on what it really knew: how to design and market the Calvin Klein brand name. — The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells The New Hollywood by Tom King[14:00] When my customers come to me, they like to cross the threshold of some magic place; they feel a satisfaction that is perhaps a trace vulgar but that delights them: they are privileged characters who are incorporated into our legend. For them this is a far greater pleasure than ordering another suit.” —Coco Chanel, 1935[16:00] What he lacked in experience he compensated it for an energy and enthusiasm.[17:00] Differentiation is survival. — Jeff Bezos Jeff Bezos' Shareholder Letters (Founders #282)[19:00] Mediocrity is always invisible until passion shows up and exposes it.[22:00] From the beginning I've been aware of the need to sell everybody. — Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys by Joe Coulombe. (Founders #188)[26:00] Difference for the sake of it. In everything. Because it must be better. From the moment the idea strikes, to the running of the business. Difference, and retention of total control. — Against The Odds: An Autobiography by James Dyson (Founders #200)[28:00] Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony by Akio Morita. (Founders #102)[32:00] Intransigence is my only weapon. — Charles de Gaulle by Julian Jackson. (Founders #224)[41:00] It's torture being a partner to somebody you don't want to be a partner with.[45:00] On a Thursday night he wins an award for best men’s wear designer. The next day he could not meet his payroll.[49:00] When bills come due, only cash is legal tender. Don't leave home without it. — The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham. (Founders #227)[54:00] You can make a lot of different mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you’re too inefficient. — Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton.[55:00] The thing that set Ralph apart was his single-mindedness of purpose. Everybody else moved from place to place, from trend to trend. He wasn't trendy. He stayed with it. It's the single most important thing about him. To this day there are people walking around saying Ralph Lauren isn't that special, I could have done it. It's the weirdest thing. They couldn't be more wrong. Ralph is the most special guy in the apparel business.[55:00] Graham Duncan on the Tim Ferriss Show----Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers ask me questions directly which I answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes ----Join my free email newsletter to get my top 10 highlights from every book----I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/----“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from rereading Rolls-Royce: The Magic of a Name: The First Forty Years of Britain s Most Prestigious Company by Peter Pugh.This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: Tiny is the easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders.----Follow one of my favorite podcasts Invest Like The Best and listen to episode Mitch Lasky—The Business of Gaming----[2:31] Henry Royce had known poverty and hardship all his life. The only university he had graduated from was the one of hard knocks.[3:00] Rolls on Royce: I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of Mr. Royce and in him I found the man I had been looking for for years.[5:00] A great product has to be better than it has to be. Relentlessness wins because, in the aggregate, unseen details become visible. All those unseen details combine to produce something that's just stunning, like a thousand barely audible voices all singing in tune. — Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham (Founders #277)[6:00] You can always understand the son by the story of his father. The story of the father is embedded in the son. — Francis Ford Coppola: A Filmmaker's Life by Michael Schumacher. (Founders #242)[9:00] This ability to observe, think about and then improve on existing machines (products) was to be a consistent theme throughout Royce’s life.[10:00] Many times our position was so precarious that it seemed hopeless to continue.[12:00] Against The Odds: An Autobiography by James Dyson (Founders #287)[12:00] Some have tried to give the impression that it was almost by chance that Royce became involved in designing a motor car. Royce was not a man to rely on chance. He saw that the motor car had a great future and that it would be an ideal product for his business.[12:00] This part is excellent: There was nothing revolutionary about Royce’s car. He had taken the best of current automobile design and improved on every aspect of it. I do not think that Royce did anything of a revolutionary nature in his work on motor cars. He did, however, do much important development and a considerable amount of redesigning of existing devices so that his motor cars were far and away better than anyone else’s motor cars. He paid great attention to the smallest detail and the result of his personal consideration to every little thing resulted in the whole assembly being of a very high standard of perfection. It is rather to Royce’s thoroughness and attention to even the smallest detail than to any revolutionary invention that his products have the superlative qualities that we all know so well.[13:00] Henry Royce ruled the lives of the people around him, claimed their body and soul, even when they were asleep.[14:00] They didn't understand how important this was to me. —Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie. (Founders #199)[16:00] He's made-and remade-Apple in his own image. Apple is Steve Jobs with ten thousand lives. — Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Kahney. (Founders #204)[21:00] Thomas Edison on how overregulation crippled the British car industry: The motor car ought to have been British. You first invented it in the 1830s. You have roads only second to those of France. You have hundreds of thousands of skilled mechanics in your midst, but you have lost your trade by stupid legislation and prejudice.[27:00] This is a first: A company so focused on quality that they risked going to prison. Claude Johnson took the bold stand that he would tear up every drawing and go to prison rather than agree to risk inferior skills of other companies. Johnson said that the plan of using other manufacturers was futile and would yield nothing but mountains of scrap.[28:00] Royce admitted it: I prefer to be absolute boss over my own department (even if it was extremely small) rather than to be associated with a much larger technical department over which I had only joint control.[31:00] They worked in monastic seclusion in an office situated in the middle of the village about a quarter of a mile from Royce’s house. To ensure a minimum of distraction the office was for a number of years forbidden the luxury of a telephone. This was the team responsible for the design of every car and all their components from 1919 until Royce died in 1933. In matters concerning the actual model which eventually went into production, Royce’s decision was final.----Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes ----I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/----“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from reading All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There: Buffett & Munger – A Study in Simplicity and Uncommon, Common Sense by Peter Bevelin. This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: Tiny is the easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders.----Follow one of my favorite podcasts Invest Like The Best and listen to episode Mitch Lasky—The Business of GamingFollow the podcast Gamecraft to learn more about the history of the video game industry. ----[2:01] Buffett and Munger have a remarkable ability to eliminate folly, simplify things, boil down issues to their essence, get right to the point, and focus on simple and timeless truths.[3:00] The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Naval Ravikant and Eric Jorgenson.  (Founders #191)[4:00] Warren Buffet or Charlie Munger are the very wise grandfather figure that I never had.[5:00] To try to live your life totally free of mistakes is a life of inaction. —Warren Buffett[5:00] The sign above the players' entrance to the field at Notre Dame reads ´Play Like a Champion Today.' I sometimes joke that the sign at Nebraska reads 'Remember Your Helmet.' Charlie and I are 'Remember Your Helmet' kind of guys.' We like to keep it simple. (You must structure your life and business to be able to survive the inevitable bad decisions you’re going to make.)[5:00] Wisdom is prevention. —Charlie Munger[6:00] We make actual decisions very rapidly, but that's because we've spent so much time preparing ourselves by quietly sitting and reading and thinking. —Charlie Munger[7:00] If you get into the mental habit of relating what you're reading to the basic underlying ideas being demonstrated, you gradually accumulate some wisdom. —Charlie Munger[7:00] At Berkshire, we don't have any meetings or committees, and I can think of no better way to become more intelligent than sit down and read. I hate meetings, frankly. I have created something that I enjoy: I happen to enjoy reading a lot, and I happen to enjoy thinking about things. —Warren Buffett[7:00] We both hate to have too many forward commitments in our schedules. We both insist on a lot of time being available to just sit and think. —Charlie Munger[8:00] I need eight hours of sleep. I think better. I have more energy. My mood is better. And think about it: As a senior executive, what do you really get paid to do? You get paid to make a small number of high-quality decisions. — Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos, With an Introduction by Walter Isaacson. (Founders #155)[9:00] I think people that multitask pay a huge price. When you multitask so much, you don't have time to think about anything deeply. You're giving the world an advantage you shouldn't do. Practically everybody is drifting into that mistake. I did not succeed in life by intelligence. I succeeded because I have a long attention span. —Charlie Munger[9:00] Jony Ive on Steve Jobs: Steve was the most remarkably focused person I’ve ever met. (Video)[11:00] It is just that simple. We've had enough good sense when something was working well, keep doing it. The fundamental algorithm of life: repeat what works. —Charlie Munger[13:00] ALL THE BUFFETT AND MUNGER EPISODES:Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders 1965-2018 by Warren Buffett. (Founders #88) The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. (Founders #100)The Tao of Warren Buffett by Mary Buffett & David Clark. (Founders #101) Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein. (Founders #182) A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers From Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Peter Bevelin. (Founders #202) The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham. (Founders #227)  Tao of Charlie Munger by David Clark (Founders #78) Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor by Tren Griffin. (Founders #79) Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger. (Founders #90) Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger by Janet Lowe. (Founders #221) [14:00] Buffett: It's an inversion process. Start out with failure, and then engineer its removal.[15:00] Munger: I figure out what I don't like instead of figuring out what I like in order to get what I like.[15:00] Repetition is the mother of learning.[17:00] Munger: You can see the results of not learning from others' mistakes by simply looking about you. How little originality there is in the common disasters of mankind. (Business failures through repetition of obvious mistakes made by predecessors and so on.)[18:00] Munger: History allows you to keep things in perspective.[18:00] Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.[19:00] Berkshire was a small business at one time. It just takes time. It is the nature of compound interest. You cannot build it in one day or one week.[20:00] Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel important.”[22:00] Buffett: In almost 60 years of investing we found it practically useless to give advice to anyone.[23:00] Munger: One of my favorite stories is about the little boy in Texas. The teacher asked the class, If there are nine sheep in the pen and one jumps out, how many are left? And everybody got the answer right except this little boy, who said, None of them are left. And the teacher said, You don't understand arithmetic. And he said No, teacher. You don't understand sheep.[25:00] Quite often Henry simply talked about his philosophy of running a corporation and the various financial strategies that he came up with as he sat in his corner office each day, often working at his Apple computer. He was a brilliant business strategist, just as he was a brilliant chess strategist and he came up with many creative ideas, ideas that were sometimes contrary to the currently accepted methods of managing a large corporation that prevailed in those days.“He always tries to work out the best moves," Shannon said, "and maybe he doesn't like to talk too much, because when you are playing a game you don't tell anyone else what your strategy is." — Distant Force: A Memoir of the Teledyne Corporation and the Man Who Created It by Dr. George Roberts. (Founders #110)[28:00] Buffett: The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.[29:00] If you want to know whether you are destined to be a success or a failure in life, you can easily find out. The test is simple and it is infallible: Are you able to save money? If not, drop out. You will lose. You may think not, but you will lose as sure as you live. The seed of success is not in you. — James J. Hill: Empire Builder of the Northwest by Michael P. Malone. (Founders #96)[31:00] Buffett: Life tends to snap you at your weakest link.[35:00] Sol Price: Retail Revolutionary & Social Innovator by Robert E. Price (Founders #107)[38:00] Paul Graham’s essays (Founders #275-277)[39:00] I'm very suspect of the person who is very good at one business, who starts thinking they should tell the world how to behave on everything. —Warren Buffett[42:00] The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham. (Founders #227)[44:00] This life isn't a greenroom for something else. He went for it. —Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography by Laurie Woolever.[44:00] Buffett: We're here on the earth only one time so you ought to be doing something that you enjoy as you go along and you can be enthusiastic about.[48:00] Personal History by Katherine Graham. (Founders #152)[49:00] The problem is not getting rich, it is staying sane. —Charlie Munger[54:00] Learning is not memorizing information. Learning is changing your behavior. Most people can’t learn from the experiences of other people: Charlie and I don't expect to win you over to our way of thinking—we've observed enough human behavior to know the futility of that, but we do want you to be aware of our personal calculus.[57:00] We are individual opportunity driven. Our acquisition technique at Berkshire is simplicity itself: We answer the phone.[1:00:00] A brand is a promise. —Warren Buffett[1:01:00] Obsess over customers. Buffett said this about Amazon in 2012: Amazon could affect a lot of businesses who don't think they will be affected. For Amazon, it is very hard to find unhappy customers. A business that has millions and millions of happy customers can introduce them to new items, it will be a powerhouse and could affect a lot of businesses.[1:03:00] Munger: We should make a list of everything that irritates a customer, and then we should eliminate those defects one by one.[1:04:00] Most companies, when they get rich, get sloppy.[1:05:00] Munger: One of the models in my head is the 'Northern Pike Model. You have a lake full of trout. But if you throw in a few northern pike, pretty soon there aren't many trout left but a lot of northern pike. Wal-Mart in its early days was the northern pike. It figured out how the customer could be better served and just galloped through the world like Genghis Kahn.[1:09:00] Practice! Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby. (Founders #212)[1:10:00] Market forecasters will fill your ear, but they will never fill your wallet.[1:11:00] We don't have any new tricks. We just know the old tricks better.----Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes ----“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from reading American Rascal: How Jay Gould Built Wall Street's Biggest Fortune by Greg Steinmetz.Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes [0:01] A series of spectacular financial triumphs had made Gould fabulously rich. At age thirty-six, he was the most notorious businessman in the country.[1:00] Vanderbilt told a newspaper that Gould was "the smartest man in America." Rockefeller, when asked who he thought had the best head for business, answered "Jay Gould" without pausing to think.They  recognized Gould as a master of his craft. No one disputed that he was an extraordinary problem solver, an unparalleled negotiator, an expert communicator, a lightning-fast thinker, and a masterful tactician with a staggering memory.[2:00] Railroads changed America in the nineteenth century much as automobiles changed the country in the twentieth century and the internet has changed the twenty first century.[5:00] American Rascal shows the complex and quirky character of the nineteenth century's greatest robber baron. He was at once praised for his brilliance by Rockefeller and Vanderbilt and condemned for forever destroying American business values by Mark Twain. He lived a colorful life, trading jokes with Thomas Edison, figuring in Thomas Nast's best sketches, paying Boss Tweed's bail, and commuting to work in a 200-foot yacht.[6:00] I consider this part two in a two part series on Jay Gould. Make sure you listen to part 1: Dark Genius of Wall Street: The Misunderstood Life of Jay Gould, King of the Robber Barons by Edward J. Renehan Jr. (Founders #258)[9:00] He read whatever he could get his hands on. Jay was often nowhere to be found. He was off hiding somewhere with his books.[10:00] He would wake up at three to study by firelight.[10:00] My Life and Work by Henry Ford. (Founders #266)[12:35] “As you know. I’m not in the habit of backing out of what I undertake, and I shall write night and day until it is completed.”[13:00] Relentless and self-confident: Gould toyed with the idea of college. He visited Rutgers, Yale, Harvard, and Brown. He concluded college was an expensive indulgence. Why bother with college when he could teach himself from books?[13:00] I am determined to use all my best energies to accomplish this life's highest possibilities.[22:00] The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Naval Ravikant and Eric Jorgenson. (Founders #191)[22:00] All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There: Buffett & Munger – A Study in Simplicity and Uncommon, Common Sense by Peter Bevelin[26:00] Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday. (Founders #31)[30:00] The good ones know more. — Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy (Founders #82)[37:00] The story of how Gould seized Erie shows his brilliance as a financial strategist, his deep understanding of law, a surprising grasp of human nature, and a mastery of political reality.[41:00] Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer by Stephen Dando-Collins (Founders #55)[42:00] There isn't any secret. I avoid bad luck by being patient. Whenever I'm obliged to get into a fight, I always wait and let the other fellow get tired first.[44:00] James J. Hill: Empire Builder of the Northwest by Michael P. Malone. (Founders #96)[52:00] Edison and Gould shared some traits. Both were born into poverty. Both thought about little beside their obsessions —inventions for Edison, money for Gould. Both worked all the time. Both had spent their childhoods reading anything that came their way.[53:00] Edison: A Biography by Matthew Josephson. (Founders #267)——Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from rereading Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America by Les Standiford.This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: Tiny is the easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders.—Follow one of my favorite podcasts Invest Like The Best  and check out these great episodes: #137 Bill Gurley: All Things Business and Investing#88 Sam Hinkie: Data, Decisions, and Basketball#204 Sam Hinkie: Find Your People—Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes —[0:01] Frick had been the man Carnegie trusted above all others to manage the affairs of Carnegie Steel.[2:00] Carnegie had delegated the job of holding the line on wages and other demands to Frick—a Patton to Carnegie's FDR.[3:00] The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie by Andrew Carnegie.  (Founders #283)[5:00] Here's a starter pack of essentials  for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making. —Jeff Bezos’s Shareholder Letters (Founders #282)[7:00] In less than half a century the United States had been transformed―from a largely agrarian and underdeveloped federation of competing interests, to a relatively cohesive economic juggernaut. The age of the Founding Fathers was over. The Age of the Titans had begun.[12:00] By 1863 Carnegie was earning more than $45,000 a year from this and all his other investments, compared with a mere $2,400 from his railroad salary. Yet he understood that it was the contacts he made and the information he derived from his association with the railroad that made everything else possible.[13:00] More control. Less costs. More profit.[15:00] Technology is just a better way to do something: As a result of the process for transforming iron to steel that bore his name (Bessemer), a quantity of steel that might formerly have taken as long as two weeks to produce could now be made in fifteen minutes.[17:00] Carnegie starts his company during a financial panic. The best time to expand is when no one else dares to take the risk.[20:00] Already the best but still wants to do better: Even his key employees were not spared Carnegie's heavy-handed management style. To almost every positive report Carnegie's response was "Good, but let us do better."[21:00] Cut the prices, scoop the market, watch the costs, and the profits will take care of themselves.[21:00] Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire by James Wallace and Jim Erickson (Founders #140)[22:00] He could make steel more efficiently than any of them.[24:00] Henry Clay Frick: The Life of the Perfect Capitalist by Quentin Skrabec Jr. (Founders #75)[24:00] Like Rockefeller, Henry Clay Frick used a lot of borrowed money to get his start in the coke business. There was a line in one of Rockefeller’s biographies where it said “he was the greatest borrower I’ve ever seen.”[26:00] Frick knew his business down to the ground.[26:00] LIke Carnegie, Frick expands his business during an economic panic. Frick, who would later recall this as one of the most grueling times in his life, proved as undaunted in the face of adversity as Carnegie had been.[34:00] Carneige was accustomed to obedience from his subordinates, but if he expected unquestioned subservience from Henry Frick, he had gravely miscalculated.[36:00] Frick was no puppet, but rather a man willing to take considerable risks in defense of his principles.[37:00] Frick had ambition, a singleness of purpose, and a lack of self—doubt that even Carneige envied.[38:00] Carnegie would repeat the mantra time and again: profits and prices were cyclical, subject to any number of transient forces of the marketplace. Costs, however, could be strictly controlled, and in Carnegie’s view, any savings achieved in the costs of goods were permanent.[39:00] On this issue the two men were of one mind. Frick had made his way in coke by the same reckoning that Carnegie had in rail and steel: if you knew your costs down to the penny, you were always on firm ground.[39:00] Frick had always understood how essential new technologies were in driving costs down. Cost control became nearly an obsession.[47:00] [Frick was shot] Only after he was finished with his day’s work did Frick permit himself to be carried from the office to an ambulance.[49:00] You must not allow anything to discourage you in the least. Even if things do not go well for some time to come, or even if they should get much worse. Just keep at it, doing the best you can. Do not allow the fact that you are not getting along as well as you would like to lead you to put yourself in a compromising position.[1:03:00] Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World by Jill Jonnes. (Founders #83)[1:04:00] J.P. Morgan understood the folly of a long-term battle with the Carnegie Company, a firm that controlled its own sources of raw materials, transport, and manufacture, and that was far more deeply capitalized than his or any other of the upstarts. They might stay in the game for a while, and they might put a dent in Carnegie's armor, but in the end, Carnegie would run them into the ground, every one. Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes —I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
#283 Andrew Carnegie

#283 Andrew Carnegie

2022-12-2659:122

What I learned from rereading The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie by Andrew Carnegie. —This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: Tiny is the easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders.—Follow one of my favorite podcasts Invest Like The Best  —Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can now ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes [1:01] 3 part series on Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick:Meet You In Hell: Andrew Carnegie Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America by Les Standiford. (Founders #73) The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie by Andrew Carnegie (Founders #74) Henry Clay Frick: The Life of the Perfect Capitalist by Quentin Skrabec Jr. (Founders #75) [2:00] What these guys all had in common is they were hell bent on knowing their business down to the last cent. They were obsessed with having the lowest cost structure in their industry.[2:00] Highlights from Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America:—Cut the prices, scoop the market, watch the costs, and the profits will take care of themselves.—Frick knows his business down to the ground.—Frick’s rise from humble beginnings was obviously intriguing to him. It signaled to Carnegie that Frick was another of the fellow “fittest,” and those were the individuals with whom Carnegie sought to align himself.—Carnegie would repeat the mantra time and again: profits and prices were cyclical, subject to any number of transient forces of the marketplace. Costs, however, could be strictly controlled, and in Carnegie’s view, any savings achieved in the costs of goods were permanent.—On this issue the two men were of one mind. Frick had made his way in coke by the same reckoning that Carnegie had in rail and steel: if you knew your costs down to the penny, you were always on firm ground.[6:00] Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. (Founders #115)[7:00] A sunny disposition is worth more than a fortune. Young people should know that it can be cultivated; that the mind like the body can be moved from the shade into sunshine.[7:00] The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. (Founders #100)[8:00] The most important judge of your life story is yourself.[9:00] You can always understand the son by the story of his father. The story of the father is embedded in the son. —Francis Ford Coppola: A Filmmaker's Life by Michael Schumacher. (Founders #242)[10:00] Invest in technology, the savings compound, it gives you an advantage over slower moving competitors, and can be the difference between a profit and a loss.[17:00] He is working from sunrise to sunset for $1.20 a week and he is ecstatic about being able to help his family avoid poverty. [18:00] Andrew Carnegie had manic levels of optimism.[20:00] Do not delay. Do it now. It is a great mistake not to seize the opportunity. Having got myself in, I proposed to stay there if I could.[21:00] I felt that my foot was upon the ladder and that I was about to climb.[21:00] Lesson from Andrew Carnegie’s early life: Focus on whatever job is in front of you at this very moment and do the best you can. You can never know what opportunities that will unlock in the future.[24:00] On the miracle of reading and having free access to a 400 volume personal library: In this way the windows were opened in the walls of my dungeon through which the light of knowledge streamed in. Every day's toil and even the long hours of night service were lightened by the book which I carried about with me and read in the intervals that could be snatched from duty. And the future was made bright by the thought that when Saturday came a new volume could be obtained.[26:00] To Colonel James Anderson, Founder of Free Libraries in Western Pennsylvania:He opened his Library to working boys and upon Saturday afternoons acted as librarian, thus dedicating not only his books but himself to the noble work. This monument is erected in grateful remembrance by Andrew Carnegie, one of the "working boys" to whom were thus opened the precious treasures of knowledge and imagination through which youth may ascend.[28:00] Running Down A Dream: How to Succeed and Thrive in a Career You Love by Bill Gurley[36:00] Dark Genius of Wall Street: The Misunderstood Life of Jay Gould, King of the Robber Barons by Edward J. Renehan Jr. (Founders #258)[43:00] This policy is a true secret of success: Uphill work it will be.[46:00] Put all your eggs in one basket and watch that basket.[46:00] The most expensive way to pay for anything is with time.[48:00] The men who have succeeded are men who have chosen one line and stuck to it. It is surprising how few men appreciate the enormous dividends derivable from investment in their own business.[48:00] My advice to young men would be not only to concentrate their whole time and attention on the one business in life in which they engage, but to put every dollar of their capital into it.[51:00] The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow. (Founders #139)[52:00] Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean by Les Standiford. (Founders #247)Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can now ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes —I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from rereading Jeff Bezos' Shareholder Letters (for the 3rd time!) Read Jeff's letters in book form: Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos or for free online: Amazon Investor Relations—This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: Tiny is the easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders.—Follow one of my favorite podcasts Invest Like The Best  Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can now ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes [2:30] Amazon hopes to create an enduring franchise[3:00] Because of our emphasis on the long term, we may make decisions and weigh trade-offs differently than some companies.[4:00] We will continue to focus relentlessly on our customers.[4:00] We will work hard to spend wisely and maintain our lean culture. We understand the importance of continually reinforcing a cost-conscious culture.[4:00] We set out to offer customers something they simply could not get any other way.[5:00] Word of mouth remains the most powerful customer acquisition tool that we have.[5:00] We are working to build something important, something that matters to our customers, something that we can all tell our grandchildren about. Such things aren't meant to be easy.[6:00] "To read Bezos’ shareholder letters is to get a crash course in running a high-growth internet business from someone who mastered it before any of the playbooks were written." — From CB Insights[7:00] Common themes repeated in Jeff’s letters:More innovation is ahead of us.It is still early. The opportunity —if we execute well — is enormous.We will move quickly.We will endure. Amazon will be a durable, long-lasting company.We will focus on cash flow.Once in a lifetime opportunities will be risky. Jeff gave himself a 30% chance of success— at best.Customer obsession is our North Star. It is what we will bet the company on.We will be BOLD.We will have a frugal, lean culture that Sam Walton would approve of.This will be hard. All valuable things are.We will have to learn along the way.[8:00] Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton. (Founders #234)[11:00] I would love to ask Jeff the question, “If you could only have one word to describe you on your tombstone, what would it be?” My guess is he would pick “relentless.”[16:00] We believe we have reached a "tipping  point," where this platform allows us to launch new ecommerce businesses faster, with a higher quality of customer experience, a lower incremental cost, a higher chance of success, and a faster path to scale and profitability than any other company. (A company that builds companies)[17:00] Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony by Akio Morita. (Founders #102)[19:00] We will continue to invest heavily in introductions to new customers. Though it's sometimes hard to imagine with all that has happened in the last five years, this remains Day 1 for ecommerce, and these are the early days of category formation where many customers are forming relationships for the first time. We must work hard to grow the number of customers who shop with us. (He was right about this — what is the lifetime value of an Amazon customer over 17 years?)[21:00] To us, operational excellence implies two things: delivering continuous improvement in customer experience and driving productivity, margin, efficiency, and asset velocity across all our businesses.Often, the best way to drive one of these is to deliver the other.For instance, more efficient distribution yields faster delivery times, which in turn lowers contacts per order and customer service costs. These, in turn, improve customer experience and build brand, which in turn decreases customer acquisition and retention costs.[22:00] Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs by Ken Kocienda (Founders #281)[24:00] Jeff Bezos on The Electricity Metaphor for the Web's Future[27:00] Repeat this loop: Focus on cost improvement makes it possible for us to afford to lower prices, which drives growth. Growth spreads fixed costs across more sales, reducing cost per unit, which makes possible more price reductions. Customers like this, and it's good for shareholders. Please expect us to repeat this loop.[29:00] The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone. (Founders #179)[35:00] My Life and Work by Henry Ford. (Founders #266)[40:00] Jeff Bezos is unapologetically extreme. He is already the best and still wants to be better.[41:00] This part is incredible— on the need for good judgement and why data may lead you to make the wrong decision:Our quantitative understanding of elasticity is short-term. We can estimate what a price reduction will do this week and this quarter. But we cannot numerically estimate the effect that consistently lowering prices will have on our business over five years or ten years or more. Our judgment is that relentlessly returning efficiency improvements and scale economies to customers in the form of lower prices creates a virtuous cycle that leads over the long term to a much larger dollar amount of free cash flow, and thereby to a much more valuable Amazon.[43:00] Don’t build an undifferentiated commodity business. — Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel. (Founders #278)[44:00] Differentiation is survival.[49:00] Missionaries build better products.[50:00] Long-term thinking levers our existing abilities and lets us do new things we couldn't otherwise contemplate. It supports the failure and iteration required for invention, and it frees us to pioneer in unexplored spaces. Seek instant gratification-or the elusive promise of it-and chances are you'll find a crowd there ahead of you. Long-term orientation interacts well with customer obsession. If we can identify a customer need and if we can further develop conviction that that need is meaningful and durable, our approach permits us to work patiently for multiple years to deliver a solution.[52:00] Problems are just opportunities in work clothes.[53:00] Similar idea said two different ways:Jeff Bezos: The financial results for 2009 reflect the cumulative efforts of 15 years of customer experience improvements.Peter Thiel: If you focus on near-term growth above all else, you miss the most important question you should be asking: will this business still be around a decade from now?[55:00] The most radical and transformative of inventions are often those that empower others to unleash their creativity—to pursue their dreams.[57:00] A dreamy business offering has at least four characteristics.—Customers love it—It can grow to very large size—It has strong returns on capital—It's durable in time-with the potential to endure for decades.When you find one of these get married.[1:03:00] Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected. — Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Kahney. (Founders #204)[1:03:00] I believe high standards are teachable. High standards are contagious.  —Jeff Bezos[1:04:00] Leaders have relentlessly high standards. Many people may think these standards are unreasonably high.[1:07:00] The key point here is that you can improve results through the simple act of teaching scope-that a great memo probably should take a week or more.[1:10:00] Differentiation is Survival and the Universe Wants You to be TypicalIn what ways does the world pull at you in an attempt to make you normal?How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness?To keep alive the thing or things that make you special?We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable.What I’m asking you to do is to embrace how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness.The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you.Don’t let it happen.Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can now ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes —I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from rereading Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs by Ken Kocienda.This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: Tiny is the easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders.Follow one of my favorite podcasts Invest Like The Best  [2:01] We're going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because perfection is not attainable. But we are going to relentlessly chase it because, in the process, we will catch excellence.[2:01] I'm not remotely interested in being just good.[3:00] Gentlemen, this is the most important play we have. It's the play we must make go. It's the play that we will make go. It's the play that we will run again, and again, and again.[4:00] In any complex effort, communicating a well-articulated vision for what you're trying to do is the starting point for figuring out how to do it.[4:00] A significant part of attaining excellence in any field is closing the gap between the accidental and intentional, to achieve not just a something, or even an everything, but a specific and well-chosen thing.[6:00] Every day at Apple was like going to school, a design-focused, high-tech, product-creation university.[8:00] A story about Steve’s clarity of thought.[9:00] Although Steve's opinions and moods could be hard to anticipate, he was utterly predictable when it came to his passion for products. He wanted Apple products to be great.[11:00] The decisiveness of Steve Jobs.[16:00] Steve wasn't merely interested in paying lip service to this goal. He demanded action. Steve found the time to attend a demo review so he could see it. His involvement kept the progress and momentum going.[17:00] Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Hack away the unessential.[17:00] People do not care about your product as much as you do. You have to make it simple and easy to use right from the start.[18:00] Steve Jobs believed that stripping away nonessential features made products easier for people to learn from the start and easier to use over time.[19:00] Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success by Ken Segall[22:00] Don’t rest on your laurels. Steve said: “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next.”[24:00] The sooner we started making creative decisions the more time there was to refine and improve those decisions. (The sooner you start the more time you will have to get it right.)[26:00] The simple transaction of buying a song, and of handing over a credit card number to Apple in order to so, became part of what Steve had begun calling “the Apple experience." As a great marketer, Steve understood that every interaction a customer had with Apple could increase or decrease his or her respect for the company. As he put it, a corporation "could accumulate or withdraw credits" from its reputation, which is why he worked so hard to ensure that every single interaction a customer might have with Apple-from using a Mac to calling customer support to buying a single from the iTunes store and then getting billed for it-was excellent. —— Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli (Founders #265)[29:00] Studying great work from the past provides the means of comparison and contrast and lets us tap into the collective creativity of previous generations. The past is a source of the timeless and enduring.[29:00] Design is how it works. —Steve Jobs[31:00] Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham (Founders #275, 276, 277)[34:00] Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products by Leander Kahney. (Founders #178)[37:00] Our clarity of purpose kept us on track.[38:00] Concentrating keenly on what to do helped us block out what not to do.[40:00] Steve Jobs on the importance of working at the intersection of liberal arts and technology:“The reason that Apple is able to create products like the iPad is because we've always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both, to make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but also have them be intuitive, easy to use, fun to use, so that they really fit the users. The users don't have to come to them, they come to the user.”[42:00] Steve Jobs provided his single-minded focus on making great products, and his vision motivated me.—I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from reading Copy This!: How I turned Dyslexia, ADHD, and 100 square feet into a company called Kinkos by Paul Orfalea.Follow Invest Like The Best in your favorite podcast player hereTwo episodes I recommend: Paul Orfalea - It's About the Money episode 299David Senra - Passion & Pain episode 292 [5:23] I've never met a more circular, out-of-the-box thinker. It's often exhausting trying to keep up with him.[6:21] I graduated from high school eighth from the bottom of my class of 1,200. Frankly, I still have no idea how those seven kids managed to do worse than I did.[9:29] I also have no mechanical ability to speak of. There isn't a machine at Kinko's I can operate. I could barely run the first copier we leased back in 1970. It didn't matter. All I knew was that was I could sell what came out of it.[11:24] Building an entirely new sort of business from a single Xerox copy machine gave me the life the world seemed determined to deny me when I was younger.[14:04] The A students work for the B students, the C students run the companies, and the D students dedicate the buildings.[24:02] I learned to turn a lot of busywork over to other people. That's an important skill. If you don't develop it, you'll be so busy, busy, busy that you can't get a free hour, not to mention a free week or month, to sit back and think creatively about where you want to be heading and how you are going to get there.[25:07] There's no better way to stay "on" your business than to think creatively and constantly about your marketing: how you are marketing, who you are marketing to, and, always, how you could be doing a better job at it. You'd be amazed what kind of business you can generate by a seemingly simple thing like handing out flyers.[27:18] The phone rang. It was one of our store managers calling to ask me how to handle a bounced check. I held the receiver away from my face and looked at it, flabbergasted. If every store manager needed my help to deal with a bounced check, then we really had problems.[40:55] I never walked in the back door used by coworkers. I walked in the front door so I could see things from the customer's perspective.[49:06] You had to remember he'd been picking up the best ideas from all around the country.[55:14] I believe in getting out of as much work as I possibly can.[55:45] By now, you’d have to be as bad a reader as I am not to figure out that I have a dark side. You rarely hear people talk about their dark sides, especially business leaders, which is a shame because successful businesses aren't usually started by laid-back personalities. I don't hide the fact that I have a problem with anger.[1:04:37] I'll give you an example of a corporate view of money. We used to sell passport photos at Kinko's and we advertised the service in the local Yellow Pages. It would cost us 75 cents to make a passport photo. I calculated that price jumped by $1 to $1.75 when you added in the cost of the Yellow Pages ads. We'd sell those photos for $13 a piece. You think this is a nice business? Shortly after we sold a controlling stake in Kinko's, the new budget people came in and, to make their numbers, they got rid of the Yellow Pages ads. They saw it as an advertising expense and didn't take into account how it affected the rest of our business. I used to go to the office and think, "Are they deliberately trying to be idiots?" These straight-A types drove me nuts. Then, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, we abandoned our passport business. That is corporate dyslexia. There is a lot of corporate dyslexia going on out there.
What I learned from reading Starting At Zero: His Own Story by Jimi Hendrix. This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. Capital: Banking built for Founders. Raise, hold, spend, and send—all in one place. [0:01] He was also a compulsive writer, using hotel stationery, scraps of paper, cigarette cartons, napkins—anything that came to hand.[0:01] Decoded by Jay Z. (Founders #238)[1:00] He always claimed that for him life and music were inseparable.[5:00] I liked to be different.[5:00] The Autobiography of Bob Dylan Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan. (Founders #259)[6:00] Bob Dylan: Billy asked me who I saw myself like in today's music scene.I told him, nobody. I really didn't see myself like anybody.What really set me apart in these days was my repertoire.It was more formidable than the rest of the players. There were a lot of better musicians around but there wasn't anybody close in nature to what I was doing.[7:00] Anthony Bourdain on Jimi Hendrix: I often compare the experience of going to Japan for the first time, going to Tokyo for the first time, to what Eric Clapton and Pete Townsend must have gone through, the reigning guitar gods of England, what they must have gone through the week that Jimi Hendrix came to town. You hear about it, you go see it.A whole window opens up into a whole new thing.And you think what does this mean? What do I have left to say? What do I do now?[12:00] The first guitarist I was aware of was Muddy Waters. I heard one of his records when I was a little boy, and it scared me to death.  Wow! What was all that about?[15:00] I loved my music, man. You see, I wasn't ever interested in any other things, just the music. I was trying to play like Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. Trying to learn everything and anything.[16:00] My first gig was at an armory, a National Guard place, and we earned thirty-five cents apiece and three hamburgers.[16:00] It was so hard for me at first. I knew about three songs, and when it was time for us to play onstage I was all shaky, so I had to play behind the curtains. I just couldn't get up in front.And then you get so very discouraged. You hear different bands playing around you, and the guitar player always seems like he's so much better than you are.Most people give up at this point, but it's best not to. Just keep on; just keep on. Sometimes you are going to be so frustrated you'll hate the guitar, but all of this is just a part of learning. If you stick with it you're going to be rewarded. If you're very stubborn you can make it.[18:00] I had very strange feelings that I was here for something and I was going to get a chance to be heard. I got the guitar together because that was all I had. Oh Daddy, one of these days I'm gonna be big and famous. I'm gonna make it, man![20:00] It was pretty tough at first. I lived in very miserable circumstances. I slept where I could and when I needed to eat, I had to steal it.[24:00] I lived in very miserable circumstances. Sleeping among the garbage cans between them tall tenements was hell.Rats runnin' all across your chest, cockroaches stealin' your last candy bar from your very pockets.I even tried to eat orange peel and tomato paste.People would say, "If you don't get a job you'll just starve to death."But I didn't want to take a job outside music.[27:00] I don't wanna play backup on somebody else's team. I have my own ideas that I have to bring to life, and I'm willing to sacrifice my comfort to do so.[31:00] Obsess over customers.[33:00] I don't give a damn so long as I have enough to eat and to play what I want to play. That's enough for me. I consider ourselves to be some of the luckiest cats alive, because we're playing just what we want to play and people seem to like that.[37:00] A lesson from Charlie Munger: Look at the behavior of people you dislike, or you don't respect, and do the opposite.[39:00] Once you've made a name for yourself you are all the more determined to keep it up.[44:00] James Dyson’s 2nd autobiography: Invention: A Life by James Dyson. (Founders #205)[49:00] We call our music Electric Church Music because it's like a religion to us.—I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from reading What I Learned Before I Sold to Warren Buffett: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Developing a Highly Successful Company by Barnett Helzberg Jr.This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. Capital: Banking built for Founders. Raise, hold, spend, and send—all in one place. Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by Founders, investors, and executives. [5:00]  Then, right there on the sidewalk I told one of the most astute businessmen in America why he ought to consider buying our family's 79-year-old jewelry business."I believe that our company matches your criteria for investment, I said. To which he replied, simply, "Send me the information. It will be confidential.”My conversation with Buffett lasted no more than half a minute.[8:00] My dream buyer for the family business all along was Warren Buffet.[11:00] "This can be the fastest deal in history," Buffett said."But what about due diligence?" I asked, surprised at how fast the negotiations were moving.Most suitors demand to see every scrap of paper you've ever generated and to interview every top manager.That wasn't Buffett's way. "I can smell these things, Buffett said. "This one smells good.”[12:00] First A Dream by Jim Clayton. (Founders #91)[13:00] Buffett on his management technique: “Managers run their own shows.They don't have to report to central management. When we get somebody who is a .400 hitter we don't start telling them how to swing.”[14:00] I was always taught that many, many people were out there developing ideas I could use. I have found that to be true throughout my life. These thoughts and ideas have all been borrowed or stolen from many wise people.Think of the world as your garden of marvelous people and ideas with unlimited picking rights for you.[17:00] Cable Cowboy: John Malone and the Rise of the Modern Cable Business by Mark Robichaux. (Founders #268)[23:00] Despite missteps, entrepreneurs are a special breed who do not give up on the larger goals.[24:00] It's not hard to express the quality we're looking for in metaphors. The best is probably a running back. A good running back is not merely determined, but flexible as well. They want to get downfield, but they adapt their plans on the fly. — Relentlessly Resourceful by Paul Graham[25:00] Entrepreneurs are driven to succeed. They possess an almost naive belief that nothing can stand in their way, they are mentally deaf to those who belittle their chances, they love to compete, and they have the skills of broken field runners who take the bumps and bruises along the way, change course when necessary, and stay focused on the goal.If this is not you, don't try to fool yourself. It's not worth it.Thinking you can start your own business or wanting to be your own boss, just because you hate your job, when you really have no desire or stamina to go it on your own, is courting disaster. Where there is no real will, there is no way.Some people are more  enamored by the concept than the reality. They would rather contemplate the beauty of the mountain from the base.The entrepreneur wants to climb the mountain first, briefly appreciate the gorgeous vistas from the summit, and then find the next mountain. If you possess this obsession of seeing your own creative notions succeed and are willing to pay the price, then you have no choice but to pursue the life of an entrepreneur.[29:00] He taught us to concern ourselves only with those things over which we have control.I thought he was unique in this until I realized this is one of the key common traits of highly successful people.Those folks are never victims; they take what comes and handle the situation. The rest is a waste of time.[30:00] Upgrade the herd annually: "You make more money closing bad stores than opening new ones.”His philosophy made sense. We decided we would rather spend time and effort on a $4.5 million store that could ultimately achieve annual sales of $6 million than on a lower-volume store with less potential.[32:00] Focus is your lever to success.Do not underestimate the incredible amount of mental discipline it takes to focus yourself and your teammates. Wonderful alternatives and seductive opportunities abound and temptations to go in multiple directions are unlimited.Commit yourself to be the best, define what that means, and focus on the head of that pin like no one in your industry.[32:00] Estee Lauder was a master at doing things don’t scale. — Estée Lauder: A Success Storyby Estée Lauder. (Founders #217)[33:00] To be successful, have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart. —Thomas Watson The Maverick and His Machine: Thomas Watson Sr. and The Making of IBM by Kevin Maney (Founders #87)[38:00] Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet. —African Proverb[40:00] Some of our partners created an inhospitable climate for customers. Some posted negative signs.At one store a manager hung a sign in red warning customers that they would be charged a steep fee if they bounced a  check. It said, "The bank doesn't make copies and we don't cash checks." That really got me boiling.I jumped up on the counter and ripped it down as customers and coworkers looked on, amazed. That may sound extreme, but I needed to make the point in a memorable way. I didn't want signs like that staring our customers in the face.I told our coworkers that the occasional hit we took for a bounced check cost far less than what we lost-and couldn't quantify-by creating a subtly hostile atmosphere. —Copy This!: How I turned Dyslexia, ADHD, and 100 square feet into a company called Kinkos by Paul Orfalea.[42:00] Nearly any action or communication means far more when done urgently.Trust only movement.[42:00] One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interests. —John Stuart Mill[43:00] None of this works if you can’t trust your own judgement.[46:00] This reservoir of knowledge and human experience creates tremendous opportunities and advantages for you as an entrepreneur. You are heir to the discoveries of many entrepreneurs who skinned their shins trying something new. It is likely other  entrepreneurs before you have experienced the same challenges and problems, and found ways to surmount them.[47:00] You have the experiences of thousands of experts and mentors at your fingertips.[47:00] The incredible, wonderful, and unavoidable truth is that seeking the help of others can put you light years ahead of other people who beat their heads against the wall trying to reinvent the wheel[48:00] I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me if I asked them for help. I called up Bill Hewlett when I was 12 years old. He answered the phone himself. I told him I wanted to build a frequency counter. I asked if he had any spare parts I could have. He laughed. He gave me the parts. And he gave me a summer job at HP working on the assembly line putting together frequency counters. I have never found anyone who said no, or hung up the phone. I just ask. Most people never pick up the phone and call. And that is what separates the people who do things, versus the people who just dream about them. You have to act. —Steve Jobs[53:00] "Max kept repeating, 'As hire As. Bs hire Cs. So the first B you hire takes the whole company down." — The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley by Jimmy Soni.[54:00] “The greatest thing you can do for your competition—hiring poorly.” —Bill Gates[59:00] I wish that I had known sooner that if you miss a child's play or performance or sporting event, you will have forgotten a year later the work emergency that caused you to miss it. But the child won't have forgotten that you weren't there.—I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from rereading Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel.This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. Fable: Make your product accessible to more people. Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by Founders, investors, and executives. [4:01] Jobs's return to Apple 12 years later shows how the most important task in business-the creation of new valuecannot be reduced to a formula and applied by professionals.[5:00] A really important sentence to understand one of the main points in Peter’s book: Apple's value crucially depended on the singular vision of a particular person.[5:00] A unique founder can make authoritative decisions, inspire strong personal loyalty, and plan ahead for decades.[6:00] Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue and Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (Founders #31)[7:00] Properly understood, any new and better way of doing things is technology.[8:00] By creating new technologies we rewrite the plan of the world.[9:00] The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a formula necessarily cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be innovative.The single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas.[10:00] The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That's maybe the most important thing. It's to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you're just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it. —Steve Jobs[11:00] Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.[13:00] A startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future. A new company's most important strength is new thinking.[14:00] What follows is not a manual or a record of knowledge but an exercise in thinking. Because that is what a startup has to do: question received ideas and rethink business from scratch.[14:00] The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley by Jimmy Soni. (Founders #233)[17:00] Their casual way of conducting affairs did not appeal to me. — Random Reminiscences of Men and Events by John D. Rockefeller (Founders #148)[18:00] My number one repeated learning in life: There Are No Adults. Everyone's making it up as they go along. Figure it out yourself, and do it. —Naval Ravikant[19:00] Bill Gurley’s answer to the question For people who were there, does this feel like dot-com bust level unwiding yet? Yes.  Link to tweet[21:00] Peter’s 4 principles for founders:1. It is better to risk boldness than triviality.2. A bad plan is better than no plan.3. Competitive markets destroy profits.4. Sales matters just as much as product.[22:00] The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.[22:00] By “monopoly,” we mean the kind of company that’s so good at what it does that no other firm can offer a close substitute.[24:00] Every business is successful exactly to the extent that it does something others cannot.[25:00] Durability has always been a first rate virtue in Charlie’s eyes. — Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger. (Founders #90)[27:00] If you focus on near-term growth above all else, you miss the most important question you should be asking: will this business still be around a decade from now?[27:00] There is no shortcut to monopoly[28:00] A substantive advantage makes your product difficult or impossible to replicate.[30:00] The perfect target market for a startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors.[32:00] Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.[32:00] Victory awaits him who has everything in order.[33:00] My heroes are people who took epic journeys into the unknown often at substantial personal risk. I am simply following the path that they carved into history. —Explore/Create My Life in Pursuit of New Frontiers, Hidden Worlds, and the Creative Spark by Richard Garriott.[35:00] Instead of pursuing many-sided mediocrity and calling it "wellroundedness," a definite person determines the one best thing to do and then does it. She strives to be great at something substantive— to be a monopoly of one.[36:00] Long-term planning is often undervalued by our indefinite short-term world.[39:00] Monopoly businesses capture more value than millions of undifferentiated competitors.[40:00] Most startups fail and most venture funds fail with them.[43:00]  You cannot trust a world that denies the power law to accurately frame your decisions for you, so what's most important is rarely obvious. It might even be a secret.[44:00] I also believed then, as I do now after more than fifty years as a money manager, that the surest way to get rich is to play only those games or make those investments where I have an edge. — A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market by Ed Thorp. (Founders #222)[45:00] Schlep Blindness by Paul Graham  [46:00] Great companies can be built on open but unsuspected secrets about how the world works.[47:00] Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire's Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire by Peter Thielby Ryan Holiday[48:00] The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that's hidden from the outside.[51:00] Keith Rabois on Peter Theil insisting on focus[54:00] Superior sales and distribution by itself can create a monopoly, even with no product differentiation. The converse is not true.[56:00] Advertising doesn’t exist to make you buy a product right away; it exists to embed subtle impressions that will drive sales later. Anyone who cannot acknowledge its likely effect on himself is doubly deceived.I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from reading Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas From The Computer Age by Paul Graham This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. Capital: Banking built for Founders. Raise, hold, spend, and send—all in one place. Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by Founders, investors, and executives. [4:00] How To Make Wealth by Paul Graham [4:01] Wealth is stuff we want: food, clothes, houses, cars, gadgets, travel to interesting places, and so on. You can have wealth without having money. If you had a magic machine that could on command make you a car or cook you dinner or do your laundry, or do anything else you wanted, you wouldn't need money. Whereas if you were in the middle of Antarctica, where there is nothing to buy, it wouldn't matter how much money you had.[6:00] All a company is is a group of people working together to do something people want.[7:00] It turns out, though, that there are economies of scale in how much of your life you devote to your work. In the right kind of business, someone who really devoted himself to work could generate ten or even a hundred times as much wealth as an average employee.[8:00] And the people you work with had better be good, because it's their work that yours is going to be averaged with.[9:00] In the Company of Giants: Candid Conversations With the Visionaries of the Digital World by Rama Dev Jager and Rafael Ortiz.  (Founders #208)[10:00] A very able person who does care about money will ordinarily do better to go off and work with a small group of peers.[10:00] Paul Graham’s Essays (Founders #275)[11:00] What is technology? It's technique. It's the way we all do things.[12:00] Sam Walton got rich not by being a retailer, but by designing a new kind of store.[12:00] Sam Walton epiosdes#150 Sam Walton: The Inside Story of America's Richest Man by Vance H. Trimble.#234 Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton.[13:00] Use difficulty as a guide not just in selecting the overall aim of your company, but also at decision points along the way. At Viaweb one of our rules of thumb was run upstairs. Suppose you are a little, nimble guy being chased by a big, fat, bully. You open a door and find yourself in a staircase. Do you go up or down? I say up. The bully can probably run downstairs as fast as you can. Going upstairs his bulk will be more of a disadvantage. Running upstairs is hard for you but even harder for him.[14:00] So few businesses really pay attention to making customers happy.[15:00] What people will give you money for depends on them, not you.[16:00] Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham[20:00] The other way makers learn is from examples. For a painter, a museum is a reference library of techniques. For hundreds of years it has been part of the traditional education of painters to copy the works of the great masters, because copying forces you to look closely at the way a painting is made.[21:00] Relentelssness wins. A great product has to be better than it has to be.[21:00] Relentlessness Wins: Many painters might have thought, this is just something to put in the background to frame her head. No one will look that closely at it.Not Leonardo. How hard he worked on part of a painting didn't depend at all on how closely he expected anyone to look at it. He was like Michael Jordan. Relentless.Relentlessness wins because, in the aggregate, unseen details become visible.[22:00] All those unseen details combine to produce something that's just stunning, like a thousand barely audible voices all singing in tune.[24:00] The right way to collaborate, I think, is to divide projects into sharply defined modules, each with a definite owner, and with interfaces between them that are as carefully designed and, if possible, as articulated as programming languages.[25:00] It turns out that looking at things from other people's point of view is practically the secret of success.[25:00] You only get one life. You might as well spend it working on something great.[26:00] The Other Road Ahead by Paul Graham [26:00] Subscribe to listen to Founders Daily (my new daily podcast)[29:00] Use your product yourself all the time.[29:00] Mind The Gap by Paul Graham[29:00] When people care enough about something to do it well, those who do it best tend to be far better than everyone else. There's a huge gap between Leonardo da Vinci and second-rate contemporaries.[32:00] Technology will certainly increase the gap between the productive and the unproductive.[33:00] So we should expect to see ever-increasing variation in individual productivity as time goes on.[34:00] Paul Graham’s answer to how big of a difference can a single developer or a small team make?The answer is increasingly much. Increasingly much.Achrimedes said if he had a lever long enough he could move the world.Well nowawadys from your bedroom —thanks to all the infrastucture that exists — a combination of open source and services like AWS — the lever is enourmoulsy long.You could be sitting in your bedroom programming … a single person … and if you make something that people like and is novel it can really have a huge effect.That is very exiciting. You guys may take this for granted but anybody who is as old as me realizes how that was not the case 20 years ago.It will be interesting to see how far it goes because it is certainly not over yet.(How far can it go?)Always further than people expect.[37:00] Beating The Averages by Paul Graham [37:00] Paul Graham on Econtalk: I found that the interesting parts of programming you can’t make scientific. [Startups are the same.] What makes a programmer good at programming is more like what makes a painter good at painting. It is something a little less organized. It is taste. A sense of design. A certain knack.[40:00] In business, there is nothing more valuable than a technical advantage your competitors don't understand.[40:00] A startup should give its competitors as little information as possible.[41:00] Taste For Makers by Paul Graham[42:00] Whatever job people do, they naturally want to do better.[43:00] It's surprising how much different fields' ideas of beauty have in common. The same principles of good design crop up again and again.[44:00] If something is ugly, it can't be the best solution.[46:00] In most fields the appearance of ease seems to come with practice. Perhaps what practice does is train your unconscious mind to handle tasks that used to require conscious thought.[48:00] "It is my opinion," Ferrari once wrote, "that there are innate gifts that are a peculiarity of certain regions and that, transferred into industry, these propensities may at times acquire an exceptional importance... In Modena, where I was born and set up my own works, there is a species of psychosis for racing cars." — Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans by A.J. Baime. (Founders #97)[50:00] The recipe for great work is: very exacting taste, plus the ability to gratify it.I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from reading Paul Graham’s essays.This episode is brought to you by: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. Fable: Make your product accessible to more people. Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by Founders, investors, and executives. [4:01] You don't want to start a startup to do something that everyone agrees is a good idea, or there will already be other companies doing it. You have but that you know isn't to do something that sounds to most other people like a bad idea.[5:20] The independent-minded are often unaware how different their ideas are from conventional ones, at least till they state them publicly.[6:20] Founders find themselves able to speak more freely with founders of other companies than with their own employees.[7:40] There are intellectual fashions too, and you definitely don't want to participate in those. Because unfashionable ideas are disproportionately likely to lead somewhere interesting. The best place to find undiscovered ideas is where no one else is looking.[8:30] How much does the work you're currently doing engage your curiosity? If the answer is "not much," maybe you should change something.[9:00] How To Think For Yourself by Paul Graham[9:00] How To Work Hard by Paul Graham[10:00] Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham[11:00] Paul on Twitter: "Maybe better founders could have..." Presumably Patrick knows what he means by that, but in case it's not clear, he's describing the empty set. If Patrick and John Collison had to work long hours to build something great, you will too. Link to tweet[13:00] Less is more but you have to do more to get to less. — Rick Rubin: In the Studio by Jake Brown. (Founders #245)[13:00] If great talent and great drive are both rare, then people with both are rare squared.[14:30] Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins[15:30] Aliens, Jedis, & Cults[16:30] How To Do What You Love by Paul Graham[19:00] Fear's a powerful thing. I mean it's got a lot of firepower. If you can figure out a way to wrestle that fear to push you from behind rather than to stand in front of you, that's very powerful. I always felt that I had to work harder than the next guy, just to do as well as the next guy. And to do better than the next guy, I had to just kill.And you know, to a certain extent, that's still with me in how I work, you know, I just go in. —Jimmy Iovine[20:00] Many problems have a hard core at the center, surrounded by easier stuff at the edges. Working hard means aiming toward the center to the extent you can. Some days you may not be able to; some days you'll only be able to work on the easier, peripheral stuff. But you should always be aiming as close to the center as you can without stalling.[22:00] Find work that feels like play. —The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Naval Ravikant and Eric Jorgenson. (Founders #191)[23:00] A deep interest in a topic makes people work harder than any amount of discipline can.[23:00] Mozart: A Life by Paul Johnson. (Founders #240)[25:00] Working hard is not just a dial you turn up to 11. It's a complicated, dynamic system that has to be tuned just right at each point. You have to understand the shape of real work, see clearly what kind you're best suited for, aim as close to the true core of it as you can, accurately judge at each moment both what you're capable of and how you're doing, and put in as many hours each day as you can without harming the quality of the result. This network is too complicated to trick. But if you're consistently honest and clearsighted, it will automatically assume an optimal shape, and you'll be productive in a way few people are.[26:00] How to Lose Time and Money by Paul Graham[30:00] Schlep Blindness by Paul Graham[31:00] A company is defined by the schleps it will undertake. And schleps should be dealt with the same way you'd deal with a cold swimming pool: just jump in. Which is not to say you should seek out unpleasant work per se, but that you should never shrink from it if it's on the path to something great.[33:00] What I’ve Learned From Users by Paul Graham[34:00] The first thing that came to mind was that most startups have the same problems. No two have exactly the same problems, but it's surprising how much the problems remain the same, regardless of what they're making. Once you've advised 100 startups all doing different things, you rarely encounter problems you haven't seen before.[34:00] Today I talked to a startup doing so well that they had no current problems that needed solving. Profitable, growing ~20x a year (not a typo), only 9 employees. This is so rare that I didn't know what to do. We ended up talking about problems they might have in the future.I advised them never to raise another round, so to get equity you're going to have to get hired there. So learn to program. Link to tweet[35:00] But knowing (nearly) all the problems startups can encounter doesn't mean that advising them can be automated, or reduced to a formula.[37:00] It's not about pop culture, and it's not about fooling people, and it's not about convincing people that they want something they don't. We figure out what we want.And I think we're pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. —Steve Jobs[39:00] That was another big surprise: how often founders don't listen to us.[39:00] Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger by Janet Lowe. (Founders #221)[40:00] The reason startups are so counterintuitive is that they're so different from most people's other experiences. No one knows what it's like except those who've done it.[42:00] Speed defines startups. Focus enables speed. YC improves focus.[42:00] Alexander combined an excessive tolerance of fatigue with an intolerence for slowness. Alexander the Great: The Brief Life and Towering Exploits of History's Greatest Conqueror--As Told By His Original Biographers (Founders #232)[43:00] However good you are, good colleagues make you better. Indeed, very ambitious people probably need colleagues more than anyone else, because they're so starved for them in everyday life.[45:00] Leading By Design: The Ikea Story (Founders #104)I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free by going to https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
#275 Paul Graham's Essays

#275 Paul Graham's Essays

2022-11-0301:23:51

What I learned from reading Paul Graham’s essays.Support Founders' sponsors: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. Capital: Banking built for Founders. Raise, hold, spend, and send—all in one place. Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by Founders, investors, and executives. [4:52] My father told me I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up, so long as I enjoyed it.[5:49] Do what you love doesn't mean, do what you would like to do most this second.[7:41] To be happy I think you have to be doing something you not only enjoy, but admire. You have to be able to say, at the end, wow, that's pretty cool.[8:00] You should not worry about prestige. This is easy advice to give. It’s hard to follow.[10:22] You have to make a conscious effort to keep your ideas about what you want from being contaminated by what seems possible.[12:18] Whichever route you take, expect a struggle. Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail.[16:46] How To Do What You Love by Paul Graham [16:34] What Doesn’t Seem Like Work by Paul Graham [17:16] If something that seems like work to other people doesn't seem like work to you, that's something you're well suited for.[17:42] Michael Jordan said what looked like hard work to others was play to him. Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby. (Founders #212) and Driven From Within by Michael Jordan and Mark Vancil. (Founders #213)[20:53] How Not to Die by Paul Graham [23:00] All that matters is to survive. The rest is just words. — Charles de Gaulle by Julian Jackson (Founders #224)[24:49] You have to assume that running a startup can be demoralizing. That is certainly true. I've been there, and that's why I've never done another startup.[27:31] If a startup succeeds, you get millions of dollars, and you don't get that kind of money just by asking for it. You have to assume it takes some amount of pain.[28:17] So I'll tell you now: bad shit is coming. It always is in a startup. The odds of getting from launch to liquidity without some kind of disaster happening are one in a thousand.So don't get demoralized. When the disaster strikes, just say to yourself, ok, this was what Paul was talking about. What did he say to do? Oh, yeah. Don't give up.[28:45] Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy by Paul Graham [30:23] If we've learned one thing from funding so many startups, it's that they succeed or fail based on the qualities of the founders.[31:15] If you're worried about threats to the survival of your company, don't look for them in the news. Look in the mirror.[34:10] The cheaper your company is to operate, the harder it is to kill.[35:43] Relentlessly Resourceful by Paul Graham [35:43] I finally got being a good startup founder down to two words: relentlessly resourceful.[37:20] If I were running a startup, this would be the phrase I'd tape to the mirror. "Make something people want" is the destination, but "Be relentlessly resourceful" is how you get there.[37:40] The Anatomy of Determination by Paul Graham [37:45] David’s Notes: A Conversation with Paul Graham[39:50] After a while determination starts to look like talent.[42:12] Ambitious people are rare, so if everyone is mixed together randomly, as they tend to be early in people's lives, then the ambitious ones won't have many ambitious peers. When you take people like this and put them together with other ambitious people, they bloom like dying plants given water. Probably most ambitious people are starved for the sort of encouragement they'd get from ambitious peers, whatever their age.[43:21] One of the best ways to help a society generally is to create events and institutions that bring ambitious people together. (Founders Podcast Conference?)[45:21] What Startups Are Really Like by Paul Graham [49:00] The Entire History of Silicon Valley by John Coogan[49:50] Meet You In Hell: Andrew Carnegie Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America by Les Standiford. (Founders #73)[55:08] You need persistence because everything takes longer than you expect. A lot of people (founders) were surprised by that.[57:18] Estee Lauder was a master at doing things that don’t scale. Estée Lauder: A Success Storyby Estée Lauder. (Founders #217)[58:45] What makes companies fail most of the time is poor execution by the founders. A lot of times founders are worried about competition. YC has founded 1900+ companies. 1 was killed by competitors. You have the same protection against competitors that light aircraft have against crashing into other light aircraft. Do you know what the protection is? Space is large.[1:01:00] Paul on what he would do if he was strating a company today: If I were a 22 year starting a startup I would certainly apply to YC. Which is not that surprising, since it was designed to be what I wish I'd had when I did start one. But (assuming I got in) I would not get sucked into raising a huge amount on Demo Day.I would raise maybe $500k, keep the company small for the first year, work closely with users to make something amazing, and otherwise stay off SV's radar.Ideally I'd get to profitability on that initial $500k. Later I could raise more, if I felt like it. Or not. But it would be on my terms.At every point in the company's growth, I'd keep the company as small as I could. I'd always want people to be surprised how few employees we had. Fewer employees = lower costs, and less need to turn into a manager.When I say small, I mean small in employees, not revenues.[1:05:07] Against The Odds: An Autobiography by James Dyson (Founders #200)[1:07:00] A Word To The Resourceful by Paul Graham [1:08:07] We found the startups that did best were the ones with the sort of founders about whom we'd say "they can take care of themselves." The startups that do best are fire-and-forget in the sense that all you have to do is give them a lead, and they'll close it, whatever type of lead it is.[1:09:00] Understanding all the implications of what someone tells you is a subset of resourcefulness. It's conversational resourcefulness.[1:11:00] Do Things That Don’t Scale by Paul Graham [1:11:00] Startups take off because the founders make them take off.[1:16:00] The question to ask about an early stage startup is not "is this company taking over the world?" but "how big could this company get if the founders did the right things?" And the right things often seem both laborious and inconsequential at the time.[1:16:00] Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire by James Wallace and Jim Erickson (Founders #140)[1:21:00] The world is complicated. It is noisy. We are not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us. —Steve Jobs[1:22:00] Any strategy that omits the effort is suspect.[1:23:00] The need to do something unscalably laborious to get started is so nearly universal that it might be a good idea to stop thinking of startup ideas as scalars. Instead we should try thinking of them as pairs of what you're going to build, plus the unscalable thing(s) you're going to do initially to get the company going.Now that there are two components you can try to be imaginative about the second as well as the first. Founders need to work hard in two dimensions.—I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free by going to https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from rereading The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story by Michael LewisSupport Founders's sponsors: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. Fable: Make your product accessible to more people. Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by founders, investors, and executives. Try it for free by visiting Tegus[1:23] Maybe somewhere in a footnote, it would be mentioned that he came from nothing, grew up poor, dropped out of high school, and made himself three or four billion dollars.[7:41] She explained that the shares in Netscape that Clark had given them had made them rich."And you have to understand," she said, “that when this happened, we were poor. I was ready to cook the cat."I assumed this was a joke, and laughed. I assumed wrong.[12:48] He was expelled from school and left town.  One time he came home talking about nothing but computers. No one in Plainview had even seen a computer except in the movies.[13:21] I remember him telling me when he came back from the Navy, ‘Mama, I’m going to show Plainview.’[14:42] In under eight years this person, considered unfit to graduate from high school, had earned himself a Ph.D. in Computer Science.[15:05] I grew up in black and white. I thought the whole world was shit, and I was sitting in the middle of it.[17:17] If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, “This sucks. I’m going to do my own thing. — Yvon Chouinard[17:56] The most powerful paragraph in the book: One day I was sitting at home and, I remember having the thought ‘You can did this hole as deep as you want to dig it.’ I remember thinking ‘My God, I’m going to spend the rest of my life in this fucking hole.’ You can reach these points in life when you say, ‘Fuck, I’ve reached some sort of dead-end here. And you descend into chaos. All those years you thought you were achieving something. And you achieved nothing. I was thirty-eight years old. I’d just been fired. My second wife had just left me. I had somehow fucked up. I developed this maniacal passion for wanting to achieve something.[19:00] Two part series on Vannevar BushPieces of the Action by Vannevar Bush. (Founders #270) and Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century by G. Pascal Zachary. (Founders #271) [21:38] New Growth Theory argued that wealth came from the human imagination. Wealth wasn’t chiefly having more of old things; it was having entirely new things.[22:54] On creating new wealth/companies: A certain tolerance for nonconformism is really critical to the process.[24:31] The internet has massively broadened the possible space of careers, and most people haven't figured this out yet. —The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Naval Ravikant and Eric Jorgenson. (Founders #191)[25:06] A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.[27:36] George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones. (Founders #35) and Steven Spielberg: A Biography by Joseph McBride. (Founders #209)[33:10] The independence and the control is worth a lot more than the money.[33:32] These people could never build the machines of the future, but they could sell the machines of the present.[35:02] Clark on how to avoid being disrupted: For a technology company to succeed, he argued, it needed always to be looking to destroy itself. If it didn’t, someone else would. “It’s the hardest thing in business to do,” he would say. “Even creating a lower-cost product runs against the grain, because the low-cost products undercut the high-cost, more profitable products.” Everyone in a successful company, from the CEO on down, has a stake in whatever the company is currently selling. It does not naturally occur to anyone to find a way to undermine that product.[40:41] The young were forever eating the old. In this drama technology played a very clear role. It was the murder weapon.[40:55] The art of storytelling is critically important. Most of the entrepreneurs who come to us can't tell a story. Learning to tell a story is incredibly important because that's how the money works. The money flows as a function of the stories. —Don Valentine[42:53] The Pmarca Blog Archive Ebook by Marc Andreessen (Founders #50)[45:48] What is the role I want to play in my company? I need to make sure to design my environment so I am always playing that role. Make sure you design the job you want. What is the point of being an entreprenuer if you don’t do that?[47:45] John Doerr had cleared $500 million in 18 months. 30 times his original investment.[49:13] You must find extraordinary people.I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1.Given that, you're well advised to go after the cream of the cream. That's what we've done.A small team of A+ players can run  circles around a giant team of B and C players.— In the Company of Giants: Candid Conversations With the Visionaries of the Digital World by Rama Dev Jager and Rafael Ortiz. (Founders #208)[52:03] Clark liked to say that human beings when they took risks, fell into one of two types, pigs or chickens. “The difference between these two kinds of people is the difference between the pig and the chicken in the ham-and-eggs breakfast. The chicken is interested, the pig is committed. If you are going to do anything worth doing, you need a lot of pigs.”[53:14] In our 10 days at sea the value of his holdings had nearly tripled. This is fantasy land he said.[53:54] There are vastly more conceivable possibilities than realized outcomes.—Get 60 days free of Readwise. It's the best app I pay for. I couldn’t make Founders without it.—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from rereading The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant. [0:01] If you really want to be great at something, you have to truly care about it.If you want to be great in a particular area, you have to obsess over it.A lot of people say they want to be great, but they're not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness.They have other concerns and they spread themselves out. That's totally fine. After all, greatness is not for everybody.Greatness isn't easy to achieve. It requires a lot of time.[1:08] You can't achieve greatness by walking a straight line.[1:12] Respect to those who do achieve greatness and respect to those who are chasing that elusive feeling.[1:29] Start of what Founders Daily is and why I am making it.[5:58] Start of this episode.[6:10]  May you find the power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own.[6:23] He dedicates a lot of time in this book to the importance of learning from and studying the great people that came before you.[7:31] Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant by Roland Lazenby (Founders #272)[7:52] His dissection of the game was at another level. In my entire career, I’ve never seen a player as dedicated to being the best. His determination is unparalleled. He unquestionably worked harder than anyone else I have ever played with.[8:07] Kobe knew that to be the best you need a different approach from everyone else.[11:24] If I wanted to implement something new into my game, I'd see it and try incorporating it immediately. I wasn't scared of looking bad or being embarrassed.[12:08] I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best. I never needed any external forces to motivate me.[12:31] If something has worked for other greats before you, and if something is working for you, why change it up and embrace some new fad? Stick with what works, even if it's unpopular.[12:47] Kobe mentions reading: Jackie Robinson’s autobiography[13:14] Reading is forced meditation.[14:12] I never thought about my daily preparation. It wasn't a matter of whether it was an option or not. It was, if I want to play, this is what I have to do, so l'd just show up and do it.[14:44] I always found that short 15 minute cat naps gave me all the energy I would need for peak performance.[14:52] Your routine can change but your obsession can not.[15:11] You can find an edge by doing things your competitors are not doing.[16:58] I revere the players who made the game what it is, and cherish the chances I had to pick their brains. Anything that I was seeing or going to see, any type of defense or offense or player or team—they had already encountered years before. I talked with them to learn how to deal with those challenges.[19:23] I devoured Bill Russel’s autobiography. There were a lot of valuable lessons in there. [19:49] If you wanna win championships, you have to let people focus on what they do best, while you focus on what you do best.[20:28] You train an animal. You teach a person —Sol Price: Retail Revolutionary & Social Innovator by Robert E. Price (Founders #107)[21:31] In our first year together, he (Tex Winter) and I would rewatch every single game together. Preseason, regular season, playoffs. That's a lot of basketball.[22:12] As I learned time and again, success in business often rests on a minute reading of the regulations that  impact your business. —Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys by Joe Coulombe. (Founders #188)[24:33] Coach K is really intense. He and I approach winning and losing the same way in that winning is the goal, and losing is, well, losing isn't even on the table.[25:35] Coach K in The Redeem Team documentary: Understand the responsibility. I know I’m not going to fucking lose. I am not going to fucking lose. Not when I’m wearing this (team USA jersey) and not at this time in my career. You’re going to have to fucking shoot me. That’s how I want you to play.[26:37] These greats won't hang around you if you don't display the same passion as they do. They won't share their time and memories with you if you don't display the same effort and drive for excellence that they did. I was accepted so quickly because everyone saw how hard I worked. They saw how badly I wanted to fulfill my destiny.[27:01] The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen. (Founders #255)[29:18] It is to the point where if you know the basics, you have an advantage on the majority of players.[29:33] “There are two things in business that matter, and you can learn this in two minutes- you don’t have to go to business school for two years: high gross margins and cash flow. All companies that go out of business do so for the same reason – they run out of money.” —Don Valentine[30:55] I felt that my destiny was already written. I felt I knew that my future was undeniable and no one, not a person or a play, could derail it.[32:01] This is the goal. This is my goal: For almost a decade he did nothing but address weaknesses and add to his game. Now his skill set is completely fleshed out. His game has no weaknesses. He's a nightmare to go up against, and he's worked to achieve that status.[33:36] That's the money right there: That thirst and quest for information and improvement.[33:57] Driven From Within by Michael Jordan and Mark Vancil. (Founders #213)—I use Readwise to organize and remember everything I read. You can try Readwise for 60 days for free by going to https://readwise.io/founders/—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
#272 The Life of Kobe Bryant

#272 The Life of Kobe Bryant

2022-10-1901:19:263

What I learned from reading Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant by Roland Lazenby.  Support Founders' sponsors: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. andCapital: Raise, hold, and spend capital all in one place. and Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by founders, investors, and executives. Try it for free by visiting Tegus.[9:15] Notes from The Redeem Team documentary:30 seconds into the first practice Kobe is diving for loose balls. That set the tone.Players go clubbing. Come back at 5:30am and see Kobe working out. "This motherfucker Kobe was already drenched in sweat. Yeah he’s different"— LeBron James. By the end of the week the whole team was on Kobe’s schedule.Understand the responsibility. I know I’m not going to fucking lose. I am not going to fucking lose. Not when I’m wearing this (team USA jersey) and not at this time in my career. You’re going to have to fucking shoot me. That’s how I want you to play. — Coach KAt one point you will have a grandkid on your lap and they will ask you weren’t you in the Olympics ? What did you do? You wanna say: Well son, we lost to that fucking Greek team? —Coach KWhen you’re in the Olympic village you're around people who are the best in the world at what they do. That is more special that celebrities in LA because this is athlete to athlete — I understand what they put their body through to get here. There’s so much respect and mutual admiration. —KobeWhat Kobe told team USA going into the 4th quarter: Just think about the play in front of you.[12:07] At every turn his declarations of future greatness have been met with head shaking and raised eyebrows.[14:33]  It's almost like Kobe's insane level of dedication was like compensation for the bad decision making of his father.[15:15] 4 parts to Kobe’s blueprint:Master the fundamentalsImprove your weaknessesStudy the greatsConcentrate[15:12] Listening to Founders is like watching game tape of history's greatest entrepreneurs.[15:40] I used to watch their moves and then I'd add them to my game. It was the beginning of a career-long focus on studying game recordings.[15:48] He would invest long hours each day in breaking down his own performances and those of opponents— far more than what any other NBA player would ever contemplate undertaking.[17:08] Jay Z’ autobiography: Decoded by Jay Z.  (Founders #238)[21:22] If you’re not good, Jeff will chew you up and spit you out. And if you’re good, he will jump on your back and ride you into the ground. —The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone. (Founders #179)[21:58] If you're breaking down tape of Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan and so many other greats, you come to consider them your teachers.[22:39] Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. (Founders #186)[23:00] Jordan and Knight certainly shared a competitive nature that bordered on insanity, Moore added. "If you think Jordan and Kobe are competitive, go meet Phil Knight. He's a no bullshit competitor. It's, 'You play for me or I can't stand you, I will kill you.' That's Phil Knight, full stop. And he's not shy about it.”[29:30]  He studied the game harder than anyone else has ever studied the game.[30:00] One day just before practice, the team was informed that it couldn't have the gym due to flooding.“This is bullshit!” he screamed, slamming a ball off the floor. “This is bullshit! We got practice, I want to practice. This is ridiculous!" (He was in high school)[31:10] Kobe had a closet at home filled with critical research. It held all these VHS tapes of Michael's games. [32:00] Kobe on Michael Jordan: What you get from me— is from him. I don't get five championships without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice.[32:22] Sol Price: Retail Revolutionary & Social Innovator by Robert E. Price. (Founders #107)[35:22] Bryant's workout had been so impressive that for Jerry West, it had revealed his heart. It was there in the skill set alone, in some ways, just the amount of work that a player would have to have done to possess such immaculate moves, the footwork and fakes and execution, the hours that must have been put into that kind of perfection.[37:55] Part of his strategy for keeping his disappointment at bay was to focus on others who had faced far more difficult circumstances. "I read the autobiography of Jackie Robinson," Bryant said. “I was thinking about all the hard times I'd go through this year, and that it'd never compare to what he went through. That just kind of helped put things in perspective."[38:50] Kobe’s favorite book was Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. [39:00] The only way he could keep the whole dream going was to work harder and harder and harder, to spin his fantasies around and around until they wrapped him tight in a new reality.[39:45] Estée Lauder: A Success Storyby Estée Lauder. (Founders #217)[41:00] I think that game was vital to how good he became. That level of embarrassment to happen to somebody like him? The next year he came out like a fucking maniac.[41:15] Leading By Design: The Ikea Story by Bertil Torekull. (Founders #104)[46:03] Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby. (Founders #212)[47:00] The best book on the emotional toll entrepreneurs experience:  Against The Odds: An Autobiography by James Dyson (Founders #200)[54:15] Highly competitive personalities like Jordan and Bryant could absolutely kill a team atmosphere with displays of ruthlessness or selfishness.[55:22] He stands up, points around the room and says, You motherfuckers don't belong in the same court with me.You're all shit. And he walked out of the locker room.[56:07] 4 ideas from Kobe:Search for your limitsExtreme personal practiceResourcefullness—find a way.Study the greats[57:39] He was one of the rare few who simply cared far more about the game than anyone else.[1:02:24] The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant [1:02:53] Why Warren Buffett reads annual reports brought to you by Tegus[1:09:03] Steve Jobs on why marketing is about values brought to you by Capital[1:13:36] Warren Buffett masterclass on how to differentiate your product brought to you by Tiny—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from reading Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century by G. Pascal Zachary.Support Founders' sponsors: Fable: Make your product accessible to more people. and Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by founders, investors, and executives. Try it for free by visiting Tegus.and Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. [7:30] Episode starts. [7:31] Acts of importance were the measure of his life and they are the reason that his life deserves study today.[8:10] Suspicious of big institutions Bush objected to the pernicious effects of an increasingly bureaucratic society and the potential for mass mediocrity.[8:20] He believed the individual was still of paramount importance."The individual to me is everything," he wrote  "I would restrict him just as little as possible."He never lost his faith in the power of one.[8:57] Pieces of the Action by Vannevar Bush (Founders #270)[9:32] Dee Hock — founder of VISA episodes:One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization by Dee Hock (Founders #260)Autobiography of a Restless Mind: Reflections on the Human Condition Volume 1and Autobiography of a Restless Mind: Reflections on the Human Condition Volume 2 by Dee Hock. (Founders #261)[9:55] Edwin Land episodes:Instant: The Story of Polaroid by Christopher Bonanos. (Founders #264)Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It by Peter C. Wensberg (Founders #263)A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War by Ronald Fierstein (Founders #134)Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It by Peter C. Wensberg (Founders #133)The Instant Image: Edwin Land and the Polaroid Experienceby Mark Olshaker (Founders #132)Insisting On The Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land and Instant: The Story of Polaroid(Founders #40)[10:00] Vannevar Bush and Edwin Land both had a profound belief in the individual capacity for greatness.[12:15] Bush came from an American line of can do engineers and tinkerers, a line beginning with Franklin, and including Eli Whitney, Alexander, Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and the Wright BrothersThe Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin. (Founders #62)Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. (Founders #115)Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership by Edward Larson. (Founders #251)Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bellby Charlotte Gray. (Founders #138)Edison: A Biography by Matthew Josephson. (Founders #268)The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. (Founders #239)[13:35] The Essential Writings of Vannevar Bush by Vannevar Bush and G. Pascal Zachary[16:30] My whole philosophy is very simple. If I have any doubt as to whether I am supposed to do a job or not, I do it, and if someone socks me, I lay off.[18:00] The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age by Janet Wallach (Founders #103)[19:00] What Bush learned from reading old whaling logs I’m learning 120 years later reading biographies of founders.[19:45] Books by Sebastian Mallaby:The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future and More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite[21:20] He admired men of action, despised rules, and felt that merit meant everything.[22:32] If something is going to take two years he wants to figure out how to do it in six months or a year. This kind of the mentality he applied to everything.[24:45] Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli (Founders #265)[25:45] I lose my shit when thinking about how all these ideas connnect.[30:45] He remained susceptible to bouts of nervous tension throughout his prime years.[31:50] Advice he gave his sons: Justify the space you occupy.[32:30] Do not emulate the ostrich: For better or worse we are destined to live in a world devoted to modern science and engineering. If the road we are on is slippery, we cannot avoid a catastrophe by putting on the brakes, closing our eyes or taking our hands off the wheel. What is the sane attitude of a scientist or layman? Absence of wishful thinking. No emulation of the ostrich.[35:00] He insisted that discipline must be self applied or will be externally imposed.[33:36] He found romance in adversity and solace in hard work.[36:00] Vannevar Bush on Leonardo da Vinci and Ben Franklin[42:33]  It is being realized with a thud that the world is going to be ruled by those who know how, in the fullest sense, to apply science.[44:45] We want an inventive company rather than an orderly company.[45:38] Tolerate genius. There are very few men of genius. But we need all we can find. Almost without exception they are disagreeable. Don't destroy them. They lay golden eggs.  —Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy. (Founders #89)[48:34] David Ogilvy episodes:The Unpublished David Ogilvy by David Ogilvy. (Founders #189)The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertisingby Kenneth Roman. (Founders #169)Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy. (Founders #89)Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy. (Founders #82)[49:00] Bush’s personal motto: Don’t let the bastards get you down.[51:50] The General and the Genius: Groves and Oppenheimer—The Unlikely Partnership that Built the Atom Bomb by James Kunetka. (Founders #215)[55:15] The more resourceful entrepreneurs are the ones that are going to win.[1:01:03] Enzo Ferrari story brought to you by Tegus. [1:07:04] Warren Buffett masterclass on how to differentiate your product brought to you by Tiny. —Get 60 days free of Readwise. It is the best app I pay for. I couldn’t make Founders without it.—My notes on 300 podcasts and lectures on entrepreneurship—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast
What I learned from reading Pieces of the Action by Vannevar Bush.Support Founders' sponsors: Tiny: The easiest way to sell your business. Quick and straightforward exits for Founders. andCapital: Raise, hold, and spend capital all in one place. and Tegus is a search engine for business knowledge that's used by founders, investors, and executives. It's incredible what they're building. Try it for free by visiting Tegus.[7:15] Pieces of the Action offers his hard-won lessons on how to operate and manage effectively within complex organizations and drive ambitious, unprecedented programs to fruition.[8:54] Stripe Press Books:The Dream Machine by M. Mitchell WaldropThe Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985-1993 by Jordan Mechner.[9:24] Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the American Century by G. Pascal Zachary[10:40] Any exploration of the institutions that shape how we do research, generate discoveries, create inventions, and turn ideas into innovations inevitably leads back to Vannevar Bush.[11:26] No American has had greater influence in the growth of science and technology than Vannevar Bush.[12:23] That’s why I'm going to encourage you to order this book —because when you pick it up and you read it —you're reading the words of an 80 year old genius. One of the most formidable and accomplished people that has ever lived— laying out what he learned over his six decade long career.[14:38] A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman (Founders #95)[15:12] Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing by Thierry Bardini[15:48] I don’t know what Silicon Valley will do when it runs out of Doug Engelbart’s ideas. —  The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson. (Founders #157)[18:54] Bush points out that tipping points often rest with far-seeing, energetic individuals. We can be those individuals.[20:36] I went into this book with little more than a name and came out with the closest thing to a mentor someone you've never met can be.[20:58] We are not the first to face problems, and as we face them we can hold our heads high. In such spirit was this book written.[24:38] The essence of civilization is the transmission of the findings of each generation to the next.[29:00] This is not a call for optimism, it is a call for determination.[31:12] It is pleasant to turn to situations where conservatism or lethargy were overcome by farseeing, energetic individuals.[31:34] People are really a power law and that the best ones can change everything. —Sam Hinkie[33:46] There should never be, throughout an organization, any doubt as to where authority for making decisions resides, or any doubt that they will be promptly made.[34:32] You can drive great people by making the speed of decision making really slow. Why would great people stay in an organization where they can't get things done? They look around after a while, and they're, like, "Look, I love the mission, but I can't get my job done because our speed of decision making is too slow." — Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos by Jeff Bezos and Walter Isaacson.(Founders #155)[38:36] Rigid lines of authority do not produce the best innovations.[38:42] Research projects flowered in pockets all around the company, many of them without Steve's blessing or even awareness.They'd come to Steve's attention only if one of his key managers decided that the project or technology showed real potential.In that case, Steve would check it out, and the information he'd glean would go into the learning machine that was his brain. Sometimes that's where it would sit, and nothing would happen. Sometimes, on the other hand, he'd concoct a way to combine it with something else he'd seen, or perhaps to twist it in a way to benefit an entirely different project altogether.This was one of his great talents, the ability to synthesize separate developments and technologies into something previously unimaginable. —Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli (Founders #265)[40:56] He was so industrious that he became a positive annoyance to others who felt less inclined to work.  —Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power by James McGrath Morris. (Founders #135)[42:22] Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and The Secret Palace of Science That Changed The Course of World War II by Jennet Conant. (Founders #143)[45:35] If a man is a good judge of men, he can go far on that skill alone.[46:00] All the past episodes mentioned by Vannevar Bush in this book:General Leslie Groves: The General and the Genius: Groves and Oppenheimer—The Unlikely Partnership that Built the Atom Bomb by James Kunetka. (Founders #215)J. Robert Oppenheimer: The General and the Genius: Groves and Oppenheimer—The Unlikely Partnership that Built the Atom Bomb by James Kunetka. (Founders #215)Alfred Lee Loomis: Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and The Secret Palace of Science That Changed The Course of World War II by Jennet Conant. (Founders #143)J.P. Morgan: The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow. (Founders #139)The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism by Susan Berfield. (Founders #142)Orville Wright: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. (Founders #239)Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone. (Founders #241)Edwin Land: Land's Polaroid: A Company and the Man Who Invented It by Peter C. Wensberg. (Founders #263)Instant: The Story of Polaroid by Christopher Bonanos. (Founders #264)Henry J. Kaiser: Builder in the Modern American West by Mark Foster. (Founders #66)Professional Amateur: The Biography of Charles Franklin Kettering by Thomas Boyd (Founders #125)Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bellby Charlotte Gray. (Founders #138)[48:21] Difficulties are often encountered in bringing an invention into production and use.[48:47] An invention has some of the characteristics of a poem.It is said that a poet may derive real joy out of making a poem, even if it is never published, even if he does not recite it to his friends, even if it is not a very good poem.No doubt, one has to be a poet to understand this.In the same way, an inventor can derive real satisfaction out of making an invention, even if he never expects to make a nickel out of it, even if he knows it is a bit foolish, provided he feels it involves ingenuity and insight.An inventor invents because he cannot help it, and also because he gets quiet fun out of doing so.Sometimes he even makes money at it, but not by himself. One has to be an inventor to understand this.One evening in Dayton, I dined alone with Orville Wright.During a long evening, we discussed inventions we had made that had never amounted to anything. He took me up to the attic and showed me models of various weird gadgets.I had plenty of similar efforts to tell him about, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.Neither of us would have thus spilled things except to a fellow practitioner, one who had enjoyed the elation of creation and who knew that such elation is, to a true devotee, independent of practical results.So it is also, I understand, with poets.[51:28] Against The Odds: An Autobiography by James Dyson (Founders #200)[52:21] When picking an industry to enter, my favorite rule of thumb is this: Pick an industry where the founders of the industry—the founders of the important companies in the industry—are still alive and actively involved. — The Pmarca Blog Archive Ebook by Marc Andreessen. (Founders #50)[57:18] If a company operates only under patents it owns, and infringes on no others, its monopoly should not be disturbed, and the courts so hold. An excellent example is Polaroid Corporation. Founded by Edwin Land, one of the most ingenious men I ever knew (and also one of the wisest), it has grown and prospered because of his inventions and those of his team.[1:00:46] I came to the realization that they knew more about the subject than I did. In some ways, this was not strange. They were concentrating on it and I was getting involved in other things.[1:01:31] P.T. Barnum: An American Life by Robert Wilson. (Founders #137)[1:05:53] We make progress, lots of progress, in nearly every intellectual field, only to find that the more we probe, the faster our field of ignorance expands.[1:11:41] All the books from Stripe Press—Get 60 days free of Readwise. It is the best app I pay for. I couldn’t make Founders without it.—“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — GarethBe like Gareth. 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Comments (31)

matt stevens

can't download or listen to this episode (191). Is the link corrupted? thanks!

Jan 23rd
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PodJul

One of the best podcasts. Accelerate your learning, gain wisdom, and learn how to win in this gem of a podcast.

Jan 7th
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John Peter

Thank you Founders for reading the autobiographies for these amazing people! It's remarkable how these great women and men used the same lifetime to make great contribution to the society!

Jul 7th
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Richard Ottley

Great episode.. as an African American this is a good listen, a story that needs to heard by everyone 🙏🏾🙏🏾

Mar 5th
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Ammad Hassan

Hi there! Hope you are doing great. I recently subscribed your misfit after listening the preview of episode#3 but my full episodes and notes are not available still. My email address is: ammad.here@hotmail.com Can you please check if I am subscribed becz I got the conformation email that I am subscribed. My friend recommended me your podcast and I really like it. It’s good work, keep it up.

Feb 11th
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Nana Yaw Sasu Appiah-Miracle

Hetty is indeed a model for women in Business. Her persistence, her wisdom is exemplary!

Jan 16th
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Cheni Yerushalmi

hi there, great work I love your podcast and recently subscribed via my PayPal. for some reason I'm not getting any of the notes that you mentioned on your podcast. can you check to make sure that I am subscribed my email address is cyerushalmi@gmail.com. keep up the great work I've been sharing your podcast with many of my friends and they all loved it.

Dec 30th
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Tumwine

Scoop the market, watch the costs and the profits will take care of themselves.

Oct 21st
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AskWhy X

Great narrator. Makes every single book he reads interesting and gives a special personal touch to it. Recommend for anyone willing to spend their leisure time intelligently, also the last sentence is a quote from Bertard Russel. He said "to be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilisation. and on present very few have reached this level."

Sep 4th
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Wes Sumner

This is a great episode, I never knew the details of getting Home Depot off the ground.

Aug 13th
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Somu Mukho

love the narrative and the way it is presented..My daily journey time food for brain. and inspiration

Aug 10th
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Amal Babu

great episode.

Jul 31st
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Lionel Pown

👍👍

Jun 10th
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Lionel Pown

👍👍

Jun 10th
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Luke W

Great podcast! I listen to it all the time on my way to class. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in entrepreneurship

Apr 25th
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Richard Ottley

awesome podcast episode, I'm planning to get the book

Feb 25th
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Richard Ottley

this is very grusome to listen to, but I listened to the whole thing, great story

Feb 11th
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Richard Ottley

great episode

Jan 15th
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NTW

this is THE best podcast on company founders EVER

Jan 5th
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Richard Ottley

awesome episode on this podcast, Merry Christmas to you and family 🎄🎁🎄🎁🎄

Dec 25th
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