#100 Impatience with actions, patience with results
Managing conflict, building for high variance, high standards & more
Founder CEOs with uncompromising zeal for excellence and an ability to unapologetically get into the details of their products, operations, sales, and marketing. When they do this with respect and collaboration, it's unbelievably effective.
This sounds like a fairly foolproof way to build & run a company that "held itself to high standards".
When I first read it, I got super excited. I felt I had got the best articulation and solution for how to build a culture of quality.
However, as I read John Cutler’s post “High Standards” further, I realized that I was jumping to conclusions too soon. There is a lot of merit in this articulation, but there can be some nuances that may cause it to be a possibly wrong solution. This may be a solution, but not a sure shot one. John’s arguments are well worth reading before you decide.
I’ve a great set of recommendations today. Don’t wait up, and let’s jump straight into those.
1. High Variance Management
Andy Grove’s “High Output Management” has been a guiding light for a lot of my managerial practices. It works well for highly structured & operational projects.
Sebastian Bensusan’s “High Variance Management” is a refreshing new take, especially for a world where the activities are beyond assembly lines. He describes the new world beautifully with his example of Broadway vs Movies. This is one of the best introductions I’ve read to any topic. Once there, he does a fantastic job breaking down his recipe to encourage high variance work.
Here’s a snippet to get you intrigued, if you’re not yet so.
Brilliant post, I highly recommend it.
(via David Perell)
2. Conflict Management
Satyajit Rout recently wrote about how to become better at conflict management. I have read many different theories & frameworks on this topic, but Rout’s model beats them all.
Here’s a tl;dr version that Rout had shared in the start:
I’ve been a trouble maker in some or other areas at work. Resolving conflicts is a daily task for me now. I can easily relate to the inputs that Rout has shared, I have been on the guilty side on many of those.
I’ve got a relatable solution now, so I'm hoping to become better at this soon. I hope you will find it useful as well.
3. Best of First Round Reviews
Over the last couple of years, I’ve read & shared a lot of posts from the First Round Review. I was going through their 2022 roundup post and realized a pattern that drove it.
I discover topics & areas that are important but I may not have faced/thought about so far.
Their posts are filled with anecdotes & simple framework/tips.
They do a good job in highlighting the key takeaways and help make it memorable.
It’s like working with a great coach or therapist. I may not be able to voice my aspirations or concerns well, but they help unearth that & make the impact happen.
On to their best from the 2022 post, here’s some gems that I saved for myself (and for you). If you’ve not read their posts much, this post is a great starting point.
Advice for managers:
Advice for self:
On creating effective messaging for your product:
On productivity & avoiding busy work:
4. Data Visualization lessons from a weather app
In this case study covering the weather app Dark Sky, Srini Kadamati shares some nuanced insights on how data visualization can be done at a pro level.
I have hardly used any weather apps, but Srini’s structured breakdown of use-cases and further mapping of Dark Sky was a highly effective input to my awareness on this topic.
The inputs on data visualization are highly contextual, but carry some fundamental lessons to make them extendable beyond the world of weather apps. Here’s one such bit around how rough categories can do a good job in replacing (fuzzy) numbers.
5. Shapes of Stories
1. Rags to Riches (rise)
2. Riches to Rags (fall)
3. Man in a Hole (fall then rise)
4. Icarus (rise then fall)
5. Cinderella (rise then fall then rise)
6. Oedipus (fall then rise then fall)
Those are the six main arcs in storytelling, as Identified by an A.I. This Atlantic piece covered the research study briefly. This post in OpenCulture did a better job in putting it in perspective.
We know a fair bit about this long back (35 years, more or less) thanks to Kurt Vonnegut he spoke of “Shapes of Stories”. Check out the 5 minute clip to experience it, you will thank me.
So what’s exciting is not that AI has predicted it, but that now AI researchers have a better method to deconstruct and construct stories. This is where the magic is -
“We use equations,” they go on, “to represent both simple and complicated functions that describe our observations of the real world.” If we accept the premise that sentences and integers and lines of code are telling the same stories, then maybe there isn’t as much difference between humans and machines as we would like to think.
6. Thankyou for Staying Curious
As I publish the 100th post for “Stay Curious”, I want to personally thank all of you. Your curiosity and commitment has been a great inspiration and has kept me going.
I started writing this newsletter to share what I learnt from others. It’s been highly enjoyable. In the process, I learnt a thing or two about discipline, keeping up the motivation & most of all the joy of creating something of your own.
I plan to continue on this journey and focus more on making it more valuable for myself & everyone who has given their hard earned attention to me.
I’ve two requests to make today:
Please share your feedback. Please tell me what you like, what would you like me to change? You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on this post.
If you’ve found my weekly posts valuable, please forward it to folks in your network and help spread this further. There is no better joy than sharing your learning. If you’re ok with it, let me know who will find value in these posts, and I will ensure to reach out to them personally on your behalf.
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Marooned on the moon; Planning for the worst. Thank God, we did not need to use it (via Now I know)
YouTube influencers enter Chandni Chowk; magic has just begun. Traditional advertising and distribution is changing rapidly (via Rest of World)
T. gondii - A parasite that makes us bold. Some wild connections between cats, taking risks and entrepreneurship. (via GV Ravishankar)
Josh Gluckstein (joshglucksteinartist) makes amazing animal sculptures using cardboard & other recycled material. Extremely detailed and realistic work! (via Dense Discovery)
Fritz Proctor IV (fritzdoesart_) mixes colors like anything. Check out a couple of his posts and you will know with a little bit of creativity & lots of passion one can make art out of anything.
Credit for the title of today’s post goes to my friend Abhiroop.
Before we sign off, here’s something Ted Lasso got us believing.
I got this beautiful canvas art from our friends at Zwende. Check them out for some really cool Indian art & DIY kits.
That's all for this week, folks!
I hope I've earned the privilege of your time.
Over past 100 weeks, I have developed a Monday noon ritual too - to block 25 minutes and read thru the newsletter and bookmark tonnes of stuff.
I discovered interesting perspectives, great thinkers and so much more thru your newsletter. I hope your tribe keeps growing. Keep them coming.