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#72 You can never step in the same river twice
Lessons in growth, luck, success and building trust
James Clear’s recent post in his 3-2-1 newsletter had a beautiful thought on how to become a force to be reckoned with.
"The first step—perhaps the most enormous step—is to find what you are genuinely interested in.
If you are genuinely interested, you will discover endless opportunities for improvement. But if you are disinterested, even obvious improvements will feel like a chore.
And, if you can maintain your genuine interest and curiosity as the years accumulate, you will become hard to compete with because you will have skill to go with your passion. If you're interested, you're dangerous.”
Some interesting things in today’s curation, in case you’re looking for some inspiration. Let’s get to them right away.
1. Monzo growth story
Tom Blomfield’s blog post around Monzo’s growth & marketing strategy is a good read on the topic. It essentially talks about “How Monzo grew to 1 million customers with ~zero marketing budget”.
His first person account on what they did and why makes it a very interesting read. Here’re a couple of snippets that I saved for my personal reference:
On Viral mechanics & network effect:
2. Growth lessons from Gusto
Continuing on the theme of growth & customer retention with this twitter thread from Jaleh Rezaei. She recalls 4 key lessons from during her stint as the Head of Marketing at Gusto. Here’s the tweet that captures the essence.
3. Employee motivation
A recent post in Stoa blog had a reference to the book "12 Principles For Effective Management". It talked about the 4 primary reasons why employees lose motivation at companies. Here're the reasons:
Expecting a reward but not getting it
Expecting reprimand but not getting it
Expecting someone else to get rewarded or reprimanded, but it doesn't happen
Expecting a project to evolve into something, but it doesn't happen
We tend to worry about the first one the most. But, it's the other three that create more harm. They slowly & steadily eat away the motivation.
An org's culture and a leader's style is defined a lot about what they care about and what they ignore. Signaling these is a very powerful tool for them. Using it wisely can make the difference between the great and the ordinary. Do you agree?
And while we’re on this topic, Breaking Point shares a good model on thinking about employee trust.
As a result, your job as a leader is to build trust. I think about this using a model called “The Well of Good Will”, where you envision employee trust as a big empty well. Every time you do something to build trust, you add a little to the well. Every time you surprise the team with bad news, you draw down the well a lot. If the well ever runs dry, employees are going to leave.
4. Four kinds of luck
Jitha’s latest post covered the topics of luck & success. It starts with a reference to Naval’s essay on Luck and goes on to expand it his usual storytelling best. I am sharing the snippet from Naval’s post below. He defined 4 kinds of luck:
1. Blind luck.
The first kind of luck you might say is blind luck. Where I just got lucky because something completely out of my control happened. That’s fortune, that’s fate.
2. Luck from hustling.
Then there’s luck that comes through persistence, hard work, hustle, motion. Which is when you’re running around creating lots of opportunities, you’re generating a lot of energy, you’re doing a lot of things, lots of things will get stirred up in the dust.
It’s almost like mixing a petri dish and seeing what combines. Or mixing a bunch of reagents and seeing what combines. You’re generating enough force and hustle and energy that luck will find you...
3. Luck from preparation.
A third way is that you become very good at spotting luck. If you are very skilled in a field, you will notice when a lucky break happens in that field. When other people who aren’t attuned to it won’t notice. So you become sensitive to luck and that’s through skill and knowledge and work.
4. Luck from your unique character.
Then the last kind of luck is the weirdest, hardest kind. But that’s what we want to talk about. Which is where you build a unique character, a unique brand, a unique mindset, where then luck finds you.
You created your own luck. You put yourself in a position to be able to capitalize on that luck. Or to attract that luck when nobody else has created that opportunity for themselves. When we talk about “without getting lucky,” we want to be deterministic, we don’t want to leave it to chance.
Finally, how to get more lucky and increase the chances of achieving success?
Here’s a tip:
Increase your "luck surface area" by saying yes to every cheap option that might expose you to luck.
5. First Errand & the right to the city
In #51, we had discovered Netflix’s series “Old Enough” and the concerning discussion around the right to the city. Here’s a snapshot from that post:
99% Invisible did a podcast recently on the same theme. It goes even further to uncover some of the policy & design choices that Japan has taken to make something like this happen. Go for it, if you love a good discussion on how to shape behaviour and build cultural norms that seem almost impossible!
6. The prince of Delancey Street
Work/Craft/Life newsletter profiles people from the normal walk of life. It talks of the people and their work and how they stitch together to shape lives of many more around them. I loved it as it focuses on things that really matter. They say “This newsletter takes you on the fascinating—and often surprising—journey into what makes us who we are. Think Humans of New York, but about work.”
Vince’s story is a good starting point if you want to read some of their best work. Here’s Vince as his fans describe him:
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Stoa’s newsletter has been consistently sharing thought provoking ideas around organization, business and working in general. Subscribe away.
Architecture from every single country in the world, in a twitter thread. Diverse & beautiful (via The Hustle)
The mysterious street snack from Namma Bengaluru (via The Hustle)
Really thought provoking post from Semil Shah answering “How did you come to the Valley?” (via Twitter)
The Follower uses open cameras and AI to find how an Instagram photo is taken. Crazy stuff! (via Sidebar)
25 most painful Lego bricks to step on (via Joost Plattel)
How does a QR code work? (via Twitter)
Before we sign off, here’re some questions worth asking.
That's all for this week, folks!
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