Social media has become an ad driven selection bias engine.

Image taken from the Wall Street Journal’s Blue Feed, Red Feed

Social media’s revenue is based on ads. You can only make money on ads by getting a huge audience and keeping that audience’s attention.

Show people what makes them feel good so they keep looking. Make sure they only see ideas that they can actively nod along with. Don’t make them think – or absorb ideas outside what makes them comfortable.

You’ll sell a whole lot of ads… and foment intellectual tribalism and hostility…

And if you are the “audience” it might be time to rethink how much of your time and intellect you allocate to a system specifically rigged to encourage bias.

P.S. I strongly recommend you click on the intellectual tribalism link.

The Message We Do Not Hear

Image Credit: David Mulder

Over the last few days I’ve attempted to write a post here explaining why data driven analysis and action is so important in relation to recent events. It isn’t hard to find data and high quality analytical analysis that speaks to the tragic events in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge and yesterday in Dallas.

It also isn’t hard to connect the resistance to analytical analysis in corporations to the same phenomena in recent events.

Having said all that, however, I can’t make myself complete or publish that post; because it as correct and timely as it may be I can not help but feel any such post would be inappropriate at this time.

So, for now I will simply say:

  • Reality and your world view are not the same thing.
  • Reality exists in both the antecdote and the aggregate – respect both.
  • Bias exists with and without intent.
  • The solutions will come through understanding, not tribalism, hostility and violence.


Back to Basics

Back to basics

Sometimes, you have to get back to basics. It is too easy to get caught up in the size of the opportunity, an open IPO window or high expectations. 

Great companies are built with an intense focus on customers and problems. Great businesses are built by maintaining an intense focus on the metrics that matter – revenue growth, churn, net promoter, cost of goods sold and customer acquisition costs. 

Great engineering organizations build systems that solve customer problems – without creating new ones.

Great customer success organizations are laser focused on making customers successful.

Great product organizations are obsessed with the market, customers and – ultimately – fall in love with the problem they solve and commit themselves 100% to solving that problem… again, again and again.

When you strip everything else away and get back to basics – prioritize what really matters – you achieve clarity of purpose and message.

Is There Anything Less Useful Than A CV?

CV Resume straight to trash

Both hiring and job seeking are about people. You should hire based on the person. The intangibles of who they are, how they interact, the strength of the cultural fit are more important than the checklist of skills from the job posting. As a job seeker your number one concern should be:

Do I want to work with these people, in this environment, every day?

Your CV doesn’t tell the prospective employer any of that. It certainly doesn’t help the job seeker learn anything about the people and culture of the company. So what is the point?

The question isn’t do you need the skills I have, it is do you need me

Hard Work Only Matters If You Are Working On The Right Things

Priorities matter more than hard work - work life balanceOne of the myths I hear every day about startups (and even corporate jobs) is that the key to success is outworking everyone else. If you competitor is in the office working away at 6 am – you better get your ass in the office at 5.

We talk about hard work as if it were some magic elixir – things aren’t working out? Work harder, put in more hours…

It is a lie.

I’m not suggesting effort doesn’t matter, I’m suggesting that more effort toward the wrong things doesn’t matter. It isn’t how much or how hard, it is what you work on that determines how successful you will be.

Priorities matter – every person I know who appears to be working super hard suffers from a pathological failure to prioritize.

Think about it… if you had your priorities straight would you skip you child’s school play, or miss their championship soccer game or your spouses awards diner? Balance matters, priorities matter – not because you’ll be happier and more productive (you will) but because if you can’t prioritize life, you sure as hell can’t prioritize work.