Tuesday 20th November 2018
  • In Luxury's Future, It's Personalized Everything - NYT


    In his opening keynote, Qiu Yafu, chairman of the Ruyi Fashion Holding Group, predicted that the fashion world would undergo a significant transformation as companies tap big data and other technologies to make consumers the center of what he called the ecosystem rather than at the end of the chain of raw materials, manufacturing, retail and commerce. As a result, he said, concepts like fashion seasons, which dictate design schedules and manufacturing cycles but don't make sense with varying climates and temperatures across the globe, will fade away.

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  • How to Scale a Magical Experience: 4 Lessons from Airbnb's Brian Chesky


    Over the last 20 years, I've worked on or invested in many companies that scaled to 100 million users or more. And just about every entrepreneur I meet with has that ambition as they get started. But here's the thing: You don't start with 100 million users. You start with a few. And in many ways, the best way to begin is to stop thinking big, and start thinking small. Hand serve your customers. Win them over, one by one. And don't stop until you know exactly what they want.
    That's what Brian Chesky did. As co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian's early work was more akin to a traveling salesman. He went door-to-door, meeting Airbnb hosts in person, taking photographs of their space, and learning what they did and didn't like about his product.

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  • Figure Out Who's On Your Team - John Lilly


    Along the way I've met a LOT of new people -- entrepreneurs, investors, designers, scientists, on and on. I've always had a pretty large network of friends and colleagues, but this year it's pretty well exploded -- I've gotten to spend some time with amazing, amazing people I hadn't really spent time with before.
    But the interesting, and maybe counter-intuitive thing I'm finding is this: as I'm meeting so many more capable and awesome people, my core group of collaborators -- the folks who I've built companies and careers together with over the last 20 years -- while I see the core group less often, I'm finding that the interactions I have with them to be much more valuable.
    One of the best pieces of advice I ever got, back when I was 23 and newly out of school, is this: look around and figure out who you want to be on your team.

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  • The Fundamentals of Leadership Still Haven't Changed - HBR


    Yes, the leadership development industry is thriving, and yes there are a lot of new and interesting ideas, some of which may prove to be helpful. But despite many changes in our context -- as organizations have become more democratic and networked, for example -- in its fundamentals leadership has not changed over the years. It is still about mobilizing people in an organization around common goals to achieve impact, at scale.
    This tried and true perspective on leadership was reinforced for us during the past year as we researched and wrote the HBR Leader's Handbook. We interviewed over forty successful leaders from a variety of organizations (corporate, non-profit, startup), across different industries. We then reviewed several decades worth of articles from the Harvard Business Review to understand the recurring messages from academics and practitioners about what leaders should do.

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  • The Surprising Power of The Long Game - Shane Parrish


    It's easy to overestimate the importance of luck on success and underestimate the importance of investing in success every single day. Too often, we convince ourselves that success was just luck. We tell ourselves, the school teacher that left millions was just lucky. No. She wasn't. She was just playing a different game than you were. She was playing the long game.
    The long game isn't particularly notable and sometimes it's not even noticeable. It's boring. But when someone chooses to play the long game from an early age, the results can be extraordinary. The long game changes how you conduct your personal and business affairs.
    There is an old saying that I think of often, but I'm not sure where it comes from: If you do what everyone else is doing, you shouldn't be surprised to get the same results everyone else is getting.

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  • Most Managers Don't Know How to Coach People. But They Can Learn - HBR


    Are you successful at coaching your employees? In our years studying and working with companies on this topic, we've observed that when many executives say "yes," they're ill-equipped to answer the question. Why? For one thing, managers tend to think they're coaching when they're actually just telling their employees what to do.
    According to Sir John Whitmore, a leading figure in executive coaching, the definition of coaching is "unlocking a person's potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them." When done right, coaching can also help with employee engagement; it is often more motivating to bring your expertise to a situation than to be told what to do.

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  • Are You A Momentum-Maker or a Perfectionist? - David Cancel


    Everyone at a startup tends to fall along a spectrum.
    At one end you have momentum-makers, and at the other you have perfectionists.
    As momentum-makers, we default to action. We bristle at the idea of "consensus" or "rules."
    We're just constantly pushing forward, creating momentum for the company and spearheading our growth.
    Of course, being a momentum-maker also comes with its disadvantages: We're more prone to cutting corners, and skipping over details, and introducing bugs.

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  • Being a solo founder - Spencer Fry


    Much has been written about the disadvantages of being a solo founder.
    Paul Graham was certainly one of the first to write about it publicly in 2006 when he published his article, Startup Mistakes, with "Single Founder" as the first in a long list of mistakes.
    That article came just at the start of the Y Combinator accelerator, which had its first class in Summer 2005. Since then, YC, many other accelerators, and countless venture capitalists, have been down on solo founders.
    I'm only a sample size of one, but I've also co-founded three startups, each with successful exits, and solo-founded my most recent startup [Coach], so I believe I'm in a unique position to compare and contrast the pros and cons of single founder-dom.

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  • The One Skill Most Successful Leaders Have - Jonathan Clark


    A few years back, I was a sales manager working for a national consumer electronics retailer. I'd worked for, and with, a number of store managers during my tenure, but John was different. For the first few months we worked together, I felt there was something special about his management style, but just couldn't put my finger on it.
    Then one day, while John was providing some much-needed mentoring, he said, "God gave us two ears and one mouth. There's a good reason for that. You should listen more than you talk."
    I just stood there.
    Silent.
    After it sunk in, it was as if he had revealed his super power.

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  • How To Balance Internal and External Focus - Mike X Huang


    Imagine you're starting to achieve some success in your professional life. If you're building a business, you're getting more and more sales. If you're building a career, your team is getting recognized and taking on bigger projects.
    But then a feeling of dread starts to creeps up on you. You realize you may not have the capacity to take on so much at once.
    On the flip side, you may be ready but you aren't finding as many opportunities as you would have liked.
    These two situations come from the same dilemma: how do you know when you should turn your focus to external expansion versus internal growth?

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