Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I Should Stop

Before Twitter was created. The founders were working at a company called Odeo, trying to build the next podcasting empire. This was before podcasting was popular.

The CEO of the startup had sent around a company wide email pinpointing a detailed plan on podcasting domination. One of the founders, Biz Stone, read the plan and agreed. He told the CEO that if they were to follow this plan, they would indeed be the kings of podcasting.

But he had one question. He asked, do you really want to be the king of podcasting? And the CEO replied, no, not really. They didn't have any real passion for podcasting. They never recorded their own audio or even listened to podcasts. So they decided to shut the company down and work on something else that they were excited about. A project that aligned with the history of what they enjoyed and that they would spend all their time thinking about, whether they were at work or not. That project ended up becoming Twitter.

Do you really want to be doing what you are doing?

This story was from the book Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone. I haven't finished it yet so won't recommend at this time but enjoyed this little tidbit especially since I recently had my own "actually, I don't want to be working on this. I should stop" moment.

Monday, October 14, 2019

How You Think

source: https://waitbutwhy.com/2019/09/thinking-ladder.html
 Tim Urban has been putting out a great series of articles.  One idea that really stuck was to pay attention to how people think instead of what people think. How one thinks is more important than what one thinks. Are we thinking with our "higher mind" or our "primitive mind"? At the top of the spectrum we are open to opinions, even dissenting opinions, and seeking truth. At the bottom we are seeking confirmation of our ideas, attack opposition, and have little  evidence and thought structure to support our own ideas.

As the topics get more complex and as information changes even faster, the value of how we think increases over what we think. Thinking with our higher mind allows us to be make sure the best idea wins as well as making sure we let go of outdated ones as the times change.

This can also be applied to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Observe what level you are making decisions at. "Let's go get some fast food" might be the lowest tier vs. "I'll let you choose where we eat because I want you to be happy" might be higher up the rung.

Whenever people are expressing ideas it may be helpful to consider the axis of how the person is thinking instead of the idea in itself.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Software Is The Best Deal

Most software is a crazy good deal for the consumer. The reason is because duplicating and distributing software is nearly free. Why is this important? If it can be duplicated and distributed for free then it can reach more people. And if it can reach more people, then the price can be lower because the the maker can make up a decent profit on volume.

Most of the cost is upfront to build the product but after that most of the profit will go to the bottom line. Since software can scale wide to a large number of users, the prices can get low, maybe even almost free. The price gets spread around more and more customers. It also gets better because these economics also justify making it better; more people to get value from added feature or improved graphic. 

Now you add in competition to drive costs down and that's where we are at with some large enterprises selling their product for free to consumers because they have scale due to that nature of software and they can make money based on that scale whether it be ads or becoming a platform for others to target their users. Just this month 4 or 5 discount brokerages will start to offer $0 commission trading to stop the bleeding of Robinhood taking all their customers. They can make good enough money just on the interest of deposits alone.

This is starting to be true for non-digital goods and services as well. Maybe we'll one day see movie theaters with free movies but making money on concessions. The improving of technology and distribution, the ability to scale is a great deal for consumers.