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How Other People’s Choices Influence Our Own

This is an excerpt from my book, How to Get What You Want (a primer for ambitious people).

We all know that teenagers are highly susceptible to peer pressure. That’s why parents are often concerned when their children are hanging out with “the wrong crowd”. But eventually we grow out of that phase, and learn to make decisions on our own right?

Not quite. Consider something as simple as purchasing a snack or a film on an airplane. Continue reading…

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My Reading Notes on The Alliance

I recently finished The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh. It’s a book about rethinking the relationship between employees and employers. I’d say the audience is primarily executives and managers, well as HR leaders. Both as an employee and as a founder, I found it an interesting read. It’s a fairly quick read, which is nice as most business books drag out their ideas for far too long. There’s also a companion website that allows people to follow up and learn more about their ideas. Continue reading…

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My Reading Notes on Elements of Content Strategy

In my final Your Turn Challenge post, and part of the #WkofBks series I did this week, I’m going to look at a fantastic book on creating, organizing, and managing the words, images, and media of our world. It’s called The Elements of Content Strategy.

9815847The Book in a Nutshell: Content strategy is a discipline that stems from a family of fields including marketing, editorial, and curation, and requires analytical, organizational, and creative skills to successfully execute.

About the Author: Erin Kissane is an editor for Contents magazine and Source, a community site for journalists who code. She was previously a content strategist for Brain Traffic and edited A List Apart magazine. The book is part of the A Book Apart series, which includes many concise books that are densely packed with wisdom. Continue reading…

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My Reading Notes on The Success Equation: Untangling Luck vs Skill in Business, Sports, and Investing

Today’s reading notes, as part of #WkofBks and Day 6 of the Your Turn Challenge is The Success Equation, Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing.

I think this is a fascinating topic because we all know that both factors are highly relevant for a lot of high performance activities, but they are not easy disconnected. I’ve won a NCAA championship, started and folded a venture-backed company, and invested money in various asset classes so there’s a lot of personal interest here.

These reading notes began life as an “Ignite-style” 5 minute presentation with slides automatically progressing every 15 seconds — which I gave on a Monday morning presentation for Percolate. The words below are essentially what I said during that talk.

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My book presentation is on The Success Equation, by Michael Mauboussin, who’s Head of Global Financial Strategies at Credit Suisse. The book is about understanding and managing the role of luck vs skill in complex activities. We’ll start off with a quick quiz. Continue reading…

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8 Thoughts from a Techie on SF vs NYC

We take a quick break from the #WkofBks to bring something a little different for the Your Turn Challenge (Day #5, yes I’m behind). I just spent a week in San Francisco, seeing friends and working out of the Percolate SF offices. While they were fresh in my mind, I wanted to share a few thoughts I had about my time here. I spent nine years in the Bay Area, and four of them in SF, and none of the things on this list should surprise someone living in the Bay Area. But since I’ve spent the last year in NYC, these things jumped out at me as being noteworthy.

It’s a smaller world.

The magic (and for some, curse) of Silicon Valley is just how connected everyone and everything is. I stayed with my friend and Stanford classmate Bilal, who works at Optimizely. One night at the Caltrain station, I ran into someone else I knew from Stanford, who was also working at Optimizely, who I later saw when I got lunch at the office. While waiting to meet a founder friend for lunch , I ran into a high school friend who had started and sold a company to Comcast, and another high school friend who was getting her PhD at Stanford. The serendipity of encounters is one of my favorite things about Silicon Valley, but I’m sure it can sometimes feel suffocating. In NYC, the tech community is smaller, but somehow people aren’t talking to each other that much, or it’s just taking time to build up the relationships. I still feel like I might meet someone at a tech event and never see them again. Continue reading…