Strategic Thinking & Lessons in Management by Jeff Bezos

I learned a lot about the way Jeff Bezos thinks and looks at business and life after reading early this year 'The Shop of Everything' by Brad Stone. As I grow older I realise what thinking long term really means. 

You see, when you are young, strategic thinking is something that you need to force yourself to do, you think of it from a time perspective; strategic decisions are important because they provide better returns, but they take considerably longer than a more tactical approach.  

While this makes perfect sense, it's a very narrow minded immature of looking at it. 

When I ran my own company I thought that making a long term decision meant I would see an outcome in a specific date, as if there was a mandatory waiting time that I needed to endure in order to get a return on my investment, since I didn't have any money to bank that waiting time, every decision I made was short sighted, focused on our day to day operations. The result were what would be expected, a company that ended up living and surviving day to day. 

I now see things so differently, strategic thinking is not task orientated, it is seeded in a set of principles and philosophies that drive a set of actions without a specific output date set in stone, strategic thinking is malleable, it bends but does not break as its existence does not exclusively depend on external circumstances. 

It's still focused on obtaining a return on investment, but it takes other things into account as well, such as sustainability, scale, competition. 

Im not sure if at that age I would ever be able to understand this, specially without having gone through the hardships and failures I went through due to my limited view of things in general.  

Monday Focus: Remote is not the same thing as outsourcing

People often mistake the concept of remote work with outsourcing. Outsourcing is the delegation of a project or a task to a third party identity usually due to a lack in capacity or a gap in a specific skill-set. 

Remote work, the way I see it, is not about delegation, its about decentralisation of capacity within the same team. In this sense, a remote engineer is not a third party, he or she is just another engineer part of the team that happens to work somewhere else. 

This really touches something that I am very passionate about: What makes a team a team? Is it a group of people sitting together inside the same infrastructure or is a team something more meaningful; A group people who want to achieve something together

I see remote work as the default way of working in the next 10, 15 years, I will elaborate more on this in a future post.

Flow State

When I am in my Flow-state I am at my best, in whatever task I am trying to accomplish. Unfortunately I don't know how to get into this state voluntarily, it happens, sometimes, when the right circumstances meet. 

To me, being 'In flow' is more than being present in the moment, its about achieving a certain level of focus where there is just the right amount of challenge to keep me interested and operating at my best, but not enough to make me take a step back; where there is just the right level of skills required to make the task technical but not so much that makes me have to stop to think.

In this state, its possible that a Human Being is able to be between System 1 and System 2 thinking, not completely intuitive but not deep thinking either. See reference to the book 'Thinking, fast and slow' by Daniel Kahneman

I feel that in this state I am able to be simultaneously in deliberate and fast thinking without going too far off to the extreme of either. 

I need to look more into the science of 'flow-state' and on techniques on how to potentially pro-actively trigger it. 

Source of Graphic: https://justincone.com/keeping-users-interested-is-a-matter-of-flow/

The below video is a segment from one of my favourite shows, the Joe Rogan's Podcast. Its a fabulous description of flow state from the perspective of a great MMA coach applied to the training and athletes, even if you do not like MMA, its worth while listening. 

Leading a fulfilling life always in process by Matthew McConaughey

This is on top of my list of impactful and meaningful speeches I have seen, Matthew McConaughey touches on how success is modelled and how to lead a structured life that is fulfilling in all the areas that are key to a successful Human experience: spirituality, family, career, finances and health. 

He touches on something that is at the core of my life system: the importance of being present in the process, in flow. I will be writing very soon a post about my thoughts on what "flow" is and how important this aspect has been in my life and growth as a professional and a Man. 

Waking up at 4:30 experiment - Part 1

Once I got back from Europe, I decided instead of suffering to overcome the Jet Lag I would leverage it to do something I have always wanted to try: Waking up at 4:30am. I have read many accounts of how successful people woke up very early

Unfortunately I have always thought of myself as a Night Owl, basically only woke up early but I was very far from being fully functional in the early stages of the day. 

It was at night time when I felt my productivity and creative were both at their highest level, when I ran my own company most of the actual work was done dark into the night; The first part of the day consisted in getting through the clutter, email, meetings, phones calls.

Switching to a schedule that goes against what my natural circadian rhythm has been for years is going to be a challenge, but the benefits could really justify the the effort.

After a week of trial, here is some ming boggling math that substantiates the benefits of this change so far:

Time savings 

  • Traffic congestion inbound to work - 10 avg mins waiting for a car, - 12 avg mins of traffic 
  • Traffic congestion outbound from work - 12 avg mins waiting for a car, - 14 avg mins of traffic ,
  • Waiting time to elevator: - 4 avg mins morning, - 2 avg mins lunch time, 4 mins avg return lunch time, 3 mins avg leaving 
  • Elevator trip: - 1.10 secs avg morning, - 0.50 mins afternoon

Total: Just the savings in time alone, we are looking at approximately one hour a day, so 5 hours a week over 20 hours a month, this is 2 and a half additional working days added to my life!

Preliminary findings

The biggest effort and variation comes in the form energy and general well being. I decided to separate both because I have had days where I am full of energy but my overall well being is not the best. 

They appear to be two separate things, one is the fuel to do things, the other is related to satisfaction, joy and general happiness. I also did not add the weekends as they would introduce too much noise into the data as stress levels are reduced and the sleep schedule was slightly altered. (not entirely)

Below is the initial data set:

Analysis 

  • Overall energy levels steadily increasing,
  • Initial dip was due to getting a minor cold during this time,
  • Significant gap between morning and afternoon energy, 
  • Energy levels trend is in sync trend wise between afternoon and morning despite the gap between both. 

Next Steps 

Continue tracking, consider adding "night-time" as an additional data point. The impact of this change in the quality of my life has been massive at this point, I will do a follow up on this post once I hit week 6.