What we learned together this week
Poetry, mental models, CEO Fellowship and Writing Bootcamps
Let’s come together to celebrate the poet without whom Network Capital would not exist. We are launching this newsletter with her poem that will inspire you to look at your relationships with a whole new lens.
Knowing someone is like
all things, forgotten,
sunk deep in memory
Knowing someone is
Read the full poem here
Now on to other aspects of work life.
Is data the new tin? Are our global inter-dependencies our greatest vulnerability? How do we leverage comparative advantage while assessing the tail risk? These are questions that this story recalls with generous lessons from history. Remember that history doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes. SIG VC Akshay analyses more in his thought-provoking piece.
If you want a quick snapshot, remember these takeaways
a. Massive civilizations developed complex trade links because of the need for tin in the Late Bronze Age (12th and 13th centuries BCE) – the first global age
b. External and internal crises were compounded by high levels of interdependent trade and resulted in 8 civilizations collapsing decades apart – none were too big to fail
c. Complex systems can absorb isolated shocks, but interdependence can multiply the impact. The current pandemic is living example of that.
Just like newsletters, podcasts are cropping up every day. You may remember our feature of Joe Rogan’s $100 Million Spotify experiment. Rogan makes 30 million dollars a year. Spotify will recover its 100 million dollar investment in 3 years and also make a ton of money converting Rogan’s followers into paying subscribers.
What should you do if you want to create a podcast?
Identify your category of one. Do not attempt to please everyone and know your invisible audience. You just need 1000 followers. Consider the Joe Rogan route.
1. Even when he had a handful of subscribers, his episodes were 2 to 3 hours long. The lesson for you is to experiment with length and format.
2. He built distribution into production design. His platform at the time of start, YouTube, prioritized videos with high % completion. You should also define a strategy that optimizes for completion and distribution. Why? Not to please an algorithm but to ensure your 1000 true fans tell their friends.
3. He knew how to mix quality content with reasonable doses of controversy. Simply put, he seemed interesting and “real” to his followers. You should be real with your followers as well. Learn to jam with your tribe. Making a podcast will be a ton of fun.
Listen to the Network Capital podcasts here and let us know if you need any help starting your own, should you decide to go down that route.
3. Network Capital CEO Fellowship: Structure and Flow: We launched the CEO fellowship not because we think everyone should get that title at some point but because of our unflinching belief that every person on the planet must have the tools to create their category of one.
The science on this is clear - until we have the combination of autonomy, mastery and purpose, we will continue to be unmotivated. If we are unmotivated or chasing someone else’s dreams, we cannot be free to live, experiment and be on our terms.
In the CEO fellowship, we will focus on three things.
First, thinking deeply. Let’s call it second order thinking. In our modern lives of perennial distractions, the ability to be indistractable (a term coined by author Nir Eyal) is our super power. Be it religion or politics or policy or business, there are obvious things that everyone claims to be aware of (surface level knowledge) but very few actually dive deep and form their own points of view. It is easy to be loud and wrong. Sitting comfortably in an echo chamber is the enemy of good decision making. And if you cannot make sound, contrarian decisions, you won’t last a day in the CEO chair. Again, CEO is just one of the many things you can choose to aspire for. Second order thinking will be a vital problem solving tool for life. Whether you are choosing to invest in a company, buy a house or cast a vote, it will propel clarity.
Clarity is power and second-order thinking enables that. It is a habit shaped with practice. You won’t suddenly become a deep thinker tomorrow but if you commit to trying, in a few months it will seem natural. You will be able to filter signal from noise.
Second, writing clearly. Network Capital would not exist if we didn’t learn how to communicate complex ideas through the power of words. It is an acquired skill honed with practice Almost every leader worth remembering writes well.
Good writing is persuasive, stylist and as Elizabeth Gilbert likes to call - surprising and inevitable. Good writing is both art and science.
Third, speak purposefully. As you rise to become CEOs, community leaders and world leaders, you will realize that complex coordination is the single most important charter for you. You will need to learn to inspire people, give tough feedback and do so with empathy.
Legendary investor Warren Buffet says that one of the best investments he has ever made is to enroll in a public speaking course. He was petrified of sharing his views publicly and the course helped him become reasonably good. He explains that speaking well is an asset that will pay dividends for 60-70 years and turn out to be a liability if kept unchecked.
4. How to write a short story: We enjoy surprising and delighting you. As part of that adventure, it was a pleasure sharing an unpublished, award-winning short story with you. Interestingly, it was the most read newsletter of the week. Clearly our INSIDERs have appetite for creativity.
5. ‘Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? This independence day special newsletter analyzed India using Gaugin’s profound questions ‘Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?’
Magic always happens at intersections - when we combine two seemingly disparate subjects and create a new spectrum of insights. This is what this former CEO did while writing the newsletter.
6. How Tony Robbins Created His Category of One: Tony built his category of one by developing a strong understanding and communication of 6 fundamental human needs. This isn’t just a framework. If it were, it wouldn’t be memorable. Business people create frameworks everyday but how many do you remember?
Tony’s fundamental human needs approach is drawn from real-world experience of growing up in complete disarray with no relatable mentors, no food on the table and still figuring out a way to give and serve.
You would have noticed that we have become even more focused on helping you create your category of one. That is for a reason and you already know it. Competition is for losers and generic trends are sprinkled on generic social media.
Have a poetic week ahead.
Your INSIDER Team,
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