E47: Season 1 Finale – Synopsis of Lessons from our 15 Guests (Part 1/2)

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Episode Summary:

Listen to the full episode on iTunes (and please leave a rating to help the podcast reach more people): 

Dr. Pippa Malmgren:

  • If you’re a creative or knowledge worker, don’t work at 100%, work at 80% to have some buffer time to collect your thoughts or leave room for unexpected meetings.
  • The Consumer Price Index is not as reliable a metric in terms of measuring product price fluctuation as many people think, because it is composed of a specific bundle of goods, but might not take into account the specific goods you buy most often.
  • A little-known sign of inflation and higher prices: is When you get less of the good for the same price (potato chip bag of same weight, but has more air in it and fewer chips, or perfume bottle with less perfume and more glass).

Erik Townsend: 

  • Don’t compete with the big boys: You need to find a niche that is too sophisticated for the average investor (or person) and not sophisticated enough to be competing with the very best or biggest players. Find a sweet spot in between those. Don’t compete with people who are years ahead of you.
  • Also: You don’t succeed by copying people who are 10 steps ahead of you. You succeed by finding your own niche and making sure no one else can take it from you.

Seth Godin: 

  • The best way to get into entrepreneurship, free-agency, or even management is to partake in more projects.
  • Basically: you want to speed up the learning process. And the fastest way to do that is to pack more projects into your year.
  • You don’t become a bestselling author or successful entrepreneur without first getting much experience.  
  • Start doing your own projects and get the learning curve going. If you have a regular job, you should aim to have a side-project.
  • Analyze the outcome of your projects. Make the most of your mistakes and failures–you paid for it, after all. 

Tyler Cowen: 

  • Don’t consider specialization and generalization as two opposites on a spectrum. They can coincide, as with someone gaining broad experience to become a CEO or entrepreneur.
  • We still haven’t finished building society around the computer. It’ll probably take another 20 years until society and culture adapts to personal computers.
  • There are large economic gains to be had when or if average people become better at using technology to their benefit. Average employee productivity has barely risen in 40 years, whereas most other productivity metrics have risen by many thousand percent. A few people (like IT entrepreneurs) are making 1000x more money, but the average employee is not.
  • Mikael: Yearly GDP Growth (“Productivity Increase”) is slowing down. It used to be 4%; now it’s less than 1% per year. For the last 20 years it’s been a downward slope. This metric is found by taking economic output/person in country, and comparing from one year to the next.
  • Mikael: I’m still waiting for the singularity to happen, which would be when growth per year starts increasing like crazy. Tyler may be on to something here, when he says the technology hasn’t matured yet. Perhaps technological acceleration is happening too fast, and we humans cannot adapt to it fast enough, and feel overwhelmed. We get too many new tools, but don’t learn to use them properly. This “IT Conundrum” has been around for 25 years. 
  • You want to get into a career where your productivity is tied to increased computing power. Such as: Programming, marketing, IT-entrepreneurship, or investing.
  • 3 scarce resources in today’s society:  productive land, unique skills, and intellectual property (like a brand). 
    • Licensing is how Donald Trump, Mcdonalds, George Lucas, and Disney made large chunks of their money. 

Barry Schwartz:

  • In a world of accelerating impressions and technology, going faster and faster, there is no point in trying to keep up with everything. The answer is to cut out things that are too hard, boring, desensitizing, or psychologically dangerous.  
  • Simplify things to the extent possible. No one can keep up with everything, so you must prioritize a few things and ignore the rest. De-clutter and do focused work.
  • Do you really have to be on every social network? Maybe one is enough. 
  • It’s easier to eliminate things than it is to make choices. You can’t think over every decision properly if you have to make too many of them.

Annie Duke:

  • Don’t think in black and whites, think in terms of probabilities. “Thinking in bets”. 
  • Consider the premises of the decision, rather than the outcome of the decision. 
  • If you have achieved Expert Pattern Recognition in an area, you can often go with your gut feeling. But you still have to hold your intuition accountable. For example, by looking which factors were present when you got a bad outcome. 

Casey Gauss:

  • Entrepreneurial advice: “Good enough” is good enough. Don’t optimize the last 10-20% (before launching a product), do it in conjunction with active customers. 
  • When you are in charge of a large budget project or a business with many employees, you cannot be a perfectionist, it will slow you down too much. That often means being willing to take a loss, in order to get a bigger win.

We are right now creating the Future Skills Program which will be an online video course covering decision-making and risk management with weekly homework and evaluations.

* Why decision making and risk management? Because better decisions equal better finances, better relationships and an overall better life.

* Decisions are the foundation of everything you do and the outcome you eventually get.

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