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A wise person once told me, “Making mistakes is how we human beings learn.” I spent most of my life trying to avoid mistakes and then beating myself up when I inevitably made them.  In hindsight, this was terribly arrogant of me, counterproductive, and a difficult way to live. It was arrogant because to never [...]

Over the years, I’ve homeschooled my kids in math. In the process of learning teaching methods for math, I came across the term “scaffolding.” In construction, “scaffold” refers to the temporary metal frame with large wood planks that surrounds a construction site. The scaffold gives construction workers a place to stand while working on the [...]

I’ve always been fascinated by turn signals on cars. It’s such a simple thing. You make the left light blink on the rear of your car to signal to others that you intend to change lanes or make a left turn. I’m fascinated by the dynamics around what happens when signals aren’t sent or when [...]

There is a simple principle the underlies the relationship between client and consulting firm. It is something I call the uncertainty arbitrage. While uncertainty is self-explanatory, if you’re not from a finance background, the concept of arbitrage may be new to you. In its usual context, arbitrage is a financial trading strategy design to exploit goods that are inefficiently priced. [...]

Four years ago, my old college dorm neighbor, Brian Acton, was looking for a job. Up until that point, he had spent 11 years at Yahoo in a variety of engineering jobs. He landed an interview with Twitter — but they didn’t give him an offer. He interviewed with Facebook — and they too did [...]

One of the biggest jokes about working in industry is how many stupid useless meetings one “must” attend. Whether you are a low-ranking member of your team or the CEO, here are several strategies to stop wasting your time and everyone else’s. 1) Define the objective of a meeting. If a meeting has no objective, [...]

I spend the bulk of my time in my career either learning, teaching, or troubleshooting. I just got off the phone with a new client and had a small epiphany. During the call, I essentially gave away one of my secrets to one of my new clients. We were discussing the concept of idea transplantation. [...]

When I left McKinsey to start my own company, a number of my McKinsey friends also left to do the same. My two back-to-back startup attempts failed. A number of my McKinsey friends’ startups succeeded, in some cases wildly so (one of them was StubHub). For the first time in my career (and actually life), [...]

My favorite quote from the 2014 Superbowl was, “Why Not You?” It was a saying attributed to the father of Russell Wilson, quarterback of the 2014 champion Seattle Seahawks. The quote was referenced by the sports commentators and again by Wilson in a post-game interview. It was something Wilson’s father said to him many years ago when [...]

I find the word paradox fascinating. Definition: A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking. A paradox I’ve noticed in my own writing is how sometimes I will knowingly contradict myself. One of [...]

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