- Phone numbers involved
- Date & time
- Message body
- That’s it.
Thoughts on Sales and Business
Where John Sees Great Opportunity
How John Succeeds
I received a gift of a book recently – Ray Dalio’s Principles. Funny, though, as my bud handed it to me realizing that it was a hefty book, and he knew how much I enjoyed audiobooks. However, I do love a good physical book so I can take notes on or re-read/ review. (Kindle e-books included.) Well, Jeremy, I listened to the e-book for this one, too. ?But are taking notes and reviewing the hardback you gifted.
- Like Patrick Lencioni in his book The Advantage, Ray finds personal assessments to be highly informative. Each assessment provides a view into the strengths and weaknesses of team members, which enables Ray’s team to build teams to deliver the best outcomes. He takes a lot of the personal and politics out of the equation and leans into data.
- Ray is a fan of leveraging artificial intelligence. Really, he’s a fan of blending both computer systems with human intelligence and interactions. He started building his forecasting and analytics systems from the start – continuously training it to perfect forecasting. He’s able to leverage opposing outcomes from either “system” to dive into what could be missing or inaccurate. Meanwhile, agreeing results from both systems gives high confidence of known outcomes.
- One of the biggest drivers of Ray and Bridgewater’s success is the idea of radical transparency. This means that personal assessments are completely out in the open so that team members understand how each other acts and works. Transparency enables teams to make mistakes, but own up to them so the rest of the team can learn and prevent future similar mistakes.
- Meritocracy over autocracy for Bridgewater. Here, all associates at Bridgewater has the ability to challenge authority as long as there is clear merit in the person and the process. This is also where Ray leans into his belief that credence should be given to those who have demonstrated success in at least three occasions of some task/ venture. I touched on this in one of my previous posts in how this affects how I feel in my own ability to coach. But thinking about this idea, Ray has also only had “one” entrepreneurial/ business success (with Bridgewater)… not three. ?
There are many, many principles in the book (just as the title implies). It’s best not to try to adhere to all of the principles from the get go. Heck, it may not make sense to adopt any of the principles. It’s important realize whatever principles make sense (for me, you, whoever). However, it’s a constant practice to not only align myself to my principles, but also ensuring a company is aligned. And much like Bridgewater, if some principle should be rescinded or updated, it’s all possible as long as there is merit and transparency to the process.
I’ve been thinking about the Amazon Effect lesson from my customer discovery research of e-commerce from last week. There are a lot of tenets to the Amazon Effect including the rise of expectations of delivery, access to goods, etc. but the one I thought about most was.
The Amazon Effect has affected some of the longest-standing fundamentals of web. That is, time on site used to be a valuable metric. Amazon has proven that a winning strategy can be the opposite — get in, find what you want, check out and get out. Fast. Come back again.
- Initial round of 7 folks from the e-commerce space representing directors and managers of marketing with a couple in sales. Companies were each in the $1B+ category largely in consumer, but also having B2B opportunities.
- Primary levers for growing e-commerce businesses:
- Customer acquisition
- These two levers have the greatest effect on net revenue
- To achieve higher sales, too, companies are evaluating:
- Shortest path to revenue — “click-to-checkout”
- Building an “optimal” customer experience
- Customer experience for companies range from custom, and temporary, showrooms to shortening the path to revenue with engaging design elements (e.g. imagery, product information consistency)
- The Amazon Effect has affected some of the longest-standing fundamentals of web. That is, time on site used to be a valuable metric. Amazon has proven that a winning strategy can be the opposite — get in, find what you want, check out and get out. Fast. Come back again
- Combating the big players in customer acquisition can be difficult as they spend millions upon millions in advertising, especially, on Google and Facebook. Smaller players have to focus on niches and aiming for the repeat buy
- There are big opportunities, still
- Most folks still believe less than 30% of the market value (10%, more likely) is still uncovered in e-commerce (“Everyone’s gathering data, but how do you use it?”)
- There is a lot of data being collected; however, most companies still don’t know how best to utilize the data to deliver good value
- Dynamic pricing is highly sought after with most folks seeing this as a prime opportunity for customer acquisition and revenue growth (new and recurring)
- Exceptional customer support and returns processes are vital to keeping customers. When you consider the difficulty of acquiring customers, keeping customers should be an ongoing strategy top-of-mind
I’m still digging into the space as it’s largely unfamiliar outside of my personal shopping. Any take-aways standing out for you that surprises you? Anything contrary to what you thought?
- I must be careful in how I guide and advise others. I can speak of my experiences and what I’ve learned. However, I should be wary of how I guide others towards whatever their ideas of success are if I do not have the requisite experience to do so.
- Seeking a “win” is paramount to me. Then, I need to seek my next win. I am not in the upper echelons of successful leaders right now because I don’t deserve to be. Oh, but I want to be in the group who helps architect the future. But how can I join the group if I don’t have the credentials to be amongst them?
Especially the last point, it’s causing me to reflect on my path of seeking my next entrepreneurial journey. Should I continue seeking very early-stage startups (or my own) knowing there’s such a great chance of failure? More failures only mean I become successful at failure, right?
- I attended Emory University’s Goizueta Business School back 2012-2013 for my MBA. Back then, early on, at least, I thought I was going to graduate and re-enter the world of consulting. I suspected I would garner a nice-sized pay bump. I had visions of getting a BMW M3 and upgrade my house (purchased 2009). Except, I ended up going full-time into boot-strapped entrepreneurship. There were no upgrades. I kept my expenses relatively low, and stuck it out with the same car and house for years. I did eventually change my car last year but stayed in my house. What’s fascinating are the visions for bigger, better when I thought about higher wages. However, they’re not things I needed. I’ve been happy in my home, and honestly, I probably should’ve kept my car instead upgrading. Not everything needs to be (or should be) “upgraded”.
- I eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. Outside of company lunches or going out with others, I largely eat peanut butter sandwiches. No, there’s no jelly. Over the years, they’ve tasted more and more bland. However, I stick to them for a few reasons. For one, they’re incredibly cheap. Two, I eat one at a time and perhaps three throughout the day. It helps control my appetite while providing some nourishment. Three, it takes seven swipes of the knife with about a tablespoon of peanut butter to spread + a couple minutes in the toaster oven. When this is extrapolated across the days of the week, the weeks in the month, and the months in the year, it’s a known quantity of what I’m dealing with – highly efficient in preparation and cost. Four, it’s incredibly clean. Without jelly, a toasted peanut butter sandwich keeps my hands clean, and the sandwich bag can be reused throughout the week. Eating while working then is easy. Five, at any moment, I can still be flexible in going out for lunch. The sandwich I would have for lunch that day can be saved for tomorrow. The shelf-life is helps extend that “lunch runway”.
- Oatmeal for breakfast almost every day. I don’t typically eat or go out for breakfast like I occasionally do for lunch, so my breakfasts are even more routine than peanut butter sandwiches. In this case, it’s a half-cup of oatmeal. I’ve recently thrown in a half-tablespoon of chia seeds for more substance. I put more water into the oatmeal than required, and I prepare it in a cup. This allows me to “drink” the oatmeal without using utensils. It keeps everything clean while being highly efficient for consumption.
- Blueberries or similar small, round fruits for fruit/ snack. Another staple of my daily diet is a cup of blueberries, typically, kept in a round container. Blueberries in a round container allows me to also “drink” the blueberries as they roll out of the cup. It’s simple. Like the sandwiches and oatmeal, this snack keeps my hands clean while reducing “friction” of utensils, peeling a fruit, use my fingers to pick up, etc.
- Meal prep with an Instant Pot. My dinners are usually varied from week to week – contrary to my otherwise routine daily meals. However, I still have the same dinner throughout that week. Ever since I acquired an Instant Pot, I’ve been able to prepare a larger, more varied quantity of food while adding varying degrees of taste. It’s been fantastic versus my tried and true pasta menus of the past.
- Be proactive.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Put first things first.
- Think win-win.
- Seek to understand, then to be understood.
- Sharpen the saw.
The first three habits are focused around the self while habits 4-6 are about the external relations. The last habit is about constant improvement.