Season 3, Episode 12: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less [Podcast]

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An Interview with Greg McKeown, Author of ‘Essentialism’

Welcome to Season 3, Episode 12 of the This Is Your Life podcast. In this twelfth episode, Michele Cushatt and I interview Greg McKeown, best-selling author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

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We live in a culture that drives us to do, produce, and consume more—constantly. As a result, our schedules are packed, while our lives seem empty. Greg McKeown’s Essentialism, one of the best business books I’ve ever read, offers the perspective and tools we need to break free from this trap.

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Michael Hyatt’s Intentional Leadership

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Patience, Persuasion, and the Pursuit of Better

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Making Sense:

From communities of practice to collaborations of purpose, working together elevates everyone’s game. Because access has more value than information. This week we took a look at emergent networks on #Slack.

  • Is blogging killing planning? Ad Literate: the plannersphere has created a kind of intellectual soup for a global community of brand thinkers to feed off, contribute to and create value from. As such it is and has the power to significantly improve the quality of planners and planning in the brand advice business. For my money blogging and planning are a marriage made in heaven.
  • GV Guide to Design Critique. Google Ventures: used to think that these differences in feedback style were baked so deeply into a company’s culture that they’d be impossible to change. But then I noticed something surprising: across all these different teams the feedback that was happening within design teams was always helpful. When designers gave feedback to each other, they were focused the same goals, candid about where proposed solutions weren’t working, and creative about alternate approaches.
  • The Leader’s Guide on Kickstarter. Eric Ries: My campaign is also an experiment designed to see how I can collaborate with all of you as part of my research process for The Startup Way. I wanted my new book to be researched, written and published in a way that is consistent with the methodology I believe in–and Kickstarter provides a platform for an even deeper level of collaboration with my readers. I’m also supporting a community for backers after the campaign so that they can share their stories, lessons, and experiences with me and with each other.

Making Do:

Tenure in companies is dropping dramatically, yet it takes time to build anything worthwhile. We trust peers and like-minds the most and we connect with one another through work. Where do organizations and people meet most effectively?

  • Jony’s Patience. Medium: Between ’92 and ‘97, three different CEO’s ran the company until Steve Jobs returned. Steve got the company back on track, but they weren’t profitable again until the early 2000’s. I can’t imagine Apple would have been a fun place to work during those years. That wasn’t just one or two tough years — every company has some of those — it was almost 10 rough years in a row. Ive and his team stuck together through some really tough times, and the rest is history. Ive has been at Apple for 23 years now.
  • Beware of Airbnb entering the hyperlocal travel guide business. Frédéric Filloux: Beyond developing its gigantic global footprint, Airbnb wants to build a community of users, itself structured in homogenous layers (e.g. young families looking for budget rentals, yuppies aiming at trendy places…) There’s even the growing crowd of professionals who prefer an Airbnb apartment free of the check-in/out hassles of hotels, and who will gladly trade unexciting room service for a super-fast DSL connection. […] Each of these sub-communities will be far more likely to trust their peers than the usual travel guides where it’s always difficult to sort actual user opinions from bogus reviews and paid-for insertions, disguised advertorials, etc. The beauty of this powerful combination lies in its scalability.

Making It:

Cultural fit is one of the critical dimensions of work. Convergence between what you want and what customers want is another. This week, we talked about the power of both/and in how creativity needs to be made accessible for consumption.

  • The future of jobs: not being an employee, but not quite like being a contractor either. Esko Kilpi: We need a new agenda connecting people and businesses. The aim should not be a set of shared goals, but complementary goals and a co-created narrative for both. We need to study the intersection of corporate strategy and personal narrative. […] The new task is to choose work commitments on the basis of our own particular strengths and our own sense of purpose and belonging, not just on having some free time and wanting to earn some extra money for Uber. That is not what being independent, being your own boss, really means.
  • How Tim Cook persuaded Angela Ahrendts to join Apple. Cult of Mac: “The first time I sat down with him, I walked away thinking wow, that’s a man of peace,” Ahrendts says. “I just absolutely loved his integrity, his values. Nothing anybody can write, say, or do is going to take him off of always doing the right thing. Not just for Apple, but for Apple’s people, for communities, for countries. The world needs more leaders like Tim.” According to Ahrendts, her initial meetings with Cook focused on establishing whether she was a good cultural fit for Apple, rather than diving into her previous experience.

[image drowning in a sea of emoji via Flickr user forresto]


Conversation Agent – Valeria Maltoni

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