Bonus Note: Make your own visuals.

What I’ve Learned

Business Edition

  1. There are growth companies in growth categories. Find them, learn from them, work there or start one. Everything else is treading water.
  2. Know your business. Your industry and how it works; your company and how it works. The details.
  3. Be persistent. But don’t bang your head against a wall. There’s always good work to be done somewhere.
  4. Change your job or pivot your focus every two years. It will keep your mind fresh.
  5. Travel early in your career. It will become more difficult over time.
  6. Intellect and judgment: there’s a difference. Always show good judgment.
  7. Perspective is incredibly valuable. Seek the story from multiple angles.
  8. Geography matters. For every place, there is a thing and not every thing can be done in every place.
  9. Spend the company’s money as if it were your own. Self-explanatory.
  10. Be kind to everyone — this includes those below you in the org chart. No investment yields a higher return.
  11. Exercise every day. You’re in this for the long haul.
  12. Have a creative habit. It will make your work — and your life — richer.
  13. Written and verbal communications are superpowers. Develop them. Use them.
  14. Many people become their jobs, for better or worse. Be careful how you define yourself.
  15. There will be intense stretches. But not every stretch will be equally intense. Embrace the good ones.
  16. Don’t work in a vacuum. Seek feedback.
  17. Do something you love, something you’re proud of. Your kids will ask.
  18. Take vacations. Not staycations, vacations. A change of environment can work wonders.
  19. Be a team player. Nobody cares how smart you are (or think you are). They care whether or not you move the business forward together and how you make them feel.
  20. Understand the numbers. The art and science of data. You’ll need both.
  21. Network. Learn from others, test your material, contribute to the conversation. Who you know matters.
  22. You’ll remember the little things, like attending your kid’s game even if it means another late night later. You won’t remember the glory days of doing email. You just won’t.
  23. Don’t pontificate or be a dismissive know-it-all. There’s a name for those people and it’s not nice. Be nice.
  24. Don’t claim you have a philosophy. Hopefully you have an approach and a knowledge of business models. A philosophy? Try again.
  25. Equity is the 8th wonder of the world. Be an owner.
  26. A resume is a list of things you’ve done. It’s not what you’ve learned. Know what you’ve learned (and haven’t).
  27. Be different. The world is filled with sheep.
  28. Listen to your inner voice. The things you’re meant to do will always be calling.
  29. Avoid cliches, jargon, and war metaphors. They’re unoriginal, tacky, and often dreadfully misused.
  30. Very few people can make the complex simple. Schools should teach this.
  31. Have standards, but don’t be a snob. Nobody likes a snob.
  32. Understand what you’re good at — and what you’re not good at. Do more of the former and don’t over-invest in the latter.
  33. There’s no substitute for hard work. Work hard.
  34. Management and leadership: one can be taught and one is more innate; both are necessary; neither is easy. Practice, practice.
  35. Everything is global. Trade is global, talent is global, ideas are global. Get out there.
  36. Capital structure matters. Know how to interpret a balance sheet (and an income statement, and while you’re at it a cash flow statement).
  37. Be determined. A breakthrough might be nearer than you expect.
  38. Culture is a hard thing to change. When it’s healthy, it’s great; when it’s not, consider a new venue.
  39. Meetings can steal an entire day if you let them. Be selective, considerate, and quick.
  40. Alignment and collaboration will never go out of style. We will all go farther together.
  41. Dress the part. And always be clean.
  42. Stay current. Set up a news feed, a system for remaining up-to-date in fifteen minutes per day.
  43. If it seems shady, it probably is. Applies to people, businesses, and sometimes entire industries.
  44. Innovation owns the headlines. And it should. But it’s nothing without sustained execution.
  45. No. For most people, it was their first word. You probably should say it more often.
  46. Cultivate your channel. Audiences you can’t reach, can’t buy.
  47. Compete. Play to win. And do it the right way. Anything less is a waste of your most precious commodity.
  48. Incentives make the world go ‘round. Business 101. Understand what makes your company — and your customers — tick.
  49. People make a big deal out of creativity. They should. Because it’s really crucial and darn hard to deliver consistently (the good kind).
  50. Have a story. And make it compelling. Without one, you’re a sheep. (see pt. 27, above)
  51. Start early. I’ve met very few accomplished people who sleep in. (Even on the weekend.) There’s just too much to do.
  52. Don’t find time. Make time. There will always be slivers of opportunity.
  53. Do your best. It’s the one piece of advice everyone has given and received. Stretch the definition.
  54. Differentiate. If your product or service doesn’t stand out, it’s not unique. And if it’s not unique, it’s a commodity. And if it’s a commodity, … you see where this is going.
  55. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Know when to outsource and partner.
  56. Do the right thing. Awareness of the right thing is insufficient. Do it. Every time. Without fail.
  57. Be skeptical of hockey stick financials. They seldom represent reality.
  58. Of the things my parents taught me, discipline is at the top of the list. Its applicability is infinite.
  59. Principles. They exist and you and your business should have them. And never lose touch with them.
  60. Set a goal. I’m going to do x by y. It’s the ultimate day-planner.
  61. You should be having fun. This is business, I know. But that’s no excuse. It should still be fun.
  62. Words, words, words. It’s deeds that count.

Time to run. Be back soon.

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