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19 Ways for Developing Strategy Insights

19 Ways for Developing Strategy Insights One of my favorite words is the Japanese word Satori, translated as "comprehension; understanding" or "a flash of insight." Insights allow us to see what others—or most others—were not able to see or what they ignored. Insights allow us to see what we ourselves have not seen before, or have not understood the importance of prior to a flash of insight. It allows us to see the world in new ways. Insights arrive suddenly, usually when we do a different activity such as taking a shower or washing our hands. One quality of insight is the feeling that the information is correct. The truthfulness of information is self-evident. The flash of insight also feels like a process of creation. Something meaningful to us is created at that moment. Something that we value greatly. When we try to trace how insight was created, we fail to see the underlying process. However, cognitive neuroscientists observed certain brain activities associated with insights. For example, one second before we experience an insight, there is a pre-insight in the right rear side of the visual cortex. At this moment, our external senses are blocked for a brief moment. An interesting observation is that insight doesn't always come with…

19 Ways for Developing Strategy Insights One of my favorite words is the Japanese word Satori, translated as "comprehension; understanding" or "a flash of insight." Insights allow us to see what others—or most others—were not able to see or what they ignored. Insights allow us to see what we ourselves have not seen before, or have not understood the importance of prior to a flash of insight. It allows us to see the world in new ways. Insights arrive suddenly, usually when we do a different activity such as taking a shower or washing our hands. One quality of insight is the feeling that the information is correct.…

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Jeff Bezos Question Worth Asking

Jeff Bezos Question Worth Asking Jeff Bezos mentioned he often received this question: "What's going to change in the next 10 years?" Jeff Bezos, however, said that the more important question is this: "What's NOT going to change in the next 10 years?" I thought about this as it relates to building a career in consulting, other major companies, or finally making the leap and starting your own business. Your career or business foundation must be built upon things that do not change. If you are going to invest a lot of time and effort into acquiring a skill, it needs to be something with longevity. There are certain things that used to be important that are no longer important. If we look at running your own business, a few years ago, you could grow relatively fast with social media ads. Now, the ads have become extremely hard to run profitably. One of my friends spent 100,000$ on Facebook ads before giving up on it. A few years ago, certain tricks allowed you to sell more books if you are an author. Those tricks since then stopped working. My father used to do computer programming on paper. How useful is…

Jeff Bezos Question Worth Asking Jeff Bezos mentioned he often received this question: "What's going to change in the next 10 years?" Jeff Bezos, however, said that the more important question is this: "What's NOT going to change in the next 10 years?" I thought about this as it relates to building a career in consulting, other major companies, or finally making the leap and starting your own business. Your career or business foundation must be built upon things that do not change. If you are going to invest a lot of time and effort into acquiring a skill, it…

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Who is going to be the making of YOU

Who is going to be the making of YOU I came across this story about Thomas Edison today: Edison was sent home from school with a letter for his mom. He asked his mother, “What does the letter say?” She said, “It says, your son is incredibly intelligent beyond our capabilities of teaching him. Our recommendation is to remove him from traditional school and for you to homeschool him.” After Edison’s mom died, and when he already became a renowned American inventor, he came across this letter. The letter actually read, “Your son is mentally challenged, and we cannot teach him. He is officially expelled from school.” Lovely story, right? I looked into it. It’s historical fiction. The real story is even better. In a rare interview with a long extinct newspaper, T.P’s Weekly published on 29 November 1907, Edison said: “One day I overheard the teacher tell the inspector that I was "addled" and it would not be worthwhile keeping me in school any longer. I was so hurt by this last straw that I burst out crying and went home and told my mother about it. Then I found out what a good thing a good mother is. She came…

Who is going to be the making of YOU I came across this story about Thomas Edison today: Edison was sent home from school with a letter for his mom. He asked his mother, “What does the letter say?” She said, “It says, your son is incredibly intelligent beyond our capabilities of teaching him. Our recommendation is to remove him from traditional school and for you to homeschool him.” After Edison’s mom died, and when he already became a renowned American inventor, he came across this letter. The letter actually read, “Your son is mentally challenged, and we cannot teach him. He…

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Understanding the Risk in a Business Strategy

Understanding the Risk in a Business Strategy A business strategy tries to solve a set of problems to increase returns while minimizing risk. The return side is well covered with numerous tools, analytics, and frameworks to more or less accurately estimate free cash flow, economic profit, NOPAT, enterprise value, EBITDA, net income, ROIC, and any other return measure you use. Pick up any seminal textbook on strategy, valuation, and corporate finance, and the majority of calculations are about returns and growth. Take a moment to think about your own recent discussions on risk, the tools you used to measure risk, and the frameworks you reference to understand risk. How helpful were they?  With the exception of WACC, risk is often treated as a social science. We tend to rely on business judgment, gut feel, and personal experiences to make decisions on risk. It need not be this way. Risk can be measured and calculated. The ability to visually depict the risk in a proposed strategy and the relative risk between strategy choices opens a richer and deeper management discussion. That is what we will present in this post. The Risk in a Business Strategy To understand the risk in a…

Understanding the Risk in a Business Strategy A business strategy tries to solve a set of problems to increase returns while minimizing risk. The return side is well covered with numerous tools, analytics, and frameworks to more or less accurately estimate free cash flow, economic profit, NOPAT, enterprise value, EBITDA, net income, ROIC, and any other return measure you use. Pick up any seminal textbook on strategy, valuation, and corporate finance, and the majority of calculations are about returns and growth. Take a moment to think about your own recent discussions on risk, the tools you used to measure risk,…

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The Desire To Feel Better About Oneself

There is a very basic human need:  The desire to feel better about oneself. Everybody has this need. And there are four ways in which people act on this need. #1 is focusing on achieving, success, accomplishing difficult goals, and breaking out of your orbit. #2 is charity and sacrifice. We feel better when we are helping others. #3 is buying things that will make you feel better. Trying to get a piece of a life you could have achieved by taking the first path if it wasn’t so damn hard to take the first path. That’s why you see people during the middle-life crises buying extravagant sports cars, which are above their general lifestyle (versus starting million-dollar companies if they haven’t done so already, which would be group #1). #4 is criticizing others to make ourselves look better. This group likes to troll people online, and criticize and judge in real life. They like to blame. If you ever received a troll comment, it’s not about you. It’s about them trying to make themselves feel better. What makes the FIRMSconsulting community very special is it is a community of people who mostly fall into group #1.  Path #1 is…

There is a very basic human need:  The desire to feel better about oneself. Everybody has this need. And there are four ways in which people act on this need. #1 is focusing on achieving, success, accomplishing difficult goals, and breaking out of your orbit. #2 is charity and sacrifice. We feel better when we are helping others. #3 is buying things that will make you feel better. Trying to get a piece of a life you could have achieved by taking the first path if it wasn’t so damn hard to take the first path. That’s why you see…

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Success Requires Clarity

Warren Buffet remembers speaking to a woman who had survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. Auschwitz was a complex of over forty concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II’s Holocaust.  He asked this woman, “How do you define friendship?” She said her test was: “Would they hide me?” I take friendship very seriously.  When I was studying to be a concert pianist, I had a friend. We were both 17. We were like sisters and even wrote a song together. You can listen to it here (scroll down to the song).  There were just a few guys in our mostly all-girls music college of Shatalov where we were students, a prestigious music college in Russia. And we both managed to desperately like one guy. He wanted to be my boyfriend. I told him, as much as I would absolutely LOVE to be his girlfriend, I could not because it would be hard for my friend since she really liked him.  When the sanctions were imposed on Russia this year, I dropped everything to move my family to another country.  I went there for three weeks to set everything up, sort out the documentation,…

Warren Buffet remembers speaking to a woman who had survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. Auschwitz was a complex of over forty concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II’s Holocaust.  He asked this woman, “How do you define friendship?” She said her test was: “Would they hide me?” I take friendship very seriously.  When I was studying to be a concert pianist, I had a friend. We were both 17. We were like sisters and even wrote a song together. You can listen to it here (scroll down to the song).  There were…

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They Didn’t Understand Life

One of our wonderful Insiders wrote this thoughtful email for Michael and me, but also for the benefit of the FC community. I removed some identifying information. I think this message can help many people.  If you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, as you read through John’s email (name changed for privacy), step into being 53. Be in John’s shoes for the duration of the reading. And it will help you see more clearly what you need to do now to lay out a better foundation for your future. === Hi Kris and Michael, Given all the posts about what it's like to be middle aged, it seemed appropriate to write to both of you. I just turned 53. I think I am ten years older than you, Michael, and I am 17 years older than you, Kris.  I've been a subscriber to FirmsConsulting for nearly 10 years(Insider level). I teach xxx at a xxx, and I'll know if I have tenure in two months. Before I started teaching, I worked as an xxx in industry doing R&D and process improvement for 14 years.   Given my age, I am no longer in your target market.  If anything, I…

One of our wonderful Insiders wrote this thoughtful email for Michael and me, but also for the benefit of the FC community. I removed some identifying information. I think this message can help many people.  If you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, as you read through John’s email (name changed for privacy), step into being 53. Be in John’s shoes for the duration of the reading. And it will help you see more clearly what you need to do now to lay out a better foundation for your future. === Hi Kris and Michael, Given all the posts…

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You Will Have Results Or You Will Have Excuses

Do you want to succeed?  You need to become an effective communicator.  You need to be able to take an idea in your mind and present it in a way that allows people to understand, pay attention, consider the idea, and have confidence in your ability to execute the idea.  Great communicators have the ability to hold the attention of the room, and subtly compel others to think or act in a particular way.  They are able to earn trust and showcase credibility.  They are able to present proposals effectively and have an engaging argument with someone when required.  They are able to persuade. They are influential.  People listen when they speak.  They are confident. And because people react to them with attention and serious consideration, the confidence level grows further and further. Similarly, if you are not able to hold the attention of the room, you will experience people ignoring you and your ideas. Do people’s reactions to you make you doubt your abilities more and more?  Think about what it does to you.  What will it do to you long term?  If every day you lose a little more confidence in your abilities, what will happen to you…

Do you want to succeed?  You need to become an effective communicator.  You need to be able to take an idea in your mind and present it in a way that allows people to understand, pay attention, consider the idea, and have confidence in your ability to execute the idea.  Great communicators have the ability to hold the attention of the room, and subtly compel others to think or act in a particular way.  They are able to earn trust and showcase credibility.  They are able to present proposals effectively and have an engaging argument with someone when required.  They…

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Don’t Allow People To Suppress Your Ambition

I once read a quote that said that every day you should stand guard at the door of your mind. You alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your mind and your life. For they will shape whether you feel rich or poor, cursed or blessed. How you communicate with others matters. But what matters even more is how you communicate with yourself, and whether or not you allow popular lies and other people’s biases to be accepted as truths by you. One of the popular lies is that upward mobility is a rare occurrence, a lie used by the rich to steal money from the poor. The success stories like yours and mine, and bigger stories, are painted as fairytales inaccessible to greater masses. So what they are saying is a person who was born in the United States, spoke English as their first language, and had access to almost all the knowledge in the world through the public library system, is somehow at a disadvantage to someone such as me?  A girl from the former Soviet Union who timidly immigrated 3 times to finally have the privilege of living in the United States, after over a…

I once read a quote that said that every day you should stand guard at the door of your mind. You alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your mind and your life. For they will shape whether you feel rich or poor, cursed or blessed. How you communicate with others matters. But what matters even more is how you communicate with yourself, and whether or not you allow popular lies and other people’s biases to be accepted as truths by you. One of the popular lies is that upward mobility is a rare occurrence, a lie used…

Read more…