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  • David Bloomfield

#23 Sharing some things that I’ve Read, Heard & Seen

What I've read


Loonshots - How to nurture crazy ideas that win wars, cure diseases and transform industries by Safi Bahcall


How and why some radical ideas (that can change the world) breakthrough and how others never see the light of day. Loonshot - a term meaning ideas that are ignored and written off as crazy. This book is the source code for creatives and visionaries who want to understand how to nurture radical breakthroughs


Some things I learned and found useful

There are two types of Loonshot:

  • P Type - A surprising breakthrough in a product or technology - tend to be quick and dramatic, the old guard crumble (Blockbuster) and champions emerge (Netflix & Amazon)

  • S Type - A surprising breakthrough in strategy - tend to be more gradual and less obvious

Rules

  1. Separate the phases - Early stage projects are fragile, separate artists (people responsible for developing high risk, early stage ideas) from the soldiers (responsible for execution of the already successful and established part of the organisation). Requiring separate homes to meet their custom and tailored needs for the phase - it can be tempting to borrow and share resources but it will ultimately lead to failure

  2. Create dynamic equilibrium - Love the artists and soldiers equally, no division department or group can be either ignored or favoured without unbalancing the whole

  3. Spread a system mindset - a system mindset carefully examines the quality of decisions not just the quality of outcomes. Evaluating outcomes and decisions separately is equally important, bad decisions may occasionally result in good outcomes - failing to deeply analyse wins can reinforce bad processes. Keep asking how the decision process can be improved and identify where outcome mindsets exist to help them to adopt system mindsets…

Beware of the 3 deaths - Loonshots (despite their brilliance) vary rarely if at all make it through - Don’t get discouraged if your project fails - in fact it typically suffers 3 failures (deaths)… if it doesn’t fail in the early stages maybe its not radical enough…


In 1972 microbiologist Akira Endo discovered a drug that could lower cholesterol.


Death 1 - when Endo presented his data at a conference there were a number of trials showing that lowering cholesterol may not reduce risk of heart disease


Death 2 - Nothing happened to the cholesterol levels of rats when he gave them the drug


Death 3 - A new study showed that high doses of the drug caused cancer in dogs - which caused the project to be cancelled and years later showed that it wasn’t cancer at all and wasn’t harmful. Beware of the false fail - due to to a flaw in the test. Loonshots are fragile and need a strong pair of hands to investigate and answer false failures and protect the program, from critics with other agendas and who may seek the budget for their own programs…


The drug that Endo developed was further developed by Merck to become one of the most widely prescribed medicines in the prevention of heart attacks and stroke.



What I've seen


Brené Brown the call to courage


The amazing Brené Brown has teamed up with Netflix for this must see hour long show on courage and vulnerability. Take a look here to see my previous post about her podcast appearance with Michael Gervais also talking about vulnerability.


Quote that I love...

Choose courage over comfort


Things that stood out


If you're not being brave and in the arena with me then I’m not interested in your opinion or feedback


When we read into other peoples actions and project a story that we have built up, playing it over and over in our heads. Firstly after acknowledging it, the magic sentence that we must verbalise to the other party is ”The story I’m telling myself is…”. Our brain wants a story so it can understand how to protect you - so we make up stories to remove the vagueness.


There is no courage without vulnerability - Uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure and showing up when you cant control the outcome. There are no examples of courage that did not involve uncertainty, risk or emotional exposure.


Creating a vulnerable work culture leads to: empathy; trust; innovation; creativity; inclusivity; problem solving; hard conversations; ethical decision making


Joy is the most vulnerable of emotions - if we feel it we fear something will take it away and dress rehearse tragedy so it becomes scary to feel it - those that embrace joy practise gratitude especially in the ordinary moments - we get so focused on the extraordinary moments that we miss the ordinary but amazing things.



What I've heard


Tim Ferriss podcast with Eric Schmidt the ex CEO of Google talking about his new book the Trillion Dollar coach which is dedicated to his coach and friend Bill Campbell - a unique and incredible coach to Steve jobs, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Meyer and many others. He played a key role in the growth of silicon valley, helping to grow successful companies (valued over $2 Trillion) that put their personal growth down to Bill.


Some things that stood out

He refused compensation all of his work was pro bono. He wanted to do it and not be compromised by money but to help people - he was motivated by happiness and success of people


He helped people to get past the slogans like “I want to make the world a better place” - they don’t give you precision on what you should be doing every day - what do you want to do and what are you going to do


My favourite quotes...

Your title makes you a manager, your people makes you a leader
Try to take your best decision and then move on
“I don’t take cash, I don’t take stock, and I don’t take shit”

Being close to both leadership teams at Google and Apple, he was careful not to cross boundaries given the disputes between the companies, in fact he is credited for bringing them together and getting people to talk to each other - having credibility to both groups was extremely helpful


Google was run on a rule of 70:20:10 developed by Sergey Brin (Co-founder of Google)

  • 70% on core business

  • 20% on adjacent or nearby things to extend your franchise

  • 10% on wild bets that you will want to do in 5- 10 years

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