Table of Contents
Helping Deploy Ideas Faster to Advance Humanity by Ruthlessly Applying Creative Destruction
Innovation provides humanity the ability to reduce our needs and wants and thus allowing us to seek Self-Realization. People are at their best when they are working towards a singular Objective together, working as One. However, for people to move as One they need to first have the basics needs and wants of life met include security, community and love. Our purpose is to address these hard problems so that humanity can attain this Self-Realization. We address the ills of society and Democratize Innovation so it can Flourish.
The core of our Vision is “Ideas Deployed Faster to Advance Humanity.” We provide the tools, knowledge and services necessary to tackle the world’s hardest problems such as Climate Change, Healthcare, Food and Water Safety, Energy, Economic Inequality, Education, Space Travel and to eventually get us to the point where we can create the next iteration of Homo Sapiens: Homo Deus. These hard problems need many competing solutions with many different people with different backgrounds addressing them. By helping reduce the cost of innovation we will create a Cambrian explosion of solutions to these hard problems.
To ensure that we Democratize Innovation we must reduce the cost of innovation even further to enable people in the poorest places to innovate. To do this we must drive down the cost cost of innovation by ruthlessly applying Creative Destruction and Continuous Improvement. The cost of innovation needs to be lowered further and further and waste must be reduced along with it. We will create the processes and tools needed to create Operation Excellence that will reduce the cost of Innovation.
By bringing down the cost of Innovation we hope to address each and everything that is holding humanity back. We will Inchworm the weaknesses and we will push forward our strengths do we are always advancing towards our goals. We enable those who are working on hard problems with the capability to learn faster, decide faster, execute faster, and scale faster. We fix the potholes on the ground and enable the dreamers to point to the sky. We aspire to be Aristotle; we teach the Alexander the Greats of the world.
To first do this we must reshape humanity from a me-first to we-first culture, where people succeed by taking care of each other and competing with good sportsmanship, not by bribing the referee. A capitalistic framework with socialistic policies is the best way of addressing some of the big problems. We will work diligently by picking the battles where we can improve the state of the art and advance 1% everyday leading to tectonic shifts in how people behave do things to better humanity.
There will always be something new that will move the needle towards “Deploying Ideas Faster to Advance Humanity” and that means actively experimenting and progressing towards that Vision while taking calculated bets. This will result in the business constantly evolving so it is important that we have Principles that guide us through any change. The Five Principles are: Hacker Ethos, Long Term Thinking, “People, Ideas, Technology. In that Order”, Observe-Orient-Decide-Act, and Spartan.
We seek openness as a First Principle. To make the world better we need people using powerful, open ideas and having those ideas made better over time. To unearth these ideas, we learn broadly things we do not understand and make unknowns, known. We will give away what we learn and apply what we learn into our tools and services. We will teach others what we have learned and help them succeed. We will not hoard knowledge but aspire to learn so we can share what we learn.
We do not aspire to have a monopoly on ideas, good ideas can come from anywhere, so we strengthen ideas regardless of where they come from. We will cooperate with others to improve their ideas if those ideas are better. We will learn using the paradigm of Learn, Do, Advance, Iterate. This paradigm’s emphasis is on solving problems from what is learned. We will learn something that requires the solving of a problem, we will solve the problem with what we learn, we advance by figuring out the next problem that we do not understand that needs to be solved, and finally we iterate to go back to learning to solve the next problem.
Good ideas are already shared freely in books and other media. We aspire to develop a broad understanding of humanity from understanding history, politics, war, economics, math, physics, biology, psychology, games, etc. We need to make wide and deep connections, and the best way to do that is to understand the world broadly. We must expand our horizon; we will connect dots from different fields and practice things that make us better in the long run. We learn to understand how to avoid pitfalls from the past. We read and learn how to do things from those who did things before us and use history and books as teachers and mentors. We must use the Past to Advance Humanity to the Future.
Learning and Applying our Learning means we will make mistakes. While are not afraid of making mistakes, we are not afraid of looking like fools, we are not afraid of taking crazy bets. We must figure out How We Learn and adapt. All learning must start small and focused and expand out so we can minimize the feedback loop. Do this by starting with that kernel that is solid and focused and expand out from there. We will fall down, make mistakes and may be wrong but we will get back up and learn from our impediments to become better. The biggest measure of our learning is how quickly we get back up against after falling from our mistakes.
Share knowledge and give it away if it is not a Competitive Advantage. Be proactive about sharing knowledge. We are here to Advance Humanity and that means we must make the knowledge we learn available to everyone. Others may use our knowledge and compete with us and that is perfectly fine. We want our knowledge to help better the world and that means having our ideas spread to everyone, everywhere.
Advance Humanity and don’t care who gets credit!
In the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn noted that in science models are patched until there is no longer a way to modify the model anymore. Once there are too many exceptions to a model that model breaks down and a new model needs to be created to understand the world. This is called a Paradigm Shift. It is not only science that has these shifts society, culture and technology also go through these paradigm shifts. We must notice them to capitalize on them and that means creating Shared Mental Models of the world.
Shared Mental Models are a model for how we believe the world works which allows us to simplify communication as a team, understand the patches in that model, and figure out when that model is breaking down due to changes in technology. Shared mental models allow us to create scenarios and how we fit into that scenario allowing us to better understand how we need to maneuver. To understand and create mental models break things down using First Principle, and understand how each component of the model works and find bottlenecks, gatekeepers, and holes to capitalize on. Further, we must develop mental models to prevent us from gaining tunnel vision on what we are doing. For example, it can be hard to see what we are doing is entering a period of decline without figuring out the shifts in the model of the world.
Our mental models will be used to help test our hypothesis against the world and develop our capabilities to fit that model. Further, to enter new industries we need to first figure out the mental models of that industry. Once this is done we will develop the capabilities to enter that industry.
Keep things simple and composable. Build things that are hyper focused and extendable. This includes tools, businesses, products and services. Do not fall for Not Invented Here, it is better to use someone else’s 90% tool than to make our half-assed one unless there is a Competitive Advantage for us to do it differently. Build things that follow the 80/20 rule. Do not try to do everything for everyone. Aim for perfection, settle for good enough. Avoid complexity that can result in cascading failures because of heavy coupling of systems.
Solve problems by brute force first to make it work then make it pretty. Remember Copy-Paste, Excel and Bash are all effective tools. Solve the problem first fast, go back and make it pretty and scalable, but always remember to keep things simple. We solve problems to Advance Humanity not build tech for tech’s sake, so build tool that are composable with other tools.
Build simple solutions with the skills we have now, not skills that we can develop in the future, or skills that need to be heavily specialized. Create tools that empower people to come up to speed quickly.
Remember always: Complex Actions that do Complex Activities Fail in Complex Ways; Simple Actions that do Complex Activities Fail in Simple Ways. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
We get shit done. When we say we are going to do something we do it otherwise we don’t make that commitment. We need to be brutally honest with our time commitment and understand when and how we can get tasks done and how we are going to be able to bring those things to the world.
To build the future we must think Long-Term. Everything we do must be steppingstones and we must think decades into the future and work backwards. We need to implement the projects and experiments that will lead to our Vision being fulfilled. To do this we must constantly course correct, remove impediments in our way, and iterate and never be content with what we have. Always lay the seeds for tomorrow, but make sure the seeds you laid yesterday are bearing fruit and figure out why the ones that didn’t, didn’t. We need to simplify our Vision into smaller projects. Whether we tackle business or politics we need to stay below the waves thinking and working for the long-term while there maybe waves and storms above water.
And like a forest fire that clears out the underbrush so that the strong trees get more nutrients, we need to regularly clear out the underbrush to give more nutrients to our stronger trees. We will constantly evaluate what we are focused on and let loose those projects that may be better run independently, by others, or are no longer needed at all. We must learn to be objective and be okay with cutting ties with those things that don’t fulfill our Vision.
Life is evolution and we need to evolve with the tides. Our Vision requires a marathon not a sprint, we may win some and lose some but never lose sight of if we are winning the Infinite Game. We must improve 1% everyday with small constant changes, we must apply Creative Destruction to ourselves and our work, we must cast the first stone against ourselves and obsolete ourselves first. We must never be comfortable with what we have, it can all be ripped away, so we are constantly willing to sacrifice for better and always be willing to improve. We Must Evolve or Die.
Building for the Long-Term requires sacrifice and stamina and a fair bit of the Marshmallow Test. Not everything will be fun and to get to our Vision a lot of it is going to be shoveling shit. Things will be boring, monotonous and uninspiring but nothing great has been done in the world without hard work. It is important to get through things and resist changing things drastically when boredom sets. We need to find ways to chip away at the same thing over and over and get to where we need to go while addressing the monotony. For us to do this, we need to create routines, processes and automations that we will use to get us through things when things get tedious.
Consider the externalities when making decisions and performing action. We cannot stop ourselves from creating negative externalities, but we must seek for those short term pains to create long-term gains to Advance Humanity. Figure out how to reduce the negative externality and seek to remove it quickly.
We need to move at a steady measured pace while preventing burnout. We will implement work processes such as Scrum and Kanban to work at a measured pace with continuous improvement to create change. We will do Agile right not as a measure of people, but as a measure of the tasks that need to be done. Think Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
Our goal as a company is to reduce dopamine and cortisol and increase serotonin and oxytocin. No, we aren’t going to drug people. Dopamine and cortisol are products of short-term thinking, the highs of big risky wins, and the lows of heavy stress. Sure, they are exciting, but they are not good ways to build a long-term sustainable business. So our company in a sense has to be boring, it has to focus on long-term sustainable growth not huge risky spikes that may not last. We will optimize for serotonin and oxytocin; both are long-term thinking chemicals that the brain secretes for the wellness of the individual. We optimize for these.
We need to increase our revenues year over year by 14%.
We do not strive for high risk, we take calculated bets that help us advance our game, playing at tables that give us a clear advantage. Attacking a large defense is pointless and wastes resources, find the weakness in the defenses and take aim there. This means 1% everyday will lead to revolutionary changes overtime. But we must start with First Principle to figure out where we even start playing. Figure out the game where the rules are in your favor, this is the First Principle decision. Figure out the 1-2 things that will give you 80% of the benefit and move to address that leading you to become the big fish in the small pond, expand from there.
Don’t be constrained by societal norms. Society and Culture are hackable, and we need to understand the Power Structures that are in play and how they advantage or disadvantage us. If we understand the Power Structures, we can Define the Rules of the Game or Play a Game where we always have an advantage.
If direct competition against them is impossible then change tables, so that you play has the advantage. To build a world where we fill our Vision of “Ideas Deployed Faster to Create Homo Deus”, we must break and remold the old rules to favor us. We dance to our own tune, however, to do so we need to be disciplined. We must have self-mastery to make the rules for others and we must always consider the moral and ethical questions over the rules we change. The rules we change must be better for the world over the long run even if short term it is painful, and we must be disciplined to weather the short term ramifications.
To Advance Humanity we cannot be sitting around accumulating cash. We need to put 90% of our Cash Flow into Growth. We will optimize for having high amounts of cash flow so we can use it to Reinvest and Reinvent ourselves. It is by making a lot of small bets in many opportunities that we can figure out what the best way to get to our Vision. We will not always be right, but we can make the many bets to get to the right path. To do this we need to ensure all bets we take have a profitable end goal and that we think through how we are going to win when we take those bets.
Once we make a bet we will use Porter’s Competitive Strategy and Deming’s Continuous Improvement to evolve and optimize. We must understand a bet’s long-term outcome. Further, we need to understand that any bet we take may change overtime and that means we need to be able to step away if things are not working after a sufficient time period. Further, if something is broken fix it! If something is subpar, fix it! Every team needs to own what they have and make it better constantly even if the short-term benefits are painful but the long-term benefits are immense.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to Kill the Goose that lays the Golden Egg. Eventually, it will die, or a competitor will commoditize it. We need to learn to kill ourselves to reinvent ourselves.
We must thrive in chaos and uncertainty. The only thing we are certain of is change, change breeds opportunities and we must learn to capitalize on those opportunities. We must build the company to be Anti-Fragile. It needs to survive whether things are going well, or things are going poorly in the world. We need to think hard about how we do things and always prepare for the worst. Chaos should not kill us; chaos empowers and emboldens us. We are masters of Chaos and use it for our benefit. Remember Sun Tzu, “Lure with bait, strike with chaos.” To achieve success in chaos we must kill things that don’t provide value. Don’t keep something to turn the wheels we must be nimble and be able to turn on a dime.
People are our most valuable asset. Technology and Ideas may change but we need a solid group of people who are constantly evolving and growing while getting shit done. We understand that not everyone will be around forever so we must prepare them to tackle our Vision wherever they choose to go. We must ensure that they grow into the role they want, stay long term in the role they are comfortable with, or become entrepreneurs in their own right and help advance them whatever path they choose to take and provide the incentives to succeed.
Good Ideas and Technologies are the results of Good People. Good ideas need to be shown merit and advanced while undergoing vigorous debate. We are here to Advance Humanity and “Ideas Deployed Faster” means always being on the forefront, building the future and making that future the present.
People make up an Organization, a Organization is an Imagined Community. People make up our Organization, an Imagined Community of People, provide value to another Organization, another Imagined Community of People. At the end it is People helping People. We must ensure that people are taken care, have safety, and trust whomever and whatever Imagined Community they are a part.
We will fall on the sword for our people and that means we need to ensure that the people we bring on are the people who will fall on the sword for us. We will not hire fast, fire fast. We will take our time to find good people who fit with our Principles first. People can learn new skills, but it is extremely hard to orient people with varying Principles. So we will optimize for Principles. We will need to find people with the appropriate Position, Responsibilities and Expectations. We cannot just hire based on skills since it will means that if the person cannot change their skills based on the changing circumstances we have people who many not be beneficial to our organization.
We will define Position for people and provide them with the Responsibilities they need to succeed and give them the power to make decisions and act within their realm. Every person has a set of responsibilities that they will be expected to handle and if failure happens they are responsible for. Lastly, every position has expectations of value generated. Every person needs to create value for the organization but they need to be sufficiently challenged to self-improve as well. We will develop people’s positions overtime to increase their responsibilities and expectations. The expectations will be measurable goals for each person.
We value those who serve and empower others before themselves. We value those who dedicate themselves to ensure that others are happy and cared. We want people who will not put themselves about the needs of their team. It is better to climb the highest mountain and bring others so we can all enjoy the view together than to climb up alone.
We will ensure that our People are Happy, Healthy and Productive in that order. Unhappy and Unhealthy people don’t lead to productive work nor are they fun to be around. Ensuring the team is happy and healthy is the first priority. We will practice healthy habits as part of our work including deep interruption-free work, exercise, and time for play. We must create an environment that is safe and where we can be vulnerable to one another. The leadership will speak truth and make themselves human, not all-knowing demi-gods by expressing their weaknesses to the team. We are all learning, and we don’t know everything, so we will create a space where we can all learn, express our mistakes and constantly review how to improve from each other and grow with a Growth Mindset.
We must create a place of diversity as diversity creates an atmosphere of critical thinking. Diversity paradoxically creates mistrust, but this mistrust leads to harder questions and deeper critical thinking since we must explain to others our thinking when they don’t think like us. This prevents thinking from becoming pigeonholed and this leads to the uniqueness of and depth in ideas to gestate and flourish.
We must hire people better than us. We hire people who are better because they will tell us what we need to do that we didn’t consider. By hiring people better than us we are hiring teachers and mentors that complement our weaknesses, who can also teach others. A place where we can’t learn is a place where evolution stops, and when evolution stops is a place that dies. We must hire others who are better even if it makes us feel inadequate and strive to learn their lessons. Further, by hiring people who are smarter we will put them onto projects where we can maximize their strengths. Not everyone is made for every position, they may work better in other aspects and we need to figure out how to put them in those positions.
We cannot expect another person to improve without giving them the feedback they need to improve, so we will give feedback about the work with candor. We cannot assume the person knows where to go if we don’t give them the feedback to get there. This does not mean micromanaging it means coaching them on their journey not taking them to the destination. This feedback should be used to improve oneself. However, before we give critical feedback strive to understand where people are first coming from and find common ground. Whether our team, customers, partners or vendors look for common ground and create trust and security. Seek to help and understand first before casting judgement. To make it easier to work together we must express our vulnerabilities and weaknesses to each other. We are good at some things and need work on others, but it is hard to change those if we don’t inform others that we need to change those. Be vulnerable, state when you don’t know something and strive to improve.
Being people oriented does not mean lowering standards. It means having Extremely High Standards. We always ask, “How can we improve?” We should ask this to our Team, Customers, Society and Investors. We must always be taking feedback and creating the ideas and improvements to address our weaknesses and make them into strengths. It is everyone’s responsibility to help improve the team. Politicking will not be tolerated, if something is wrong or not living up to high standards it needs to be relayed to the person (in private). This does not mean personal attacks but guiding the other person into doing better. It is the responsibility of the person receiving the feedback, to take the feedback and incorporate it into their Individual Mental Model and understand where the feedback is coming from. If we need help request it without holding an ego.
We are a people-first company where we put the needs of people first. However, we must also acknowledge we can’t help everyone. Not everyone is going to like us, accept it. No use trying to move a mountain, when we can push a sled instead. We will strive to help improve both the strengths and weaknesses of an individual.
Our team will be evaluated on how well they follow these Principles. A weekly 1:1 should be had with the manager and team member with the following questions:
- What’s on your mind this week?
- On a scale of 1 to 5 how do you feel? Why do you feel that way?
- On a scale of 1 to 5 how do you feel about work? Why do you feel that way?
- What one thing can make you happier?
- What one thing could be eliminated to make you happier?
- What Principle do you need work on?
- What feedback do you have for me? How am I fucking up?
Further, we need to understand Organization Psychology and figure out how to make each of our team members happy, healthy and productive. We must implement and reinforce the behaviors that make people happy while not overindulging. People don’t always need perks to be happy, they need purpose.
We will organize into self-contained, autonomous, cross-divisional, functional teams that fit the “Two Pizza Box” principle. The teams act independently and autonomously to progress towards our Vision with whatever Idea they are executing. These small units (6-7 people) ensures communication is clear and ensures everyone on the team is responsible for each other while fulling the Key Performace Indicators that work towards the company’s Vision. Each team needs a clear leader and division of responsibilities, and reports to up the chain to another “Two Pizza Box” team. Each team needs to fulfill the following: Repeatability, Focus, and Iteration. Overtime, a team may break up to fulfill these criteria.
The leader and manager’s role are to sacrifice self for the betterment of the team. It is the leader and manager’s job to empower those closest to the information to make the call and trust that they will make the right call. To do this we must constantly better our team and prepare to be Anti-Fragile. Further, each team will develop its own set of Principles over time and it is important that they do so that build off the Principles we have here. It is important to encourage them.
A leader is a good follower. We will bring on the best people so that we can follow what they tell us to do.
Even if we don’t get a customer strive to ensure they are doing well. Help first! Make the human connection and understand them. Understand that the other person is a son or daughter of someone and that they have their own wants and needs. Try seeing from their point of view. Help first, before selling. Help first, before receiving anything in return. Make the other person happy and reduce their stress.Remember that is not the customer’s job to know, it is our job to teach them.
Since we create a place of vulnerability, trust and safety where we will not punish for mistakes we will expect there to be some Good Conflict where ideas are debated vigorously. People need to speak with candor about problems, commit and be accountable for fixing things. People should speak freely without fear of interpersonal conflict if they are debating ideas, and let people know where they are coming from. We need diversity of ideas, but we also have to be free to say that the emperor has no clothes while focus our execution on the ideas that are critical to our Vision. It is just as important to say no to things as to say yes.
We need to generate a lot of ideas and execute based on Critical Thinking and Creative Destruction. To do this we need to consider the Industry, Opportunity and Competitive moves that are happening and respond to them. We need to think of completely new Blue Ocean ideas that lets us own a market where we define the rules. We cannot execute on everything though, but we must do the research on the ideas anyways, so we understand our weaknesses comparatively. We should execute in adjacent markets to where we are already executing and keep doing this ad infinitum. Not everything we do will be successful, and some of our bets may fail spectacularly, but we must understand and internalize our learnings into our Shared Mental Models so we can adapt.
Every idea we decide to compete in needs to be able to stand on its own. It cannot rely on eternal or subsidized funding; it needs to be able to stand and earn profits on its own. There is nothing worse than throwing money at a problem that never has a way of recouping its investment. We need to ensure that our bets have a chance of being self-sustaining and earning a profit quickly.
We work on ideas by first writing a Two to Six Page Narrative on the Idea. The following needs to be answered:
- Start with a Story of a single person using this idea and how they benefit. Why would they would choose this idea over something else?
- What is the idea? What are the products & services we will need to provide? What is the value being generated? Who will be empowered by this idea?
- How are we going to approach the task of bringing the idea to the world?
- How is the idea the same or different from other companies who do this? How can they retaliate?
- How does the idea fulfill our Vision?
- What are the positions and procedures we need to do to be effective?
- What are the KPIs that need to be tracked?
- If applicable a blog post/press release introducing the idea. Describe the Microcommit, the smallest feature set needed to test this idea. Who, What, Where, When, Why, How.
- How is this idea Anti-Fragile? What are the risks?
- How will it make money?
- How does this match with our competitive strategy? What competitive stage is the market? What is the industry analysis?
- What is the First Principle breakdown of the idea? What are all the components that make it up? What is changing about each of the components in relation to time?
This document must be updated with Feedback, Research and Clarity. After it is written it needs to be debated. The team will debate the efficacy of this narrative where they will look for the Strategy, Falsification, and 80/20. The goal of the debate is to figure out what is wrong, what the holes in the logic are, and if something is missing. Falsify it to verify that it is something that needs to done by us versus letting other people do it. Figure out if we can do it simply by using the 80/20 rule. If all is well then it should be executed if not then then the Narrative needs to be rewritten to address the concerns or if the idea is shown to not fulfill the Vision then it will be shelved.
We do this because ideas are cheap so good ideas must be strengthened with hard critical thinking, learning, data and experimentation. We must commit to ideas slowly but once we commit, we must execute rapidly. Ideas can include anything that improves the running of the organization including product and services, the customer experience, processes, mistakes, etc. When executing an idea always start with a small strong core and put it in front of the people using it. Iterate to regularly release new updates to this core. Further, we won’t agree with all the ideas and some ideas may be crazy to us but we all come from a different understanding of the world and so we need to Disagree and Commit if the time comes for moving forward. We are not afraid to cannibalize if it means taking us to our Vision.
What we do will undergo change and obsolescence and that means embracing Creative Destruction. While we can improve existing businesses with Continuous Improvement, we need to also find ways of killing ourselves with new technology, processes, etc. Never hold anything we do sacred if there is a better way of doing something that reduces waste and increases output. There are no sacred cows and we acknowledge the only constant we will hold true is evolution. We must collect all our Ideas in a centralized location and have them be shared. Whether the ideas are good or not is not important. Maybe an idea is not good at the moment but it is great in the future, we need to have these ideas available for others to reflect on in the future.
Ideas will also be executed from our mistakes. We will not seek to punish mistakes if they were not intentionally done but will use them as learning opportunities. How did the mistake occur? What can be done to address the mistake so it doesn’t happen again? What is the root cause of the mistake that led to it happening? All of these must be handled completely.
When an idea is presented not everyone will agree to execute it. It is easy to become a gatekeeper and say and idea is stupid. It is better to Disagree to an idea and Commit to it. This allows for the idea to be tested and tried on its merit. We may personally disagree with an idea or have anecdotes, hearsay, or are personally not interested in the problem. However, this does not mean it doesn’t have value so it is better to disagree with an idea, but also commit to it if the majority are in agreement to move forward with it. However, ensure that others can see from your point of view as well so they understand where you are coming from.
All ideas must start as a Microcommit. It is the smallest working solution to the problem which we can use to test our idea. Unless we need to build something, try to do it with the smallest amount of effort and input serving the smallest amount of customers. We need to work like an Inductive Proof. Make it work for x=1, before making it work for x=n. Further, execute ideas in the industries we are participating in already and enter adjacent industries where we see a Competitive Advantage. We cannot just address all markets at once as it leads to poor execution and a diffusion of resources. This diffusion leads to not executing anything well.
Note when something is an experiment versus when it is scaling. The methodologies of both are different. An experiment is trying to prove something and it is like an inductive proof of n=1. Scaling is when what you prove is used for n=k. We are trying to make it applicable across the board.
Use writing to think deeply and express and complete thoughts in complete sentences. Writing is thinking and to be effective at what we do and plan for the long-term and evolve as we go along we need to think clearly and deeply. Writing will be used across all aspects of the business as the preferred medium of expression. Ideas will be thought through deeply, mistakes and root cause analysis will be dissected in paragraphs, and we will always be writing to clarify our thoughts.
Strive first to think through in writing what you are going to do before you do it. This clarifies the intent and purpose of your actions which are more important than doing the actions. The intent must be communicated as that is the purpose of any action, there is an underlying intent behind it. This clarifies the purpose for those below you and above you “Why” you are doing something. The How and What will evolve but the communication of the Why is always paramount.
Further, when generating Projects from Reviews, Retrospectives and Mistakes really find the root cause of a problem. We must get to the core of the problem and fix it at the root otherwise the problem just arises again.
Figure https://xkcd.com/1205/ Figure out if something is worth coding based on this.
“A fool learns by experience. I profit from others’ experience.” -Bismark
Technology is only as useful as it benefits People. However, we must stay attuned to the changing nature of technology and use the technology that will enable us to solve the problems for humanity, better and faster. However, if we prioritize the technology over the people we will be stuck with obsolete people. We must pick people who can evolve with the ideas and technology.
We will be conservative when picking technology unless it gives us a clear Competitive Advantage to use it immediately, otherwise we will let it gestate and mature for a period to mature. It may not always be certain who is winning a battle so it is better to wait until there is a winner then to move quickly to use that technology completely. This means we may not pick the technology as it is ascending, but this also means we pick the technology that is largely winning and technology that has a lot of the warts fixed before we use it. Once this has happened we can trust the longevity of the technology we will embrace it fully. If we see a paradigm shift towards a new technology over the Long-Term then we must start testing that technology immediately and playing with it internally before we move forward with it.
Further, when creating scripts and other tools prioritize simplicity. Frequently this may mean using bash, Ruby and Excel. If we can get stuff done quickly doing that then do that. We must experiment with new technology in a small way to to see where the world is moving and get a better understanding of where the market is heading. We need to understand the technology and shifts in the market even if we do not actively incorporate the technology within our stack. However, what we put into production and the services we choose to work on need to have longevity.
When picking technology use the criteria of has it been in production for a couple years, does it have more than one or two major users, has it matured to the point where there are one or two ways of doing things, does it have a lot of operational complexity that is not a core advantage? We may need to at times bet on the future of a technology even if it is immature at present, this could be because of the behavior of a major vendor so we should plan backwards to when we can fully embrace the technology and what needs to be done to get to the point of full adoption.
Prioritize using off the shelf tooling, open source, etc. first and make it work for our needs. If things don’t exist that fit our use we will develop internally. But we will not fall for Not Invented Here Syndrome. Further, if there is a vendor that benefits us then we will use them and build our own if the benefit changes. We will use external tools if the benefit is immediate. We will create internally if the cost benefit changes.
We are not going to reinvent technology over and over unless there is a clear Competitive Advantage to doing so. We need to push forward with what we have and make it work and change things once they no longer work. Constantly changing the technology stack for the sake of technology change is a waste of time and does not create value. Technology should always be picked and adopted based on the notion of how does it affect People, does it better them?
John Boyd’s OODA Loop shows us how to execute at a high tempo to respond to changing circumstances and getting inside our Customers, Partners and Competitions decision making process. We will get within the Loop of our Customers to delight them, get within the Loop of our Partners to be ready to support them, and inside our Competitors to disorient and surpass them. All actions within the Organization will follow the OODA Loop and everything we do will need to undergo at a variable tempo that confuses and confounds the respond. This is how we make our Organization to Learn and Adapt Quickly.
We must collect all data points including Mistakes, Ideas, Stupid Ideas, Crazy Ideas, Small Changes, Big Changes, Customer Metrics, Customer Segments, Team Concerns, Customer Feedback, Impediments, Reviews, Team Feedback, 1:1 Feedback, Retrospectives, Competitive Landscape, Strategic Landscape, Economic Landscape, Political Landscape, Global Landscape, A/B Tests, Sales Prospects, Marketing Data, Process Constraints, Industry Analysis, Process Improvement, Competitive Strategy, Potential Future Failures, Failure of the 80/20 Rule, Weaknesses and Other Signals.
We will use this information as tactical knowledge and to build and improve our Mental Models of the world including where we are in Time-Space in relation to the observations we see. All this information will need to be gathered into a system and we must create new types of observations that we may not have considered. All of these Observations need to be processed regularly so we can Orient our execution.
Everyone must collect Observations. If you don’t see anything that needs improving then use the Theory of Constraints, find the slowest process point in the execution and create an observation around that. Then go to the next slowest, etc. An observation is short bursts of information this means that it needs to be gathered quickly and with Who, What, Where, Why, and How it affects the Vision.
Orientation should look at all the Observations through the lens of our Vision. We cannot and must not act on all of the Observations because it will create a whiplash effect if we use tactical information to change strategy. However, Orientation is the most critical part of what we do because there will be a million things we will uncover as part of the Observations that we need to synthesize into what we work on. This synthesis will happen in a few forms it will affect our Business Model Canvas and lead to the creation of Ideas through Projects and Experiments that address the Observations. We need to do this while holding true to our Vision and Principles otherwise we will drastically change directions which isn’t useful.
Orientation means we need to constantly simplify our Business Model and Projects, we need to review our decisions, and ensure people are informed so they understand the changing circumstances. Orient to outmaneuver our competition but ensure that winning means we are staying true to our Vision. If something is a good idea but it does not fulfill our Vision, don’t pursue it.
Orient tasks will need to be designed over time and there needs to be Projects designed with the goal of attaining a certain goal. These are done throughout the week to design the needs of the organization. Everyone should spend 1 Hour a day working on defining the projects, not doing them but thinking through completely a project and how it benefits the company. Go to the Idea section on what to do with this, but it is important to spend time really defining the project before doing it as it will create time to really understand what the project is trying to achieve.
All decisions should come down to the question: “Will this help or eventually help Deploy Ideas Faster to Advance Humanity?” This question should be picking projects, picking customers, picking tools and anything. If the answer is “no” then the answer is don’t do it. Decisions will have criteria based on Objectives and Key Results, Projects and Stories, and Sprints.
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are how we will set Quarterly and Yearly Goals for the organization. The reason for quarterly and yearly is because they are long enough duration that we can work on hard things. Every quarter, the organization will decide the corporate OKRs and these will trickle down into individual team OKRs. These are the singular goals that the entire Organization should work around.
Projects should fulfill these OKRs. The Objective should be a clear goal for where we are going that can be subdivided across teams. There should be clear measurable Key Results that can be calculated at any given moment. The Objectives and Key Results are there to aim the entire organization in the same direction. We need to get to a 75% score on the OKRs or higher every quarter and if not, we need to review if the goals we are striving for are relevant in the first place.
When making decisions make sure we are Inchworming. Ensure that our decisions are also working on our weaknesses as much as our strengths. This will reduce the range of our weakness to strength and ensures that our strengths are getting stronger, and our weaknesses become less weak. Projects should address both the strengths and the weaknesses. Further, the Value through our Products and Society will Inchworm Humanity.
Focus on the 80/20 rule when making Decisions. Figure out the 20% that gives 80% of the value while increasing positive leverage towards our Vision. Chasing too many small fish will lead us astray from our Vision so it is important to focus on the 80/20 Principle. Simplify decisions to their essence, a hard decision is a series of small decisions. Attempting a hard-complex idea first is usually a waste of time, so start with a small kernel that is solid that you can iterate on. We need to decide Via Negativa, cutting anything from a decision that does not immediately need to be addressed. Work hard to remove things, not everything is a priority that you think it is. Make sure that the decisions are focused and that decisions are not bet the company decisions. Most organizations and teams can provide one or two products and services really well, focus and improve on those.
Even with all the Observations and Orientation we need to make decisions and we need to usually make decisions with 70-80% of the information. Making decisions with more than this amount of information will lead to slow execution. Sometimes we will be wrong, but it is important to make a calculated gamble with the information we have, not spend time and energy gathering more information that may not change out gamble.
Most importantly write out the steps you are going to take to address the decision. Writing out a process before execution leads us to make better decisions over time since it forces us to think through the outcomes and ensure that we understand how to doing things systematically. Writing is the measure twice, cut once method for knowledge work in the long run it saves time.
Action is two fold. Action for now and action for the future. Both are important. Action on now is performing the duties and necessities of the present as it related to our customers, partners, etc. Action for the future is creating a set of improvement with projects and experiments that leads to a better outcome in the future.
Action now means creating Standard Operating Procedures and Automations. Thus, you just follow the procedure when performing it and not have to think too much about it. Tasks that are acted on for now should have clear outcomes and step by step actions. If an action is no longer fulfilling its role or the performance is no longer beneficial it should stop being done. Automations mean there should be ways of automating the repetitive jobs over time. Action for now should take precedence over acting for the future, but we need to not stall for the future. However, if we are always acting on now we won’t be evolving which means long-term failure so work hard to strike a balance between the two.
Acting for the future is working on Projects and Stories that lead to our Vision. Act Fast once a Decision is made. Ensure things work first even if they do not scale and build a working solid core. Iterate to the desired outcome. Reduce variability and act on fewer high leverage activities. Bias toward simplicity and repeatability.
To ensure that hard things are done we need to have a daily Deep Work time of 60-90 minutes without distraction where the hard projects are addressed. This time should be held sacred and it is time without chat, email, or other distractions to focus deeply on a problem. While we peform our action anything that is a mistake, potential improvement, etc. needs to be created as an Observation.
We need to focus on Process Engineering and Process Excellence. Standardize and make repeatable any process that needs to be done more than once. This process should be improved overtime with a checklist. The processes should be reduce to their absolute essence and give people the ability to break the rules if it doesn’t fit with the paradigm or if there is a better way to do something. We need to ensure that every time we do something that the process gets more and more efficient. Cut the number of steps needed to achieve something over time.
Our behavior should be toward the betterment of our Team and the attainment of our Vision. As a team we need to not overindulge, we do more with less, we get our hands dirty no matter whom, we do not do complex things for which we do not understand the second and third order effects, we do not become spend-thrifts, and we do not flaunt what we have. As individuals we hold ourselves to high standards, we aspire to learn more, we take care our minds and bodies, and we take care of our friends, family and community. We must master all aspects of life and aspire higher.
We need to hold each other to high standards. We need to ensure that the cause we fight for is not limited by the low standards of the group. If we are not living to our full potential we are wasting our lives. We will strive to be experts in that we choose to act, but always with high standards.
Every Person should attain Self-Mastery. The Spartans had their flaws but within their group they held to high standards, every citizen was considered an equal to the other including the King, everyone went through the same training including women, everyone lead an austere life, and they had a great wit. When it came to performance they performed as one unit.
Our highest ideal is the Advancement of Humanity. Everything we do must be for this cause. We are trying to make humanity better and if that means in the short term humanity hates us, or rebels against us, hold true if you think in the long-term it is actually in its benefit.
We will learn to be masters of ourselves, we will take care of our health, our family and friends, and our community. To do that we must practice high control over ourselves, our behaviors, our actions. We must learn to live fulfilling lives past our work and learn to work together with others. We must hold ourselves to Extremely High Standards and understand that we won’t get there on Day 1 but will work day by day to get there.
We will take Feedback and Reflect on ourselves. We need to understand where we are where we are in the journey and where we need to go. This means we need to reflect and think deeply about our own lives frequently.
Living by these Principles will be hard. It maybe easier to not follow them and take the shortcut. It maybe easier to put people second, it maybe easier to think short-term and it maybe better to think profit before customer. If we sell out our values we are just following the waves of the ocean. For what we are doing we need to hold these principles true.
Don’t sit by the sidelines expecting to gain the upside without doing work, and don’t expect someone else to take the fall of the downside. Have Skin in the Game and acknowledge that the ups and down are as much yours as anyone else. When taking action fear is natural. If we didn’t have fear we wouldn’t be here, it allowed outs species to survive. Our amygdala, reptile brain, is a powerful part of who we are. It pushes us to a Fight or Flight response and pushes us away from danger. So when you want to act and have fear of action because of the fear of failure, reprimand, etc. know that it is normal. However, fear is a product of the unknown. If we make the unknown, known we lessen our fear and the best way to do what we do is to push past the fear. We need to action despite our fears in the moment. To work during times of volatility and fear we must stay calm, we must stay mindful of our Vision, and we must act with force.
We must practice humility and austerity. We must have self-control and think really hard before spending a lot of money. We must work to do more with less and always be humbled with what we have. Never believe that we deserve something, always believe that anything we do can be ripped away at any moment. Understand, that that the mindful journey that we are undertaking is much more important than the destination. Enjoy the journey, help others enjoy the journey, enjoy the struggle through the journey. Remember we are all Sisyphus pushing that rock up the mountain, work really hard to push that rock up because at the end of the day it is the struggle that we undertook that makes us better.
Remember that you will die. Remember and consider it frequently. What is it that you wish you will have done? What is it that you want as a fulfilling life? What do you wish you are doing less of? All of these play into what you will do. You need to know how you want to die so you know how you want to live. We are all given finite time to live and it is important to consider and really focus on how we will use that time. This means we need to consider opportunity costs. What does the end Vision look like and what is the next high value opportunity you are skipping by doing the task at hand. Think also in terms of second and third order effects.
Time is ever fleeting, and we must manage it like the most important resource it is. We must strive everyday to find two hours of Deep Uninterrupted Work, to move the puck forward. We must use this time wisely to get the hard things done and protect this time. This is what will enable us to progress toward our Vision. We want to reduce context switching, and we want to reduce interruptions. Context switching and multi-tasking creates more waste and loss of time than single-minded focus on a single task. We must do this from the individual level to the company wide OKRs. We must have a single clear goal at a time and everything and everyone must contribute to this single goal. We must strive hard to reduce variability, and push everyone to use their time towards the one goal and aiming in the same direction.
It is in action alone that you have a claim, never at any time to the fruits of such action. Never let the fruits of action be your motive; never let your attachment be to inaction. Bhagavad Gita 2:47
Sheepdog is first and foremost an experiment. It is an experiment to create a People-first Organization, that empowers people to move forward with their goals and ambitions, while Advancing Humanity. Sheepdog’s main product then is itself. It is our Philosophy that we are developing and validating and as a side-effect creating value and profit. We need to create a company that fulfills itself by creating a People-first Philosophy and follows its Vision and Principles to create long-term value and Advance Humanity.
Our Products and Services Empower People to Build Things and Solve Humanity's Hardest Problems. Sheepdog does this by addressing all the components a 21st Century organization needs to thrive and survive. Our goal is to democratize Code & Cloud and AI & Data while pushing our Political agenda to protect people from the things we bring about. Code is not going away and it will become more and more a part of the fabric of society, so we need to enable development to happen at all levels of the stack and create processes and standardization to reduce costs. By focusing on these three things we need to push hard to become total experts and Inchworm customers, over and over to the technologies that bring the best business outcome.
Our Competitive Strategy is to be Broad Market and be a Low-Cost Leader. Our strategy is to ensure that the products and services are the Lowest Cost, and reinvest in new methods, processes and technology to bring down costs further. By playing for the lowest cost we can increase revenue and standardize and commoditize the components we deliver, resulting in higher economies of scale. We will encourage process, systematization, repeatability, and continuous improvement to reduce costs. So, our products and service are never done, we must continuously strive to bring down the costs overtime.
Our mission is broad market, but it does not mean we do everything. Our goal is to bring down costs and that means not doing certain things and overtime figuring out more of what we will not do.
Our leadership is to do everything through our Vision and Principles. The Vision and Principles constitute our Philosophy. We will validate our Philosophy with our People and ensure that it is something that people follow. From there the execution of this Philosophy will be through our App which make our Philosophy actionable and lived. Our Philosophy and Values are not something on a wall, it is in every action we take. Our App will ensure that all actions are undertaken with our Philosophy in mind.
It is the role of every individual in the organization to test and falsify our Philosophy. If something doesn’t hold overtime, we must modify it and test again or remove the principle, and these changes must be incorporated into the App. The Definition of Success for this organization is a set of Principles and Mental Models used to execute and generate new business lines rapidly. Our App is the main execution for all actions and decisions. This will allow us to reinforce our Philosophy in the actions we take. The application itself will evolve overtime and like our Philosophy will never be completed. Further, we will also create additional materials such as books and media to think in our Philosophy.
We will hire amazing People who have and close to having our Vision and Principles. We will train them to decide and execute through our Philosophy. We want people to live, breathe and be living embodiments of our Philosophy. Finally, we will need people outside of our Organization to think and adopt our Philosophy so we will build a Community to do this.
To be experts at our Competitive Strategy of Broad Market and Lowest Cost Provider we need to master three arenas: Research & Signals, Growth and Capital. By becoming complete experts in these arenas, we can advance our position constantly. We will treat these three areas as Internal Products & Services that we will need to master completely.
Mission: Collect and Synthesize Data to Enable Strategic Decisions including Mental Models, A/B Tests, Competitive Analysis, Industry Analysis, Deming Process Improvements, New Paradigm Shifts and Analyze Competitive Moves to Improve Our Market Position or Enter New Markets. Namely, Make Unknown, Unknowns into Known, Unknowns
To move in a rapidly changing world we need to have Intelligence and Build Mental Models. This data however needs synthesis so it is understandable and concrete. We cannot make strategic decisions on tactical information alone. We need to understand in depth and with critical thinking the world and make solid objective decisions. Further, we need to Capture the Right Information. It is easy to collect all data, but it is important to collect and analyze the right data. We will use this data to make decisions that will allow us to move forward.
Mission: Create THE Low Cost and Rapid way to Build a Sales and Marketing Pipeline that is able to drive new customers.
Sales and Marketing are an important part of any organization. However, to launch and release new products and services rapidly we need to also create sales and marketing pipelines rapidly. Growth needs to create standardized and repeatable processes and use Modern Psychology and Behavioral Economics while having Operational Excellence. Furthermore, we need to figure out how to help our partners succeed as well.
Mission: Earn, Raise and Deploy Capital in New and Existing Endeavors while Reducing Wasteful Spending, Increasing Cash Flow and Increasing Profit Margins while being a People-first Company
We need to effectively earn, raise, and deploy our Capital to grow our market, test new bets, and learn. To do this we need to become experts at understanding where our money is coming in, how it is being spent, how to increase cash flow, etc. all to allow us to grow. Furthermore, we need to keep a war chest of capital to potentially use but we should optimize for no debt and limited external equity to maximize control and growth.
A Strong Social Safety Net Enables Happier People Who Cooperate Leading to Advancing Humanity. Not everything should be done by businesses and certain things should not be in the domain of the market and there needs to be strong Governmental action. The three primary things that this constitutes are:
- Climate Change
- Income Inequality
Climate change is like deferred maintenance. If we don’t handle it, we will end up paying a lot more overtime. Corporations however are limited by their short-termism and are optimize profit over deploying their capital to limit their effects on Climate Change. This limits the potential of the market to address the grave threat of Climate Change. We want the Government to impose new regulation to force corporations to spend money addressing Climate Change. The passage of new regulations will boost jobs and create new incentives for the market to expand while create a better future for humanity. We will push for regulation and work with outside groups and make our Products and Services available to push this agenda.
As the world grows older, we need to have Universal, Accessible and Free Healthcare for Every Person in the United States and the Planet. We will work to reduce the cost of development of new medicines and push to make healthcare universally affordable. Our goal with this is Medicare for All, and the dissolution of Private Healthcare Companies and a cap on the cost of drugs.
As technology grows it is causing a major rift between the rich and poor. This divide is untenable and needs to be addressed. We will work to remove corporate money from government so that corporations no longer control and make laws that benefit them and don’t hold the government hostage. We need to reduce the War Hawks in Government and increase the Doves. We need to help the world economically by creating new jobs and opportunity not war and devastation. Further, we need to do this by increasing the minimum wage to a livable wage. As technology changes we need people who can adapt to new skills and to do this we need to provide Universal Free Education to everyone in the United States and the Planet. We need to reduce regulations that promote high housing prices and increase affordable housing.
Our ambition in the next 50 years is twofold. The first is to help humans be a space faring civilization, and second help AI merge with Human Intelligence to create Homo Deus.
- Space Faring
- Homo Deus
Humanity needs to become a multi-planet species and start exploring the cosmos. We need to move major industry off the planet and move it to space. We need to find where we belong and where we are in the wider universe.
Humanity by itself cannot become Space Facing with a boost to our intelligence. To do this we need to augment Humanity with AI to give it the boost it needs to become better and survive in the Cosmos.
Our Products and Services will follow the Competitive Strategy of Broad Market, Low-Cost Leadership and we will compete in different segments based on the capabilities that we have. This means as we gain and increase our capabilities it is important to enter industries that may be completely different from the ones we initially choose. The initial set that we want to enter are the following:
- Code & Cloud
- AI & Data
Over the long-term to win at our Competitive Strategy we will need to work at bringing down costs and reinvesting money into growth. Each product and service we create in each market segment will need to be targeted and focused before we expand. Each product and service will be autonomous and work independently of the larger Organization but will follow the Philosophy. To ensure that each team is independent each will treat the other as if it were an independent business and communicate as if they are customers. The goal with this approach is to allow us to try a lot of different bets and have each unit stand on its own. There will not be no sacred cows and all bets need to be structured to be completely independent, so a failure doesn’t bring down the organization. Our Products & Services will be the hard-critical things needs to Advance Humanity.
Mission: We will democratize the creation of code and enable anyone anywhere to get the apps and services to advance humanity created while enabling high throughput of creation and having “the” lowest cost.
We will democratize Code and make it accessible to everyone and become the lowest cost provider of code while retaining high standards for quality. To do this we will focus on reducing variability, instituting standards for coding and project management, and standardizing on deployment. All of these solve the majority of the issues with creating new code. Furthermore, we will migrate companies to the Cloud since it is more efficient and cost effective over the long run than running servers. We need to adapt to new paradigms and release solutions that adopt these major paradigms.
Mission: We will democratize Ai and Data by creating and standardizing Data Pipelines enabling AI to be applied for the Lowest Cost
We will democratize AI & Data and give organizations the insights to become more efficient.
We need to create solutions that reduce manual data entry, increase speed of creating and fixing errors in data, and giving new insights so organizations can make rapid changes. To do this we need to standardize data to fit a certain fold and make it easy for us to analyze.
Mission: Build Government Lobby Network to Increase Investment in Our Political and Economic Goals.
We need to build a consortium of different groups and help them with Code and AI to lobby the Government to our Political and Economic Mission. We will play the long game and are not swayed by election cycles and will work with leaders of both parties to ensure our Mission is being met.
Mission: Empower People Become Sheepdog and to Teach, Organize and Lead Each Other to Create People-first Organizations.
We need to create places of economic opportunity and create meetups, retreats, and other places of economic opportunity to advance humanity towards our Missions. To enable this to happen we must build places where people can create and share economic opportunities and grow.
Mission: Make Biology more like Code and make Biohacking Social Like Github.
- Bhagavad Gita
- High Output Management
- Getting Things Done
- Science, Strategy and War
- Leaders Eat Last
- Competitive Strategy
- The Goal
- Essential Scrum
- The Personal MBA
- The Myth of Sisyphus
- Art of War