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Showing posts from July, 2018

The Founder's Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman

The book: This book is a detailed report from a study of 212 startup founders/founding teams, including Steve Wozniak (Apple), Evan Williams (Blogger, Twitter), and Tim Westergren (Pandora Media). Noam Wasserman (author) explains the key decisions that founders and/or co-founders need to make from the day on which they decide to build their company until it is acquired by a larger corporation or goes public. The book also gives advice on dealing with investors and boards, based on the entrepreneur´s motivations, which are typically wealth or power. Takeaways and Paths of Action: The following only apply to individuals that are or would like to become entrepreneurs: 1. Keep co-founder relationships in order: Handshake contracts for equity distribution lower the value of a startup and generate confusion among the members of the team later on. A written agreement benefits everyone. Make sure to plan for worst-case and unexpected scenarios such as bankruptcy, disease

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The book: The hard thing is that hard things have no universal solution. This book teaches management principles not from standard definitions but from real insightful experiences narrated from a CEO's point of view. The author talks about several challenges he had to face (in specific situations) when running Opsware. Hiring an executive against the advice of the board of directors or rejecting acquisition offers that exceeded everyone else's expectations are two examples of the hard decisions Ben Horowitz made. Takeaways and Paths of Action: The following apply to individuals in a leadership position: 1. Give feedback, constantly: If you are giving feedback all the time to everybody, it is more likely that they will take it as a regular practice rather than a personal attack. Keep in mind that your goal is to help the other person's job improve, not to prove your point. You can also use the "shit sandwich" technique. Give a compliment on the g

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

` The book: This book can be used by any leader, and it is all about taking responsibility for the results of your team's actions and the well-being of the members of the team. Jocko and Leif use well-detailed war stories from their own experiences that make it easy to stay focused and to remember the principles shared in this book. After each war story, there's also an analogous narrative that explains how to apply the same leadership principles to the business world. Takeaways and Paths of Action: 1. Take the blame. 1.1 Down the chain of command: It does not matter which member of the team made the mistake, it's always the leader's mistake. A leader is responsible for making everybody understand the strategy and execute correctly. If somebody fails, it means that you were unable to communicate clearly or simply hired the wrong person to do the job. The next time your team has to report to your superiors or revenue decreases, do not blame the salesp

Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark

The book: This book explains why it is crucial to conduct AI research with caution. It starts by giving modern definitions of intelligence, consciousness, life, and other controversial terms. For example,  intelligence is the ability to accomplish goals; life is a process that can retain its complexity and replicate; consciousness is how it feels to process information. Then, a significant part of this book is devoted to illustrating some possible consequences of developing a super artificial general intelligence (AGI), if we ever achieve this goal. My favorite scenario is that on which AI benefits our entire civilization, leading to a life where humans (and machines) work to achieve their goals, not to earn a salary, which the author explains in detail. All of this is surrounded by explanations based on the laws of Physics and scientific data. Reading this book will deepen your understanding of the role of humanity in the universe. Takeaways and Paths of Action: There are

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

The book: This full-of-detail book uses the story of Pixar to illustrate managerial principles and important aspects of a company's culture. The book reveals challenges that the company faced during the creation of movies such as The Incredibles, Toy Story, and so on. So, if you are a big fan of Pixar like I am, you'll understand and remember what the author wants to say, with ease. The audio version of the book also includes a very particular chapter dedicated to Steve Jobs. Takeaways and Paths of Action: 1. Encourage candor and be candid yourself: Not only every person on your team must be honest with each other, but they must voice their opinion without fear of being punished. Create meetings with the sole purpose of giving feedback and let each person express their ideas and concerns. If the criticism is towards ideas and problems, not people, participants will feel more comfortable. 2. Empower people to solve problems: This is completely opposite to the idea of