Whatever Next #12: Copying Great Leaders, Building a Performance Culture, and Making Decisions

About leaders, making decisions, company culture, CRO, entertainment value curve, diversity, and other topics.

Hi @ll! Welcome to another issue of my newsletter! I hope you’re all safe. It was an intense week, did a huge rollout, lots of problems, and learnings. It’s time to focus on the next goals. It will be a challenging end of the year!

Today I am sharing a wrap up of my weekly readings, with topics like leadership, psychology, e-commerce, entertainment, company culture, and other stories.

This week I had less time to curate the selection of topics, but I hope it worth your time! And please, do not hesitate to add your comments or share your feedback. One of my goals is to learn from you.

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🥃 Be Careful About Copying Great Leaders

Bob Sutton, Professor and Organizational Psychologist at Stanford, and book author, shared this interesting article from Wally Bock, another author and writing coach.

In the article, Wally shares that most books and speakers tell us to copy what other great leaders did and then introduces the story of Herb Kelleher, founder and CEO of Southwest Airlines, who used to drink a quart of Wild Turkey every day.

The lesson is to copy what adds value and what makes you better, avoiding idiosyncrasies and destructive or stupid behaviors. And also even others succeeded with it, change what doesn’t work. I recommend you to check these takeaways in the article from the example of Herb Kelleher.

🤷 Making Decisions Under Conditions of Extreme Uncertainty

Michael Roberto is a Professor of Management at Bryant University and author of the book Unlocking Creativity: How to Solve Any Problem and Make the Best Decisions by Shifting Creative Mindsets.

In his social media, he shared how shocked he was about his most popular blog post in the last weeks. The post is about Making Decisions Under Conditions of Extreme Uncertainty.

The blog post shares five rules for coping with high degrees of uncertainty and making sound decisions in that context that he extracted from another blog post published in the British Medical Journal, Managing Uncertainty in the COVID-19 Era.

These rules can be applied in any context, not only for healthcare. I liked the most: “Make sense of complex situations by acknowledging the complexity, admitting ignorance, exploring paradoxes and reflecting collectively”. Be humble and acknowledge uncertainty.

💸 The Purpose of Conversion Rate Optimization in E-commerce

This article talks about setting a strategy in Conversion Rate Optimization. If you know about e-commerce, terms like A/B testing and CRO should sound familiar.

The statement is that most people run blind A/B tests, without any strategy, what they call Tunnel Vision testing. This article proposes a framework, called Purpose framework, connecting all the tests to a higher picture, looking for a purpose or goal.

Based on their experience, they realized that all tests could be categorized into eight purposes: Brand, Discovery, Product Appeal, Product Detail, Price & Value, Usability, and Quantity.

🕶️ A Fully Immersive Experience Working From Home

Through its Oculus for Business, Facebook is introducing a new virtual office experience for the work-from-home people. It’s called Infinite Office, and it promises a lot more immersive experience.

Look at the following Spatial Passthrough AR virtual meetings, where you can toggle between a fully immersive experience or one mixed with the real world.

Facebook is considering to roll out Infinite Office this winter under Oculus Quest, but the plans to support Oculus for Business are still unclear. You could read more about it in this article.

🖼️ How to Be a Good Boss or Employee

Avinash Kaushik, analytics guru, author, and Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, shared the infographic at his Social Media. It was created by John Fox, based on a Kaushik’s TMAI newsletter from earlier this year.

It is an excellent summary of how a good boss or a good employee has to be. Check it out.

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💬 Amp It Up, a Message from Snowflake CEO

Snowflake has been widely covered in the media for its recent IPO debut, where the company was the highest valued software IPO ever, being valued more than e.g., Uber.

But the post that I am sharing is a message from its CEO, Frank Slootman, written on LinkedIn before this huge success, two years ago. In that post, Frank refers to their performance-focused culture, their willingness to be insanely great, their love and passion for their work, and mediocrity management while raising their standards and outcomes.

“It is breathtaking how slow, substandard and unfocused many companies out there get through the day. And think nothing of it”.

“There is room up in organizations to boost performance by amping up the pace and intensity. Considerable slack naturally exists in organizations to perform at much higher levels. The role of leadership is to convert that lingering potential into superlative results. ”.

He also discusses sensitive topics like diversity and inclusion, saying that they focus on merit and value. And also discusses people-centric theories, saying they coddle their people. He defends that we are not a university or a non-profit, this is a business. As its CHRO also shares, Clarity of purpose and a tangible call to action every day without distraction from the Customer, Product and just get shit done culture.

In general, it is a pretty interesting post about building a culture of work and its leadership and alignment. As a startup, there is a space and time for this kind of leadership. And he achieved his vision, and the results are there. And maybe, there will arrive a day for Snowflake when Frank will have to think less about being William Wallace.

📈 The Entertainment Value Curve

This is an awesome post by Ravi Mehta, former CPO of Tinder, and product leader at Facebook and TripAdvisor. The posts introduce the Entertainment Value Curve concept, as a result of the Production value and the Social value, generating an efficient frontier of product/market fit.

He begins using the example of Quibi, analyzing why it failed, comparing it with TikTok, which succeeded. Quibi made the mistake of thinking that "short" was the feature that people want, whereas "shareable and social" is what people want. 

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⚠️ Industries Doing Better on Diversity

Laszlo Bock shared this article. It is based on another report from NYT about the little progress on corporate boards' diversity over the last five years. Laszlo shared the comment from a colleague who moved to tech from banking, who said that diversity and inclusion were much worse in banking, but no one pressures that industry because they aren't public about goals or commitments.

The article shares that what's intriguing here is that the industry that gets the most public pressure is information tech, but they're far from being the biggest problem.It could seem that tech is doing great, but then you look at the Y-axis and find that is better than the rest, but there’s still lots of work to do.

🤔 Annie Duke’s Book about Making Better Decisions, and Adam Grant’s Fall List

What I found interesting in this story is that Annie Duke is a former professional poker player, now an author and speaker focused on decision science. His last book How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices talks about this.

The thing is that Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton and bestseller author, read her book and also included it in a list of 30 Great Business, Leadership, and Personal Development Books that may teach you something new. Find the comments about her book below.

A fascinating look at human nature, at attention and focus, at game theory -- applied much more broadly than to just games -- that can help you make better decisions. And how to better learn from the outcomes of those decisions and keep moving forward.

Annie decided to return him the thanks making the following thread about him, with information about his books, including his TED talks, etc. If you want to learn about Adam, check it out.

💰 Catchpoint Acquires Webpagetest

I don't know if you're used in web performance testing. Webpagetest is an open platform that allows you to run tests from multiple locations and browsers, to analyze the results, and be able optimize your website.

This week Catchpoint announced an agreement to acquire Webpagetest, which was also shared by Pat Meenan, his owner, assuring that it will be kept free and open.

I still have a kibana dashboard running with the load speed results from MediaMarkt and its competitors, fed with the free batch python script from Webpagetest. Don’t know if you remember that the sites that load faster see better conversion rates.

Amp your site an intro to accelerated mobile pages

I wish Patrick and WPT the best, and I hope this investment will provide remarkable results for the community. Please, don’t break my dashboard!


That’s it! Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it!

Please, do not hesitate to add any comments. I am open to any suggestions, so if you want to add a comment or contact me, I encourage you to do it.

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