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Book notes: Anything you want

Book notes: Anything you want


I don’t read book summaries. Neither should you. The following are mostly notes to myself, and are my interpretations.

  • Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.

  • Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself.

  • When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world. ▸ Never do anything just for the money.

  • Don’t pursue business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help. Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working.

  • Your business plan is moot. You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it. Starting with no money is an advantage. You don’t need money to start helping people.

  • You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people. Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business.

  • Pay me every week. Show me the full name and address of everyone who bought my CD. (Because those are my fans, not the distributor’s.) Never kick me out for not selling enough. (Even if I sell only one CD every five years, it’ll be there for someone to buy.) Never allow paid placement. (Because it’s not fair to those who can’t afford it.)

  • “No business plan survives first contact with customers.”

Ideas x worth calculator:

Component A

  • Awful idea = -1

  • Weak idea = 1

  • So-so idea = 5

  • Good idea = 10

  • Great idea = 15

  • Brilliant idea = 20

Component B

  • No execution = $1

  • Weak execution = $1,000

  • So-so execution = $10,000

  • Good execution = $100,000

  • Great execution = $1,000,000

  • Brilliant execution = $10,000,000

To make a business, you need to multiply the two components A x B.

The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20. The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $200,000,000.

I was in Las Vegas for a conference, taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel. I asked the driver, “How long have you lived here?” He said, “Twenty-seven years.” “Wow! A lot has changed since then, huh?” “Yeah. I miss the mob.” “Huh? Really? What do you mean?” “When the mafia ran this town, it was fun. There were only two numbers that mattered: how much was coming in, and how much was going out. As long as there was more in than out, everyone was happy. But then the whole town was bought up by these damn corporations full of MBA weasels micromanaging, trying to maximise the profit from every square foot of floor space. Now the place that used to put ketchup on my hot dog tells me it’ll be an extra twenty-five cents for ketchup! It sucked all the fun out of this town! Yeah, I miss the mob.” (Sure, we could bring up other issues with the mob, but let’s just leave it as a metaphor and a lesson.)

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