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15 Jul

Three quotes to make you think

1. Scott Adams on Goals

“To put it bluntly, goals are for losers. That’s literally true most of the time. For example, if your goal is to lose ten pounds, you will spend every moment until you reach the goal—if you reach it at all—feeling as if you were short of your goal. In other words, goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary. That feeling wears on you. In time, it becomes heavy and uncomfortable. It might even drive you out of the game… If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or set new goals and reenter the cycle of permanent pre-success failure.”

To understand how to think in systems and not habits or goals, do check out my 21 Days of Productivity series.

2. Mark Sellers on what isn't a moat in investing

"Well, one thing that is not a source is reading a lot of books and magazines and newspapers. Anyone can read a book. Reading is incredibly important, but it won't give you a big advantage over others. It will just allow you to keep up. Everyone reads a lot in this business. Some read more than others, but I don't necessarily think there's a correlation between investment performance and the number of books read. Once you reach a certain point in your knowledge base, there are diminishing returns to reading more. And in fact, reading too much news can actually be detrimental to performance because you start to believe all the crap the journalists pump out to sell more papers.

Another thing that won't make you a great investor is an MBA from a top school or a CFA or PhD or CPA or MS or any of the other dozens of possible degrees and designations you can obtain. Harvard can't teach you to be a great investor. Neither can my alma mater, Northwestern University, or Chicago, or Wharton, or Stanford. I like to say that an MBA is the best way to learn how to exactly, precisely, equal the market return. You can reduce your tracking error dramatically by getting an MBA. This often results in a big paycheck even though it's the antithesis of what a great investor does.

You can’t buy or study your way to being a great investor. These things wonít give you a moat. They are simply things that make it easier to get invited into the poker game."

To understand what a personal career moat looks like, read this piece.

3. Anshumani Ruddra on the futility of chasing job titles

"The game of job titles can be addictive but in the long run, is a losing strategy.

In any fast-growing ecosystem (eg., India), there are a lot of people who will also grow as a result of the massive success of the companies that they are a part of. This feels right. But...

What happens when you become the VP/ SVP of a function or the CXO of an organization in your 20s/ 30s? Do you clearly deserve it?

A title is a recognition of two things:

Your area of influence (pod --> cross-pods --> team --> company --> external)

and your level of independence.

When you see your peers get these flashy titles, your competitive instincts kick in. You want one too! And titles are easy to negotiate when you join early- or mid-stage companies.

You are employee #7 but you are the SVP of engineering. When the company reaches 70 people and raises another round, they bring a slightly older, perhaps more experienced version of you and give them the title CTO. A year later at 300 people, a group CTO is brought in. Finally, there is a real experienced operator in the mix.

You decide to leave. Join an even larger company. But no one is ready to give you the SVP title. You feel dejected when they call you Associate Director.

Influence and impact are forgotten. Your ability to work independently and provide direction to others is moot.

Chase titles — and you might get them — but you won't necessarily get any satisfaction in the long run (or financial independence).

That part of you that really likes working and building and leaving a mark on the world can still easily work for 30/40/50 more years. But you would feel like you hit your peak in your late 20s/ early 30s. No title would be good enough. So why chase it? Chase influence and impact instead."

To know our take on the value of job titles and what really matters when it comes to meaningful, impactful career growth, read this.

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Cheers, and have a great weekend ahead!

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