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TODAY’S STORY
26 Sep
,
2022

What clarity looks like

Jeff Bezos, on making strategic decisions —

"You can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says,

“Jeff I love Amazon, I just wish the prices were a little higher.”

Or,

“I love Amazon, I just wish you’d deliver a little slower.”

Impossible. So we know the energy we put into these things today will still be paying off dividends 10 years from now. When you have something you know is true, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it."


Tom Cruise, on making career decisions —

Here's a conversation between Glen Powell and Tom Cruise, where Powell tells Cruise that he wants the kind of career like he has.

Powell: I want your career, Tom.

Cruise: How do you think I got that?

Powell: By choosing great roles.

Cruise: No. That’s not how I did it. I did it by choosing great films. Then, I took the roles and made them the best I could.


Steve Jobs, on making hiring decisions —

“The difference between the best worker on computer hardware and the average may be 2 to 1, if you’re lucky. With automobiles, maybe 2 to 1. But in software, it’s at least 25 to 1.

The difference between the average programmer and a great one is at least that. The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world. And when you’re in a field where the dynamic range is 25 to 1, boy, does it pay off.”


All three focused on what really mattered.

When thinking about strategy, Bezos focused on all the factors that were essential to the business' success and ignore everything else. Via negativa: focus on eliminating what you do not want. To paraphrase Charlie Munger on countless occasions — just avoid being an idiot and you will be successful in the long run.

When thinking about his career, Cruise focused on building his repertoire and adding work to this portfolio, rather than worrying about what kind of work it was. As long as the movie was good, he didn't mind the role he was offered. He focused on keeping it simple, moving fast, and racking up wins — however small. He knew that all this valuable experience would really add up in the long run.

When thinking about hiring, Jobs focused on hiring the best because he knew the kind of difference a 9.5/10 candidate would make in the long run compared to an 8/10 one. He understood that in creative fields like software development, outcomes achieved are very nonlinear. And basis that understanding, he chose to not compromise on the quality of the talent at all.

All three demonstrate a mix of thinking in fundamentals, thinking long term and arriving at simplicity in decision-making with a via negativa approach: ignore short-term noise, focus on real long-term differentiators.

Maybe this is all there is to clarity. What do you think?

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