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Weekly Inspirations: June 15, 2018

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:


Sir Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer of Apple, Inc., is sitting across from me at a seamless white oak table. We’ve met a few times before, and I know he cares about watches. He must, right? But I’ve never actually asked him. So I do. And thank God, he does – he recounts a tale of buying an Omega Speedmaster Professional in the early ’90s. I exhale, because the hypothesis of this interview, at least in my mind (likely not in Apple’s), is that the watch industry and its all-too-vocal supporters have got it all wrong. Jony, the creator of what is, by at least one definition, the number one watch on Earth, is a friend, not a foe. But, like any great question of power and influence, it’s not so simple.
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Navigating The Messy Middle

I’m excited and super-f’n-anxious to share a 5+ year obsession/project nearing the finish line. THE MESSY MIDDLE is a collection of insights for traversing the hardest and most crucial part of any bold creative project, new venture, or turnaround. No matter what it is you’re trying to create or transform, the myth of a successful journey is that it starts with an idea, followed by a ton of hardship, and then a gradual and linear rise to the finish line. But no extraordinary journey is linear. In reality, the middle is extraordinarily volatile — a continuous sequence of ups and downs, flush with uncertainty and struggle.
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How Leadership Can Align Culture With Values

Every time I walk into a new company I’m advising, I invariably encounter a set of noble values prominently displayed on the walls. The first thing I’ve trained myself to do is to not take them as gospel, and instead carefully observe how people really behave, which will tell me the actual values I need to know. It’s not that most companies are disingenuous about the values they espouse. One of Enron’s “aspirational values” was integrity, which may have genuinely expressed who they wanted to be at the beginning. But over time, this proclaimed value didn’t reflect their “practiced values” which were revealed when they committed fraud.
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If you Googled the largest empires in the history of the world, you’d see 70 million individuals under the control of the Roman Empire, more than 110 million under the rule of Genghis Khan, and 533 million under the British Empire. If we look at religions, the Catholic Church claims nearly 1.3 billion people worldwide, just under 17 million people claim to be Jewish. These numbers are astounding. They are so large we literally struggle to understand how big they are. But compared to Big Tech, the empires of yesteryear aren’t even in the same category.

According to reports, there are more than 2.1 billion users on Facebook, more than 2 billion people using Google’s Android operating system—along with more than a billion each on Maps, YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Search, and Play, individually, and Amazon is host to more than 310 million active accounts. Yet despite their size it’s incredibly easy to forget just how pervasive these companies are in our lives because they are invisible—they’re embedded so deeply into every part that we fail to recognize they’re even there.
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What I have learned at Google as a designer

I joined Google back in October. Joining a company of Google’s size and scale has been quite a revelatory experience. Friends and old colleagues often ask how working at Google is different after having worked at a series of startups — in trying to answer this question, I came up with several instances of learnings through my own experiences the months. I feel sharing these can help many others in similar situations, but I did this in a way that it is an advice to my own self so I can read and re-read these as a reference.
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People Who Get Hired Don’t Get Hired

Recently a number of my friends in the industry have been applying for new jobs. Some get those jobs, and some don’t, but they’re all insanely talented. I noticed a trend in the people that got the jobs. They had all been shot down in the past. A majority of people don’t get every single job they apply for. In fact, I’ve never met a single person in my life who got every job they applied for over the course of their career. I’m sure they exist in small pockets of the universe, but it’s extraordinarily uncommon. Little known fact, I didn’t get the first job I applied for at InVision. 3 months later an incredible opportunity opened up here that I was a much better fit for, and I got a “call back” to reinterview. When you get shot down, don’t burn bridges. Don’t go on a social media rampage. Don’t give up on your dream. And most importantly, don’t pretend it doesn’t hurt.
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