Chinese year of the OX
Let’s all make a pledge to be a little more ox-like this year: honest, reliable, and hard-working without seeking praise.
Oxen are honest and earnest. They are low key and never look for praise or to be the center of attention. This often hides their talent, but they’ll gain recognition through their hard work.
They believe that everyone should do what’s asked for them and stay within their bounds. Though they are kind, it’s difficult for them to understand persuasion using pathos. Rarely losing your temper, they think logically and make great leaders.
Summed up brilliantly by hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
In other words, you can’t succeed unless you try.
And that means you have to take action.
Starting is always scary, even if you have a plan you can’t be sure of the outcome, fear of failing will create an inertia within that prevents us from taking action.
You will always be short of one more piece of information and that prevents you from getting started.
The paralysis of analysis affects most of us at least some of the time.
It doesn’t have to be a huge step. In fact, I would argue that it shouldn’t be. Start slowly, start smartly, with the energy and resources you have. Once in motion you will gain confidence and momentum to succeed.
After 30 years at the helm and steering Amazon.com ( The startup he founded) to become the world’s largest retailer - Jeff Bezos will step down in Q3 and assume the role of Executive Chairman. Andy Jassy, who leads Amazon Web Services, succeeds Bezos to fill the role of Amazon CEO.
“As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions,” Bezos wrote. “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have.”
As Bezos moves on to more philanthropic duties his legacy will live at Amazon.
As Bezos famously said: “The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be earth's most customer-centric company.”
The various Amazon initiatives may take a slightly different direction with their new leader but one thing is for sure, Online retail is here to stay and Amazon is at the forefront of technology.
Its all about the longterm...
Read Amazon Shareholder Letter here
Wisdom/What I'm Reading...
The Power Of Automation.
John Henry Patterson was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1844. He spent his childhood doing chores on the family farm and working shifts at his father’s sawmill. After attending college at Dartmouth, Patterson returned to Ohio and opened a small supply store for coal miners.
It seemed like a good opportunity. The store faced little competition and enjoyed a steady stream of customers, but — for some reason — Patterson's shop still struggled to make money.
Eventually, he learned why —
his employees were stealing from him.
In the mid-1800s, employee theft was a common problem. Receipts were kept in an open drawer and could easily be altered or discarded. There were no video cameras to review behavior and no software to track transactions.
Unless you were willing to hover over your employees every minute of the day, or to manage all transactions yourself, it was difficult to prevent theft.
As Patterson mulled over his predicament, he came across an advertisement for a new invention called Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier. Designed by fellow Dayton resident James Ritty, it was the first cash register. The machine automatically locked the cash and receipts inside after each transaction. Patterson bought two for fifty dollars each.
Employee theft at his store vanished overnight. In the next six months, Patterson’s business went from losing money to making $5,000 in profit—the equivalent of more than $100,000 today.
Patterson was so impressed with the machine that he changed businesses. He bought the rights to Ritty’s invention and opened the National Cash Register Company. Ten years later, National Cash Register had over one thousand employees and was on its way to becoming one of the most successful businesses in America.
An excerpt from Atomic Habits - James Clear
The Best Way to Change a Habit
The brilliance of the cash register was that it automated ethical behavior by making stealing practically impossible. Rather than trying to change the motivations of his employees, Patterson used technology to make the preferred behavior automatic.
There is an important lesson within this story that we can apply to all habits and behaviors. The best way to break a bad habit is to make it impossible to do. And the best way to create a good habit is to automate it so you never have to think about it again.
Typically, when people think about automating something, they imagine technology or a piece of software. And, certainly, this is a great way to automate a habit. You can save for retirement with an automatic deduction from your paycheck. You can curtail social media browsing with a website blocker.
Technology can transform actions that were once hard, annoying, and complicated into behaviors that are easy, painless, and simple. It is the most reliable and effective way to guarantee the right behavior.
But there are also many ways to “automate” your future decisions that don't necessarily involve a piece of software.
These are known as one-time habits
Some common ones are:
Nutrition: Use smaller plates to reduce caloric intake.
Sleep: Remove your television from your bedroom.
Productivity: Delete games and social media apps from your phone.
Focus: Permanently set your phone in Do Not Disturb mode.
Happiness: Get a dog.
Health: Buy better shoes to avoid back pain.
Finance: Call your service providers (cable, electric, etc.) and limit usage.
These one time actions only require effort once and make it easier to get better sleep, eat healthy, be productive, save money, and generally live better.
By utilizing strategic onetime decisions and technology, you can create an environment of inevitability—a space where good habits are not just an outcome you hope for, but an outcome that is virtually guaranteed.
Widget Of The Week...
A brief timeline of bitcoin’s rise, fall, and even bigger rise.
Initially conceived as a way of sidestepping traditional financial institutions, bitcoin is now being smothered by them. BNY Mellon, the oldest bank in the US, said it would handle bitcoin for its clients. Mastercard pledged to support cryptos later this year. And a vaunted Morgan Stanley investing unit is reportedly considering placing bets on bitcoin.
Plus, Tesla poured $1.5 billion of its cash into bitcoin and said it would accept payment for its products in bitcoin on a limited basis.
Bottom line: Bitcoin has been increasingly legitimized by the business community, but it still faces existential questions, including
1) how should it be regulated?
2) what is it actually useful for? and
3) when will Morning Brew put it in its Markets graphic?
Source: Morning Brew
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I will be taking a few weeks sabbatical from writing this blog. I am embarking on a miraculous new journey of my own. I am very excited, a little nervous but full of gratitude for what the future holds.