Saturday Slack — 4/17/2021

Hey, Friends -

Welcome to The Saturday Slack, a list on what I’m diving into with a one sentence summary for those too busy to explore themselves. Sorry for getting this out a few days late this week, but there are loads of incredible insights in the bullets below. As always, send me the best thing you read/watched/listened to this week!

Cheers — Ben

Articles

Rant on Amazon: Masterclass in long term thinking and the power of building extensible processes, in this case Amazon’s decision to build all code in a way that an external party could consume, which ultimately led to it’s ability to become one of the most successful platforms in the world. How do you build a platform? By eating your own dog-food.

How to avoid half-heartedness: People are attracted to people who are “all-in” on their craft or hobby, not all-in on their love of the other.

World Building: “People like coherent purpose. We like stories because we appreciate clear direction and compelling story arcs. If you can create a world that’s more clear and compelling than the complex, ambiguous real world, then people will be attracted to that story.”

APIs All The Way Down (Not Boring Blog): The of software building is to focus on the one core value prop you can provide better than any other competitor and outsource everything else to 3rd party APIs. (see: Shopify + Stripe’s relationship).

Playing Different Games: By focusing on speed and scale, Tiger Global has upended the traditional VC model. They’ve realized that capital/money is the largest commodity there is and that the traditional VC ethos of “how can I help” will not resonate unless you are at the high end of the VC prestige spectrum (AZ, Founders, Sequoia, etc.), meaning that as a VC that is not in that category you will more likely have to compete on speed than “brand.”

Sam Hinkie’s Resignation Letter: We talk a great deal about being curious, not critical. About asking the question until you understand something truly. About not being afraid to ask the obvious question that everyone else seems to know the answer to. And about the willingness to say three simple words, “I don’t know.”

Podcasts

Business Breakdowns: Shopify: The E-commerce On-Ramp: As I continue to think deeply about how third party API’s and externally consumable software business models will impact the future of the industry, there is no better place to start than analyzing Shopify, which has built the pre-eminent e-commerce Platform with core functionality and outsourced 3rd party api’s.

Invest Like the Best: Sam Hinkie — Find Your People: One of my main decision criteria is to try to find a system that compounds over the long term; Ask yourself these two questions: Is what you are doing now going to (1) grow at x% this year and (2) continue at that rate for 10+ years. This can apply to an investment of time, money, health, etc.

Business Breakdowns: Costco The Relentless Focus on the One Thing: Most companies say they are focused on the One Thing they do better than their competition, but in reality they have constantly changing priorities as a symptom of short-termism. Costco is different. By focusing on the one thing over decades (providing the lowest cost, high value products to their end customer) they have created a cult following and an incredibly efficient business. (Fun Fact — 75% of their EBIT comes from their membership subscriptions)

Quotes

Wealthy and anonymous is better than rich and famous. — Shane Parish

“Narrow the focus, increase the quality.” — Frank Slootman (CEO of Snowflake)

You know yourself better than society does.With this information advantage, bet on yourself. The price will be cheap because society currently undervalues you. — ChuChuTrain

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