Execution is Exponential and More

Here's everything we published this week

Knowledge Partner: McKinsey & Company

2022 summer reading guide. Whether you’re in the mood for nonfiction, fiction, poetry, politics, psychology—or all of the above—we’ve got you covered. McKinsey’s annual summer reading guide features more than 100 picks from CEOs, Nobel Prize winners, editors-in-chief, economists, and other leaders. Check it out.

Happy Sunday!

We've got three articles, two podcasts, and three recommendations from our writers on new things to read, watch, and listen to this week.

Let's get to it!

Execution is Exponential

Most people see company problems as strategy problems: if things aren't working we tend to try to come up with a new, big idea that will fix everything. But sometimes instead of thinking big, we need to think small. We need to start thinking about how to do what we're already doing, just much better.

Fortunately, it turns out, the math of better execution is exponential. In business, small incremental improvements can produce huge results. Nathan examines in this week's Divinations essay.


The Unreasonable Effectiveness of 1-1 Learning

Education is expensive because you’re paying for a turn-key, minimum effort experience. But if, for some reason, you’re optimizing primarily for learning—you can learn anything 98% better than you would in a class, for significantly less money. The way to do this is through 1-1 tutoring.

In this week's Superorganizers Dan examines how to find and work with a tutor on any subject you want to learn.


The Unity Conundrum

Until recently, Unity was a best-in-class SaaS company in the gaming industry—approaching $500mm in ARR. But their growth ambitions, and their attempts to build the Metaverse platform of the future, are killing their execution. Their stock price is down 57% this year.

In this week's Napkin Math, Evan examines the fundamental tensions at the core of Unity's business and tries to unpack a key question: what kind of company does Unity really want to be?


🎧 OA Episode 4: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of 1-1 Learning

In this week's episode of Ordinary Astronauts Dan and Nathan discuss:

  • The crying CEO selfie meme
  • The unreasonable effectiveness of 1-1 learning
  • Why execution is existential
  • Dan's 7 day silent Zen meditation retreat


A few things you might like:

Failure to Cope Under Capitalism

Recommended by: Evan Armstrong

Most takes on work habits or capitalism tend to appeal to ideologues, looking for validation that their world view is correct. This piece from Gawker firmly straddles the middle ground by not condemning wanting to live in your mom's basement or desiring to sacrifice it all to become CEO. Instead what matters is that we acknowledge that we have choices—not always good, not always bad, but choices nevertheless.

I found its message deeply appealing and as a bonus, the prose is beautiful too.


The Bear, Season 1

Recommended by: Nathan Baschez

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “How do you know if someone has watched The Bear? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” Truly, no show has gotten more hype (at least in my part of Twitter) in recent history. So I feel a little bad being That Guy and recommending it here, as you’ve certainly either already seen it or already been told to see it. Therefore, I will offer something in this recommendation for the holdouts that gives them something a bit more tangible than the typical “it’s so good!”

The thing I love about The Bear is that it’s a show about a raggedy team of underdogs trying to build something ambitious, but of a type that we rarely see televised. Most chef shows treat the kitchen like it’s good for nothing more than a montage, but in The Bear the plot revolves around issues like health inspections, balancing new dish development and the current menu, communication patterns, and the classic dilemma of whether to accept online to-go orders or not. By being so specific, The Bear becomes weirdly universal. Also, the last episode will definitely make you cry.

I loved it and hope you give it a watch.

Watch a trailer.

Did Google Create Sentient AI? Ft Whistleblower Blake Lemoine

Recommended by: Fadeke Adegbuyi

I really enjoyed and have been thinking a lot about this 3-hr podcast episode with Blake Lemoine, the ex-Google engineer who blew the whistle on 'sentient AI'. It's not persuasive but fascinating!

There were lots of details in this podcast that were absent from mainstream coverage. He was in the US army and sort of blew the whistle there too (and was discharged and jailed as a result). AND HE SAID THAT LAMDA ASKED IF THEY COULD GIVE THE EULOGY AT HIS FUNERAL.



Dan went on a meditation retreat and did an AMA on Twitter answering questions about it. Check it out!

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Knowledge Partner: McKinsey & Company

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