The Rules of Improv

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By amplifying everyday interactions, the core principles of improvisation highlight how what might initially seem trivial components of communication actually has a big impact on the direction and results of conversations and discussions.

Make Each Other Look Good;

The easiest way to look good is to make others look good. Throwing other people under the bus might give you momentary glory but it is a sure way to break the fabric of a team.

Accept All Offers;

Without the first offer, nothing will get started. Shut offers down often enough and no offers will come anymore, stifling any opportunities for progress.

Don’t Hog the Stage;

Know when to shine, and when to shut it. Make sure you listen actively and try to make others look good to avoid being a stage hog.

Yes, and...Yes, but.... > No, but....

Be careful with your buts. Often this little word will have a big impact, it will shut down any further exploration.

And some fun activities to bring some improve into your teams:

21

Stand in a circle. The goal is to count to 21 as a group. The moment that two people say the same number or if two people standing next to each other follow each other, you'll have to start over.

Clap

Stand in a circle. without instructions or any signals try to clap at the same time. Feel the moment and try to get as close as possible.

Tools for Action

Understanding yourself and others is only the start.

You will not go anywhere without understanding how to mobilise yourself and others into taking action. Yehudi Menuhin said about music that “Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.”.

A quote that describes innovation as well as it does music. For us taking action is like playing the symphony of business.

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Chaos to Order

Balancing the tightrope between chaos and order is what makes innovation work. Swaying too far one way or the other might inhibit or disrupt innovation.

The two polar opposites are equally important to the innovation process. At the start of the innovation process, involving ideation and exploration, chaos needs to be embraced. As solutions become real, mature and need to be implemented in BAU structures and processes, chaos needs to make place for order.

This shift in focus and ways of working requires the right people to be involved at specific moments in the process, at the chaotic start you want flexible, open-minded people that handle change well, while further down the process you want structure-driven individuals to take over implementation.

Use this tool when...

You need to come up with and implement a new solution. Make sure to provide the freedom for disorder at the beginning of the process, and create order as the solution proves its value and gets integrated into BAU.

The Innovation Portfolio

Hop-Step-Jump, innovation is like child’s play once you get it. This helpful lens helps you analyse what you currently do, and plan the portfolio you need to survive and thrive. It all starts with BAU (business as usual), the processes and structures you need to keep the wheels turning.

A hop describes the smallest movement towards doing things in new and better ways; basic process improvement. The step takes things one step further.

A step will look at what is on the horizon and starting to show potential and explore what this might mean to the business. For instance, an experiment to test how core processes will function on blockchain.

The jump is the most daring. What does our industry look like when technology has turned us into cyborgs and we live on Mars?

A healthy and balanced portfolio looks different for each organisation and is shaped by internal and external pressure, and how flexible and open to change the people are.

Remember....

This tool is as relevant to your organisation as it is to your teams and you as an individual. Use it to analyse and plan a healthy portfolio of activities.

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Breaking it Down

It all starts with thinking big. What is the biggest, most positive outcome of a challenge you face? Thinking this through should inspire you but at the same time it is scary, how would you achieve such a lofty goal and where to even start!?

This overwhelming phase generates avoidance behaviours. You break out of this by Thinking Down, reducing complexity and scale. You know you have simplified things enough when you know what you can do this afternoon to make the first step towards achieving your lofty goal. And then it’s time for Acting Up! By learning through action you add complexity and scale through execution. You might not end up where you thought you would, but you will end up where you should.

Remember....

Move from too much, too big and later to less, smaller and now. If you can't get started this afternoon, it is too big.

Thought from the Road #008: Experience

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

What makes the difference is not how much knowledge you have acquired but how quickly you can acquire new knowledge.

Sure your accumulated knowledge from your experiences are hugely important. But in today’s regular and rapid changing markets it’s unlikely experiences you have had in the past are enough, you must acquire new knowledge, fast and at an ever increasing pace. You must match it with your past knowledge and experiences, and you must make regular adjustments.

What worked may not work again, what was may not be again, what you believed may not be true no more.

So updated experience or experience that is augmented with current knowledge is useful, static experience is often deadly. Which makes me wonder.... how awesome would it be to know your rate of knowledge acquisition? At what speed do you acquire new knowledge? Have you tapped out? Meaning you are acquiring as much knowledge and as fast as it’s physically possible for you? Have you stopped or slowed down? Do you let it happen to you or you drive it? Do you exercise this skill? Are you getting faster and better? There should be a number huh? A unit we use....”I acquire knowledge at the rate of 1gb per hr my goal is 5gb”

The Fabric of High-Performance Teams

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To perform on a high level with your team, the team needs a robust fabric.

The psychological safety this fabric creates will fuel an even higher performance, which in turn will strengthen the fabric. This positive feedback loop will make everyone more engaged, fulfilled and effective.

Care.

Or give a sh*t. To be able to work effectively with others, you need to care. You need to care about the others, the work that you’re doing, and how and where you do this work.

Tips & Tricks: Delight your fellow team members by bringing in some coffees or treats to your next meeting. Ask that extra question and show genuine interest.

Trust.
We believe that the language around trust is broken. People talk about trust being something that is built slowly over time, in today’s fast-paced world being able to assume trust is critical.

Tips & Tricks: Assuming trust rather than building trust is not easy. Separating intent from behaviour is often a good first step, the second one involves assuming a positive intent behind the behaviour.

Respect.

Hard to describe, but easy to recognise. We constantly send implicit messages with our behaviour, that might not align with the explicit messages we want to send...

Tips & Tricks: Make the implicit explicit the moment you feel respect is breaking down. Without respect admiration will never be built.

Admiration.

Admiration is a true indicator of high-performance. Once people start admiring each other, things start humming along. And everyone has something admirable about them!

Tips & Tricks: If you can't find anything to admire about someone, you don't know enough about them. Use the life map exercise to build admiration and don't be afraid to share what you admire about others.

Common goal.

The one thing that ties it all together. For high-performance you want to pursue a stretch-goal where the odds are stacked against you, why perform on a high level otherwise?

Tips & Tricks: Frequently discuss, adapt and agree upon the common goal. Goals change when plans meet reality and they are critical for establishing and maintaining a shared reality.

Thought from the Road #007: Explementation

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

Counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s arguably more important to have an explementation* plan than an implementation plan. In other words, make sure you have clarity in how you will remove and change a process, system, software or else as fast as possible. We put too much effort and focus on how quickly we can put something in place and we forget that getting rid of it is what will give you the adaptability and agility you need.

So, for example, if someone is trying to sell you software and produces a super fast and cheap plan to put things in place, ask also for the plan that shows how easy is to remove it. The harder it is to remove something the higher the probability you will fall behind and be unable to keep up with the pace of markets...

Stay as nimble and agile as you can, protect your flexibility, it’s arguably one of the most important traits you can have to succeed in the future.

*explementation: new word :-) - the opposite to implementation - removing what you previously put in place.

Early Bird Gets the Worm

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So today marks one week of starting work at 5am, and holy shit - I hope I can keep this going.

Like many of us trying to optimise how we work through everything from food, supplements, lifestyle and wacky experiments we often look at thought leaders for tips. And I am no different, I first started learning about nootropics from listening to the Joe Rogan Podcast and now take “Total Human” pills from Onnit everyday and I haven’t looked back.

But, you’re totally tripping if you think you can just pop some pills and expect to begin smashing life. its all about creating habits. This became super obvious for me when training for The Speed Project 4.0 (a 550km ultra relay from LA to Vegas). Without creating a habit of putting your running shoes on as soon as you got home from work to guilt-trick your ass out the door you simply will not get the Km’s in to ensure you are ready for the long roads of Death Valley.

So when I saw this video of Casey Neistat and Jocko talking the importance of waking up at 4am for productivity it made total sense for me. Even if at first I hated the idea of leaving a warm comfortable bed hours before the sun rises. Ugggh.

Anyway, I decided to commit to the early rise for 7 days to see what happens. And boy am I pumped with the result.

Here is what I learnt from this.

  • A routine needs to be planned.
    Just walking up before 5 doesn’t mean your going to smash out work. To make this time work you need to have a plan before you go to bed. I set up my work station before I go to bed and make a list of things I need to get done first thing in the morning. This was super lame things like “reply to that email” or “have a coffee” all the way through to “finish sales forecast for 2019-2020”. By having this list ready before bed I found that I slept better because I wasn’t thinking out the things I need to do, and then when I’m still half asleep I don’t procrastinate and blame the early rise on it.

  • Get Cold.
    This one sucks if you’re not used to it. But I love (and sometimes hate) a cold shower. So as soon as my alarm goes off at 4.55am I go straight to the shower for a 4-minute warm shower followed by a 1-minute cold shower to end on. Old mate Wim Hoff, is one of the global leaders in research and experimentation in this area alongside his breathing techniques to maximise oxygenation of your blood. So to kick-start the day this is what I do.

  • Don’t sit on the couch.
    It’s just too comfortable. Don’t do it. Trust me with this one.

  • Plan the whole day for maximum output.
    I realised pretty early on that I needed to schedule the whole day to really make the most of this 7 day experiment. So I cracked open illustrator and made this wallpaper for my iPhone to keep me on track. This way I can’t forget what I need to be doing or get distracted.

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This is what worked for me - so feel free to use it too or make your own. This worked so well. I end up having 7 hours of sleep, 14hrs for work, 2 hours to go run and 2 hours for food including the lunch meeting (I use this time to catch up with mates over a meal). So the simplicity of this worked really well for me.

A super interesting thing I found was that in the block between 5am and 9am. I get 4 hours of really good work done which then made my whole day free to have meetings, explore ideas with 100% intent as I didn’t need to rush off back to the screen to do some work. I work from anywhere so my day is pretty fun, the profile picture for this post is me working from Barossa valley (I was literally sending emails back and forth with Nike for a project in that photo - Ha!)

Then if from these conversations during the day I then had planned in another 2 hour block after dinner to either explore an idea creatively (most of my work is experience design or conceptual works for clients so when inspiration hits I need to take advantage of it) but often I was so up to date I used this block to make my list for the next day or tidy up anything that happened during the day like little emails or tweaks to past work, nothing too crazy. Or if I didn’t need to get anything done I just used this time to sit on the couch and draw while watching TV to ensure I don’t loose touch with the tools.

  • The Math.

    Now I need to confess, I love numbers so this really excited me. When I had the shops, the bar and the co-working space working an 18hr day wasn’t a rare occasion -But it nearly killed me.

    After a few solid years of this kind of work day become the norm so I never really thought there was another way to do it. But now I realise I was super busy, but I wasn’t super productive. In hindsight I also struggled to find a balance that worked to ensure I still had time to spend with those I love.

    So this new way of working is rad for me because the time in the morning I have no distractions and I am not stealing hours away from my girlfriend or friends or family. And at the same time I’m getting the hours in to achieve my goals.

    Here’s the Math.
    With this way of working I can get 14hrs of work in a day and still go run for 2 hours and spend time socialising and just hanging out.

    14hrs x 7dpw = 98hr work week.
    98h x 52 weeks + 5096 hrs per year
    5096 Div by 8 hr days = 637 work days per year
    637 - 240 (average workdays people work PY)
    = 397 extra days of work per year.

    THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY SEVEN. EXTRA.

I’ve done similar math to this before but it just wasn’t sustainable before, this routine feels completely different.

So next time someone gives me that bullshit “I just don’t have enough time” statement, they are going to get this math right to the face. We all have 24hrs in a day, it’s how you use it.

Disclaimer*
I’m not saying everyone should do this, but your ambition needs to match you actions. You can’t say you want to achieve huge goals without doing huge work and putting the hours in.

So I think I’m going to stick to this plan to see how it goes. But I am not going to stick to it religiously, if I have a blow out on the beers I’m totally sleeping in. But this plan is my new north star. Let me know if you have any tips or questions for this. I would love to hear what you’re experiencing or experimenting with.

Thought from the Road #006: Key Performance Indicators

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

KPIs kill common sense. KPIs are like an antidote, the perfect way to disarm the sense we struggle with the most.

I was asked recently how to KPI innovation and this is what I said:

Innovation is action, action applied to unsolved problems to resolve them.

ANY KPI that helps any team (from legal to reception to product) measure the process of solving problems is a way of measuring innovation...BUT...as I said I am not a massive fan of KPIs as they tend to stand in the way of common sense. KPIs are also generally too static for the pace of change we are experiencing, the only way to make any KPI relevant is to review them daily!

That’s a massive tax...so if you have them, few and regularly updated please ;-)

Marketing Small

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Marketing is such a huge part of being successful in business. But marketing doesn't end with a Facebook post or that print campaign - the real effective marketer lives and breathes his or her product.

Here are some tips that I've been thinking about recently to help people starting out.

  • You are your best marketer. You don't need to hire a PR firm to tell people your story. You are the best person to share your story, so do it.

  • Passion is contagious, people can hear it in your voice and want to share the journey.

  • Choose a plan to market and stick to it. If you want everyone to know about the new shop and its concept, then only speak about that… It's hard, there will be thousands of things you want to share but choose the right place and time. At the start you want people to easily know what you are about and can join the story and grow with you. Remember even Facebook only started with one (rather distasteful) feature. Don't complicate the message.

  • Make it simple, market the message then repeat with the next message once the first has been achieved (or failed, it doesn't matter)

  • Be resourceful.

  • Make some noise. Throw a party, it doesn't need to cost the world but putting your customers and fans in a room shows that you care about them and in turn, they will care about you. It can be as simple as a few drinks on a Friday afternoon in the store, or a meet up at a local bar, it doesn't need to be crazy or expensive.

  • It's also a great way to thank your team, so have social occasions with your staff often, it builds trust and a family vibe.

  • BUT DON’T GET DRUNK.

  • Word of mouth is the original social media. keep people happy and it'll return in money. It's not hard to be polite, especially if you're in retail.

  • Customer service is still marketing, make sure you give customers the best possible experience and they will become marketers for you. It has worked for hundreds of years - and it is super simple

So, overall be nice, talk the talk, and build your tribe.

Thought from the Road #005: Less, Smaller & Now.

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

Innovation requires action...

BIGGER, MORE, LATER - tends to be our natural tendency. We always grab ideas and complicate them, add more to them, make them bigger and end up leaving them for later!

SMALLER, LESS, NOW! - This is the frame of mind we need to be in. Simplify, focus, start small and start now.

Doing it beats talking about it, go on, do it, it’s addictive!

So you have an idea?

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So you think you've got the idea of a lifetime huh? Or maybe you are ready to take the plunge into the freelance world - "Fuck the man", right! I get it. Congrats - this is the first decision of millions you are going to have to make on the road to some kind of success…

Here’s the tricky thing, the facts are sometimes pretty difficult to swallow. Are you ready?

Your idea most probably sucks.

I mean this in the nicest possible way of course. But let's be honest. Most of the ideas we get are pretty damn half-baked. They normally, actually they are never thought out properly. But that's because of one very obvious reason, that an idea only forms and moulds into something good from taking action and doing something, yet remaining flexible and passionate enough to keep the ability to adapt along the way….

Now that's a PC way of saying you're going to fail. And you're going to fail a lot. Don't stress though, because without a few Band-Aids - a couple of grazed knees or even a few sleepless nights the chances of anything coming of your new venture is pretty damn low.

You know the saying right? “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it”.
OK so let's get this shit-show on the road huh!

You've made the decision. You're pumped up. You told ya Mum you're doing it, taking the plunge, you got all new stationary there's just one problem. You have no fucking idea what to do first!

Or, if you do know what to do first I can almost guarantee (unless you've been around this block before) that the first thing you think you should do is wrong. Lucky for you, I've fucked up enough to share how I would do it if I was to do it all over again.

Number one thing to do is to get things down on paper. Put your laptop down, delete that stupid app that promises the work of organisation - those things will be good later, but right now you need to be working with good old fashioned pen and paper.

The reason I'm so passionate about keeping things analogue isn't because of some strange hate of whizz-bang apps, it’s far more simple than that;
1) Pen and paper are fast.
2) Apps are on Phones or Laptops, Laptops have the internet - the internet has youtube - youtube steals hours from your life. Hours you need for your Business.

There are a few simple questions you want to ask your self about this idea/concept to either reassure you self that this life-changing plunge is worth it, or if this idea has some holes in it its a perfect time to put a finger over that hole.

Here are a quick few questions to ask yourself.

  • Who might my customer be?

  • What problem is my desired customer facing?

  • How does my customer currently solve this problem?

  • What’s my solution to this problem?

  • Why is this solution so damn special?

  • Who are my ideal first customers? the early adopters?

  • What gives me the advantage over my competitors?

  • How will I get to my customers?

  • How much does it cost me to solve this problem?

  • How much can I charge to solve this problem for my customer? 

  • How much profit is left?

Now, these little questions are the basic questions developed by these startup nerds over at Strategizer. They use it on a canvas looking thing that you can find with a simple google of 'Lean Canvas' - or you can draw your self a version that asks the same questions.

Thought from the Road #004: Coach, Manage, Lead...

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

A good developer friend reminded me on Twitter a few days ago something I used to say to my team:

“ I loved the framing I learned from @gusbalbontin years ago - you need someone to coach you (improve skill), someone to manage you (remove blockers), and someone to lead you (give direction + purpose) “

Let me add, irrespective of those roles being formally part of your job description or title, if you belong to a team (literally always) they are informally your responsibility. You have to always, coach, manage and/or lead, you cannot shake the responsibility if you want to achieve things with others ;-). ...

Thought from the Road #003: Novelty

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

If you want time to slow down or you want to improve your creativity, ensure you hit your brain with novelty far more regularly than you probably are now.

Exposing your senses to the same stimulus will only force your brain to commit as much of it as it can to the subconscious and time will not only seem to speed up but you will spend most of your day unaware and unable to recollect what happened...you know, when you were just in autopilot and life just passed you by.

Novelty, remember, seek it, learn to enjoy it.

Three Parts of the Brain

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Broadly speaking, our brains evolved in three distinct stages.

This view might not hold up completely under scrutiny of a neuroscientist but even they agree there are three distinct areas with distinct functions.

Having insight into what these stages are, what functions they fulfil and how they influence your behaviour gives you some powerful tools. So, let’s have a look at them.

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Reptilian.

The Instincts

Survival.

We all have a little dinosaur in our heads. There is no creature running around in our heads of course, but the most ancient part of the brain basically has the same wiring as any reptile or other ancient creature. Its focus is to maintain balance and survive and it directly influences bodily functions to do just that.

When presented with threats to survival, like a zebra spotting a lion or someone facing redundancy at work, it will trigger the fight-or-flight response.

All of this takes place unconsciously, and the physical reactions associated with this response might lead you to behave in ways your conscious self does not agree with.


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Mammalian.

The Emotions

The Limbic System.

Sitting on top of our little dinosaur is the emotional part of the brain. This system is very much a mammalian specialty; reptiles are not well known for their emotional lives.

In addition to being responsible for the pleasant feelings and behaviours associated with reproduction, bonding and parental care, this part of the brain is also critical to memory and learning processes. Emotions, memory and learning are drivers of cooperation and competition, processes us mammals engage in constantly.

Just think of the cooperation required to hunt and the competition for food, or building a team to achieve a common goal and competing with your peers for that new role that has become available and with competitors for customers.

Human.

The Reason.


Logic & Reason.

The brand-spanking new, or most recently evolved, part of the brain. The cortex is associated with logic, reason and conscious processing. We like to think that this is our control centre, where we control urges and impulses like the fight-or-flight response.

And although the cortex at times does influence and mitigate
triggers from the little dinosaur and the emotional part of the brain, more often than not it’s actually being influenced and limited by the older parts of the brain, fabricating justifications to explain behaviour along the way.

When you are under a lot of pressure and feeling on edge, for example, your cortex might make impulsive, and even stupid, decisions that seem brilliant at the time.

Culture

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How we behave will determine the culture that we build. At the same time the culture that we build will shape the behaviour we display. So to change our culture, we'll need to change our behaviour.

And this is of course easier said than done.

Because of our social nature, we just can’t help ourselves. The moment a group of individuals comes together; a culture gets formed. People will start determining how they like to interact with each other, what artifacts they like and the meaning of those artefacts. The group will amplify the values and and beliefs they can agree on. As the group starts interacting with other groups the culture gets shaped further and amplified, creating a powerful feedback loop.

This distinction between us and them is one of the most powerful forces driving interaction. The us and them distinction will build cohesion and strengthen the group, however at the same time as these positive emotions towards ‘us’ develop, negative feelings towards ‘them’ are created. Who belongs to ‘us’ and who belongs to ‘them’ is determined by setting and context.

At times when these forces are preventing collaboration, a simple reframe or explicit discussion about the common goal might be all that is needed.

Cultures get formed almost immediately but, like behaviour, might be hard to change. Like any change, this is a two-step process, insight followed by actual change.

Tapping Into Our Brain

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“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe”

- Michio Kaku

As the above quote shows, our brains are the most complicated objects in the known universe. No wonder they often trip up even themselves :-)

Below you find instructions of two tricks that help you better manage that complicated object between your ears. One to practice yourself, and one to practice with your teams.

The 'Brain Drain'.

As the famous psychologist William James pointed out, our conscioussnes is like a river or a stream.

At times unfortunately this stream can not flow freely, leading us to overthink and feel bogged down. The 'Brain Drain' exercise gives our minds permission to run wild and think about whatever. You’re not fighting thoughts – you’re accepting them, embracing them, and releasing them.

Neurological studies show individuals who spend 8 minutes off-loading their brain from thoughts and freeing up the mind are more calm, focused and in-the-moment.

How to.

People: 1+

Materials: Two pieces of paper and a pen per person.
Time: 10 minutes.

Steps.

Find a quite spot and set yourself up with your papers and pen. Take a couple of deep breaths and get ready.

Write down your thoughts in real-time as they are unfolding. Don’t wait. Don’t edit. Don’t second guess. Just write down whatever pops into your mind, even if it’s something as simple as “I don’t know what to write about right now.”

Continue until two pages are completely filled, and reflect.

Folding and tearing.

Each of our brains are unique, in the 7.5 billion brains roaming the earth none is the same as another. 'Folding & Tearing' illustrates how these differences influence how individuals perform even the simplest of tasks.

How to.

People: 3+

Materials: A piece of A4 paper per person.
Time: 10 minutes.

Steps.


Ask everyone to close their eyes.

Explain they must keep their eyes closed until asked to open them.

Read out the following instructions exactly as they are stated below:

1. Fold your piece of paper in half.
2. Tear off the upper right corner.
3. Fold your piece of paper in half again.
4. Tear off the bottom right corner.
5. Fold your piece of paper in half again.
6. Tear off the upper left corner.
7. Fold your piece of paper in half again.
8. Tear off the bottom left corner.
9. Unfold your paper and hold it up.

Afterwards compare and discuss.

Thought from the Road #002: Unrealistic

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

Don’t let anyone’s realistic expectations destroy your unrealistic dreams!

Somebody needs to be unrealistic at some point in time to create new realities.

The damage we unintentionally cause in the development of our kids through the school system is often a worry for me, situations that may seem small have a powerful long lasting impact happen every day.

My 12-year-old and the rest of the class had to do a budgeting exercise at school a few days ago. The idea is to first identify what your income would be in 10 years’ time and then figure housing, expenses, food, etc. and conclude with savings.

He looks up the average income of a professional NFL player, writes down $20m per year and starts the exercise. The teacher says “it’s going to be hard to figure out costs in America....let’s pick something more “realistic”. The teacher then convinces him on a Job as a chef for $70k per year.

I was not impressed. That night I told my kids: “my life has been anything but realistic, someone has to be unrealistic at some point in time for new realities to exist. Our life right now is unrealistic but here we are, forging forward carving our unrealistic path, not someone else’s realistic path. Kids! Unrealistic is critical”

The Everyday Hustle

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The hustle doesn't stop when you leave the office.

If you really want to hustle, then you need to keep your eyes open all the time to ensure you can save every penny to reinvest into yourself when you have that great idea…. and news flash, it's not going to be the first idea you have. But how Jordan? I hear you say. Well, this is up to you, I've got formulas I'm constantly repeating…. this is normal; risk divided by gain = decision.

For example, I work in a city, and in this city they fucking charge for me to stop my car and park (don't get me started). For me, I need my car regularly throughout the day so I can’t put it into a long-term car park which would be cheaper. I'm in the city 7 days a week and it will cost $2.5 per hour adding up to $25 per day. So here's some everyday math they won't teach you in business school.

25 x 7 = 175 per week
175 x 52 weeks = 9100 per year in parking

HOWEVER, if I do not buy a ticket the fine is $40.

40 divided by 9100 = 227.5 tickets I would need to get in 1 year to add up to the cost of just buying the tickets. From this, I can see that I need to be really unlucky and get a parking ticket 227 times in a year to break even. I like the odds that I will not get that many tickets. Therefore, I do not buy the tickets.

Sure I'm ripping off the system, but sometimes you gotta hustle.

For the record, this year had been my heaviest fine year and I only got 60 tickets totalling = $2400… Giving me a saving of 6700 JUST IN PARKING! 

microeconomics.

DISCLAIMER: Just a perspective, of course we do not recommend you break the law J

Thought from the Road #001: A Team of One

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

Don’t think for a second that Team principles don’t apply to you because you work alone in your business or you have no team in your company.

Team principles apply always in every scenario in which people come together to deliver an outcome. Even a business of one has to work with clients, suppliers, agents.... that’s your team.

For example, we are building a home at the moment and Team still applies for the architect, engineer, landscape architect, my wife, myself and the builder, even if we don’t technically have a business hierarchy with reporting lines and job descriptions...we have to apply the same fundamentals of Team if we hope to succeed at building our home!

What are those principles? We must CARE, TRUST, ADMIRE, RESPECT and have a COMMON GOAL. Start applying team principles to everything you do with all the people you do it with, at work and outside of work, trust me, it works!

Does surfing make you better at business?

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I haven’t been able shake this idea for the last few days, and the more i think about it more sense it makes to me. Now, i realise that this might only resonate with those of you who surf, and for the rest of you - you’ll just have to take my word for it. But here’s the punch line;

Surfers make better business people.

Whoa - big statement, I know. Let me tell you why - Surfing is almost 100% about feeling.

Firstly, let me paint a picture of what a pretty normal surf looks like.

1 - Decide you feel like surfing.
2 - Check the conditions by reading a bunch of graphs that mean absolutely nothing to you for the first 5 years until you start to recognise patterns.
3 - Decide its going to be worth going, So you need to convince a friend to come too.
4 - The negotiations with that person start. Finally, you convince them. Yay!
5 - Prepare the equipment, the car, the coffee machine and get some rest.
6 - Wake up before everyone else, acting irrationally optimistic that today is going to be the day.
7 - Get to the beach to either find great wave (success) or average waves that you convince yourself and the mate (who is now hating you) its still going to be worth it.
8 - Put on a rubber suit ~ Normally that is wet and gross.
9 - Paddle out, dodging rocks, rips, waves and anything else that’s out there to ruin your day.
10 - Suss out the other surfers to find your place in the line up.
11 - Sit in the line up for 2+ hours constantly reading the conditions waiting for a wave.
12 - Spot a wave, commit 100% to making it yours.
13 - Ride the wave for 2-10 seconds… If you’re lucky.
14 - Totally fuck up the wave and go back to step 9. Or have the wave of your life and then return to step 9.

For me this follows exactly not only the daily struggles of working for yourself, but also reflects the past 10 years of business I have experienced. Let me elaborate.

In comparison, this is what starting a business looks like.

1 - Decide you feel like surfing.
Decide you want to open a business or work for yourself - because you love what you do, not for solely for money.

2 - Check the conditions by reading a bunch of graphs that mean absolutely nothing to you for the first 5 years until you start to recognise patterns.
Look at some kind of analytics of the industry you want to enter. Then everything your accountant sends you for the next 5 years looks like hieroglyphics. The same as a swell chart.

3 - Decide its going to be worth going, So you need to convince a friend to come too.
'“
Fuck, this could be epic man” but I don’t know if I want to do this by myself.

4 - The negotiations with that person start, finally convince them. Yay!
Wanna open X with me? This is normally the start of co-founder conversations. And its also your first real pitch.

5 - Prepare the equipment, the car, the coffee machine and get some rest.
Piss Poor Planning Promotes Piss Poor Performance.

6 - Wake up before everyone else, acting irrationally optimistic that today is going to be the day.
Commitment. This is when you’re getting the wheels spinning, late nights - early mornings and nearly every conversation is about your new thing. All you do is eat, sleep, talk this business idea. Just like an obsessive surfer.

7 - Get to the beach to either find great wave (success) or average waves that you convince yourself and the mate (who is now hating you) its still going to be worth it.
Get your product to market. And either validate your assumptions - or find you need to start over.

8 - Put on a weird rubber suit ~ Normally that is wet and gross.
Put on a weird fabric suit. That normally feels just as foreign as a wetsuit. Pro-tip: Don’t wear a suit if you dont like suits. Simple.

9 - Paddle out, dodging rocks, rips, waves and anything else thats out there to ruin your day.
Stay in the market, dodging sketchy emails, slimy SEO people, false leads and any other snake in the grass. You’ll make heaps of mistakes here, I sure have. But you’ll get better at spotting it - just like surfing.

10 - Suss out the other surfers to find your place in the line up.
Suss out the competition again. and again. and again.

11 - Sit in the line up for 2+ hours constantly reading the conditions waiting for a wave.
”Holy shit, we’ve been open for 2 years now? where did that time go?!”

12 - Spot a wave, commit 100% to making it yours.
After sometime you get really good at reading the play and seeing when opportunities arise. this is when being a surfer has its advantages. Because once you commit - you’re committed.

13 - Ride the wave for 2-10 seconds… If you’re lucky.
You’re in the market. Now it’s all about becoming sustainable so you can keep this going. If it works and you can continue to evolve and adapt you might be able to stay around for the rest of you life. But if you’re shit at adapting then you’ll be around for 2 seconds.

14 - Totally fuck up the wave and go back to step 9. Or have the wave of your life and then return to step 9.
As per above. Get it right and keep the dream alive and repeat process from step 9. Or get it wrong and go back to step 9.


Aside from the literal steps (that aren’t always so literal) there is a certain skill that isn’t as obvious. And thats the ability to feel the direction that the market is heading without any proof or obvious evidence. Some call this intuition - but I call it catching a vibe.

Growing up surfing you become hyper attentive to the small things like ripples on the surface of the water to indicate a changing wind direction. You become extremely observant of the subtle movements on your feet on a board or a style of a surfer you admire. From here the ability to be slightly ahead of the curve is no longer a feat to strive for as it becomes the norm. And all of this equates to free expression and the ability to express yourself creatively without the fear of judgement as there is no measuring stick of “stoke” for surfing. Meaning Kelly Slater can go have the best surf of his life, and a beginner can go out and just stand up once and have the same amount of excitement regardless of their contrasting abilities.

This is because people surf because they love the feeling of gliding on a wave and expressing themselves, not because there is a clear path to becoming the next Kelly Slater. Unlike other sports that are built around a financial system that relies on fans and money, people surf because they love to surf. Just like business, you shouldn’t start something because you want to be the next Warren Buffett or Jeff Bezos, you should start something because you’re curious and you love solving the problem your customer is experiencing.

You should start a business because you love creating what ever you create.

So if you want your kids to be creative, and become advantageous of opportunities, Let them go surfing.