Uber is the new Band-Aid

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Since it’s public launch in 2011, Uber has been revolutionary in its impact on the transportation industry. In it’s infancy, users might describe Uber as “the AirBNB for transportation”. Even now some may describe it that way (despite Turo being much more similar to AirBNB), but Uber has transcended that comparison.

Whether due to the size of its impact or simply great marketing, Uber is like Kleenex and Band-Aid.

Like these two brands, Uber has dominated their market so well (despite Lyft’s recent surge) that the brand name is commonly used in place of the actual service; No one ride-shares to the bars, you “Uber” there. When your nose is runny, you’re more likely to reach for a “Kleenex” than a facial tissue. When your child scrapes their knee they ask for a “Band-Aid”, not a bandage.

Uber has it’s sights set far beyond ride-sharing however, having already tinkered with Autonomous vehicles and Scooters. Their most ambitious path may just be over the horizon however, as they wade into the world of public transportation.

Experience, an alternative education

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The world of higher education is full of opportunities and ideas for improvement, and it’s always interesting to discover unique ideas to address them. Isaac Morehouse came up with an interesting alternative to college in his Praxis Apprenticeship program. Praxis is an experience and project focused opportunity for high school graduates to jump straight into the world of business through a 6-month “boot camp” that includes working for a start-up.

This idea is like the unique and intensive MBA program Acton School of Business.

Although serving different markets, these two programs appear based on a similar philosophy that centers on an intensive and immersive curriculum paired with comprehensive educational support. Praxis is still early in it’s journey to change the field of education but if their graduates are as ambitious, driven and capable as Acton’s, there’s hope for a new avenue of higher ed.

To dig deeper into this way thinking, check out Seth Godin’s post on projects.

John Bogle, an investment innovator

John Bogle, the pioneer of index funds and the founder of Vanguard group, died at 89 yesterday. Those in the investment world, and largely in business too, appreciate his innovation and the impact it had for the common investor.

In an age where technology can solve everything and things of the past are treated as “outdated”, it’s worth pausing to recognize that the Index Fund is like robo-investing (e.g. Robinhood, Wealthfront) in it’s innovation.

Except, where robo-investing has potential, index funds have results.

RIP Jack.

p.s. An early 3-part series posted here on TILT was largely influenced by Jack’s index funds. You can read post 1 here.

Air warfare in Silicon Valley

Eric Reis’ The Lean Startup was a New York Times best seller and vaulted Eric Reis from a successful but relatively unknown entrepreneur, to a household name in Silicon Valley and beyond. His book challenged businesses to think less about developing the perfect product before launching and more about delivering a viable product sooner, and rapidly iterating on it until it “crosses the chasm“. His theory centers around the principles of being fast, observing the market, and pivoting quickly to improve the offering. While original in his writing and successful at changing how many thought about product development, he wasn’t nearly the first to change a field with these principles.

In this, Eric Reis is like John Boyd, the legendary USAF Colonel who revolutionized air warfare.

John Boyd’s greatest contributions came after his time as a fighter pilot in the Korean War. Boyd believed that it was speed and maneuverability in air warfare was the key to victory. This belief led to the creation of the Lightweight Fighter program, which, after several iterations, gave birth to the F-16 Fighting Falcon and several other innovative aircraft. His focus on maneuverability went hand-in-hand with his theory-in-practice framework he called the OODA Loop; Observe-Orient-Decide-Act.

Both Eric Reis and John Boyd believed in the importance of speed and the ability to respond quickly in gaining victory. Like most great ideas, theirs were developed with the help of others and on the ideas of those before them. The OODA Loop was developed around the time of another loop that was gaining traction in the manufacturing field, the Deming Cycle. Which at their cores, are all simply variations of Bacon’s Scientific Method.

This idea of winning through action, learning and improving has shown up time and again in various forms because it works. While simple in concept, organizations can struggle to implement it if they don’t commit to building towards speed and being disciplined in its execution. For those who do, however, victory is likely theirs.

To read more on Boyd and the OODA Loop (vastly underappreciated), start here.

Winning in war, basketball and life

The Navy SEALs have many maxims, and when it comes to running a good mission they remind each other “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”

This is like John Wooden’s maxim, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again.”

There are a lot of differences between the Navy SEALs and John Wooden. However, with one being the greatest fighting force the world has known and the other the greatest college basketball coach, they are both unequivocally elite.

The world has only gotten faster since John Wooden’s time, which only makes his point more important. If it’s important, do it right, do it once, and win the war.

Mentoring, at its best, is like dating

Part 3: Mentoring, at its best, is like dating
This is a 3-part post; you can find Part 1 here & Part 2 here

Photo by Tim Wright on Unsplash

The first two posts on mentoring show its likeness to interviewing and coaching, a fairly common comparison. This final post focuses on an overlooked but important truth of great mentoring relationships. Despite having many mentoring relationships, including several good ones, its taken half my life and two recent great mentoring relationships to recognize this truth; mentoring, at it’s BEST, is like dating. There must be trust, shared interest/values, and chemistry for it work

Trust: If there isn’t trust in this relationship, you’ll never get deeper than surface level in your time together, and treasures are never buried at surface level. Just like in dating though, trust doesn’t start on day 1. It takes time for that to develop as you, mentor or mentee, grow more comfortable together and find the connections necessary to build that trust. This takes time, but it also takes a willingness to extend trust in how you share or recieve experiences.

Shared interest/values: It’s difficult to give or take advice to/from someone who you either don’t respect, or cannot relate to. This doesn’t mean that you should have similar demographics or careers, but there must be a common ground for you to build on together.

Chemistry: You could check the box on every single point made over the last three posts and yet there’s still just something not “clicking” in the mentoring relationship. You can ignore this factor, discredit it or even combat it, but it is there. Whether the timing just isn’t right or something else, you have to be willing to accept this. If mentoring relationship isn’t what it should be, the most respectful thing you can do, for both parties, is to let it go.

In my last two posts, my call-to-action was for you to begin mentoring through either Veterati or Big Brother or Big Sister, and while I still hope you consider mentoring I’m going to make a different ask today.

If you have a mentor or a mentee, write them a thank you note, expressing gratitude for the gift you both have in that relationship.

If you’re having difficulty making the most of a mentoring relationship, or difficulty in finding a way to start one, shoot me a note via my contact page and let’s try to solve it.

Mentoring, at its best, is like coaching

Part 2: Mentoring, at its best, is like interviewing
This is a 3-part post; you can find Part 1 here & 3 will follow tomorrow

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

Like all meaningful relationships, a lot goes into developing a strong mentoring relationship. While much of it can be organic, there are ways to be intentional and make the most of it. This 3-part series aims to shift and simplify the way you, as either mentor or mentee, think about mentoring. The first part is to treat the relationship as you would an interview, but we’ll limit the value of the relationship if we only take a formal view of mentoring; mentoring is like coaching in the need for there to be training, encouragement and accountability.

Training: A coach’s ultimate goal with a player is to help them improve, and that focus on improvement is just as important in worthwhile mentoring. If you’re not being intentional in using that time to learn and improve (yourself or your mentee) then its not mentoring, its “hanging out”.

Encouragement: You’re likely action and outcome oriented, which usually is accompanied with being your toughest critic. When the road to winning becomes bumpy and your trophy still feels a long way off, it’s common to become discouraged. This is where you may need a good mentor most, to remind you that they’re speed bumps, not mountains.

Accountability: Rarely, if ever, has a great coach been primarily described as being “nice”. That is because they’re willing to be tough when necessary to keep players accountable for doing what they need to do to improve. Set goals in your time together, and if you’re not following through on them, a good mentor will hold you accountable.

If you’re committing to building a mentoring relationship that has lasting impact, think about approaching mentoring as if you were a coach. Be intentional in training through the time together, share encouragement when the journey becomes difficult, and hold each other accountable to following through on the growth goals you set together.

Re-frame the idea of mentoring – one of the best ways to better gain from mentoring, is to give mentoring. Here are a couple good options outside of your office/church/etc:
-Mentor a veteran or find a mentor with Veterati
-Become a Big Brother or Big Sister