Category Archives: General

Four trends of public-private partnerships since COVID

There are four important trends related to public-private partnerships and government that have been accelerated by COVID-19:

1. Governments are getting bigger, not smaller.  

While governments have been getting bigger and bigger in the last 20 years, COVID has really accelerated this trend.  Regardless of whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing, it means that working with governments will be even more important in the future than it has been in the past.

2. Government is also getting smarter.

Governments — from cities, to states, to federal agencies, to heads of states — have become MUCH more data oriented since March.  SafeGraph, where I work, provides its geospatial data to over 4000+ cities, states, and government agencies and we’ve seen a remarkable leveling-up in sophistication in how to use data, and data science, in the last few months.  

3. The biggest tech companies are actually working LESS with the government today than big tech companies had in the past.

Gone are the days of Hewlett Packard which worked closely with government. The biggest tech companies (like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, etc.) are opting to share as little with government as possible.  These tech giants are increasingly wary of working with government and especially anything to do with the national security world.  That means there is a huge opportunity for other technology companies that feel they have an obligation to work on bigger problems.  

4. Standards are becoming increasingly important.

To join data across many companies, organizations, and governments … we need standards.

Imagine how the world would look without standards like the meter, Unix time, or the U.S. dollar to measure things.  For instance, the Placekey initiative is an open standard that creates a free universal identifier on a physical place.  Placekey and other standards and join keys will become increasingly important in the post-COVID world.

Four Number 4 - Free image on Pixabay

The Value of EQ Has Peaked And Is Dropping Dramatically

Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence (also known as interpersonal intelligence) are incredibly important and will continue to be very important. However, until recently, it was THE most important type of intelligence. It’s not anymore. 

In the past, people with high EQ were rewarded with networks of people to leverage in deal-making. 

It makes sense that EQ was the dominant trait in a world previously dominated by: “it is not what you know, but who you know.” 

That was the world we lived in in the 20th Century — a world defined by middlemen and rent-seekers. The who-you-knows would put together two what-you-knows and take a transaction fee for their service. They were the brokers, bankers, agents, and management consultants – the ones using their high EQs to close deals and make sales. They were essential for society. 

business insider linkedin GIF

In most professions, people with high EQ would massively outperform people who had very high levels of other intelligence (like IQ, creativity, intra-intelligence [self-awareness], spiritual intelligence, physical intelligence, and more). Most of the highest paying jobs in the last 100 years relied heavily on EQ.

But, technology is now replacing “who you knows” with platforms that do the same job.

In the last few years, technology has replaced the “who-you-knows” faster than the “what-you-knows.” LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google (not to mention tons of other companies that are taking market share from middlemen) are far better connectors than anyone profiled in Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point.

Linkedin GIF by Socialbakers

Upwork is another great example. This database has replaced most talent agencies and allows qualified freelancers to provide quotes, book jobs, and create for their clients 24/7/365. The “who you knows” used to control these client leads. Now, it’s handled by code (much to the delight of the creative community).

In this new world, EQ will remain essential but will not be as dominant as it once was. IQ also may decline a bit (as computers are taking over that area too). We’ll see a higher value placed on some of the other skills, traits, and intelligence like creativity, self-awareness, spiritual intelligence, and more.

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How Many Priorities Can You Have? Uhhhh … definitely not more than 100.

One simple way to increase productivity is to say no to any priorities that are not in your top 100. (note that a “priority” is everything, you spend more than a few hours doing per month). 

Whaaa?   “But I thought I can only have 3 priorities”

A lot of people say, “you can only have three priorities.” But everyone has way more.  Most people are juggling 300 things … not 100).  

In my opinion, each person you love is an individual priority. 

Maybe you’re fanatic about your sleep. If so, that’s a priority. 

If you binge-watch The Sopranos, that is a priority for you.

And yes, if you spend more than a few hours a month cleaning your house, it is a priority … your time does not lie.   

Photo byJESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

I’m not talking about macro goals like “build a profitable startup.” There are many smaller projects and workstreams that go into a macro goal like that. 

Imagine if an invisible evil elf teleported to your home from the Planet Krytonii and secretly recorded your every move for the last few months.  What would Mr. Evil Elf have noted?  Those are your priorities … your time does not lie.

If you spend a few hours on something per month, it’s a priority.  

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Don’t Choose What To Do, Choose What Not To Do.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

The number one thing that smart people do wrong is that they overvalue optionality. Contrary to popular belief, you should put yourself in a small box and limit your options so that you are clear and focused. 

Optionality usually leads to a worse outcome than focus.

Almost every smart person disagrees with me on this, but you should eliminate options. 

Most super-smart people are doing the opposite: they are continually growing their options. Business school teaches you to open up options. Businesses that value optionality will start a few different products with the hope that one of the businesses will take off, or they’ll make multiple bets valuing portfolio theory over focus.

Having multiple strategies often means that a company isn’t investing enough in the most promising path. The best businesses are clearly focused and say “no” to almost everything. They deliberately cut off options, and they publicly declare that they will not go into business lines in the future (even when businesses are adjacent to their core market).

Focus is the act of eliminating options. 

Eschew optionality and instead focus on the one thing you want to do really, really well. Create a strategy and execute on that strategy. Don’t A/B test. Instead, be deterministic about what path will work and follow that path. A CEO might be wrong about the path, or the business might not execute. But without a deterministic path, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to the focused entrepreneur.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

– Warren Buffett
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The Ultimate Guide to Moderating a Virtual Discussion

How to successfully have a great online video discussion.

Lessons From McLennan Community College's Virtual Educator - Zoom Blog

I have hosted hundreds of one-conversation dinner parties over the years.   

Moderating a great discussion by video has a lot of similarities to moderating a great dinner party but there are a few key differences.  

Quiet is golden

When hosting a great dinner party, you want to make sure you are in a quiet room so everyone can hear each other.

When hosting a virtual discussion, sound quality is also very important.  You want to have a discussion with the microphone on for all participants. The conversation will be much more organic if no one needs to be on mute.  That means all the participants need to be in a quiet place or have a very good headset.  

The Best Gaming Headsets for 2020 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Best discussions are 5-12 people where they can all see each other

The best discussions have 5-12 people.  The more the people, the better the skills needed for the moderator.  

Everyone should see everyone in the discussion so it is important that you view people in “grid view” (rather than speaker view).  Another nice feature of video chat is that they usually can put the people’s names on the screen (analogous to having nameplates for good dinner discussions).

How to do online Introductions

Usually when getting people together that do not all know one another, you go around the table and everyone quickly introduces themselves.  This is a good idea for virtual meetings too but it requires more moderation as it is not clear who is next. The moderator needs to jump in (“thank you Bill.  Susan: you’re up”).

Norms for discussions are important

Just like a great dinner party, you need everyone to show up on time and be engaged and present.  For virtual discussions, everyone needs to be present and not checking Twitter or another screen while the discussion is going on.  

A good moderator needs to enforce these norms and call people out that might be straying or looking less engaged.

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