Weekly Learnings Week 46

Quote of the week

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

Weekly thoughts

We often experience painful events in our lifes, but some are more painful than others. What’s especially painful to me is rejection. And while writing this, I’m fully aware that I’ve rejected and hurt people myself, which doesn’t make it an easy exercise.

Rejection happens on many levels in our lives: our boss not recognizing our work and ideas, a friend forgetting about the dinner you were looking forward for 2 months or a partner/crush telling you not being in love with you.

Those hurt so much, especially because they’re so personal. It feels like someone telling you that he just does not like the way you are.

However, what’s often overlooked is the fact, that the rejection is not only hurtful for the rejected one but also for the person rejecting. No one of us intentionally wants to hurt other people.

Rejection is a huge lose/lose situation in the short term, and it takes a lot of courage to follow through with it. But it allows getting on with our lives, so I think there is a huge upside in the long run: finding a job/friend/partner you truly love.

And this is the connection to my quote of the week:

We can only lose if we don‘t try – so we need to keep our heads up, don‘t give up and believe in ourselves. We are stronger than we think we are.

What I learned this week

I recently finished 2 books: Quantitative Value (Wes Grey) & Never Split The Difference (Chris Voss).

Quantitative Value is about automated trading strategies. I don‘t want to go too much into the details, because it‘s a rather technical topic and requires some knowledge about the nitty gritty of balance sheets. However, I want to quickly explain what the basic idea is about and for whom the book might be interesting.

Quantitative investing can best be explained as the opposite of what most people think of classical stock investing. Instead of doing deep research on a company (evaluating their product, getting to know their management,…), quant investors only look at numbers and their relation to each other, hoping to find predictors for future success. A typical question might be: „How much revenue does a company make in relation to it‘s invested capital?“ 

Those ideas are then tested against historical data and then implemented in a computer algorithm.

The advantage to this approach is, that it works almost automatical, therefore emotions can be eliminated and – as the ideas can be validated against historical data – it‘s more predictible than the classical idea of buy-and-hold. 

To enjoy this book, you have to have interest in investing. If you are a newbie like me, you should probably even expect to do some research on some jargon. However, the book is full of interesting papers and is quite well researched.

Never split the difference is a really thoughtful book about negotiation. Chris Voss is an ex-FBI hostage negotiator and shares his experiences and best ways to approach negotiations.

His approach relies a lot on the principle „First understand, then be understood“. This is what makes this book so interesting. Instead of relying on quick hacks to manipulate the opposite, the book is more about understanding the other side, finding out about their motivations.

One could think of negotiations like games, with a winner and a loser at the end. But Voss thinks about this differently: Life usually does not end after a negotiation and if you want to truly „win“, you have to reach deep consent for both parties.

An example: We all know those sales people, that only make you unconfortable with their questions. But it seems we can hardly escape: Would you like to afford a new car? Yes. Would you like having 200 $/€ extra in your pocket? Yes. What if I told you by doing this, that you can get rich quickly? Okay. Would you like to learn how to do this? Yes.

Yes, yes and yes. And we immediatly sense, that something is fishy here. But we have a hard time breaking out of the cycle.

And this kind of negotatiation, Voss argues, is really bad because it fosters exactly the opposite of a „win“. It‘s not consent that you win, but distrust.

So instead try to get the other side to talk to you, to understand their motivations. Often we overlook, that there is something else to negotiations than what‘s obvious on the table. This is what Voss looks at in the book. Big recommendation, great read.

Articles (cut short this time)

Scott Alexander – Working With Google Trends

Google Trends can be used as a research instrument, but only with great care. Some instructions by Scott Alexander. 

More: Working with Google Trends

Atul Gawande – Why Doctors Hate Their Computers

Medical systems are about to revolutionize medicine by providing better insights for patients and doctors alike. But they are a pain in the ass to use. Gawande intuitively makes the case for good product management.

More: Why Doctors Hate Their Computers

The Laws Of Human Nature: An Interview With Robert Greene

We are all alike: Hungry for power, money and influence. And we are all denying it to a certain degree.  Robert Greene takes this idea as a foundation for his new book and build up principle for principle upon it. Sounds like an interesting read.

More: The Laws Of Human Nature

Thomas Tuchel – Rulebreaker [DE only]

Really interesting talk by the German soccer coach. I think his ideas about respect and team building are what‘s missing in today‘s society a lot. Tuchel‘s success shows, that it‘s these basic building blocks that lead to successful teams, even if you don‘t have world class experts on them. Communication, trust and collaboration eat individualism for breakfast.

Cool thing of the week

The other day Jack Dorsey shared his daily to-do list on Twitter:

I loved that idea so much, that I started doing this routine in a similar way. I created a Siri shortcut, that would allow me to create such a note within seconds. It‘s pretty cool to review and tick off items when going to bed. Reflecting every day provides me with the topics, ideas and insights I‘m now writing about here.

Benedict

VP @Mindbreeze, Ex-Product @Runtastic, addicted to #sports, #music, #tech and #economics (and #coffee)

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