Key learnings: The discipline of market leaders

The discipline of market leaders


Choose a specific value and align your people, processes and culture to that value. Relentlessly build upon that value everyday.

Types of values

  • Operational excellence
  • Product leadership
  • customer leadership

Operational excellence

Build up and optimize system to reliably and cheaply deliver what is expected. A perfect example is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo’s consideration where it’s competitors margin is its own profit.

Product leadership 

To setup processes to stay at the leading edge of what the industry expects by constantly pushing technological boundary to make possible what was not priorly possible. To setup independent teams to tackle problems in the same domain such that products developed by an internal team are made obsolete by another internal team instead of another company. To consciously self-disrupt. Andy Grove’s intel is a perfect example.

Customer leadership

To empower your teams to deeply ingrain themselves into your customer’s processes such that integration between your customer and your company is seamless. Perfect example is JSlabs where the consultants are so seamlessly integrated with Edmodo there is close to no difference between JSlabs staff and Edmodo staff from Edmodo’s perspective.

Key concerns

Need to ensure the other 2 values are at least on par with industrial expectation at the moment

Related readings

  • The effective Drucker
  • Amazon: The everything store

The upcoming shift in job landscape

As technological innovation and disruption continues to happen in various industries, more and more sections of traditional deadend jobs continue to get automated away. A shift in mindset towards jobs becomes necessary.

With higher man to output ratio made possible through leverage of technology, companies trends towards being smaller and more nimble, their outputs more differentiated in market, and the environment more organic.

In the prior era, the individual sees himself as generic bolts to be fitted into one of the many predefined Giant engines (businesses)  and thereafter, unless he operates at the upper echelons of the machinery, close himself off to the rest of the environment.

In the new era, the individual is constantly scanning the environment for changes to figure out what new oasis has open up and which one is dying down and thereafter moves from one watering hole to another.

Related references

  • Why the west rules, for now, Ian Morris
  • The next jobs series, Aki Ito, Bloomberg news
  • How an Instagram Influencer Makes a Living
  • The coming jobs war, Gallup institute

Deep penetration of Chinese in Egypt


Middle class mainland Chinese tourists photo taking in Temple of Karnak
An Egyptian tout observed to attempt at granting middle class mainland Chinese tourist access to prohibited sections of the temple in exchange for bakshee(bribe). How did two groups of people that started at similar baseline post World War Two end up with drastically different economic outcomes after 60 years?
Huawei observed to habevdeeply penetrated the Egyptian. Majority of mobile phone vendors observed to have accepted the company’s sponsorship for signboards

Walking around in the temples found around the area of Luxor, it’s been observed that the population of Chinese tourists were significant, whilst the concentration of Americans tourists were negligible.

It can be speculated the negative PR generated on the territory by American press has relatively lesser impact on Chinese tourism as compared to American tourism.

It is noteworthy that  Chinese brands have been observed to be very active in sponsoring local businesses.

Analysis of Arabic street tout’s aggressive sales technique

An Egyptian tout observed to attempt at granting tourists access to prohibited sections of the temple in exchange for bakshee(bribe).

The method


always go after the independent individual who looks foreign. We will term this individual as the mark in the rest of the passage.

Appearance of vulnerability such as looking at maps, guide book or just simply looking lost is a bonus.

Following the three second rule is extremely important. Approaching the mark after 3 seconds of visual contact will simply come across as dodgy.

Show interest to establish rapport

New comers not understanding the lay of the land will generally be more open to folks that have been around for a while.

Establish credibility

This can be done by demonstrating that you are an official (or maybe not). Flashing a badge or just simply sounding sure if what you say might suffice. On occasions, expression of anger or aggression might work too. This taps into one of the many cognitive biases inherent in humans known as the Authority bias.

At this point if the mark is new to the territory of just simply new to the context you set you could explore the availability bias, another cognitive bias inherent in the humans. Without any readily available data to counter the data points you are providing, the mark will likely take your word at face value.

Demonstrate value

This is the most important step in the value extraction phase. Offer to something that the mark might find useful. Manually onboard the mark to the token of value, be it writing their name to the souvenir you are trying to sell or putting the hat on for them.

This action taps into the loss aversion cognitive bias.

Elicit empathy

This step will only work effectively, if you have done the step well. Tell a story of loss, such as your wife and kids need to eat or your sister is getting married. As for a token of appreciation in exchange. The common phrase utilized is “ a gift from your heart”. This step takes into the reciprocity cognitive bias.

Assume moral high ground

If the previous two steps were well executed you can effectively step into this frame if the mark refuses your request. In most circumstances , the mark should concede to some exchange.

The neutralization

Method 1 – just walk away

Simply ignore the approach. Do not at any point engage in any conversation. Even if it is as innocent as replying to tell them where you are from. This starts a mini exchange process which quickly escalated into the above routine.

Method 2 – the exploitation

To successfully execute upon this method, you will need to have build up a high threshold for managing sensation in the body. At the stage where the tout takes moral higher ground, express empathy for the person’s plight and just simply stop at the action and no more. The tout know this as well as you do that this is a show, it is unlikely the tout will escalate this exercise into anything more aggressive than words. You can walk away after experiencing the *favor*

Learning the fundamentals of design——0-0——————602f817a_a3a3_4096_b5ed_2aa3c4615f05-1&sectionName=top

Reflections for the morning

While technology has been advancing rapidly, the human brain has not. The key for growth is to study and understand what has already tested and proven to work in marketing and figure out how to repackage the same methodology on a newly available platform. It is a rigorous process.

What’s next in growth?

When listening to marketing narratives focus the attention on the underlying data rather than the story itself. This is crucial because the same set of data can be used to constructed drastic different if not conflicting story. Study and understand the different critical lens you could use to analyze a piece of communication.



A great startup ideas

  • they’re something the founders themselves want.
  • that they themselves can build.
  • that few others realize are worth doing.
  • Its unsexy
  • There is a lot of shit you will need to shovel to get things to work
  • It requires persistent and dedication beyond a time horizon that most folks are willing to devote their time to
  • A small number of folks chronically in painful need of the solution
  • There are other folks out there with shitty solutions in the market

External references

Signals on Leadership

  • 10 essentials of Peter Drucker – liberal arts and leadership
  • Jeff Bezos, Amazon –  13 principles of leadership
  • Genghis Khan – clearly defined rules

Book summary – The inmates are running the asylum

  • Cheaper in the long run to be slow but build the proper user experience
  • Fixating in a schedule and being forced to take short cuts without a clear vision in mind is bad
  • Cheaper to figure out the experience before building it. The latter is like scalping with a chainsaw
  • Code revisions due initial lack of clarity in the market inevitably scars the code
  • listen to your users but use your own judgement to discern the product feature to build
  • handing the reins over to the users results in the abdication of your vision
  • abdication of your vision pulls you to the mainstream and results in the loss of differentiation
  • if they believe if you vision they will be willing to wait for it anyway
  • reality is strong enough to stand on its own feet. It does not need a devils advocate
  • Distinguish clearly between task and goals
  • goals are universal across time while tasks are transient
    • goals – company needs to make money
    • tasks – need to write a report in windows power point
  • there are personal goals and professional goals
    • personal goal – feel good and don’t look stupid
    • professional goals – make sure boss gets his report and I don’t get fired