Focusing Illusion

“Nothing In Life Is As Important As You Think It Is, While You Are Thinking About It”

 

Education is an important determinant of income — one of the most important — but it is less important than most people think. If everyone had the same education, the inequality of income would be reduced by less than 10%. When you focus on education you neglect the myriad other factors that determine income. The differences of income among people who have the same education are huge.

 

Recipient, Nobel Prize in Economics, 2002; Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology; Author, Thinking Fast and Slow

Are You a Multiplier or a Diminisher?

Liz Wiseman talks about The Power of Not Knowing . She talks about multipliers and how they work.

Multipliers are different. Some of the common attributes you can find in multipliers are that:

  • They are supportive
  • They trust people
  • They listen a lot
  • They make you feel important
  • They seek help
  • They give appreciation
  • They get out of the way
  • They are demanding and have high expectations of you
  • They challenge you and let you suffer a bit
  • They operate from a place of inquiry
  • They push you out of your comfort zone into  spaces unknown
  • They ask questions that focus the energy and intelligence of the group

Diminishers hire great talent, but do not allow them to operate at their full potential. Here is how to identify them.

  • They micro manage people
  • They adopt a subtle attitude of  “my way or high way”
  • They typically operate in “tell” mode
  • They constantly emphasize their superiority
  • They remind you that you don’t know enough
  • They constantly interrupt
  • They operate from a place of knowledge (their knowledge)
  • They create stress in the teams that work for them

Listening to this talk, made me think, how we have a mixture of the qualities of both multipliers and diminishers. I have noticed that good multipliers are comfortable in their own skin and make great mentors and coaches.

After listening to Liz, I am putting her books on my reading list. I highly recommend listening to this podcast. 

Can Universities Teach Students About Startups?

Can universities teach students about startups? Yes and no. They can teach students about startups, but as I explained before, this is not what you need to know. What you need to learn about are the needs of your own users, and you can’t do that until you actually start the company. So starting a startup is intrinsically something you can only really learn by doing it. And it’s impossible to do that in college.  Startups take over your life. You can’t start a startup for real as a student, because if you start a startup for real you’re not a student anymore. You may be nominally a student for a bit, but you won’t even be that for long.

In yet another amazing essay, Paul Graham talks about the counter intuitive nature of startups. A highly recommended reading.