Category Archives: People


Everything Worth Knowing About Jeff Bezos #vvmarketing

  • 1: Yegge Rant 1:
  • 2: Yegge Response To Rant:
  • TEDtalk
  • regret minimization framework

Emma Coats’ 22 Rules Of Storytelling

Emma Coats is a storyteller who used to work at Pixar. In 2012, she wrote a series of tweets with the hashtag #storybasics. I refer to them from time to time. Here they are:

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.


I’ll populate this one with my favorite posts, I guess.

“I saw a bumper sticker that I really liked. It said, “Is it transportation or a lifestyle?” Of course, you never see a bumper sticker like that on a Mercedes. It was on a beater of a Subaru, naturally.”

Sheryl Sandberg speech at Harvard Business School 2012

Full transcript

  1. World is becoming more connected and less hierarchical. Everybody has a voice, etc.
  2. Traditional career paths are shifting as well– Google CEO Eric Schmidt said to focus on getting on a rocket ship. When companies are growing quickly  and having a lot of impact, careers take care of themselves. When companies aren’t growing quickly or their missions don’t matter at much, stagnation and politics come in. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.
  3. Don’t tell people what you’re good at. Ask them what their biggest problem is, and how you can solve it for them. what Lori Goler did- HBS ’97, marketing in eBay.. (Sheryl’s biggest problem was recruitiing.)
  4. Careers aren’t ladders, they’re jungle gyms. Look for opportunities, growth, impact, mission. Build your skills, not your resume. Evaluate what you can do, not the title they’re going to give you. Do real work. Take a sales quota, a line role, an ops job, don’t plan too much, and don’t expect a direct climb. If I had mapped out my career when I was sitting where you are, I would have missed my career.
  5. You will not be able to rely on who you are or the degree you hold- you’ll have to rely on what you know. Your strength comes from trust and respect, not place on org chart. Talent, skill, imagination, vision, but more than anything else, authentic communication that inspires others. Listen so you learn every day.
  6. All orgs have some hierarchy. One person’s performance is assessed by someone else’s perception- not a setup for honesty. People don’t say they disagree, or that something seems stupid. They beat around the bush.
  7. As you get more senior, people speak less clearly to you + overreact to the small things you say.
  8. Interesting experience/implications with No Powerpoints rule. Sheryl meant “no powerpoints with me”, people interpreted that to mean “no Powerpoint with clients”. “Next time you hear something that’s really stupid, don’t adhere to it- fight it or ignore it, even if it’s coming from Sheryl or Mark.”
    1. Good leader recognizes most people don’t feel comfortable challenging authority, so it falls upon authority to encourage questions. Easy to say you’ll encourage feedback but hard to do, because it doesn’t always come in a format we want to here.
  9. Google Interview Story: Sheryl used to interview everyone in her team at Google. Started with 4, grew to 100. She realized she was taking longer to schedule, so she suggested at a meeting of direct reports that she should maybe stop interviewing. She thought they’d say “no, your interviews are critical part of the process”, but they appluaded and fell over themselves explaining that she was the bottleneck. She was embarrassed, then angry and quietly fuming. Why didn’t they tell her? Why did they let her go on slowing them down? Then she realized- “If they haven’t told me, it’s my fault. I hadn’t been open enough to tell them that I wanted that feedback.”
  10. Trick: Speak really openly about the things that you’re bad at, which gives people permission to agree with you rather than pointing out in the first place. For eg, Sheryl gets anxious when things are unresolved. Nobody ever accused her of  being too calm. So she speaks about it openly. If not, would anybody say “Hey Sheryl, calm down, you’re driving us all nuts?” Unlikely.
  11. It’s all professional and it’s all personal. You can’t really separate the two.
  12. Women at top c-level jobs stuck at 15-16%- not close to 50%. Need to acknowledge openly that gender remains an issue.


Elon Musk is always talked about as a tech/engineering/business type genius. He’s also a PR/marketing genius:



  1.  “Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right.”
  2.  “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
  3.  “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”
  4.  “What gets measured gets improved.”
  5.  “Results are gained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.”
  6.  “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.”
  7.  “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”
  8.  “Meetings are by definition a concession to a deficient organization. For one either meets or one works. One cannot do both at the same time.”
  9.  “Long-range planning does not deal with the future decisions, but with the future of present decisions.”
  10.  “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things”


Coined the term “Knowledge Worker” in 1959.

– Leadership is about results not attributes

– management by objectives works if you know the objectives. usually you don’t

-plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work


  1. Figure out what information is needed
  2. actively prune what’s past its prime
  3. build true learning organizations
  4. provide a much stronger sense of purpose
  5. be more mindful of those left behind

Schumpeter blog: Remembering Drucker–—what_b_6102620.html Looks kinda blah to me “Charisma is overrated- Marshall and Eisenhower were deadly dull”– well, overrated in what context? Most contexts probably.

– what needs to be done? of those things that would make a difference, what’s right for me?

check your performance against your goals

“don’t tell me what you’re doing, tell me what you stopped doing”

“this is what I am focusing on”