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The Heretic is a free dispatch delivering insights into what it takes to lead into & in the unknown. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Disrupt Disruption

Jan 27th, 2023 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Stick With It

Yesterday I recorded an episode of the Disrupt Disruption podcast with Mary Grove, Managing Director of Bread and Butter Ventures and former founding director at Google for Startups (and a whole bunch more). In our conversation, Mary shares her deeply insightful learnings from thousands of startups, explores how corporates can better partner and work with entrepreneurs and their companies, and discusses common pitfalls to avoid. Do yourself a favor and listen

While editing the episode, I realized that this is the 45th interview I have published on the Disrupt Disruption podcast. We are also some 110+ episodes into the audio version of The Heretic. And, of course, this post marks the 1,253rd post on The Heretic itself.

You can say that I have the ability to stick with things in the long run. Make no mistake, though; I tried and dropped plenty of things after doing them once or a few times at best.

The difference?

It’s not necessarily pure enjoyment of doing the thing (trust me, there are plenty of times when I don’t want to write a Heretic dispatch). It certainly isn’t an immediate success (both podcasts took quite a while to gain more than a handful of listeners). It’s because it feels important and meaningful. Note that I say “feel” not “is” – who knows if any of this is important. But it does feel important and meaningful to me.

This brings me to the main point: I don’t think you can build anything meaningful if you are not 100% convinced that it is meaningful to you. If you do things half-heartedly, with an expectation of some form of success to motivate you, I can nearly guarantee you that you won’t stick with it for the necessary time it takes to make it successful. But if you do something because you feel it is important and meaningful… well… then you can go on and write 1,253 blog posts, record 110+ voice-overs, 45 long-form podcast episodes and look forward to the next one.

So – stick with it.

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Jan 20th, 2023

What Doesn’t Change?

A good ten years ago, at Amazon re:Invent 2012, Jeff Bezos cracked a joke on stage while being interviewed by Werner Vogels (Amazon’s CTO):

“It is impossible to imagine a future, ten years from now, where a customer comes up to me and says, ‘Jeff, I love Amazon. I just wish the prices were a little higher.’”

The joke followed a discussion Jeff had with Werner about the importance of understanding that the things you build your business on frequently are not the new things but the ones which stay the same.

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going...

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Jan 12th, 2023

The Adjacent Possible

My friend Rob Evans, co-founder of Imaginal Labs, likes to point out that “like evolution in the natural world, practical innovations almost always proceed by recombining and extending what already exists.”

Let that sit for a moment.

Most of what we label as innovation — even the most daring, era-defining ones, are merely the product of combining, changing, and extending what came before.

The iPhone? A product built on the shoulders of (small but mighty) giants like the Palm Pilot, the Newton, and Magic Cap. Tesla’s original Roadster? A Lotus Elise chassis, lithium-ion batteries, and most other parts off-the-shelf...

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Jan 2nd, 2023


’Tis the season… The year ended, and we muddled through and swore everything would be better next year. More organized. Better aligned. Less chaotic. 2023 will be the year we finally get our KPIs in order.

KPIs – the perfect world of Key Performance Indicators. “You can’t change what you can’t measure” and all that good jazz. Apparently, you can even get certified as a KPI Professional. Who knew? Maybe we should add this to our list of KPIs for the year.

But, as with pretty much anything hiding behind an acronym, KPIs do squid for you more often than not....

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Dec 12th, 2022

It Pays To Be Early

You heard the saying: Early bird catches the worm.

And you heard the words: First Mover Advantage.

You also saw the reality: First movers nearly never make it. They might get immortalized in a cool feature film documentary, but they rarely survive long enough even to realize that they were right — just too early.

Just go and watch General Magic.

That being said, the graveyard of any startup or corporate innovation community is littered with the corpses of those who were too late. Who launched just past the infliction point, when stuff gets “good enough.”

To build for...

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Dec 5th, 2022

On Change And Changing

Sixty years ago, 1962, acclaimed author James Baldwin penned an essay in the New York Times Book Review titled “As Much Truth As One Can Bear.” The essay presents Baldwin’s thoughts about contemporary authors’ paramount task in shaping today’s society. Baldwin concludes:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

It is a good reminder (and a beautiful piece of writing) that the most important thing to do is to do it.

I am confident most, if not all of us, have found ourselves standing in the face of...

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Nov 17th, 2022

Stuff Is Just Hard

Today I had lunch with a wonderful group of truly highly accomplished people. Folks who have worked on peacekeeping missions in the gnarliest of environments and managed some of the most complex organizational changes. And during this conversation, I was reminded of a simple fact — regardless of how something might look from the outside, it is always just hard.

Getting the leaders of warring factions to collaborate? Managing deeply entrenched stakeholders in a corporate take-over? It all requires change — not just of the surrounding factors but the very people at the center of the story.

The same is...

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Nov 13th, 2022

Why Big Corp Won't Hurt You

You surely can’t avoid the epic soap opera that is Twitter these days. I will spare you any commentary, snark, or armchair strategizing here — grab a bag of 🍿, sit back and enjoy the show.

What it does bring up for me, though, and something worth discussing, is an age-old question I get rather frequently from (particularly young(er)) entrepreneurs:

“What if [big company] decides to do what I am working on too?”

Ever since I got that question — and I understand where it comes from: It can feel scary to think what would happen to your fledging startup if...

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Oct 28th, 2022

Whatever is Easiest Wins

Remember smart thermostats before the Nest? Didn’t work. Well, actually — they did work, but nobody knew how to use them as they had tons of buttons, menus to navigate, and manuals to read before you even understood where to start. Then the Nest came along. Turn the round dial clockwise, and it gets warmer, turn it in the other direction, and it gets colder. Do this for a few days, and Nest learns your preferences and starts programming itself.

TV remotes, microwave ovens, many software applications … The list goes on and on. All too complicated to be used...

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Oct 20th, 2022

Everybody Is Faking It All the Time

You might have seen Mark Zuckerberg’s overly excited “I now have legs in the Metaverse”-dance during his company’s Connect 2022 developer conference keynote.

If that sentence made no sense to you at all, let me fill you in: Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook) bets big on the Metaverse. Meta has a virtual world called Horizon. It’s the VR version of Facebook — or it should be someday. Your digital representation (i.e., your avatar) inside of Horizon currently doesn’t have legs. You just float around in space. Turns out – legs are hard to do properly in VR.

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