The Heretic Logo

By PASCAL FINETTE

Build What Matters

The Heretic is a free bi-weekly dispatch delivering insights into leadership in exponential times. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

be radical.

Apr 12th, 2021

Don’t Trust This Man

In the early 2000s British reality TV comedy show Trigger Happy TV had a brilliant sketch called “Don’t Trust This Man”. In it, you see Dom Joly stand in front of a giant poster with his face and the words “don’t trust this man” on it, talking to strangers asking them for favors. It’s hilarious in its peculiar weirdness.

The other day I had the wonderful opportunity to hear and interview two marketing powerhouses, each with decades of experience, tons of successes under their belts and massive followings. They essentially gave diametrically opposed pieces of advice. One said that attention is everything, and you have to invest into the largest social media following possible. The other said that it is all about a tiny number of highly engaged followers and isn’t even on social media himself. One was in the scale and grow camp, the other on the “build what matters” side. One was touting NFTs as the biggest thing since the Internet, the other called them out as BS. You couldn’t have asked for a starker contrast.

Which brings me to my point, actually a meta point: Don’t trust this man.

Too often I see people blindly copying what others, accomplished (or seemingly accomplished) people tell them. They listen to the proverbial sage-on-stage, watch YouTube videos of influencers, dissect the Tweetstorms of thought leaders, read the newsletter or listen to the podcast of people like… well, me, I guess. Please, please, please — don’t trust either of them. Which, of course, includes me.

As every decent programmer will tell you — always filter and sanitize your input variables. Do the same with information: Filter and sanitize it, take the essence out of it, don’t trust it but rather consider it merely “input” and make up your own mind. Learn from others, no doubt, and chart your own path.


Apr 8th, 2021

Switch Off The Autopilot (For Once)

We all operate on autopilot some of the time. Autopilot is good – it makes things easier and allows us to focus our energy on the novel things in life. But as we are (slowly but surely) coming out of the COVID-world we currently inhibit, I encourage you to not allow your autopilot to rule. It is incredibly easy to fall back into old patterns, habits and routines as we are establishing ourselves in whatever the “new normal” will be.

Not taking into account the unspeakable tragedy COVID undoubtedly is – this whole situation, for many of us, brought with it...

read more…


Apr 5th, 2021

Embrace the Chaos

Some eons ago, when I was at Mozilla, working with Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s co-founder, I asked her how she would describe the overarching organizational principle under which we operate. She responded with something to the tune of “organized chaos”. Later I brought this concept up with John Lilly, our CEO – who introduced me to the work of Dee Hock, founder of VISA (the credit card payment system), who coined the term “chaordic systems” (or short: chaords). Since then I have been thinking about and working on the idea of designing robust, scalable systems based on Dee’s...

read more…


Apr 1st, 2021

#BEASTMODE

We have an ongoing joke about the unwavering commitment some of our team members at be radical have toward their physical exercise regime and the intensity thereof (including yours truly’s rowing workout schedule). We call it “#BEASTMODE” – and it allows us to make lighthearted fun of ourselves.

But hidden beneath all of this banter is a deeper truth: That if you want something you have to hunker down and do the work. That there are no shortcuts. And that you have to make the time and space.

Which brings me to the reason why I am telling you this story...

read more…


Mar 29th, 2021

Eile Mit Weile

Another one of those amazing German idioms – and one which seemingly exist in every language. The concept, of course, is simple and as old as humanities’ obsession with productivity: Slow and steady wins the race – An insight which flies straight into the face of our obsession with speed and the immediacy of todays world.

Every time I am reminded of this idiom, I can’t help but summarize it as “Stuff takes time.” And I think this is the important lesson we all ought to remind ourselves of regularly: You can’t create something meaningful with a lack of...

read more…


Mar 25th, 2021

The Power of Asking The (Right) Question

You have heard the old story of Henry Ford stating that “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” The adage is usually uttered when someone wants to make the point that customers don’t know what they want; that we – the product people – are superior, and that only we – the product people – know what is good for the customer. And when Henry Ford doesn’t cut it, we add a healthy dose of Steve Jobs to the mix…

Now, I believe Steve Jobs, and possibly Henry Ford, had indeed an intuitive understanding of where technology is headed,...

read more…


Mar 22nd, 2021

Beware the Dunning-Kruger Effect

A conversation during today’s session of be radical’s FutureFWD program reminded me of the (in)famous Dunning-Kruger effect. The short version of the Dunning-Kruger effect states that “people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability.”

Something, I am sure, we all have observed in our respective lives: Someone commenting on the rise of the machines once AI becomes sentient (hint: the person watched too many re-runs of The Terminator). Or someone else lamenting the millions of unemployed truck drivers which we soon will see due to fully autonomous vehicles taking over (hint: we are quite some...

read more…


Mar 18th, 2021

The Power of Three

Sidebar and a little trip down memory lane: Jane and I were at eBay when we acquired PayPal and Skype. The PayPal acquisition made complete sense – having a seamless, fluid way for buyers and sellers to transact is a no-brainer. The Skype transaction though made pretty much everyone at eBay scratch their heads. eBay had a significant problem with buyers and sellers transacting outside of the eBay platform after initiating contact on our platform to skirt our fees. Adding a Skype button on a listing would have just accelerated this. Meg Whitman, eBay’s CEO at the time, dressed this...

read more…


Mar 15th, 2021

The Common Denominator of Success

Recently I rediscovered a gem of speech from the 1940s. Albert E. N. Gray delivered a keynote at the annual conference of the National Association of Life Underwriters where he laid out his findings on “what makes you successful”.

I remember reading the transcript of his speech many years ago when I was in college; after watching the iconic movie Glengarry Glen Ross and talking about it with my college friends.

Gray’s speech is easy to summarize: Do the things that others don’t like to do. Or in Gray’s own words:

The common denominator of success – secret...

read more…


Mar 11th, 2021

Invert, Always Invert

Two hundred years ago German mathematician Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi said (or so the world is told): “Man muss immer umkehren.” — “Invert, always invert.” Devising the solution to a mathematical problem, Carl applied the method of inversion to the challenge at hand.

Inversion is a handy concept which has implications far beyond the world of mathematical theorems and numbers: When thinking about a problem, taking the inverse (opposite) perspective regularly unlocks new approaches, strategies and solutions.

Want to eat healthier? One approach is to put more vegetables on your plate. Apply inversion to the problem and you end...

read more…


→ Explore all 1,153 Posts in the Archive!


1,153 Posts and Counting.
Don't miss the next post. Sign up now!