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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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Mar 18th, 2021 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

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 acquisition up in the slogan “The Power of Three”. Sounds great, is totally meaningless, and a lesson in corporate BS. Flip through the investor deck if you want to see a prime example of “we have no clue why we just did what we did, but let’s make it sound cool.”

But that is not the Power of Three I want to talk about.

The one I think actually makes a ton of sense is one I learned from famed blogger Mark Frauenfelder. It is a triptych to suss out if something is worth doing. Ever since I got introduced to this, it is my go-to heuristic I apply whenever I think about a new opportunity.

Without much further ado – whenever you encounter an opportunity, something vying for your precious attention, something asking you to spend time, energy and resources on it, consider the following three dimensions. And only if it ticks at least two of these boxes, pursue it.

  1. KNOWLEDGE: Will I learn something?
  2. FUN: Is it fun?
  3. MONEY: Is it financially worthwhile?

As The Heretic likely won’t make you any money (at least not directly), I sincerely hope you learn something from time to time and have fun reading/listening to it. 😅

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