The Coming Tsunami
Tippets by Taps #160: Efficiency, games, Mars, Dad-center, and more. Enjoy!
Happy Sunday! A warm welcome to new Tippets readers who are getting this for the first time. Thank you for letting me be a small part of your weekend.
A month ago I tweeted out the following:
This was after reading an article describing how 1 in 4 people will be looking for a job once the pandemic is behind us. If the number of people who have reached out to me in the last few weeks to talk about finding new opportunities is any indication of what’s to come, the tsunami will be bigger than I thought. This article by world-renowned therapist Esther Perel does a terrific job explaining why.
In corporate America, people no longer work just to put food on the table. In addition to funding basic needs, they work with a vision of self-fulfillment, purpose, and growth. They expect their jobs to foster identity, meaning, and belonging—existential needs that used to be met in the realm of religious and traditional structures. This is precisely why many people who lost their jobs over the last year didn’t just experience it as a loss of income and security, but also as a loss of self. What we do is often conflated with who we are.
To retain talented employees, companies will need to provide growth opportunities and structures that help colleagues reconcile a series of seemingly conflicting needs: money and meaning, autonomy and belonging, flexibility and stability.
The leaders whose questions appropriately reflect a view of their employee as a whole person—what are your goals? How can I help you accomplish them? What makes working here hard?—will create a future of work that actually works.
‘Work’ today is more than just a paycheck. It is a sense of belonging. Identity. Self-worth. COVID has forced everyone, whether they like it or not, to reexamine their work lives and decide whether their current roles, managers, and company satisfies the “whole person”. A lot of people are finding the answer is no. And so the search for opportunities that provide a greater chance to thrive begins. Managers and leaders need to take note, particularly as remote-work policies are about to be tested in a big way. Companies operating with intention and focus on the employee experience will thrive in a world after COVID more than ever before. The rest are simply waiting to go under.
Other Tippets from Around the Web
The recipe for success in a COVID-induced remote working world seems by most accounts to be a full helping of Zoom meetings, not enough moments of transition, and a healthy dose of burnout. There is plenty of Slack, not enough slack, which is exactly the problem with the idea of efficiency as compared to effectiveness, articulated in this piece by Farnam Street.
As individuals, many of us are also obsessed with the mirage of total efficiency. We schedule every minute of our day, pride ourselves on forgoing breaks, and berate ourselves for the slightest moment of distraction. We view sleep, sickness, and burnout as unwelcome weaknesses and idolize those who never seem to succumb to them. This view, however, fails to recognize that efficiency and effectiveness are not the same thing.
In a world of manic efficiency, slack often comes across as laziness or a lack of initiative. Without slack time, however, we know we won’t be able to get through new tasks straight away, and if someone insists we should, we have to drop whatever we were previously doing. One way or another, something gets delayed.
Slack also allows us to handle the inevitable shocks and surprises of life. If every hour in our schedules is accounted for, we can’t slow down to recover from a minor cold, shift a bit of focus to learning a new skill for a while, or absorb a couple of hours of technical difficulties.
I think this article is especially relevant to startup CEOs and Engineering leaders. Sprint planning meetings aren’t known for building slack into the system. I understand why. Getting as much done as fast as possible, outworking the competition, and being nimble is a matter of survival. Unfortunately, the lack of buffer often leads to overburdened teams and poorer quality products or features that haven’t had time to soak and can bring down the whole system. Amos Tversky said, “You waste years by not being able to waste hours.” Finding some time can help everyone.
Packy McCormick is one of my favorite online writers. His Not Boring newsletter is a great mix of information, news, and pop culture. This week’s essay, The Great Online Game, is one of his best. Informative, inspirational, and thought-provoking, he gets into crypto, video games, Twitter, and how life is one big game in general.
The Great Online Game is an infinite video game that plays out constantly across the internet. It uses many of the mechanics of a video game, but removes the boundaries. You’re no longer playing as an avatar in Fortnite or Roblox; you’re playing as yourself across Twitter, YouTube, Discords, work, projects, and investments. People who play the Great Online Game rack up points, skills, and attributes that they can apply across their digital and physical lives. Some people even start pseudonymous and parlay their faceless brilliance into jobs and money.
The Meta Game here is your life and your career. The more you evolve and level up, the more opportunities you’ll have. If you build up a following, meet the right people, and get involved with the right projects, you’ll have put yourself on an entirely new trajectory.
The fun part is, if you do it right, it really can feel like a game. Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to jump in. The vast majority of people reading this won’t want to quit your job and make a living entirely online; that doesn’t mean you can’t play. Play on the side, learn some things, build some new hobbies and relationships. Give yourself an insurance plan if things don’t work out in your job, and a supercharger if they do. You never know when it might come in handy, or what new path you might discover.
50 years ago the nations of earth signed the Outer Space Treaty. The current “ultimate arbiter of space law”, the document is full of vague wording and room for interpretation. It also excludes provisions dictating the legality of things like asteroid mining, human settlement, and private space companies.
This week, China landed a spacecraft on Mars. It followed the February landing of the Mars Perseverance Rover. With more than a few billionaires and their respective companies on a mission to make humans an interplanetary species, this is a fascinating read that goes into philosophical and ethical questions that deserve answers as we further explore the final frontier.
This week’s long read is an 11,000+ word essay on Ari Emanuel. The inspiration for Ari Gold’s character in the show Entourage, Emanuel is a mogul by any measure. The piece goes into how he built his vast business empire that spans the globe, employs over six thousand people, and includes the talent agency, as well as ownership stakes in UFC, IMG, private equity firms. Some good, some bad as you’d expect. What struck me most was not the way he accumulated his wealth and power, or the crazy deals he has done in his seemingly neverending quest for “stature of a visionary”, but how he, despite his fame and fortune, maintains a dogged persistence and desire to learn in an effort to find an edge.
Lynton continued, “Ari is just a force of will. He will call you and call you and call you and call you and call you. And he also has a very good sense of how that town works. The favor bank there—it’s complicated to see the ledger, but if you know the ledger in your head it has a lot of benefits. And I think Ari knows it six ways to Sunday.”
Emanuel says that he has a habit when he gets interested in a subject. “I’ll read an article, and I’ll tag it, and I’ll say, I want to talk to the person in that article, or I want to talk to that author—and I’ll just start going down rabbit holes of things that make me curious,” he said. “I call it creating serendipity. And it’s created a large web.” He mentioned cold-calling Michael Rapino, of the Live Nation events company; Emanuel is now on Live Nation’s board. Elon Musk, cultivated in the same way, will soon join the board of Endeavor. “Ari’s phone should be an appendage—24/7, he’s dialling for dollars,” Shapiro told me. Emanuel’s search for profitable connections doesn’t always yield good results, Shapiro noted, but on balance it is productive: “Can I tell you how much business we have, just from his cold calls?”
A great read into a mercurial entrepreneur whose reputation certainly precedes him.
Dad’s Press Conference
This is one of the best pieces of content I’ve seen on the internet of late. I admit to being at a stage and phase of life where it deeply resonates, but you’d have to not have ever been around toddlers not to enjoy it. I’d watch an entire show called “Dadcenter”, featuring post-day conferences recounting the days.
Quote I'm thinking about: “It is a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” - Matthew McConaughey
If you have feedback on anything mentioned above or have interesting links/papers/books that you think would be worth sharing in future issues of Tippets, please reach out! Click here, reply to this email, or DM me on Twitter at @taps.