Dan Sweet

Hitting the reset button.

I sometimes find it difficult to stay current with all of the blogs I read, email I receive, and other news I like to follow. I just started my post b-school job as a finance manager yesterday, and have been using the last week or two to try to get caught up on the Google Reader and email fronts in anticipation of that.

One of my 2009 goals was to end each day with an empty inbox. That worked for me, even with a newborn, for the first 3-4 months of 2009. The newborn thing actually helped because what else is there to do when you are up at 3am? Then we started looking for houses and getting more actively engaged in the relocation process and it all went out the window. However, I’m back under 50 messages in the inbox after dedicating a couple solid hours to deleting, archiving, and unsubscribing.

However, Google Reader has been haunting me. I didn’t look at it for ten days or so and I came back to find 900+ “new items”. Digging a little deeper it turns out the real culprit is a recent subscription to Zero Hedge that I had added that was contributing 400+ of those items. The real problem is that I constantly find fascinating stuff in ZH posts. This morning though I had to admit defeat and hit the reset button. I hit “mark all as read” on Zero Hedge and my unread items instantly fell from 600+ to only 219. It felt awesome. As I’ve typed this post I’ve been thinking how nice it would be to see a nice big zero for total unread items. Hold on, one more click (and another to confirm that yes I am that crazy) and bam, ZERO unread items!

This is a little trick I learned from David Allen Greene, the author of Getting Things Done. He advocates doing the same thing with your email. His argument is that if you haven’t written back in 2 weeks, or a month, or 6 months it must not have really been that important that you reply. This can obviously get a little tricky with email but in the Google Reader context it makes perfect sense to get familiar with the reset button. The tools we have are supposed to empower us not burden us. Get familiar with the reset buttons you have available to you and make use of them. You will free up all kinds of mental energy you are currently wasting on things that don’t really matter.

Give it a shot and leave a comment below with how this works for you.

The Pirate’s Dilemma – how pirates reinvented capitalism

Elliott Garlock, a colleague at P&G, tweeted a link to this talk by Matt Mason yesterday. The talk is fascinating and The Pirate’s Dilemma looks like an awesome book.  I embedded the Google Video of the talk below.  You can also see the talk in its original context here.

Matt offers a refreshing perspective on piracy and the role of pirates by asking one simple question.  Do the pirates add value?  Put more explicitly, what is it that consumers are getting from the pirates that mainstream companies aren’t providing?  The businesses that can look beyond their default reactionary “us vs. them” mental model and stay focused on consumer needs will be able to adapt and thrive.

See the whole video above for more tips from Matt on dealing with pirates.

New P&G CEO on Values-Based Leadership

Bob McDonald, P&G’s new CEO, speaking on Values-Based Leadership.  If you already know who he is, and that he is “kind of a big deal,” then just skip forward to five minutes in and hear what he has to say.


Procter and Gamble and the PVP.

PVP, GBU, MDO, CBD, and probably several thousand more.  P&G has so many acronyms they actually have a central acronym databse.  Since the English language only gives us 26 letters to work with and three letter combos seem to be how it is done, many entries in the databse even have multiple possible meanings depending on your context.  Today though, I want to talk about the most important acronym, “the PVP.”  This is the Purpose, Values, and Principles. P&Gers live by the PVP, and if you don’t, you won’t be at P&G for long, or at least so I hear.  The shared PVP creates a trust between P&Gers and is a big part of how such a big and diverse company’s employees can effectively cooperate globally.  I have my onboarding session for my first day as a full-time employee coming up in a week and I’m sure I’ll get to hear even more about the PVP then.

So why am I thinking about the PVP now?  This morning I was reading Fred Wilson’s blog, A VC, and came across this post on building successful long term relationships.  Apparently, today is Fred’s 22nd anniversary so he thought he’d write a post about business relationships.  How romantic right?  Actually he does say some nice things about his wife as well, but the main takeaway was that the two most important factors in any relationship are tolerance and shared vision/values.  P&G’s commitment to the PVP ensures that everyone in the organization has shared values.  I guess this is why I keep meeting so many P&Gers that have been with the company 20 and 30 years.  Anyways, I’m excited to work for a company whose purpose is to “improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come.”  I never imagined during my seven years in the non-profit world that a for profit company might have a purpose statement like that.  Apparently, it is possible, and I’m lucky enough to get to work for one of them.  Check out the rest of Fred’s post, that I linked to above, if you are building a team, starting a business, or looking for a spouse and want to have long term success.

See the following post for a great video of P&G’s new CEO, Bob McDonald, talking about Values-Based Leadership.

You, a billionaire, are asked to address a 9th grade graduation…

…obviously you blow them off and continue enjoying the Mediterranean right?  Wrong.  Paul Tudor Jones, a famous Wall St trader, accepts and decides to speak on the topic of “failure.”  Don’t be put off by the 13 pages, it reads in probably 5-10 minutes thanks to the size 25 font.  Hit the “toggle fullscreen” in the upper right of the box below.

Paul Tudor Jones – Failure Speech June 2009

Originally posted by The Investment Linebacker here.  I stumbled on Paul Kedrosky’s repost here.