It's Not About Having the Best Map, but Being the Best Explorer

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What’s in today’s newsletter?

  • Idea: The Map Is Not the Territory
  • Question: Intelligence vs. Wisdom
  • Quote: Useful Learning
  • Podcast: Liz Elting, Bob Meers, Chris Smith, Why AI Can’t Replace You
  • Article: How I Got Into And Managed to Walk Away from Burnout

Idea: The Map Is Not the Territory

Ever tried navigating a bustling city with a map from the 1980s? Turns out, the city is the same, but the map has changed.

John’s Coffee Shop, a bustling locale in New York, changed hands three times in a decade. On paper, every owner was a savvy entrepreneur. Yet, two of them failed, one succeeded wildly. The difference? Their perception of the territory.

Fact: Every business operates with models. Forecasts. Predictions. Templates. Maps. But, as Alfred Korzybski reminded us, "the map is not the territory."

John's first owner, a techie, automated everything. He trusted algorithms to dictate coffee preferences, manage inventory, and even select music. His map: technology-driven efficiency equals success.

The second owner went retro. Vintage furniture. Manual registers. A return to the "good old days." His map: people long for nostalgia.

The third, a young barista-turned-owner, constantly interacted with customers. She tweaked the menu based on conversations, adjusted seating arrangements from observations, and kept a flexible approach. Her map: listen, adapt, and evolve.

Two static maps. One dynamic terrain. Guess who thrived?

Our businesses, like cities, are dynamic, ever-changing. But we, time and again, clutch outdated maps thinking they'll guide us.

Tesla didn’t dominate by following the traditional auto industry's map. They redrew it.

Netflix didn’t rise by mimicking Blockbuster. They envisioned a new landscape.

Yet, countless businesses cling to their maps. After all, it's reassuring to follow a blueprint. But what if that blueprint is outdated or just plain wrong?

Consider the Titanic. Best nautical map of its time. Top-notch navigation tools. But, it wasn’t the map that failed; it was the iceberg not on it. A dynamic, unforeseen component of the territory.

So, how do we operate in a world where our business maps might be leading us astray?

  1. Embrace Uncertainty: Every map has blind spots. Anticipate them.
  2. Stay Curious: The world changes. Regularly revisit and revise your maps.
  3. Interact with the Terrain: Get out there. Feel the ground. Talk to people. Real-time feedback trumps theoretical models.

Remember Blockbuster’s decline? They had a map. A good one. But when the terrain changed with the rise of digital streaming, their map became obsolete.

Conversely, Apple, under Jobs, was known to pivot on a dime. iPod's success? iPhone’s creation? Responses to a changing territory.

Lastly, a nod to Nassim Taleb, the author who’s talked extensively about "Black Swan" events. Events so rare, so unpredictable, they’re not on anyone’s map. Yet, they shape terrains.

Businesses that thrive, Taleb argues, aren’t those with the best maps, but those most adaptable when off the map.

So, as you chart your business journey, remember:

Your map is a guide, not gospel. The real magic happens when you dare to traverse the unmapped, the unpredictable, the unknown.

Because in the end, it's not about having the best map, but being the best explorer.

Question: Intelligence vs. Wisdom

What Is The Difference Between Intelligence & Wisdom?

Intelligence is the ability to acquire, process, and apply information. It is often measured by tests, such as IQ, that assess logical, verbal, and mathematical skills. Intelligence can help you solve problems, learn new things, and perform tasks.

Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge and experience to make sound judgments. It is often gained by observation, reflection, and practice. Wisdom can help you understand yourself, others, and the world.

A few places to start.

The Cognitive Perspective. Intelligence is based on the functions of the brain, such as memory, reasoning, and perception. Wisdom, on the other hand, is based on the insights of the mind, such as intuition, empathy, and morality.

The Developmental Perspective. Intelligence is influenced by the genes, environment, and education of the individual. Wisdom is influenced by the age, culture, and values of the individual.

The Practical Perspective. Intelligence is useful for achieving goals, creating innovations, and advancing knowledge. Wisdom is useful for avoiding mistakes, making decisions, and finding meaning.

It's in the balance where you really thrive.

Intelligence and wisdom are not mutually exclusive. They can support each other and enhance each other's value.

So, don't just be smart. Be wise. Because intelligence without wisdom can be dangerous.

Quote: Useful Learning

“It’s not what you know that matters. What matters is how well you can use what you know when you need it. In other words, it’s not the knowledge you have crammed into your head that’s important; it’s the knowledge that you can access and use when you need it.” - Dr. Barbara Oakley

It’s not what you know. It’s what you do with that knowledge.

Seek growth & continual learning, not perfection (because perfection doesn’t exist).

Take knowledge, make it relevant, make it applicable. Do something with it.

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Podcast: Liz Elting, Bob Meers, Chris Smith, Why AI Can’t Replace You

1. Liz Elting - CEO at Elizabeth Elting Foundation

YouTube | Spotify | Apple

Liz Elting is a distinguished entrepreneur, philanthropist, and business leader, known for her remarkable journey that spans five countries. In 1992, she founded TransPerfect from an NYU dorm room, growing it into the world's largest language solutions company with over $1.1 billion in revenue and a presence in 100+ cities. She is a celebrated advocate for women's empowerment and a sought-after speaker, with her book, "Dream Big and Win: Translating Passion into Purpose and Creating a Billion-Dollar Business," poised to inspire others to follow in her footsteps. Recognized as one of Forbes' Richest Self-Made Women, Liz Elting continues to shape the business landscape with her passion and dedication.

2. Bob Meers - Ex-CEO at Reebok & LuLulemon, CEO at Better for All

YouTube | Spotify | Apple

Bob Meers is a highly accomplished CEO with a history of leading several prominent companies (LuLulemon, Reebok). Currently at the helm of Better for All, a unique line of PHBH home compostable bioplastic cups championing environmental sustainability, Bob brings a wealth of leadership experience to the organization. Previously, Meers served as CEO of Lululemon Athletica, Inc., from December 2005 to June 2008, taking a small yoga apparel business to a billion-dollar international public enterprise. Before that, Meers served as President & CEO of Reebok. During Meers’ 15-year tenure at Reebok, the company grew from $13 million to $3.5 billion in sales.

3. Chris Smith - Co-Founder of Curaytor | The Conversion Code

YouTube | Spotify | Apple

Chris Smith is the Co-Founder of Curaytor (an Inc. 500 fastest-growing business) and he was named top 4 best marketers under 40, according to the American Marketing Association. His book, The Conversion Code, is taught at colleges like Johns Hopkins University and he has been a guest lecturer at NYU. Chris used the blueprint in this book to quickly grow his company to eight figures in annual recurring revenue, without raising any venture capital. His work has been featured in AdWeek, Forbes, Fortune, and many other publications.

4. Why AI Can't Replace You

YouTube | Spotify | Apple

In this Lessons episode, we explore the unique value of human creativity and how to cultivate and maintain it in the age of rapid AI advancement. I'll discuss how the world is rapidly evolving, with AI taking over roles traditionally held by humans. But where does human ingenuity fit in this landscape? I’ll also discuss the unique attributes humans possess - our capacity to empathize, innovate, and imagine, which even the most advanced AI cannot replicate.

Article: How I Got Into And Managed to Walk Away from Burnout

Everyone is an advocate of not over-working.

But we all fall into burnout.

How does this happen? What do we do to get out of it?

Well, here’s an article that gives us an answer.

Read it here.

Also published here.

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