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Alexandra Walker-Jones

Alexandra Walker-Jones

5 months ago

These are the 15 foods you should eat daily and why.

More on Cooking

Joseph Mavericks

Joseph Mavericks

3 months ago

Apples Top 100 Meeting: Steve Jobs's Secret Agenda's Lessons

Jobs' secret emails became public due to a litigation with Samsung.

Steve Jobs & TIm Cook — Flickr/Thetaxhaven

Steve Jobs sent Phil Schiller an email at the end of 2010. Top 100 A was the codename for Apple's annual Top 100 executive meetings. The 2011 one was scheduled.

Everything about this gathering is secret, even attendance. The location is hidden, and attendees can't even drive themselves. Instead, buses transport them to a 2-3 day retreat.

Due to a litigation with Samsung, this Top 100 meeting's agenda was made public in 2014. This was a critical milestone in Apple's history, not a Top 100 meeting. Apple had many obstacles in the 2010s to remain a technological leader. Apple made more money with non-PC goods than with its best-selling Macintosh series. This was the last Top 100 gathering Steve Jobs would attend before passing, and he wanted to make sure his messages carried on before handing over his firm to Tim Cook.

In this post, we'll discuss lessons from Jobs' meeting agenda. Two sorts of entrepreneurs can use these tips:

  1. Those who manage a team in a business and must ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals, upholding the same principles, and being inspired by the same future.

  2. Those who are sole proprietors or independent contractors and who must maintain strict self-discipline in order to stay innovative in their industry and adhere to their own growth strategy.

Here's Steve Jobs's email outlining the annual meeting agenda. It's an 11-part summary of the company's shape and strategy.

Steve Jobs outlines Apple's 2011 strategy, 10/24/10

1. Correct your data

Business leaders must comprehend their company's metrics. Jobs either mentions critical information he already knows or demands slides showing the numbers he wants. These numbers fall under 2 categories:

Metrics for growth and strategy

  • As we will see, this was a crucial statistic for Apple since it signaled the beginning of the Post PC era and required them to make significant strategic changes in order to stay ahead of the curve. Post PC products now account for 66% of our revenues.

  • Within six months, iPad outsold Mac, another sign of the Post-PC age. As we will see, Jobs thought the iPad would be the next big thing, and item number four on the agenda is one of the most thorough references to the iPad.

  • Geographical analysis: Here, Jobs emphasizes China, where the corporation has a slower start than anticipated. China was dominating Apple's sales growth with 16% of revenue one year after this meeting.

Metrics for people & culture

  • The individuals that make up a firm are more significant to its success than its headcount or average age. That holds true regardless of size, from a 5-person startup to a Fortune 500 firm. Jobs was aware of this, which is why his suggested agenda begins by emphasizing demographic data.

  • Along with the senior advancements in the previous year's requested statistic, it's crucial to demonstrate that if the business is growing, the employees who make it successful must also grow.

2. Recognize the vulnerabilities and strengths of your rivals

Steve Jobs was known for attacking his competition in interviews and in his strategies and roadmaps. This agenda mentions 18 competitors, including:

  • Google 7 times

  • Android 3 times

  • Samsung 2 times

Jobs' agenda email was issued 6 days after Apple's Q4 results call (2010). On the call, Jobs trashed Google and Android. His 5-minute intervention included:

  • Google has acknowledged that the present iteration of Android is not tablet-optimized.

  • Future Android tablets will not work (Dead On Arrival)

  • While Google Play only has 90,000 apps, the Apple App Store has 300,000.

  • Android is extremely fragmented and is continuing to do so.

  • The App Store for iPad contains over 35,000 applications. The market share of the latest generation of tablets (which debuted in 2011) will be close to nil.

Jobs' aim in blasting the competition on that call was to reassure investors about the upcoming flood of new tablets. Jobs often criticized Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, but he also acknowledged when they did a better job. He was great at detecting his competitors' advantages and devising ways to catch up.

  • Jobs doesn't hold back when he says in bullet 1 of his agenda: "We further lock customers into our ecosystem while Google and Microsoft are further along on the technology, but haven't quite figured it out yet tie all of our goods together."

  • The plan outlined in bullet point 5 is immediately clear: catch up to Android where we are falling behind (notifications, tethering, and speech), and surpass them (Siri,). It's important to note that Siri frequently let users down and never quite lived up to expectations.

  • Regarding MobileMe, see Bullet 6 Jobs admits that when it comes to cloud services like contacts, calendars, and mail, Google is far ahead of Apple.

3. Adapt or perish

Steve Jobs was a visionary businessman. He knew personal computers were the future when he worked on the first Macintosh in the 1980s.

Jobs acknowledged the Post-PC age in his 2010 D8 interview.

Will the tablet replace the laptop, Walt Mossberg questioned Jobs? Jobs' response:

“You know, when we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. As vehicles started to be used in the urban centers and America started to move into those urban and suburban centers, cars got more popular and innovations like automatic transmission and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. And now, maybe 1 out of every 25 vehicles is a truck, where it used to be 100%. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people.”

Imagine how forward-thinking that was in 2010, especially for the Macintosh creator. You have to be willing to recognize that things were changing and that it was time to start over and focus on the next big thing.

Post-PC is priority number 8 in his 2010 agenda's 2011 Strategy section. Jobs says Apple is the first firm to get here and that Post PC items account about 66% of our income. The iPad outsold the Mac in 6 months, and the Post-PC age means increased mobility (smaller, thinner, lighter). Samsung had just introduced its first tablet, while Apple was working on the iPad 3. (as mentioned in bullet 4).

4. Plan ahead (and different)

Jobs' agenda warns that Apple risks clinging to outmoded paradigms. Clayton Christensen explains in The Innovators Dilemma that huge firms neglect disruptive technologies until they become profitable. Samsung's Galaxy tab, released too late, never caught up to Apple.

Apple faces a similar dilemma with the iPhone, its cash cow for over a decade. It doesn't sell as much because consumers aren't as excited about new iPhone launches and because technology is developing and cell phones may need to be upgraded.

Large companies' established consumer base typically hinders innovation. Clayton Christensen emphasizes that loyal customers from established brands anticipate better versions of current products rather than something altogether fresh and new technologies.

Apple's marketing is smart. Apple's ecosystem is trusted by customers, and its products integrate smoothly. So much so that Apple can afford to be a disruptor by doing something no one has ever done before, something the world's largest corporation shouldn't be the first to try. Apple can test the waters and produce a tremendous innovation tsunami, something few corporations can do.

In March 2011, Jobs appeared at an Apple event. During his address, Steve reminded us about Apple's brand:

“It’s in Apple’s DNA, that technology alone is not enough. That it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the results that make our hearts sink. And nowhere is that more true that in these Post-PC devices.“

More than a decade later, Apple remains one of the most innovative and trailblazing companies in the Post-PC world (industry-disrupting products like Airpods or the Apple Watch came out after that 2011 strategy meeting), and it has reinvented how we use laptops with its M1-powered line of laptops offering unprecedented performance.

A decade after Jobs' death, Apple remains the world's largest firm, and its former CEO had a crucial part in its expansion. If you can do 1% of what Jobs did, you may be 1% as successful.

Not bad.

Dr. Linda Dahl

Dr. Linda Dahl

4 months ago

We eat corn in almost everything. Is It Important?

Photo by Mockup Graphics on Unsplash

Corn Kid got viral on TikTok after being interviewed by Recess Therapy. Tariq, called the Corn Kid, ate a buttery ear of corn in the video. He's corn crazy. He thinks everyone just has to try it. It turns out, whether we know it or not, we already have.

Corn is a fruit, veggie, and grain. It's the second-most-grown crop. Corn makes up 36% of U.S. exports. In the U.S., it's easy to grow and provides high yields, as proven by the vast corn belt spanning the Midwest, Great Plains, and Texas panhandle. Since 1950, the corn crop has doubled to 10 billion bushels.

You say, "Fine." We shouldn't just grow because we can. Why so much corn? What's this corn for?

Why is practical and political. Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma has the full narrative. Early 1970s food costs increased. Nixon subsidized maize to feed the public. Monsanto genetically engineered corn seeds to make them hardier, and soon there was plenty of corn. Everyone ate. Woot! Too much corn followed. The powers-that-be had to decide what to do with leftover corn-on-the-cob.

They are fortunate that corn has a wide range of uses.

First, the edible variants. I divide corn into obvious and stealth.

Obvious corn includes popcorn, canned corn, and corn on the cob. This form isn't always digested and often comes out as entire, polka-dotting poop. Cornmeal can be ground to make cornbread, polenta, and corn tortillas. Corn provides antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins in moderation. Most synthetic Vitamin C comes from GMO maize.

Corn oil, corn starch, dextrose (a sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are often overlooked. They're stealth corn because they sneak into practically everything. Corn oil is used for frying, baking, and in potato chips, mayonnaise, margarine, and salad dressing. Baby food, bread, cakes, antibiotics, canned vegetables, beverages, and even dairy and animal products include corn starch. Dextrose appears in almost all prepared foods, excluding those with high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS isn't as easily digested as sucrose (from cane sugar). It can also cause other ailments, which we'll discuss later.

Most foods contain corn. It's fed to almost all food animals. 96% of U.S. animal feed is corn. 39% of U.S. corn is fed to livestock. But animals prefer other foods. Omnivore chickens prefer insects, worms, grains, and grasses. Captive cows are fed a total mixed ration, which contains corn. These animals' products, like eggs and milk, are also corn-fed.

There are numerous non-edible by-products of corn that are employed in the production of items like:

  1. fuel-grade ethanol

  2. plastics

  3. batteries

  4. cosmetics

  5. meds/vitamins binder

  6. carpets, fabrics

  7. glutathione

  8. crayons

  9. Paint/glue

How does corn influence you? Consider quick food for dinner. You order a cheeseburger, fries, and big Coke at the counter (or drive-through in the suburbs). You tell yourself, "No corn." All that contains corn. Deconstruct:

Cows fed corn produce meat and cheese. Meat and cheese were bonded with corn syrup and starch (same). The bun (corn flour and dextrose) and fries were fried in maize oil. High fructose corn syrup sweetens the drink and helps make the cup and straw.

Just about everything contains corn. Then what? A cornspiracy, perhaps? Is eating too much maize an issue, or should we strive to stay away from it whenever possible?

As I've said, eating some maize can be healthy. 92% of U.S. corn is genetically modified, according to the Center for Food Safety. The adjustments are expected to boost corn yields. Some sweet corn is genetically modified to produce its own insecticide, a protein deadly to insects made by Bacillus thuringiensis. It's safe to eat in sweet corn. Concerns exist about feeding agricultural animals so much maize, modified or not.

High fructose corn syrup should be consumed in moderation. Fructose, a sugar, isn't easily metabolized. Fructose causes diabetes, fatty liver, obesity, and heart disease. It causes inflammation, which might aggravate gout. Candy, packaged sweets, soda, fast food, juice drinks, ice cream, ice cream topping syrups, sauces & condiments, jams, bread, crackers, and pancake syrup contain the most high fructose corn syrup. Everyday foods with little nutrients. Check labels and choose cane sugar or sucrose-sweetened goods. Or, eat corn like the Corn Kid.

Scott Hickmann

Scott Hickmann

5 months ago   Draft

This is a draft

My wallpape

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Ellane W

Ellane W

2 months ago

The Last To-Do List Template I'll Ever Need, Years in the Making

The holy grail of plain text task management is finally within reach

Walking away from productivity civilization to my house in the plain text jungle. Image used under licence from jumpstory.

Plain text task management? Are you serious?? Dedicated task managers exist for a reason, you know. Sheesh.

—Oh, I know. Believe me, I know! But hear me out.

I've managed projects and tasks in plain text for more than four years. Since reorganizing my to-do list, plain text task management is within reach.

Data completely yours? One billion percent. Beef it up with coding? Be my guest.

Enter: The List

The answer? A list. That’s it!

Write down tasks. Obsidian, Notenik, Drafts, or iA Writer are good plain text note-taking apps.

List too long? Of course, it is! A large list tells you what to do. Feel the itch and friction. Then fix it.

  • But I want to be able to distinguish between work and personal life! List two things.

  • However, I need to know what should be completed first. Put those items at the top.

  • However, some things keep coming up, and I need to be reminded of them! Put those in your calendar and make an alarm for them.

  • But since individual X hasn't completed task Y, I can't proceed with this. Create a Waiting section on your list by dividing it.

  • But I must know what I'm supposed to be doing right now! Read your list(s). Check your calendar. Think critically.

Before I begin a new one, I remind myself that "Listory Never Repeats."

There’s no such thing as too many lists if all are needed. There is such a thing as too many lists if you make them before they’re needed. Before they complain that their previous room was small or too crowded or needed a new light.

A list that feels too long has a voice; it’s telling you what to do next.

I use one Master List. It's a control panel that tells me what to focus on short-term. If something doesn't need semi-immediate attention, it goes on my Backlog list.

Todd Lewandowski's DWTS (Done, Waiting, Top 3, Soon) performance deserves praise. His DWTS to-do list structure has transformed my plain-text task management. I didn't realize it was upside down.

This is my take on it:

D = Done

Move finished items here. If they pile up, clear them out every week or month. I have a Done Archive folder.

W = Waiting

Things seething in the background, awaiting action. Stir them occasionally so they don't burn.

T = Top 3

Three priorities. Personal comes first, then work. There will always be a top 3 (no more than 5) in every category. Projects, not chores, usually.

S = Soon

This part is action-oriented. It's for anything you can accomplish to finish one of the Top 3. This collection includes thoughts and project lists. The sole requirement is that they should be short-term goals.

Some of you have probably concluded this isn't for you. Please read Todd's piece before throwing out the baby. Often. You shouldn't miss a newborn.

As much as Dancing With The Stars helps me recall this method, I may try switching their order. TSWD; Drilling Tunnel Seismic? Serenity After Task?

Master List Showcase

To Do list screenshot by Author

My Master List lives alone in its own file, but sometimes appears in other places.  It's included in my Weekly List template. Here's a (soon-to-be-updated) demo vault of my Obsidian planning setup to download for free.

Here's the code behind my weekly screenshot:

## [[Master List - 2022|✓]]  TO DO

![[Master List - 2022]]

FYI, I use the Minimal Theme in Obsidian, with a few tweaks.

You may note I'm utilizing a checkmark as a link. For me, that's easier than locating the proper spot to click on the embed.

Blue headings for Done and Waiting are links. Done links to the Done Archive page and Waiting to a general waiting page.

Read my full article here.

Andy Raskin

Andy Raskin

5 months ago

I've Never Seen a Sales Deck This Good

Photo by Olu Eletu

It’s Zuora’s, and it’s brilliant. Here’s why.

My friend Tim got a sales position at a Series-C software company that garnered $60 million from A-list investors. He's one of the best salespeople I know, yet he emailed me after starting to struggle.

Tim has a few modest clients. “Big companies ignore my pitch”. Tim said.

I love helping teams write the strategic story that drives sales, marketing, and fundraising. Tim and I had lunch at Amber India on Market Street to evaluate his deck.

After a feast, I asked Tim when prospects tune out.

He said, “several slides in”.

Intent on maximizing dining ROI, Tim went back to the buffet for seconds. When he returned, I pulled out my laptop and launched into a Powerpoint presentation.

“What’s this?” Tim asked.

“This,” I said, “is the greatest sales deck I have ever seen.”

Five Essentials of a Great Sales Narrative

I showed Tim a sales slide from IPO-bound Zuora, which sells a SaaS platform for subscription billing. Zuora supports recurring payments (e.g. enterprise software).

Ex-Zuora salesman gave me the deck, saying it helped him close his largest business. (I don't know anyone who works at Zuora.) After reading this, a few Zuora employees contacted me.)

Tim abandoned his naan in a pool of goat curry and took notes while we discussed the Zuora deck.

We remarked how well the deck led prospects through five elements:

(The ex-Zuora salesperson begged me not to release the Zuora deck publicly.) All of the images below originate from Zuora's website and SlideShare channel.)

#1. Name a Significant Change in the World

Don't start a sales presentation with mentioning your product, headquarters, investors, clients, or yourself.

Name the world shift that raises enormous stakes and urgency for your prospect.

Every Zuora sales deck begins with this slide:

Zuora coined the term subscription economy to describe a new market where purchasers prefer regular service payments over outright purchases. Zuora then shows a slide with the change's history.

Most pitch recommendation advises starting with the problem. When you claim a problem, you put prospects on the defensive. They may be unaware of or uncomfortable admitting the situation.

When you highlight a global trend, prospects open up about how it affects them, worries them, and where they see opportunity. You capture their interest. Robert McKee says:

…what attracts human attention is change. …if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings — that gets your attention. The way in which a story begins is a starting event that creates a moment of change.

#2. Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers

Loss aversion affects all prospects. They avoid a loss by sticking with the status quo rather than risking a gain by changing.

To fight loss aversion, show how the change will create winners and losers. You must show both

  1. that if the prospect can adjust to the modification you mentioned, the outcome will probably be quite favorable; and

  2. That failing to do so is likely to have an unacceptable negative impact on the prospect's future

Zuora shows a mass extinction among Fortune 500 firms.

…and then showing how the “winners” have shifted from product ownership to subscription services. Those include upstarts…

…as well as rejuvenated incumbents:

To illustrate, Zuora asks:

Winners utilize Zuora's subscription service models.

#3. Tease the Promised Land

It's tempting to get into product or service details now. Resist that urge.

Prospects won't understand why product/service details are crucial if you introduce them too soon, therefore they'll tune out.

Instead, providing a teaser image of the happily-ever-after your product/service will assist the prospect reach.

Your Promised Land should be appealing and hard to achieve without support. Otherwise, why does your company exist?

Zuora shows this Promised Land slide after explaining that the subscription economy will have winners and losers.

Not your product or service, but a new future state.

(I asked my friend Tim to describe his Promised Land, and he answered, "You’ll have the most innovative platform for ____." Nope: the Promised Land isn't possessing your technology, but living with it.)

Your Promised Land helps prospects market your solution to coworkers after your sales meeting. Your coworkers will wonder what you do without you. Your prospects are more likely to provide a persuasive answer with a captivating Promised Land.

#4. Present Features as “Mystic Gifts” for Overcoming Difficulties on the Road to the Promised Land

Successful sales decks follow the same format as epic films and fairy tales. Obi Wan gives Luke a lightsaber to help him destroy the Empire. You're Gandalf, helping Frodo destroy the ring. Your prospect is Cinderella, and you're her fairy godmother.

Position your product or service's skills as mystical gifts to aid your main character (prospect) achieve the Promised Land.

Zuora's client record slide is shown above. Without context, even the most technical prospect would be bored.

Positioned in the context of shifting from an “old” to a “new world”, it's the foundation for a compelling conversation with prospects—technical and otherwise—about why traditional solutions can't reach the Promised Land.

#5. Show Proof That You Can Make the Story True.

In this sense, you're promising possibilities that if they follow you, they'll reach the Promised Land.

The journey to the Promised Land is by definition rocky, so prospects are right to be cautious. The final part of the pitch is proof that you can make the story come true.

The most convincing proof is a success story about how you assisted someone comparable to the prospect. Zuora's sales people use a deck of customer success stories, but this one gets the essence.

I particularly appreciate this one from an NCR exec (a Zuora customer), which relates more strongly to Zuora's Promised Land:

Not enough successful customers? Product demos are the next best evidence, but features should always be presented in the context of helping a prospect achieve the Promised Land.

The best sales narrative is one that is told by everyone.

Success rarely comes from a fantastic deck alone. To be effective, salespeople need an organization-wide story about change, Promised Land, and Magic Gifts.

Zuora exemplifies this. If you hear a Zuora executive, including CEO Tien Tzuo, talk, you'll likely hear about the subscription economy and its winners and losers. This is the theme of the company's marketing communications, campaigns, and vision statement.

According to the ex-Zuora salesperson, company-wide story alignment made him successful.

The Zuora marketing folks ran campaigns and branding around this shift to the subscription economy, and [CEO] Tien [Tzuo] talked it up all the time. All of that was like air cover for my in-person sales ground attack. By the time I arrived, prospects were already convinced they had to act. It was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to sales nirvana.

The largest deal ever

Tim contacted me three weeks after our lunch to tell me that prospects at large organizations were responding well to his new deck, which we modeled on Zuora's framework. First, prospects revealed their obstacles more quickly. The new pitch engages CFOs and other top gatekeepers better, he said.

A week later, Tim emailed that he'd signed his company's biggest agreement.

Next week, we’re headed back to Amber India to celebrate.

Will Lockett

Will Lockett

5 months ago

Thanks to a recent development, solar energy may prove to be the best energy source.

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

Perovskite solar cells will revolutionize everything.

Humanity is in a climatic Armageddon. Our widespread ecological crimes of the previous century are catching up with us, and planet-scale karma threatens everyone. We must adjust to new technologies and lifestyles to avoid this fate. Even solar power, a renewable energy source, has climate problems. A recent discovery could boost solar power's eco-friendliness and affordability. Perovskite solar cells are amazing.

Perovskite is a silicon-like semiconductor. Semiconductors are used to make computer chips, LEDs, camera sensors, and solar cells. Silicon makes sturdy and long-lasting solar cells, thus it's used in most modern solar panels.

Perovskite solar cells are far better. First, they're easy to make at room temperature, unlike silicon cells, which require long, intricate baking processes. This makes perovskite cells cheaper to make and reduces their carbon footprint. Perovskite cells are efficient. Most silicon panel solar farms are 18% efficient, meaning 18% of solar radiation energy is transformed into electricity. Perovskite cells are 25% efficient, making them 38% more efficient than silicon.

However, perovskite cells are nowhere near as durable. A normal silicon panel will lose efficiency after 20 years. The first perovskite cells were ineffective since they lasted barely minutes.

Recent research from Princeton shows that perovskite cells can endure 30 years. The cells kept their efficiency, therefore no sacrifices were made.

No electrical or chemical engineer here, thus I can't explain how they did it. But strangely, the team said longevity isn't the big deal. In the next years, perovskite panels will become longer-lasting. How do you test a panel if you only have a month or two? This breakthrough technique needs a uniform method to estimate perovskite life expectancy fast. The study's key milestone was establishing a standard procedure.

Lab-based advanced aging tests are their solution. Perovskite cells decay faster at higher temperatures, so scientists can extrapolate from that. The test heated the panel to 110 degrees and waited for its output to reduce by 20%. Their panel lasted 2,100 hours (87.5 days) before a 20% decline.

They did some math to extrapolate this data and figure out how long the panel would have lasted in different climates, and were shocked to find it would last 30 years in Princeton. This made perovskite panels as durable as silicon panels. This panel could theoretically be sold today.

This technology will soon allow these brilliant panels to be released into the wild. This technology could be commercially viable in ten, maybe five years.

Solar power will be the best once it does. Solar power is cheap and low-carbon. Perovskite is the cheapest renewable energy source if we switch to it. Solar panel manufacturing's carbon footprint will also drop.

Perovskites' impact goes beyond cost and carbon. Silicon panels require harmful mining and contain toxic elements (cadmium). Perovskite panels don't require intense mining or horrible materials, making their production and expiration more eco-friendly.

Solar power destroys habitat. Massive solar farms could reduce biodiversity and disrupt local ecology by destroying vital habitats. Perovskite cells are more efficient, so they can shrink a solar farm while maintaining energy output. This reduces land requirements, making perovskite solar power cheaper, and could reduce solar's environmental impact.

Perovskite solar power is scalable and environmentally friendly. Princeton scientists will speed up the development and rollout of this energy.

Why bother with fusion, fast reactors, SMRs, or traditional nuclear power? We're close to developing a nearly perfect environmentally friendly power source, and we have the tools and systems to do so quickly. It's also affordable, so we can adopt it quickly and let the developing world use it to grow. Even I struggle to justify spending billions on fusion when a great, cheap technology outperforms it. Perovskite's eco-credentials and cost advantages could save the world and power humanity's future.