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People are complicated and flawed.
Root for their better angels. Expertise is always relative. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future, as Oscar Wilde said. Reid is widely known as the ultimate connector.
He appreciates the full spectrum of strengths and weaknesses of a particular person. Along these lines, Reid forgives mistakes in his friends. A good friend of his once convinced him to make a special trip to New York to participate in an event.
Later, I asked him how it went. And yet, the very next week, he was on the phone with the friend and plotting future moves. Let an appreciative point of view imbue everything you do. It was stunning how few requesters actually offered to help him on something.
Amusingly, many requests were framed as if the asking party were doing Reid a favor by giving him the opportunity to help them: Or offer to share a perspective that could be useful?
How could you help Bill Gates? But the truth is, what Gates craves, and what you might have, is information. Keep it simple and move fast when conceiving strategies and making decisions Reid is a strategist.
In fact, Reid has never formally studied strategy and he rarely references the famous gurus. Instead, his views on strategy are hard-won through experience, and specific to entrepreneurial contexts: Speed His first principle is speed.
When faced with a set of options, he frequently will make a provisional decision instinctually based on the current information. Then he will note what additional information he would need to disprove his provisional decision and go get that.
What many do instead — at their own peril — is encounter a situation in which they have limited information, punt on the decision until they gather more information, and endure an information-gathering process that takes longer than expected.
Meanwhile, the world changes. Reid did this with me. We agreed I was going to make judgment calls on a range of issues on his behalf without checking with him. Speed certainly matters to an extreme degree in a startup context.
Big companies are different. Reid once reflected to me that the key for big companies like LinkedIn is not to pursue strategies where being fastest is critical—big companies that adopt strategies that depend on pure speed battles will always lose.
Instead, they need to devise strategies where their slowness can become a strength. Simplicity His second principle is simplicity—simplicity enables speed.
We could simply click publish, share it on LinkedIn and Twitter, and see how it spreads. We could reach out to journalists in advance and give someone an exclusive, early look.
We could write a series of supplementary essays that appear simultaneous with the deck. Reid bucketed the options into three categories: A variety of possible good reasons to go, but none justified a trip in and of itself.
And then the worthiness of the trip needs to be measured against that one reason. If I go, then we can backfill into the schedule all the other secondary activities.Want to know what it’s like to take an online class?
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years of working with Reid as co-author and Chief of Staff. Here are some lessons I learned about business and life from an amazing man.
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