Circle of Influence, Complete to be unique, Email disruption & Amazon profit per X
4th July 2021 Evolution Partners Newsletter
“When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes” – Jeff Bezos
Hope you’re Thriving!
Happy Fourth of July to our US readers!
It’s been a busy week due to the end of the financial year, with three strategic planning workshops and a four-day lockdown. In fact, across Australia, 12 million people spent most of the week in lockdown, all because a limousine driver wasn’t vaccinated. Or was it the Federal Government or State Governments fault? There’s no shortage of people wanting to point the finger in one direction or another.
Perhaps it’s better to think about the Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern at times like this instead.
Instead of being overwhelmed by one’s circle of concern, for example, what celebrities or politicians or talking heads say, instead focus on one’s circle of influence.
Reactive people focus their efforts on the circle of concern.
Proactive people focus their efforts on the circle of influence.
That means focussing on what we can influence primarily.
We can influence how we react to lockdowns; we can influence what we do during lockdowns.
And in complete contradiction to what I just said above, my finger gets pointed at human nature.
Through much luck, Australia has had one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the world. But when you’re not facing a crisis, other things distract you. For example, your priorities might become less clear.
People and the government just haven’t had a sense of urgency here during almost no community transmission. So it’s not been as much of a priority and seemed to be happening elsewhere. It even felt like watching a movie. And now the delta variant is more transmissible and gets through borders easily. So it helps leaders reset their priorities.
I’m certainly not defending any leaders, simply saying that perhaps the real reason half of Australia spent the past week in lockdown simply comes down to human nature.
Compete to be unique
Why should anyone buy your product over a competitor’s product? How is your product or service different from your competition?
Maybe you’re going to react to that question by saying “better service” or “better people”.
Instead of competing to the best, leadership teams should focus on competing to be unique.
Being the best involves expensive trade-offs, and when your competitors are also focusing on being the best, it will ultimately come down to price vs cost.
Here’s an example of uniqueness when all competitors are similar and is an interesting image demonstrating uniqueness in the car market.
The constant disruption of email
What if every time you checked your email, you had to walk out the front to the letterbox to do it? It’s a preposterous concept but illustrates the distraction and productivity loss that is email. To be effective, we need to achieve deep work a period of deep, undistracted thinking. This is such a powerful concept that many of the teams I work with actually have deep workrooms within their offices and deep workdays, where team members spend undistracted time offsite. And it works; the productivity gains are remarkable.
Instead of constantly checking emails as a distraction for your creative, bored brain or succumbing to the alerts function of your email program, instead block out two or three periods of your day to check and respond to email as a batch.
Amazon Profit per X
I’ve discussed the importance of the Amazon Flywheel before, and how Amazon has built incredible momentum from their flywheel. But what is the Profit per X of Amazon? What is the primary economic denominator that Amazon leaders focus the strategy on?
An insight can be gained from the quote by Jeff Bezos at the beginning of this newsletter. “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes”.
The Amazon Profit per X is Profit per Prime subscriber.
Amazon wants more Prime subscribers, and they want to get more profit from each Prime subscriber.
Strategically, everything rotates around the Prime subscriber.
From daily necessities to audiobooks and shoes, the question is always, how can Amazon make more profit from each Prime subscriber.
Is Amazon too big to fail?
The concept of a private corporation being too big to fail emerged in the 2008 GFC. As you’re probably aware, it refers to banks that were systemically important enough that their continuation was required to maintain stability in the economy, and therefore were afforded Government bailouts to prevent them from failing.
But, beyond banking, what if another firm was so big and so important that it also was too big to fail, and its failure would be catastrophic to society.
Now hold on, you might say, I wouldn’t miss my low priced batteries and Amazon Prime movies if they went away.
But that’s not where the systemic risk lies.
Consider the market share that Amazon has over the worlds knowledge.
– Amazon has one-third of the global online storage market with AWS. This is not only your holiday photos; this is everything for people, industry and Government
– Amazon has an estimated 50% to 70% of the book publishing market. In addition, many books are in e-book or audio format, again controlled by Amazon Audible and Kindle.
We’ve recorded everything in books within Government libraries and vaults for most of human history, and now everything is digital. Most of the human race’s information is controlled by Amazon.
Amazon is now indeed too big to fail. Because if they fail, we all fail. There are no back-ups. There are no hard copies.
But that’s not all.
The internet is rotting.
The links that connect the internet are not timeless.
This week, I read an interesting article where the author analyses 2 million links in the New York Times at nytimes.com since its inception in 1996. He found that 25% of the deep links have rotted.
But it’s not just the New York Times, Government, legal, and business systems completely rely on the internet.
From the article.
“50 per cent of the links embedded in Court opinions since 1996, when the first hyperlink was used, no longer worked. And 75 per cent of the links in the Harvard Law Review no longer worked.”
This long article from Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor and computer science professor at Harvard, is sure to make you think differently about the internet and the risks we are creating by completely relying on the internet.
Global vaccination is growing
According to Our World in Data, 3 billion vaccine doses have now been administered.
– The first half a billion took 114 days.
– The last half a billion were administered in the last 13 days.
Made to Thrive update
I’m often asked how my book Made to Thrive is progressing, and the answer is quite well. Since the launch, it’s been 20 months, and sales are steady, with positive reactions regularly popping up. So here’s a review on Amazon from the past week.
Made to Thrive review
Richard H. Canada
“A very practical, detailed, tool and checklist oriented summary of what every entrepreneur should know and do to lead their company successfully. Written by a successful and experienced entrepreneur who now coaches entrepreneurs to build great companies. Full of insightful examples and stories of real people. If you’ve reached your “Peter Principle” and are beginning to feel like an imposter, then reach for this book.”
Apple iPhone users will want to check out the new Spatial Audio features released in iOS 14.6. It’s lossless 3D audio that will have you saying wow. Check out this article for details Apple spatial audio: what is it? How do you get it?
Finally, we’re Back to the Future with a flying car 35-minute test flight between cities
Richard Branson plans his first spaceflight on July 11, beating Jeff Bezos into space by 9 days
Amazon added two new entries to its set of 14 leadership principles, including “Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer” and “Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility.” (See above for details on that responsibility!)
From the playbook “the customer is always right” this week, a man was arrested after threatening to blow up a McDonald’s restaurant for neglecting to include dipping sauce with his order of chicken McNuggets.
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
This week we talk about a simple tool that you can use to reset each quarter on three areas of work, self and life.
This worksheet helps you to unpack all of the stuff that’s happening to be able to rank the most important priorities within your work, then yourself and then your life.
The will help you to reflect on what has and hasn’t worked, and then to help you figure out how much energy to allocate to each of the three areas for the next quarter.
Why you need a Quarterly reset
Listen to The Growth Whisperers
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