"The truth is, he was everything I try to be."

William H. Gates, Bill Gates’ father, passed away yesterday.

In a moving — and inspiring — blog post Bill talks about his father, especially the incredible parent and role model he’s been to him.

Bill attributes his success to his parents’ unconditional support and encouragement:

I knew [my parents’] love and support were unconditional, even when we clashed in my teenage years. I am sure that’s one of the reasons why I felt comfortable taking some big risks when I was young, like leaving college to start Microsoft with Paul Allen. I knew they would be in my corner even if I failed.

Bill also shares that—

My dad’s wisdom, generosity, empathy, and humility had a huge influence on people around the world.

He was collaborative, judicious, and serious about learning.

He modeled an amazing work ethic. 

He was quick to tear up when he saw people suffering in the world.

And he would not let any of us forget the people behind the strategies we were discussing.

Role models play an important role, making enormous impact on the lives of young people, their choices, and futures.

Some see their parents as role models, while others follow the guidance and support of other role models.

Regardless who one’s role model is, becoming a role model is one of the most impactful ways to help young people anywhere build a more promising future.

Stay tuned.


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The Cloud Office & The Future of Work

We hear of so many companies that won’t go back to the way they used to work just six months ago. For them, office work is history. It’s gone.

Our collective, forced attachment to offices has now been severed by a deep mindset fault line.

What, then, is the future of the office? And how does it work into the future of work?

Network Effects of Offices

Like many other things in life, working in offices is a phenomenon that’s subject to network effects.

Meaning, coming to work in a near-empty office is very different from coming to work in an office that’s teeming with people and activity.

Offices full with people present the opportunity for more face-to-face collaboration and spontaneous social interaction where ideation and innovations can emerge; but that also comes at a cost in the form of lower overall staff productivity (the result of, eg, commuting time, distractions, noise, etc).

Your Office, In The Cloud

The very near future will bring many more digital innovations that shift the office to the cloud.

Many of the tasks that used to be performed in offices will be done, more efficiently and more successfully, in the cloud using cloud-hosted tools and services that not only mimic office environments and its interpersonal dynamics, but which also design and deliver novel experiences that can only be mediated through digital technology.

Imagine, for one example, the ability to identify and pull collaborators, experts and future customers in real time into a shared space.

Technology will enable us to unshackle our tethering to offices. It’ll be liberating, empowering, collaborative, connected, convenient, efficient, and productive — and will change the way we work and do business in a deep and fundamental way.

Function Over Form

But there’s more to this shift because offices, at least until now, enabled some degree of spontaneous exchange of information and unplanned professional interaction — which have largely positive effects as well as potentially negative effects (eg, group think, bias).

The momentum towards the office in the cloud is in conflict with the potential benefits of bringing people together into a common, shared professional working space.

We believe this momentum won’t stop. Rather, it’s quickly becoming the new normal, at least in certain economies and for certain occupations.

Instead of curbing this momentum, the potential benefits of bringing people together into a common, shared professional working space will require companies — meaning, their leaders as well as their current and future employees — to think hard about when and how to go for these benefits.

In other words, this creates an invaluable opportunity to look at the functional purpose an office space might serve, rather than the knee-jerk view of considering the office as the form for doing work.

Different companies may “pick” different points on the cloud-to-office spectrum.

However you look at that, the office of the future and the future of work are becoming a continuum that changes our collective acceptance of and openness to new modalities of work. And that’s an overall good thing.


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Remotely hiring your future workers

Everything we was used to do pre-Covid has changed, especially how we recruit, interview, screen, evaluate and hire future talent.

  1. How do you identify high-potential talent in a virtually-virtual world?

  2. How do you obtain a deep sense of who your candidate is and what s/he can do?

  3. How do you give candidates a higring experience that’s appealing and positive?

And how do you do all this without the intensive in-person interaction (on campus, at the office)?

These are key challenges for the new world of talent.

Stay tuned for what’s coming next week.


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Single Solution

Every business is facing the same set of key challenges (listed below).

Fortunately all of them point towards a single solution.

The challenges are:

  • Cutting down costs

  • Increasing top-line

  • Bringing to market innovative products

Single solution to all challenges.

Your solution lies in smartly managing the human factor of your business.

This means:

  1. Hire better candidates and do a better job tapping the untapped potential of your employees, and you’ll cut down your human capital and labor costs (ie, cost of recruiting, hiring, turnover, training, etc)

  2. Hire better and do a better job identifying and utilizing the untapped potential of your staff and you’ll increase your sales and top-line growth

  3. Hire better and do a better job tapping the untapped potential of your employees and you’ll drive bolder innovation and bring better products and services to market

Human Potential Utilization (HPU) Rate.

The human potential hidden inside your company is the most invaluable and most underutilized asset you have right now.

Even a modest 3-5% increase in the rate of HPU will produce significant ROI.

The same applies to all future human potential you’re looking to identify and bring into your company.

Summary.

Every business is facing the same type of challenges.

The’re a single solution, and it’s is clear and straightforward.

The reward is unquestionable.

What happens next comes down, as you should know by now, to the human factor!


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Ben Horowitz's Formula: Super Entrepreneurs

San Francisco Bridge

Ben Horowitz, the entrepreneur and co-founder of the eponymous venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, has a formula for super entrepreneurs:

f = Genius * Courage

Genius means:

  • Bold creative original idea

  • Deep critical thinking and understanding of how idea flows to results

Courage means:

  • Persevering in the face of adversity

  • Unyielding determination to succeed

Genius without Courage isn’t enough; and Courage without Genius isn’t enough.

It’s the combined presence of the two that catapults one into a high potential entrepreneur.

Now, pause and ask.

How many such hidden super entrepreneurs are out there in the world?

100s… 1,000s… 10,000s… 100,000s… perhaps more?

The actual number is probably pretty large, but that’s not the point.

The key point is that the leveling and disintermediating effect of the Internet means we can discover and unleash exponentially more Horowitz-grade super entrepreneurs than at any other point in human history.

Now just think where that would lead.


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