Hacker

Instead of transporting slow-moving siege engines and heavy equipment with them, the Mongols carried a faster-moving engineer corps that could build whatever was needed on the spot from available materials. Genghis Khan recognized that warfare was not a sporting contest or a mere match between rivals; it was a total commitment of one people against another. Victory did not come to the one who played by the rules; it came to the one who made the rules and imposed them on his enemy.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You must forget that internal voice screaming, begging, “Not one more step!” And when it’s not possible to forget it, you must negotiate with it.

Shoe Dog

The best way to start building something is to forget the rules and tools and create something tangible as quickly as possible. From there, don’t break the build and iterate making the product better. Our infrastructure must allow for this rapid experimentation.

  1. Write a PR/FAQ to define the project and reduce its scope. Spending even 30 minutes writing out what you are building will save time in the long run. Words are cheap, code is not.
  2. Build something fast and have it run. Ignore the tools and rules of good engineering and just build something quickly. Think duck tape instead of bolts.
  3. Get customer feedback and create a series of tasks to flush out the product plus all the components a business needs such as Stripe, etc.
  4. Bring others to build out those features. No project should only have a single stakeholder. This is when we focus on strong processes and engineering.
  5. Finally, hire or partner with someone to lead the project.

Engineering

Every engineering process must go through the following cycle. If we are not going through this cycle or are skipping steps, or working backwards while performing this cycle we are optimizing first without understanding .

  1. Fix the “Dumb” Requirements
    1. What are we trying to actually accomplish?
    2. Do not trust the experts that gave you the specs but questions what they want to accomplish and why.
  2. Remove Unnecessary Parts/Processes
    1. Each requirement / process must have a person’s name next to it who owns it.
    2. Do not hedge your bets. Just remove a process.
      1. If you are not adding back 10% of the things you are removing you are not removing enough.
    3. Buy instead of build. Building requires time and maintenance, if someone else can do something better then use them to move faster while reducing overhead costs
  3. Simplify/Optimize
    1. Simplify and Optimize is step 3. If you are optimizing a dumb requirement or process then you are mostly wasting time. So figure out 1. first before even attempting to optimize.
  4. Speed Up Cycle Time
    1. Every iteration of 1, 2, 3 should be faster. To do this metrics must be kept that shows the acceleration of these three steps.
  5. Automate
    1. Lastly, automate the process.

How to become better with the Build, Measure, Learn, Share and Repeat process?

We seek openness as a First Principle. To make the world better we need people using powerful, open ideas and having those ideas made better over time. To unearth these ideas, we learn broadly things we do not understand and make unknowns, known by inventing new solutions. We will give away the knowledge of what we learn and apply what we learn into our tools and services. We will teach others what we have learned and help them succeed. We will not hoard knowledge but aspire to learn so we can share what we learn.

We do not aspire to have a monopoly on ideas, good ideas can come from anywhere, so we strengthen ideas regardless of where they come from. We will cooperate with others to improve their ideas if those ideas are better. We will learn using the paradigm of Learn, Do, Advance, Iterate. This paradigm’s emphasis is on solving problems from what is learned. We will learn something that requires the solving of a problem, we will solve the problem with what we learn, we advance by figuring out the next problem that we do not understand that needs to be solved, and finally we iterate to go back to learning to solve the next problem.

Good ideas are already shared freely in books and other media. We aspire to develop a broad understanding of humanity from understanding history, politics, war, economics, math, physics, biology, psychology, games, etc. We need to make wide and deep connections, and the best way to do that is to understand the world broadly. We must expand our horizon; we will connect dots from different fields and practice things that make us better in the long run. We learn to understand how to avoid pitfalls from the past. We read and learn how to do things from those who did things before us and use history and books as teachers and mentors. We must use the Past to Advance Humanity to the Future.

Learning and Applying our Learning means we will make mistakes. While are not afraid of making mistakes, we are not afraid of looking like fools, we are not afraid of taking crazy bets. We must figure out How We Learn and adapt. All learning must start small and focused and expand out so we can minimize the feedback loop. Do this by starting with that kernel that is solid and focused and expand out from there. We will fall down, make mistakes and may be wrong but we will get back up and learn from our impediments to become better. The biggest measure of our learning is how quickly we get back up against after falling from our mistakes. This, we will fail fast and fail often with the goal that each failure is a learning lesson that we use to improve ourselves.

Share knowledge and give away knowledge. Be proactive about sharing knowledge. We are here to Advance Humanity and that means we must make the knowledge we learn available to everyone. Others may use our knowledge and compete with us and that is perfectly fine. We want our knowledge to help better the world and that means having our ideas spread to everyone, everywhere.

How to build Mental Models to understand the world?

In the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn noted that in science models are patched until there is no longer a way to modify the model anymore. Once there are too many exceptions to a model that model breaks down and a new model needs to be created to understand the world. This is called a Paradigm Shift. It is not only science that has these shifts society, culture and technology also go through these paradigm shifts. We must notice them to capitalize on them and that means creating Shared Mental Models of the world.

Shared Mental Models are a model for how we believe the world works which allows us to simplify communication as a team, understand the patches in that model, and figure out when that model is breaking down due to changes in technology. Shared mental models allow us to create scenarios and how we fit into that scenario allowing us to better understand how we need to maneuver. To understand and create mental models break things down using First Principle, and understand how each component of the model works and find bottlenecks, gatekeepers, and holes to capitalize on. Further, we must develop mental models to prevent us from gaining tunnel vision on what we are doing. For example, it can be hard to see what we are doing is entering a period of decline without figuring out the shifts in the model of the world.

Our mental models will be used to help test our hypothesis against the world and develop our capabilities to fit that model. Further, to enter new industries we need to first figure out the mental models of that industry. Once this is done we will develop the capabilities to enter that industry.

Don’t try to be right, be less wrong. Trying to be right all the time doesn’t work. Because it comes from a place of always knowing. This is just impossible for people since the world is complex and have so many variables that move it forward. However, the variables that allow you to be less wrong are pretty simple and apparently if you pay attention to them. If you can pay attention to the variables that prove you less wrong, and ignore the ones that push you to being right you benefit in two ways. 1) You learn to find where your faults are and address those faults in your thinking. 2) You don’t let ego get in the way of you trying making the approporaiate decision.

Savoie-faire Know what to do in any situation. This means learning and understanding broadly even if you don’t have understanding on the specifics of what you are doing. We live in a world of hyperspecialization where people end up being obsoleted faster than they can adapt. There is value in being really good at something, but it also helps to know a bit about everything. It helps to learn disparate things because your mind can connect the dots from different ideas and that marriage is the new idea. Learn to become adept at multiple things.

Truthseek. Be aware if you are following someone’s path or charting your own. It is easy to get stuck doing the same thing because someone else has. Many times there are good reasons for doing something a particular way, other times it makes no sense to do so. It may make sense to figure out if you can change this.

How to Apply the Unix Philosophy?

Keep things simple and composable. Build things that are hyper-focused which can talk to other things extendable. This includes tools, businesses, products and services. Do not fall for Not Invented Here, it is better to use someone else’s 90% tool than to make our half-assed one unless there is a Competitive Advantage for us to do it differently. Build things that follow the 80/20 rule. Do not try to do everything for everyone. Aim for perfection, settle for good enough. Avoid complexity that can result in cascading failures because of heavy coupling of systems.

Solve problems by brute force first to make it work before making it pretty. Remember Copy-Paste, Excel and Bash are all effective tools. Solve the problem first fast, go back and make it pretty and scalable, but always remember to keep things simple. We solve problems to Advance Humanity not build tech for tech’s sake, so build tool that are composable with other tools.

Build simple solutions with the skills we have now, not skills that we can develop in the future, or skills that need to be heavily specialized. Create tools that empower people to come up to speed quickly.

Remember always: Complex Actions that do Complex Activities Fail in Complex Ways; Simple Actions that do Complex Activities Fail in Simple Ways. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Can you explain it to a 6th grader?

One of the major things to scale and growth is the ability to reduce variables. The more variables that are in a system the more it can fail in convoluted, complex ways. The fewer variables the simpler the failure and the easier it is to diagnose the failure. This is not to mean that complexity cannot arise. It just means that complex systems that have simpler subsystems scale better. Reduce variables until doing so makes things more complex. This will be hard because the natural outcome is to want to add variables add different vectors.

One of the hard parts of keeping things simple is the fact that we have to subdivide. Modern society is based on division and dividing, but sometimes you just need to release something and it is better to try it out within the confines of an existing brand than to start from scratch building a new brand.

How to Release Fast and Often while Continuously Improving?

All things need code or routines that are followed to create a desired outcome. The reason for this is that when we have a program that we follow we can refactor it as opposed to working ad hoc. We will be able to ensure that we can move forward and still create the same outcome. Without code or a process definition we are each working independently without knowing if what we are doing is the most efficient way to go about our daily tasks.

So everything we do must be based on eventually process. What this means is if we do a task more than once as we do it it should get more and more defined or programetized. This means clearly having the tests and key metrics to ensure what we are doing is in fact helping us as opposed to hurting us.

Further, we should be able to split apart a routine whenever we need to and hire someone to do that routine as opposed to reinventing the wheel. Every routine like a good computer program should require fewer steps and cost less to accomplish the task.

Reduce the batch size and deploy something that works to production and to the customer as fast as possible. The goal is to always have a stable way of releasing features to customers. Reducing the batch size or size of code being released will allow us to constantly improve the quality of the code and reduce the number of errors.

However, to achieve this we must always work to ensure everything we have in the master branch will be deployable and can be deployable and is tested. We must be willing to move fast and that is only done by having reliable tested code and processes.

How to Fail Fast?

How to Learn From Mistakes?

We do not celebrate our mistakes but we seek to understand where we made mistakes in the first place.

In Behavioral Economics we are more prone to feeling pains from losses than equal amounts of gains. This is called Loss Aversion. This fear of losses makes us blind to when things are not working and killing something. We need to test our experiments completely but experiments can go wrong so learn to kill things when they don’t work. However, don’t celebrate when things fail. Failure is a means to understand, celebrating it is the wrong incentive since we are celebrating the failure instead of the ability to learn. Fail fast, learn fast.

It is really easy to live in the realm of the What. What and How give solutions to ready made problems but unfortunately they do not handle problems when you hit unknowns. When you hit anything unknown when you learned the What and How you are stuck because you haven’t dived deeper. Asking Why over and over until you have gotten to the root of a problem. From there work back up to answer the How. When you understand Why you can then think in terms of atoms and molecules. You can start making different permutations that we’re not available to you when you just we’re focused on the What and How.

Every field has a Why. The root that everything is based on. If you can find that Why and really understand it it lets you understand the root of what you are trying to accomplish.

Figure out how to reduce waste over time and increase quality. Increasing quality tends to reduce waste and cost over time as there are fewer defects in the service.

How to think in terms of “The Network is the Computer”?

Humanity is moving to ever connectedness. Everything that can get connected will get connected. The leads of this new world are those that can break and mold these networked systems together and wield them to their advantage.

As I write this the most important mechanism of power in the world is networks. We need to understand and exploit the network to ensure that we can attain our goals. This means we cannot be removed and fight a symmetric fight against an asymmetric node. We must fight asymmetrical and ensure that how we move the work forward is itself also decentralized as much as possible.

A network with the fewest nodes is easier to secure than one with thousands so ensure that each team can exploit the power of its network.

Having smaller systems make them more scalable as they are simpler and fewer people can have total knowledge over the entire system. This is true in computers as well as business. Small teams can achieve more faster because they can hold the entire product, sales and marketing strategy in their head. This is also how OpsZero will be organized.

We are building a Platform that allows us to create completely independent teams that work on verticals disconnected from each other but by building up a common infrastructure. This infrastructure will grow and evolve standardizing common tasks across teams while still enabling them to move independently.

This has a few benefits:

  • We can try ideas faster by assembling new teams.
  • We can scale resources to a team if it is growing.
  • We can grow ideas quickly if we see a need in the market for that skill.
  • We can work deep into a singular technology.

All of these are benefits. In essence we need to keep a firm simple. 8-10 people max per team and using freelancers to fill in any holes. A team can also jump off and work completely independent of our infrastructure if they want to.

How to be resourceful?

OODA

Lure with bait, strike with chaos! – Sun Tzu

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Speed is everything. We need to respond to changing circumstances much faster then our competitors and ensure we can react to the changing marketplace. We need to have shared goals that will allow us to engage with our competition faster than they can react. Using the OODA loop we can take stock of everything that is happening and really execute quickly. To do so we need to work as a unit and that means to figure out what the holes are and then rapidly move forward.

The OODA is a few things within a decision making framework:

  • Taking many small, low cost bets that result in an overall positive outcome.
  • Learning and reducing the bets that may not pay off by having a solid framework for why we are taking a bet in the first place.
  • Appropriate risk taking to aim higher towards bigger wins than to take the smaller wins. 50% chance to win $1 million versus 90% chance to win $100k.

John Boyd’s OODA Loop shows us how to execute at a high tempo to respond to changing circumstances and getting inside our Customers, Partners and Competitions decision making process. We will get within the Loop of our Customers to delight them, get within the Loop of our Partners to be ready to support them, and inside our Competitors to disorient and surpass them. All actions within the Organization will follow the OODA Loop and everything we do will need to undergo at a variable tempo that confuses and confounds the respond. This is how we make our Organization to Learn and Adapt Quickly.

The beauty of the OODA Loop is that it is effective for any Decision Making situation in life. If we consider that life is a 4D game, our 3d body and our progress through time we can consider that each iteration of the game creates a new outcome. Each game we choose to play has its own set of OODA that is independent from other situations. We need to be aware of each situation and the different OODAs we can do based on those situations. For example, how we OODA through software development is much different from how we OODA through Jiu-Jitsu. Each has a set of rules that are in play. Each has an objective, has a set of mental models that are most pertinent to that situation and criteria for winning. We need to understand these and figure out how to attain those while also changing the rules that people have to follow our rules.

An OODA has to vary its Tempo and Speed while executing rapidly. We need to be able to make decisions quickly and understand that errors will be made. The major point of the OODA is to prevent Loss Aversion and advance our position. The Loss Aversion is prevented because we are always advancing backed on our Observation of if we are doing better toward our goal or not. So we need to be aware that we need to move forward.

Speed matters. If you are slow to execute then you will fail. Sometimes it makes sense to go slow, but other times speed just needs to be speed. We need to execute fast at a 80-90% throughput on average.

The OODA also needs to behave a certain way.

Observe

“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

We must collect all data points including Mistakes, Ideas, Stupid Ideas, Crazy Ideas, Small Changes, Big Changes, Customer Metrics, Customer Segments, Team Concerns, Customer Feedback, Impediments, Reviews, Team Feedback, 1:1 Feedback, Retrospectives, Competitive Landscape, Strategic Landscape, Economic Landscape, Political Landscape, Global Landscape, A/B Tests, Sales Prospects, Marketing Data, Process Constraints, Industry Analysis, Process Improvement, Competitive Strategy, Potential Future Failures, Failure of the 80/20 Rule, Weaknesses and Other Signals.

Further, all of these are important but the most important criteria are what are the rules of the game and what is my position relative to my opponent? What are my weaknesses that my opponent can take advantage of to prevent me from succeeding?

We will use this information as tactical knowledge and to build and improve our Mental Models of the world including where we are in Time-Space in relation to the observations we see. All this information will need to be gathered into a system and we must create new types of observations that we may not have considered. All of these Observations need to be processed regularly so we can Orient our execution.

Everyone must collect Observations. If you don’t see anything that needs improving then use the Theory of Constraints, find the slowest process point in the execution and create an observation around that. Then go to the next slowest, etc. An observation is short bursts of information this means that it needs to be gathered quickly and with Who, What, Where, Why, and How it affects the Vision.

Further, Observe also sets up ourselves relative to our goal. What is our current position relative to the outcome we want? What is success relative to what we have? What is our current state? These are important to constantly ask oneself in everything. If we don’t know what the state of the world is we cannot understand how to make the changes to get to where we want to go. So Observation needs to happen at a broad level to understand all the moving pieces that exist and figure out what you don’t know.

When you are Observing you will need to work backwards to also understand that that there are unknown, unknowns. This is to say there is information that you are not gathering because you don’t know to gather it. This is the

Report feedback frequently

  • We will use this to update and make things better.
  • Anything that is blocking you from completing your task will be addressed.
  • Do this by communicated directly or creating Messages in Message Board – Projects on how something can be improved.
  • We want the best work and we also want you to growth.
  • Constant feedback is the most effective to achieve that result.
  • Feedback will be provides frequently and be given in written form, this will allow you to see the good, bad and areas needed for improvement.
  • You should not see this as a reflection of yourself but as a way to learn and get better!
  • Feedback will be of the form:
  • What we like about your work
  • What work could use some improvement
  • Areas that we think you can learn or expand your knowledge on
  • Further, we shall have weekly one on ones to communicate any misunderstandings and clarify.
  • Anything you don’t understand should be communicated especially around code.
  • We can pair programming using VSCode and Live Share if you are confused about anything.
  • Use the 20 minute rule if you can’t figure something out in 20 mins then ask.
  • We prefer frequent code commits so you can get feedback about bugs and coding style, so don’t be afraid to push code even if it isn’t pretty.
  • Make it work, we will work together on making it pretty.

We also need to invert. What is it we want to achieve. How can we work backwards.

Success

Learn from Success

Survivorship Bias

Loss Aversion

Failure

Learn from failure.

Orient

Orientation should look at all the Observations through the lens of our Vision. We cannot and must not act on all of the Observations because it will create a whiplash effect if we use tactical information to change strategy. However, Orientation is the most critical part of what we do because there will be a million things we will uncover as part of the Observations that we need to synthesize into what we work on. This synthesis will happen in a few forms it will affect our Business Model Canvas and lead to the creation of Ideas through Projects and Experiments that address the Observations. We need to do this while holding true to our Vision and Principles otherwise we will drastically change directions which isn’t useful.

Orientation means we need to constantly simplify our Business Model and Projects, we need to review our decisions, and ensure people are informed so they understand the changing circumstances. Orient to outmaneuver our competition but ensure that winning means we are staying true to our Vision. If something is a good idea but it does not fulfill our Vision, don’t pursue it.

Orient tasks will need to be designed over time and there needs to be Projects designed with the goal of attaining a certain goal. These are done throughout the week to design the needs of the organization. Everyone should spend 1 Hour a day working on defining the projects, not doing them but thinking through completely a project and how it benefits the company. Go to the Idea section on what to do with this, but it is important to spend time really defining the project before doing it as it will create time to really understand what the project is trying to achieve.

Decide

All decisions should come down to the question: “Will this help or eventually help Deploy Ideas Faster to Advance Humanity?” This question should be picking projects, picking customers, picking tools and anything. If the answer is “no” then the answer is don’t do it. Decisions will have criteria based on Objectives and Key Results, Projects and Stories, and Sprints.

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are how we will set Quarterly and Yearly Goals for the organization. The reason for quarterly and yearly is because they are long enough duration that we can work on hard things. Every quarter, the organization will decide the corporate OKRs and these will trickle down into individual team OKRs. These are the singular goals that the entire Organization should work around.

Projects should fulfill these OKRs. The Objective should be a clear goal for where we are going that can be subdivided across teams. There should be clear measurable Key Results that can be calculated at any given moment. The Objectives and Key Results are there to aim the entire organization in the same direction. We need to get to a 75% score on the OKRs or higher every quarter and if not, we need to review if the goals we are striving for are relevant in the first place.

When making decisions make sure we are Inchworming. Ensure that our decisions are also working on our weaknesses as much as our strengths. This will reduce the range of our weakness to strength and ensures that our strengths are getting stronger, and our weaknesses become less weak. Projects should address both the strengths and the weaknesses. Further, the Value through our Products and Society will Inchworm Humanity.

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Focus on the 80/20 rule when making Decisions. Figure out the 20% that gives 80% of the value while increasing positive leverage towards our Vision. Chasing too many small fish will lead us astray from our Vision so it is important to focus on the 80/20 Principle. Simplify decisions to their essence, a hard decision is a series of small decisions. Attempting a hard-complex idea first is usually a waste of time, so start with a small kernel that is solid that you can iterate on. We need to decide Via Negativa, cutting anything from a decision that does not immediately need to be addressed. Work hard to remove things, not everything is a priority that you think it is. Make sure that the decisions are focused and that decisions are not bet the company decisions. Most organizations and teams can provide one or two products and services really well, focus and improve on those.

Even with all the Observations and Orientation we need to make decisions and we need to usually make decisions with 70-80% of the information. Making decisions with more than this amount of information will lead to slow execution. Sometimes we will be wrong, but it is important to make a calculated gamble with the information we have, not spend time and energy gathering more information that may not change out gamble.

Most importantly write out the steps you are going to take to address the decision. Writing out a process before execution leads us to make better decisions over time since it forces us to think through the outcomes and ensure that we understand how to doing things systematically. Writing is the measure twice, cut once method for knowledge work in the long run it saves time.

A/B Test things where there are no clear winner. It makes sense to test decisions in the wild if those decisions aren’t one way.

Invert. Look at things from the outside in. What is the smallest set of steps. Use Occam’s Razor to figure out which one will get to the outcome the quickest.

Do we need to do anything? As if we need to make a decision in the first place. Sometimes if something is bad just make it the exception to the rule. If the sample size increases then implement the rule.

Inversion

Before starting a project imagine you finished it. What can go wrong? Figure out all the points where things can go wrong and figure out how to fix those points.

Every idea needs a Premortum or a naysayer. Someone who takes the opposite point of view of bringing an idea. We need someone on a team that needs to take the contrarian view who can say how something can go wrong. If we are only looking at how an idea or decision is going to succeed we may be blind to the opposite of how a company can fail. This failure to see from the point of how we will fail will mean we are blind to a whole set of things that we will have to figure out or have not considered.

Looking at the inverse and really thinking about it from an inverse point of view will lead us to see things much more clearly in terms of what we need to do. For example, we do a project for a customer. What are all the ways the project can be delayed, how can it fail, how can it

Two Way Door vs One Way Door

Decisions are hard because we like to think most decisions are One Way Door decisions. One Way Door decisions are bet the farm kinds of decisions. They are the decisions that you need to think really clearly, hard and with great consideration of the inputs. They should really be very few and far between kinds of decisions. These decisions are not to be taken lightly and you want to think hard about them.

However, most decisions aren’t One Way Door decisions. They are Two Way Door. It is like trying to find a bar to go to on a Friday in a city you’ve never been to. You make the decision quickly, you are outside, people look friendly, you have some of the information about what you need to go in and you go in and it is a total ghost town. Was it a wrong decision? You had 70% of the input and you made a decision and find out it was bad. If a ghost town was not what you were looking for you would exit the bar and go try another one in the neighborhood. It makes no sense to keep staying at the bar.

Most decisions Perfect is the enemy of the good

Go with imperfect information. We will never be able to cover everything in a decision but we should be able to move forward.

Act

If you had a sound decision and the result is not what you expected don’t blame the decision of what you knew about the decision was sound when you made it. It it wasn’t then update your model to improve the decision. If a decision didn’t work out don’t fall for hindsight bias.

If you had a sound decision and the result is not what you expected don’t blame the decision of what you knew about the decision was sound when you made it. It it wasn’t then update your model to improve the decision. If a decision didn’t work out don’t fall for hindsight bias.

Action is two fold. Action for now and action for the future. Both are important. Action on now is performing the duties and necessities of the present as it related to our customers, partners, etc. Action for the future is creating a set of improvement with projects and experiments that leads to a better outcome in the future.

Action now means creating Standard Operating Procedures and Automations. Thus, you just follow the procedure when performing it and not have to think too much about it. Tasks that are acted on for now should have clear outcomes and step by step actions. If an action is no longer fulfilling its role or the performance is no longer beneficial it should stop being done. Automations mean there should be ways of automating the repetitive jobs over time. Action for now should take precedence over acting for the future, but we need to not stall for the future. However, if we are always acting on now we won’t be evolving which means long-term failure so work hard to strike a balance between the two.

Acting for the future is working on Projects and Stories that lead to our Vision. Act Fast once a Decision is made. Ensure things work first even if they do not scale and build a working solid core. Iterate to the desired outcome. Reduce variability and act on fewer high leverage activities. Bias toward simplicity and repeatability.

To ensure that hard things are done we need to have a daily Deep Work time of 60-90 minutes without distraction where the hard projects are addressed. This time should be held sacred and it is time without chat, email, or other distractions to focus deeply on a problem. While we peform our action anything that is a mistake, potential improvement, etc. needs to be created as an Observation.

We need to focus on Process Engineering and Process Excellence. Standardize and make repeatable any process that needs to be done more than once. This process should be improved overtime with a checklist. The processes should be reduce to their absolute essence and give people the ability to break the rules if it doesn’t fit with the paradigm or if there is a better way to do something. We need to ensure that every time we do something that the process gets more and more efficient. Cut the number of steps needed to achieve something over time.

Gamify

Poker is an amazing game because every decision you make you have a bet that goes with it. The more you believe you have an advantage against your player the more risk you can take while assuming you have a high reward. Will you succeed all the time? No, but there is a value you placed on a decision.

Gamification of tasks whether by adding a monetary value to decisions drives better decisions. Asking someone to bet or out a value on their decision forces them to think harder than asking them is this worth doing? Asking someone to stake certain amount of money into something forces a skin in the game decision on the outcome and also allows us to gauge what the hand we are playing actually is.

Bets are also a way to hold ourselves accountable and a way to short circuit the ability to get things done. Understand Game Theory and figure out what the optimal play is and create situations where we are forcing the hand.

We get shit done. When we say we are going to do something we do it otherwise we don’t make that commitment. We need to be brutally honest with our time commitment and understand when and how we can get tasks done and how we are going to be able to bring those things to the world. Choosing how to allocate time though can be tricky. So often we get pulled in multiple directions. It may be personal excitement, professional aspiration, social obligation, stubborn resolution, or any combination thereof. Name your justification for committing to a task, and it applies to how our time gets divided up and ultimately we become less efficient.

Additionally, we create the possibility of cognitive dissonance when we aren’t brutally honest with ourselves. We all know the feeling of that project that keeps getting put on the back burner, that section of a task we either can’t work through or don’t spend the time working through. Sometimes this may apply to every task which makes up our job. This is often a sign that we’re simply not doing something we find meaningful, something which is rewarding for us. Yet we may continue to try and get it done with the idea that it will improve our personal, professional, or social situation; all the while getting it done makes us feel like shit. When we choose to get the shit done that fits with the principles discussed here, that has meaning externally and then empowers internally, then the passion will follow naturally.

We delivery results

We take ideas from the opposing side

Challenge yourself. Go after bigger and bigger challenges. Do it while holding onto the values we have.

Do fewer things and find ways to remove tasks from your plate not add more. These tasks should be higher in value and make things easier for everyone.

Moral Risk Taking

When you are playing a multi iteration Game we need to understand how we are responding to our competitors. It may be easy to get into a short term game that is morally bad when we should be focused on the long term game.

Some Plays are Made to Show Your Opponents Plays

Some plays you will lose and you should do it intentionally to show your opponents play. From here you can understand how to mode forward and play effectively if you make small plays where you most likely will lose but force their hand.

  • Decision Making
    • Effective decisions are one of the pillars of power.
      • The way to make decisions is two fold. Quick decisions with limited information, longer decisions which require more input.
    • Decide, Simplify, Execute, Validate
      • Decide they type of task that you want to make
        • Is it a big choice? Or a simple one?
        • Most decisions are as Jeff Bezos put it a two way door.
          • You can walk through the door and you can walk back out.
        • Some decisions are big existential ones that is more akin to burnings the ships after you land.
        • Know which decision you have to make.
          • Furthermore, you will not know all the information before making a decision and nor can you.
          • 60-80% is enough information to make a decision.
            • Anything more and you are wasting time or are too late.
    • You will never have 100% of the perfect information to make a decision. You only have imperfect information to work with most of the time. Have a criteria that you have that is yours that you can empirically test that you revolve over time for helping you make decisions. How do you make decisions on what you invest in, what you buy, who you date? Sometimes you don’t want perfect you want the good enough that meets your criteria.
    • Most of the time you want to make a good decision not a perfect one. A good decision is made by taking 60-80% of information available. 100% is never available to you.
    • It is just as important to remove the need to make decisions as it is to make them. Standard Operating Procedures, kill projects that don’t or won’t give you joy, etc. are important. You can’t focus your energy on everything, you can really only focus on 2-3 projects so it really depends on how you want to get those projects done quickly that matter.
    • delegate. You can’t do it all yourself and great things are done with other people so learn how to have others do tasks for you.
    • Remove tasks that doesn’t fit a certain criteria that you have.
    • When you have the upside you also bear responsibility for the downside. You can’t blame others for it
  • Decide if You need to make the decision
    • Sometimes you don’t need to.
      • Is this a decision I and I alone need to make?
    • over time the number of decisions you make should be reduced but those decision should be broad and deep.
      • making too many decisions over time can lead to decision fatigue.
      • that is you make so many decisions you get exhausted and do something stupid.
      • think of all the really smart, powerful people who end up with affairs.
        • they probably were making too many decisions that led to them deciding on the wrong thing at the wrong time.
  • Decision Making When Things are On Fire
    • One of the things you did today when you got the text from adam was you started to panic. You couldn’t think clearly and you were all over the place and not collected.
    • Always be cool and collected. Never show fear even if you feel it. You can have fear and fear is needed but when you transfer that to physiology you are wasting your body’s resources in a fight and flight response. During a stressful moment instead take a couple deep breaths.
    • Observe the situation. What is unfolding at the moment.
    • Orient to what needs to be done. What do you have at your disposal to respond with?
    • Decide. Decide what you are going to do to respond.
    • Act. Execute on that decision to go back to Observe.
    • You need to act on the OODA loop but that means not acting on fear and not getting emotion blind you.
    • Always stay cool. Even when you are angry. The more angry you are the more you oponenet has over you. Sont physiologically show anger, ever. Use exercise to take it out. You need a way to get it out.

Knowledge

Observe

  • Five Whys
    • Why are you trying to learn or do in the first place? Really understand your motivations
  • Do you need to learn it or can you just have someone else do it?
    • Weight the Opportunity Costs
    • Do you love it? If you don’t then it will be painful to learn!

Orient

  • What does successfully learning this project what would it look like?
    • What is the outcome?
    • What do you want to be able to do?
    • What is the your target performance level?
  • Say you finished this project and everything went wrong, what were some of the things you wish you knew before starting?
    • Think of the exact opposite of what would happen. If something went wrong.
      • Example, if you went hunting and you jam your gun while the animal is charging towards you? If you don’t kill the animal quickly enough? If you get lost? What would you do to prepare for those? That should be what you need to learn.
  • Research
    • Gather as many of the following as possible to do some preliminary research:
      • Blogs
      • Books
      • Research Papers
      • Podcasts
      • Media
    • What are some questions or topics that you need to learn from your initial overview?
      • Jump in over your head. Dive in deep to figure out all the subtopics even if you don’t know.
    • What are the the patterns that appear in multiple places? These are important to learn

Decide

  • Deconstructing a skill to individual subskills
    • Learn enough about each subskill to practice intelligently and self-correct during practice
    • Focus your energy on one skill at a time
  • Obtain the tools you need to learn this subskill
    • Figure out if the media that you are consuming fits with the level of your knowledge. A beginner’s book will not be useful if you already know the basics or need to learn a specific subskill. Understand the level of your knowledge
  • Removing physical, mental, and emtional barriers that get in the way of practice
    • Schedule time on your calendar to practice these skills.
      • Eliminate distractions in your environment.
    • Practicing the most important subskills for at least twenty hours
  • What mental models do you already have that can be useful with making learning easier?

Act

  • Create OODAs for how to execute what you learned.
    • This will be how you will be able to make decisions and perform in the future.
  • Create Spaced Repitition System
    • Use spaced repetition and reinforcement for memorization.
    • Put what you learn into practice as soon as possible.
    • Identify mental models and mental hooks
  • Emphasize quantity and speed.
    • Practice by the clock in short bursts
  • Create fast feedback loops
    • Figure out how you are performing quickly
  • Make and test predicitions
    • Observations – what you currently observing?
    • Knowns – what do you know about the topic already?
    • Hyopthesis – what do you think will improve your performance?
    • Tests – what are you going to try next?
  • Biology
    • Motor skill functions need both practice and sleep to learn
  • Talk to a coach to see how you are doing?

OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act)

There are so many moving parts that any business has that need to mode smoothly, these include Sales, Marketing, Finance, Value Creation and Value Delivery. All of these things need to be created and run in a smooth fashion to produce results and you have to ensure that there is incremental change overtime to improve the process.

The OODA Loop is a great way of considering a business. It

Sheepdog attempts to gamify business for solopreneurs. It has the goal of enabling them to move forward in their action loops so the business is always learning and evolving. It attempts to ensure that you are taking care of yourself since it is so easy for solopreneurs to develop bad health habits that detract from the marathon of business.

It provides a way to create automations that can be run at regular intervals and run things such as Docker, AWS Lambda, REST APIs. It also provides an interface to Mechanical Turk so you can get crowdsourced tasks done quickly.

Furthermore, you can create Hiring Positions that you want to fill and use Upwork to hire those people. You can also post individual Projects on Upwork to get them completed so it is not completely on you to finish everything.

The goal with Sheepdog is to be a secret weapon for Solopreneurs. It is not made to be general, it is very much made to execute in a certain way. This will result in high speed execution for any single person starting a company.

What it will do:

Self

Create a Routine

Time Management

Take Care of Yourself

Community

Work

OODA Loop

Crowdsourcing

Gig Economy

Cloud Execution

Automations

Hiring Positions

The one thing that we are leaving generic in Sheepdog is how you do project management. We believe that different tools are best for different use cases. Jira, Github, Trello are all great for executing different projects. So we will keep how the projects are organized individualized.

Sheepdog is very opinionated about the way it does things and for that reason it may not be the best tool for everyone. It is a way to execute at high performance and understanding the loop is important for how everything is structured.

Sheepdog uses gamification to get more tasks done. It combines a couple different methodologies together including John Boyd’s OODA Loop, Scrum, Kanban and things taken from behavioral economics to make your Vision come true with less work and more fun and repeatability.

John Boyd was a fighter pilot who changed the nature of Warfare by creating the methodology used to understand and get within the enemy’s feedback loop.

This OODA Loop is the core of our system. You basically cycle through this Loop every time iterating to improve your position and getting inside the loop of your competitors to move faster than they can.

Each part is responsible for a different arena which we go into in the book. However, this is the TL;DR:

Observe

The Observe stage observes the world as it is and attempts to gather as much data as possible on what is going on. All this information will be used to go through each stage of the OODA Loop including Orientation, Decide and Act. Management Science has come up with quite a few tools to allow us to get into how to make effective decisions but this all comes down to a few things.

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Collect

  • Collect everything that you can about what is happening.
  • This should just be something done by the whole company.
  • The goal is to take all this information and sift through it in the Orientation phase.

We need to be aware of a rapidly evolving and changing marketplace and that means having observations that we use to make the right choice moving forward. We need a way to rapidly gain inputs from the world and make rapid firing decisions based on the changes.

Observe

  • Competitors
  • Partners
  • Technology
  • Social
  • Moral landscape
  • Political
  • Changing trends
  • Questions
  • Impediments
  • Retrospectives

Orient

  • Lean Canvas
    • All Items
  • Update Sprints
  • Strategy
  • Customer Development
  • Projects
  • Experiments

Decide

  • Learn Canvas
    • Active
  • All OKRs
  • All Stories
  • All Sprints
  • All Positions
  • All Tools
  • Resources
  • All Impediments

Act

  • All Impediments
  • Active OKRs
  • Active Sprints
  • Active Stories with Procedures

Outside Landscape

  • Competitors / Industry
    • What does the competitor think the industry is moving?
    • What are press releases and other information that could be used?
    • What blog posts and tweets did they cover?
  • Partner
  • Customer Segments
    • What is the competition within this customer segments?
      • Who are the players?
      • What are the average size of the organizations?
  • Economic
  • Industry
  • Society
  • Moral

Inside Landscape

Impediments / Muda

  • As a company does more and more it can start increasing the amount of waste and tasks that are just not important.
  • These things are not important and should be removed
  • It does not mean get rid of everything but it should be removed it is not creating any value.
    • These also include people.
      • People who are holding your company back either by not opening up their channel to the betterment of the organization must be told to change their behavior or should be let go.
      • The goal of a company is

Data Points and Metrics

  • Track metrics
  • What metrics are important to you.
  • How do you increase those metrics
  • What are limiting the growth of those metrics?
  • What can you do the improve those metrics

Observers

Observers are data points that need to be tracked to make decisions rapidly. They are the Observe part of the OODA Loop. The important consideration with the Observers in that:

  • There needs to be a way to handle key daily metrics that are important to the business.
  • There needs to be new actionable metrics that are generated.
  • There needs to be a way to constantly improve the system over time.
  • Furthermore, Observers need to track soft metrics such as politics, competition, industry changes and take those into account as tactical changes.

These are all processed to go into the Orient stage. The best way to have Observers is to create them.

  • Automations that run codestories that can create new metrics on a schedule.
  • Metrics that are pushed into the Workspace.
  • Signals from Serverless Apps

All of these are used to create a way to address real data. Use it to make changes that are super important to move in the right direction.

Different types of Signals:

  • Market news
  • Moral update
  • Competitor Website change

Observation tasks should be divided according to different teams but they should be done in a rapid way. In a sense Observation has to go through the phases:

  • Todo
  • Synthesize
  • Done

Synthesis is basically taking input and defining Projects, potentially updating business model, and creating stories, creating responses. The observation is a way of noting the world and addressing the needs of the world.