Recently interviewed Keith Rabois (@rabois) on my podcast.

As I prepared for the interview, I learned about business, hiring, startups, time management, and work ethic.

Here's the best of what I learned from Keith. All errors are my own.

Thread 👇 

1. There are 2 kinds of quality workers.

1. Barrels
2. Ammunition

Ammunition is raw firepower, but you need barrels to lead the team and set the vision.

Barrels take ideas from start to finish. They motivate people and think autonomously.

When you find a barrel, hire them!

2. People waste time in two big ways:

1. Don’t read the internet. Most things written online aren’t worth reading. It’s better to read real books instead of blogs are current events.

2. Conferences and social gatherings aren’t a high leverage use of time.

3. Look for people who have gritty, high potential people who are undiscovered or unproven.

Here’s a trick:

People hang out with similar people. If you can find a pool of people with unusually high potential, they’ll be magnets for other people with similar characteristics.

4. In Silicon Valley, people are disproportionately willing to hire and invest in people with unconventional backgrounds.

"A lot of the best people I’ve hired had very erratic backgrounds, mostly from non-elite schools, most with non-technical backgrounds.”

5. Something Keith learned from Peter Thiel:

To scale a startup, you’ll need two things:

1. Become a magnet for talented people
2. Be able to asymmetrically assess other people.

Otherwise, you’ll never be able to compete with the incumbents.

6. A lesson from Vinod Khosla (@vkhosla): "The team you build is the company you build.”

Set the foundation right.

“The reason why the first 10 employees are the most important is every one of those 10 employees is going to replicate him or herself 10 times.” - @patrickc

7. Great ideas feel edgy or borderline dumb to many people

With early-stage founders and investment opportunities, Keith asks: “Are enough people laughing at it?”

If everybody thinks something is a good idea, it probably isn’t one. It’s good when people think an idea is absurd.

8. You want to be the best at what you do and the only person who does what you do.

As Jerry Garcia says: "You want to be the only that does what you do to."

"The most important thing is to identify — and it may take years to figure out what you can be exceptional at.”


9. Your brain is basically a muscle.

Invest in your brain. Exercise it and develop its capacities so you can leverage them later.

High-quality books are the raw ingredients to train your brain.

Inspired by @rabois, I just wrote about this. 

10. Find your core strengths.

Here’s how to find them:

1. Find 3-4 people that you like
2. Ask them to describe what they like about you
3. Write down their responses

Then, make a word cloud of all the answers. The common denominators are your core strengths.

11. Obsess over simplicity.

"So force yourself to simplify every initiative, every product, every marketing, everything you do. Take out that red pen and start eliminating stuff.”

Don't accept the excuse of complexity. The more you simplify, the better people will perform.

You can follow @david_perell.


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