@samhinkie worked in the front office for the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Last week, I saw him speak and his talk is still ringing in my head. This morning I re-read his excellent 2016 letter.

Highlights below. 

Lesson 1: Have a long view

"A competitive league like the NBA necessitates a zig while our competitors comfortably zag.

We often chose not to defend ourselves against much of the criticism, largely in an effort to stay true to the ideal of having the longest view in the room."

Lesson 2: Be a lifelong learner

"Lifelong learning is where it’s at. To walk down that path requires a deep-seated humility about a) what’s knowable, and b) what each of us know.

We hire for this aggressively. We celebrate this internally."

Lesson 3: "I Don't Know"

We talk a great deal about being curious, not critical... About not being afraid to ask the obvious question that everyone else seems to know the answer to.

And about the willingness to say three simple words, “I don’t know.”

Lesson 4: You have to be non-consensus and right

"You have to be non-consensus and right. Both. That means you have to find some way to have a differentiated viewpoint from the masses. And it needs to be right.

Anything less won’t work."

Lesson 5: Truth progresses slowly

"Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Planck got right to it: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die.”

Lesson 6: Maintain a healthy respect for tradition

"I can imagine that some of these sound contradictory: contrarian thinking, but respect for tradition, while looking to disrupt.

That yin and yang is part of it—keep looking. Questioning."

Lesson 7: Add data

"For the Sixers, this has meant efforts like tracking every shot in every gym where we shoot, making predictions in writing about what we think will happen with a player or a team, and generally asking more questions about the game than some are comfortable."

Lesson 8: Keep score

"Use a decision journal. Write in your own words what you think will happen and why before a decision. Refer back to it later.

See if you were right, and for the right reasons."

You can follow @david_perell.


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