Storytelling lessons from SBF of FTX that you can actually learn

SBF did all the wrong things with money, but all the right things with press.

An analysis of FTX’s 7-part media playbook, and what other founders can learn from it…

Tech reporters aren’t pollyannish about startups, and the kind of coverage FTX enjoyed didn’t just happen. It was a sustained campaign by SBF and his team.

This isn’t about how media fell short (many others were fooled too!). It’s about the smart tactics FTX used to pull it off:

1) Tell a good story. SBF had what @bmorrissey called “a story too good to check.” The narrative of the disheveled mogul saving the world touched every journalistic erogenous zone.

Lesson: Ditch the robotic corporate speak and dry lists of facts. Weave a narrative around humans.

2) Money talks, and writes. SBF splashed cash across much of the fourth estate and gained influence in the process.

Lesson: Influence matters, but you don’t have to buy it. You can get it more ethically and less expensively with other incentives, eg access, previews, scoops.

3) Flood the zone with your own content. SBF was constantly doing something surprising/bold/weird, and FTX always had some new announcement. It was hard to keep up, much less dig deeper.

Lesson: Control the conversation with your own content. Reacting = losing. Stay on offense.

4) Credibility loves company. SBF made sure to be seen with credible people (like he’s doing today – check out the NYT Dealbook roster!): Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Tom Brady.

Lesson: Be selective about where you appear and with whom. Don’t settle for low-value speaking opps.

5) Education > advocacy. SBF positioned himself as a trusted expert for explaining crypto. He briefed media and regulators about the whole industry.

Lesson: Don’t just shill your company. You’ll gain more trust and respect by being an honest broker for info about larger trends.

6) Every company needs a human mascot. Nobody could make heads or tails of FTX, but they trusted SBF as a person.

Lesson: A founder is their company’s human mascot. People don’t trust companies, they trust people. You’re the chief spokesperson; don’t outsource this to your team.

7) Looks matter. Clothes make the man, and with SBF, bad clothes seemed to make a good man. His sloppiness made him seem earnest!

Lesson: Your look shapes your persona (eg @PalmerLuckey’s Hawaiian shirts), but it must be authentic. A suit dressed in jeans = Dukakis in the tank.

FTX may have used their media playbook to fool the world, but the actual 7 tactics are smart, effective, and ethical. Please use them responsibly!

Full explanations here:

Follow: @lulumeservey


The monumental changes coming to software this decade. Replit founder, Amjad Masad

I don’t think people understand the monumental changes coming to software this decade. Quick thread:
Last century making software got progressively easier going from machine code to assembly to higher-level and then scripting languages. The last major productivity boost in software was OSS. Each of those steps was 10-100x boost but then it stopped…
AI is the next 100x productivity boost. Copilot/Ghostwriter is just the early innings bringing 30-50% improvement. The next generation coding AI will not be mere text complete and will lead to rapid change in how we make software.
At Replit, we’re building an AI pair programmer that uses the IDE like a human does and has full access to all the tooling, open-source software, and the internet. In the next few years, programmers will operate at a higher level than mere code.
Crucially, it won’t be “prompting” — we believe that’s more a bug than a feature — it will be a combination of the AI predicting what task you want done next and doing it for you, plus a dialog-based agent that follows your commands.
Programmers will command armies of software agents to build increasingly complex software in insane record times. Non-programmers will also be able to use these agents to get software tasks done. Everyone in the world will be at least John Carmack-level software capable.
The other seismic shift will be coordination primitives for developers. Chief among them is payment primitives. Bitcoin Lightning, for example, bakes value right into the software supply chain and makes it easier to transact both human-to-human and machine-to-machine.
Driving the transaction cost and overhead in software down means that it will be a lot easier to bring developers into your codebase for one-off tasks. Lightning helps with coordination, where staking can keep participants honest and pay for the exact work.
One way to visualize this is that software will move from a stack to a network model. In the stack world, we assemble code in a repo and ship it somewhere to run and then monetization is bolted on. In a network model, code is fully monetized and running all the time.
Put these things together, one developer will have the power of an entire network of AIs, people, and services at their fingertips. I believe a 100x productivity boost is the lower bound here.
Appendix: how we’re building towards that future at Replit. Bounties:

Follow: @amasad


How GAS app went viral and made $1M in 10 days with a team of 4

A former Facebook manager just launched an app that overtook giants like TikTok & Instagram to be #1 on the App Store.

He made $1M in 10 days with a team of 4 people.

Gas App 🧵

The Wall Street Journal calls it the “Hottest App right now”, after it went viral a week after its launch, mostly among high school teens.

The story is even more impressive as the app was only available to download in 12 states.


Gas is an app through which high school students can give each other compliments, anonymously.

So how did they go viral?

They targeted teenagers by creating Instagram accounts with the high school name included, such as “gas.georgiahigh”.

They made the account private, & then followed every student from these high schools.

These students requested to follow back to see the profile, but they wouldn’t accept anyone.

The good old fashioned ‘velvet rope’ approach.

Then on the launch day, they had guys park outside the schools.

When the end-of-day bell rang they accepted all the requests.

Every student got the same notification at the same time, & started showing each other & talking about it.

The Gas app team changed the bio of these planted accounts to direct the students to download gas, by saying “see who likes you.”

Things escalated so fast, that the app was adding 30,000 users per hour.

Not per DAY.

Not per WEEK.

30,000 users PER HOUR.

Nikita, who built TBH, a similar app that Facebook acquired in 2017, launched Gas with @daveschatz & @IsaiahJTurner in 2022 (after the expiration of the non-compete with Facebook).

They named it after an internet slang “Gas”, which means to “pump someone up” with a compliment.

The Gas app accesses your location so you can select your high school, add your classmates, and see what compliments are being dished out.

BUT, you can’t talk with or message anyone.

Instead, you are served with multiple-choice questions about fellow students with superlative-style answers.

So questions like:
“Who has the best smile?”
“Who will be the best DJ at the party?”
“Who is likely to be a millionaire?”

The answers to the poll questions are the names of their friends from school.

When someone selects a name, they receive flames.

Which are meant to gas them up and boost their self-esteem.

So how are they monetizing?

A user can see WHO answered the poll questions about them by purchasing ‘God Mode,’ which costs $6.99 a week.

That’s $28 a month which is almost double to Netflix’s standard subscription plan (!!)

All these things made the app go viral & become #1 on the app store.

Nikita broke the news on Twitter in classic style:

The app tapped into teenage psychology incredibly well and began getting praised all over social media:

But start-ups are NEVER all rainbows and unicorns…

After a few days, accusations that the app was involved in Human Trafficking began to surface.

Stories from teens on TikTok & Snapchat began coming out with claims that people were using the app to kidnap minors.

Police departments, local TV news, and school district officials began issuing statements encouraging parents to NOT allow their children to use the app.

Gas’ social channels were spammed day & night by folks claiming the app was a tool for trafficking and the company’s revenue PLUMMETED.

Google search was filled with news articles about “Gas app kidnapping” and “Gas app sex trafficking”.

Nikita confronted the problem head on, and spun up an internal task force.

He announced they had been targeted by two DoS attacks, with many IPs originating from China.

The big question I have…

Could it have been TikTok???

After all of this, the rumors turned out to be largely false and were manufactured to taint the company’s image.

Gas App continues to grow at a rapid clip.

Nikita just said yesterday that 1/3 of American teens have downloaded the app!

The Gas App is an incredible case study in:

>Achieving virality
>Fighting through the tough times to build a great business

Excited to see what Nikita and team continue to do with the Gas App!

Thanks for reading. If you’ve learned something, retweet the first tweet so others can too.

Follow @lukesophinos where I share my learnings from founding, operating, investing, and advising software companies

Follow: @lukesophinos


Why building the metaverse is hard

Why building the metaverse is hard:

Games startups are more like a space tech or biotech startups than building an app

To build a v1 of a new game usually takes 2-3 years and tens of millions of dollars at the low end

Apps take 6 months and <$1m

In consumer tech, within the first year you’ll have a product and early retention metrics. If you’re lucky your launch will have gone great, and you’ll have a million users. That’s possible

In deep tech, or bio, or games – what can you actually deliver in a year?

It’s harder to show concrete progress, because it takes a TON of time to build. In games you might have recruited your early team and have some prototypes, but not have a real experience yet

For PC/console, the bar for a AAA title is just high. Characters, worlds, levels

If you’re building a new space tech company, you might need to raise 2-3 rounds without a product. It’s just all team and opportunity. The founder has to be an absolutely visionary storyteller and fundraiser

And what if you raise $100m and then your first rocket launch fails?

Same with gaming. Fundraising becomes a moat. And this is one of the ingredients for why Steam – the dominant AppStore for games – has 50,000 games whereas the iOS AppStore has 2m+! It’s just way harder to get started

There’s much to be learned from this constraint

First, this is why the games industry is so excited about generative AI. A lot of the $30m+ upfront cost is because artists have to make characters and worlds.

What if that could be reduced significantly in cost without sacrificing quality? Would be huge

Second, this is also why user generated content could be the next major wave in games. And modding of course.

There’s Roblox and Minecraft but frankly there could do so much more, if you give users the authoring tools. This is how you could avoid the big upfront content bill

Btw, I also think there’s a huge opportunity for scrappy younger teams to build out things that look like indies – think stardew valley – that aren’t as 3d and immersive, but prove out new mechanics. And use the growth metrics to raise more money, rather than just the idea
Finally, I think the corollary with deep tech tells you that the quality and pedigree of the team matters much more in this market. The better the initial backers, the work experience of the founders, etc, then the more likely they will be able to raise the 3 prelaunch rounds
Note on web3. This makes me wonder if one of the issues – ironically enough – is that web3 gaming companies aren’t actually raising enough money. To make a games that’s truly at the same level of what’s in the market, they might need to more games talent and build more content
And every games co – whether it’s web3 or a studio or VR – will need the runway to build for enough years

On the plus side, we now know there’s decabillion dollar outcomes when companies do build amazing new franchises. So it can work – it’s just not much like building an app

Follow: @andrewchen


How bad will the recession be?

How bad will the recession be?

After analyzing revenue data from 27.2k companies: it’s worse than we thought.
– B2B getting hit hardest since ’08
– Consumer $$ tanking

What should you do?
– 6 ways to not lose in recessions
– 4 ways companies win in them

Thread time 🧵

Let’s first look at businesses who sell to other businesses (B2B).

Here’s revenue growth since 2020.

Notice how COVID was no worse than a Christmas slowdown. Just a little blip.

Mazel Tov everyone. 🎅🕎

But wait – what’s happening at the end of that graph? 😳

B2B revenue growth is slowing at a rate we haven’t seen since the 2008 recession. 📉

I get it looks small, but it’s just starting.

B2B markets are normally insulated. They’re larger than consumer markets.

That is – until consumer markets get *very* bad, which…they bad. 🙈

Here’s revenue for consumer, media, and ecom subscription companies.

Not good.

This is worrying, because when consumer markets get bad, businesses lay people off, which worsens consumer markets, causing businesses to cut…

It’s a cycle.

Don’t worry – it gets worse.

Both B2B and B2C markets are getting hit by:
A. new sales slowing 20-30%
B. cancellations increasing 15-20%

One of those happening is a typical market reaction.

When both happen – it’s a *big* market problem.

Read: We’re heading into a bumpy 2 years.

“PC – ummm what do I do?”

You probably don’t remember the last recession – it’s been 14 years!

Here’s how the best survive:
1 Attack costs
2 Shore up customers
3 Accelerate cross-sell
4 Nuke current segments
5 Retool geographies
6 Slash discounts (ironic, I know)

Let’s walk through how they do each 👇

1. Cut costs to get runway to 24 months.

Pull out your Amex bill.
Load your P&L.
Open up payroll.

Scrutinize everything and cut, cut, cut.

“But PC – I run a tight ship”

No. You’ve been a drunken sailor the past two years.

We all have.

Here’s some waste.

Recruiting spend?
You’re not hiring.

Team fun budget?
Halve it.

7 tools because “preferences”?
We use 1 now.

Lower procurement review thresholds and cancel cards to start new.

You’ll find mucho dinero.

Re-forecast with your pre-drunk 2019 assumptions.

You’ll find more.

2. Shore up customers

Surprise – customers are re-evaluating costs, too.

You can’t do much about hard hit customer segments.

They’re gone.

You can clean up your unforced retention errors though.


Target “tactical” churn.

“PC – what the heck is that?”

🤫 – I got you.

Tactical churn’s the nudges you do to keep or bring back customers near the point of cancellation.

Here’s how:
– Payment failures: 20-40% of your churn. You can halve that. 🤯

– Salvage offers: you can save up to 25% of the people who hit cancel (data below)

Want some more?

– Convert monthly subs to annual: 200-800% higher LTV (data below on how many).

– Reactivation campaigns: send every 60 days to bring back 5% of churn.

All of these add up, but you haven’t implemented any.

If not now, when?

“PC – ok I will, but what about *new* revenue?”

3. Clean slate your target segments.

Your market has shifted.

That’s ok. Just reevaluate.

Some verticals you target are done for a while. They’ll take your call, but aren’t buying.

Other verticals you’re ignoring will get massive tailwinds.

Shift focus and budget ASAP.

4. Re-evaluate *where* you’re selling, too.

You a consumer app selling only in the UK?

Not anymore. Energy crisis.

Texas is your new market.

The beauty of software is we can sell anywhere to anyone. Use this as a strength during a downturn.

Ok, how about something quicker?

5. Accelerate your cross-sell strategy

Remember how customers rethink buying from you?

If they stick around, you have a big signal – they chose you!

They value you.

In the past 4 recessions, expansion revenue stayed consistent.

Take advantage and sell them more stuff.

How to cross-sell customers more:

– Multi-product: +30-50% growth vs. single product corps (data below).

– Value metric pricing: scale pricing with usage/value = double expansion rev

– Add-ons: Customers with add-ons have 18-54% higher LTV

“PC – I need to move quickly!”

Pricing Poppa’s got you.

Add-ons take a week to launch and have massive upside.

– Find existing features used by less than 40% of users.
– Pull some out and charge for them.

Everyone reading this can charge for “priority support” – pure profit for answering an email first.

6. Cut your discounts in half

I get it.

You’re scared.

You want to use the discount sledgehammer.

Here’s the problem: Discounts over 20% *double* churn rates (data below).

Customers that buy for discounts end up being really bad customers.

What’s worse…

Sales teams think you need to discount *more*.

How much more? Most think discounts over 25% are perfectly ok (data below).

You know what happens 9 out of 10 times to conversion rates if you cut your discounts in half?


Oh, except you make more revenue. 😏


We learned how to not lose – cut costs, keep customers, sell ’em more stuff…

But – how do we *win* in recessions?

Here’s how the best of the best do it:

1 Increase accounts en masse
2 Draft off anxiety
3 Go after competitors
4 Increase prices (at the right time)

Let’s go 👇

1. Massively increase leads

Whoever holds on to the most users at the end of this wins.

Full stop.

We talked about saving customers above, but now is the time to acquire as many accounts as possible.

Implement freemium.
Make more free.

“PC – freemium? I need revenue!”

If someone isn’t buying right now, would you rather:

A. Reach out to them cold ever 3 months
B. See them use your product daily

People get freemium wrong, because they think about it as part of their revenue model.

It’s not.

It’s part of your acquisition strategy.

Think about freemium as a really premium ebook.

After all, what better content do you have than your product?

You then own the right to nurture that lead and use usage as a signal of when they’re ready to buy.

In a recession….

There’s no better way to plant accounts in a down market and then harvest ’em later in the up market.

Plus, customers who convert from free are *much* better:

– NPS is double
– Retention is much higher
– CAC is much lower

This is the way, but what if you can’t afford it?

2. Draft off customer anxiety about the future

We’re scared right now.

Not in a bear attack way, but in a “I don’t know what to do” way.

It’s a powerful force and YOU can be the person to calm those fears.

In downturns people crave community and answers.

Give it to them.

Right now you should:

– Publish more content
– Host more webinars
– Plan in-person events
– Building out a community

You’ll convert more customers now, but you’ll also be the brand prospects remember as helpful when ready to buy.

Plant seeds now. Harvest later.

3. Implement aggressive competitor strategies

Customers are re-evaluating all purchases right now and are willing to flock somewhere.

You can be that somewhere.

How do you accelerate them looking at you as a solution?

Value, awareness, and my favorite cost saving tactic.

Most of your competitor’s customers don’t know you exist.

Sure, you email them, but they’re busy.

Start sending anxiety relief content.

Go visit them in person.

Update your competitor pages.

Be helpful and go all out.

Next we’ll hit them with value and cost savings.

Being helpful gets you in the door. Being valuable keeps you in the room.

Recession position your product – you’ll help them do more with less.

Then comes my favorite objection: “We’d love to switch, but we’ve got 7 months left on our contract”

Oh – do you? 😏

Right now you should be offering to give your product away for free for the rest of your competitor’s contract.

“PC that’s so much money!”

Is 7 months for free for a 60+ month partnership, too much?

Considering your alternative is no customer?

It works brilliantly.

4. Be ready to increase prices

If someone doesn’t churn in the next 3 months, they’ve chosen you.

It also means you have pricing power.

Companies who accelerate in recessions always use this pricing power by raising prices at the right time.

When is the right time?

When customer volume picks up again, you can raise prices.

Do it right though – do your research *now*, so when the time comes 3-8 months from now, you’re ready.

You also have to communicate the increase properly by making it all about them.

Here’s how.

Step 1 is to remind them of how much value you’ve provided them.

Bring in consumption data.
Bring in usage data.

Step 2 is to position the price increase as all about them and you providing even more value.

No one wants price increases, so you need to relieve tension.

Step 3 is to let them know you’re raising prices on all those disloyal non-customers.


Their loyalty gets them a 3 month discount!

It’s called a legacy discount and works like a charm.

One last piece…

One of the most important aspects of a price increase email is:

“P.S. If this materially impacts you, let us know and we’ll work something out.”

People impacted will let you know or negotiate.

Most of us will look at that and not want to cause a stink.

Works brilliantly.

Ok – need to do some work.

Fundamentals are rarely in vogue, but they’re never wrong. Recessions just make you snap back to them.

If you shore up your flank and make moves to win, you’ll be fine.

Hope this helped. Show some love to the thread.

Follow: @Patticus


How to quickly eliminate stress.The Lion’s Breath Technique:

How to quickly eliminate stress.

The Lion’s Breath Technique:

Humans have been using breathing techniques to improve well-being for centuries.

Pranayama is an ancient breathing practice originating from yogic traditions in India.

The Lion’s Breath is a form of Pranayama that has been shown to eliminate stress.

Here’s how it works:

• Sit in a comfortable position with a slight forward lean and your hands on the floor.

• Focus your gaze on the tip of your nose.

• Inhale deeply through your nose.

• Open your mouth, stick your tongue out and down to your chin.

• Exhale forcefully with a “HA!” sound.

That is one “rep” of the technique.

You’ll want to take a few normal breaths through your nose with a relaxed face after each rep.

Repeat this process 5-10 times, depending on time and your level of practice.

Limit the forcefulness of the exhale if you’re a beginner.

The benefits of this technique are immense:

• Reduces stress immediately.

• Creates a feeling of power and self-confidence (great for before a big presentation).

• Opens up the face, neck, and chest muscles.

Next time you feel your stress levels rising, give it a shot!

I use the Lion’s Breath Technique as a tool to manage stress. It takes ~1-3 minutes and can have dramatic benefits.

Follow me @SahilBloom for more writing on growth, health, and wealth.

I’ll write more about this in my newsletter. Join 128,000+ others!

By the way, been loving the @othership_us app for building a practice around breathwork.

No affiliation and not an investor—just a tool I’ve been using and enjoying.

Highly recommend the guided ice bath breathing sessions—they get me more out of these cold mornings.

Follow: @SahilBloom


33 business and life lessons for new entrepreneurs: Passion will keep you poor

33 lessons business and life lessons for new entrepreneurs:

1. Passion will keep you poor.

The only way to make money is to give the market what it needs.

Put practicality and problem-solving first.

2. Make money first – build spirititually later

Many talented people stay broke because some guru told them to find self-fulfillment first.

It’s easier to focus on the metaphysical when you don’t have to worry about the repo-man paying you a visit.

3. The lone-wolf story is bullshit.

The more people you help, the more money you’ll make.

You need others to make money.

Build your networks and treat people well.

4. No health = No money

Whenever I neglect my health, my performance goes down.

The consequence?

I make less money.


Focus on your fundamentals:

> Sleep
> Diet
> Movement
> Sunlight

5. Math never lies – but people do

Trust your employees.

But always verify.

And make sure the work they produce is worth more than the money you pay them.

6. Consistency > Intensity

Work with intensity when necessary.

The rest of the time, be consistent.

The daily grind will kill you.

But daily small progress will prevent burnout.

7. Burn-out is bullshit

You’ll rarely experience burn-out if you take care of your health, rest well, go for long-walks, and work on something you truly believe in.

8. Pay for play

The fastest path to success is paying for it.

Buy courses, buy ebook, buy coaching, buy ads, buy access ethically.

Nothing yields more results than paying for speed.

9. Ignore people who make less money than you.

Your family and friends will be the first to tell you “it will not work,”  “that’s a dumb idea,” and “don’t be stupid.”

Ignore them.

But remember, they mostly do this because they care about your wellbeing.

So be kind to them.

10. You will fail – get the fuck over it.

Two things are guaranteed in this world:

Death and failure.

You’ll fail one day.

Get over it fast.

Resilience is a superpower.

11. Long-term gains > short-term cash

Hustling for easy money is the most expensive action you can ever take.

Delay gratification, and you’ll make money.

12. You’ll lose friends along the way

Becoming an entrepreneur will cost you 98% of your friends.

Most times, it’ll be because they cut themselves out of your life.

13. Naming your offer is everything

@AlexHormozi named his business “Gym Rescue”

He soon learned nobody wanted to get “rescued” in business because being rescued in business is an admission of failure.

So Hormozi renamed it to «Gym Launch”

And the money started pouring in.

14. Money is the only thing that counts in business


Don’t sell your soul for it.

The purpose of business is to make money.

So if your income isn’t going up, your system is broken.

Fix your system.

15. Keep your system lean.

Your lead generation, sales, and fulfilment system doesn’t have to be complicated.

Overcomplication will add friction.

And friction will make fixing things harder when shit hits the fan.

And shit always hits the fan.

16. Work on your business, not in your business.

Many business owners focus on things they shouldn’t.

Your sole focus in business should be increasing profits.

Not organizing your desktop.

Or micromanaging your employees.

17. Hire fast, fire faster.

Hiring is gueswork.

Firing is the real skill.

18. Getting attention is a skill that makes money

If you can get attention, you’ll never struggle for money.

But not all attention is good attention – no matter what the online gurus tell you.

19. The differece between charging $500 and $50,000 is your mindset

Charging more money is about having the right mentality.

It’s not only about providing more features.

It’s about signaling your certainty of success to your clients.

And that requires having the right mindset

20. Your inner circle makes you or breaks you

Surround yourself with poor people, you’ll stay poor.

Surround yourself with richer people, you’ll want to rise to their level.

21. Action > planning

Unless you’re building a bridge, action will almost always trump planning.

Especially in the service business.

22. Overcommunicate or risk losing the client

Border-line harass your clients with updates.

At least once or twice a week, send them a status update.

23. A logo is unecesary for service business

Nobody cares about your logo.

People only care about what you can do for them.

24. Almost everything easier than you think

The only people who believe things are hard to achieve are those who’ve never achieved anything of substance.

25. Writing well is the ultimate skilll

Writing well leads to better communication.

And if you can communicate your ideas in an elite way…

Wealth is guaranteed.

26. Energy management is the second most important skill

Top-performers world understands there’s a limit to the energy they can expend daily.

Learn to listen to your body’s cues

To find out when’s the best time for you to work on intellectual tasks

And when to do “dumb” ones

27. Onboarding must feel like a religios experience.

The best way to “wow” a client is to onboard them like royalty.

A little hard work at the beginning of every project will make a lasting impression on your clients.

28. The worst clients are the cheap ones

Cheap clients are the closest thing to demons. They attract bad luck: headaches, untimely messages, and long nights. They also attract other demon clients.

Fire the cheap clients.

29. High-ticket clients will rarely bother you

The $50K client will approve almost everything you send them instantly.

Because these clients value their time.

And value your inputs.

They’re delegating the decision making to you.

So they can focus on making money.

30. Obsess over you KPIs

If you’re not tracking your KPIs every month, you’re losing money.

Sales, Conversion rate, Customer lifetime value, Churn rate (for subscriptions), Customer Acquisition Cost, Profits.

31. Obsess over your habits

As an entrepreneur, your daily habits are tied to your business.

Every decision you make in your personal life will affect your business in some way or another.

Because there’s no such thing as compartmentalizing your life.

You’re not a robot.

32. Rich will almost never micromanage you.

Poor clients always micromanage.

It’s their coping mechanism. They lack the discipline to work on that makes them money.

So they compensate by overcontrolling you because it makes them feel they’re making progress

Raise your prices

33. Building a business isn’t supposed to make you happy

But it’s also not supposed to make you unhappy.

Your business is supposed to make you money.

Finding happiness and joy in it is a side-effect of succeeding in it.

You’re either serious about business or not.

If you are…

Join my newletter where I share with you 5 things you should know about in 5 minutes every Friday.

That’s a wrap!

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RT the tweet below to share this thread with your audience

Follow: @joserosado


What’s the most destructive relationship patterns, according to this famous psychologist?

A famous psychologist can predict divorce with 91% accuracy.

A-list celebs and billionaires go to him with their relationship challenges.

Here’s the most destructive pattern he identified (and how to protect against it):

Dr. John Gottman is a world-renowned researcher.

For nearly 50 years, he’s studied the science of relationships.

He was able to predict divorce with 91% accuracy by identifying 4 patterns in conflict.

These patterns predicted the end of the relationship.

They were called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The most predictive of them all was Contempt.

Contempt is the most corrosive of the Horsemen.

I studied with Gottman and have seen the brutal consequences of contempt in personal relationships and across 100s of company cultures.

Gottman called Contempt: “Sulfuric Acid for Connection”

What is Contempt?

Contempt sounds like criticism with a crucial difference.

Contempt assumes a position of moral superiority over the other.

Someone feeling Contempt feels BETTER than the other.

Expressing negativity combined with superiority drives the relationship apart.

How do you recognize contempt?

Emotions show up as sensations in our bodies.

Studies show emotional sensations have common signatures across cultures.

Where most feel Contempt:

Contempt often feels like intense heat inside the chest and head area.

Some feel heat and tension in their hands as well.

If you feel Contempt in an important relationship, it’s best not to express it in the moment.


-exit the conversation
-let your body reset
-pick up the discussion later from a more calm place

How do you recognize contempt in others?

Gottman’s research showed that the most common behavior associated with Contempt was:


Here’s what Contempt sounds like in the workplace:

“You’re overworked? Cry me a river. I’ve been dealing with all the most important strategic priorities. I don’t have time to deal with your issues.”

Fortunately, Gottman discovered there is an antidote to Contempt.

He identified a practice you can follow to insulate your partnerships and teams from Contempt.

The Antidote to Contempt: Culture of Appreciation

-Remind yourself of your partner’s or colleagues’ positive qualities.
-Find and express gratitude regularly to them.

Sharing your appreciation for the great things about them insulates against Contempt.

As Dr. Andrew Huberman points out, gratitude’s powerful impact is upon HEARING it from another:
To Summarize:

1. Understand the powerful destructive force that is Contempt

2. Learn where to feel it in yourself and how to spot it in others (eye roll)

3. Practice gratitude – create a culture of appreciation in your partnerships to insulate against contempt

If you enjoyed this thread:

• Follow me @mattschnuck for more threads on EQ, entrepreneurship, and growth.
• Retweet the first tweet to share with a friend

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Why Indians can’t make anything like Twitter, Amazon or Google?

Thread: Indians can’t make anything like @twitter or for that matter @amazon @Google or @Meta . India and Indian companies have no presence in the top technology innovations of the world. Read this thread.
That India is an IT superpower is a misnomer. India is ranked a lowly 46 among 64 countries in global IT business in terms of competitiveness. We are producing a large number of poorly paid IT professionals who are fluent in English, but this will not make India an IT powerhouse.
The mystery of not inventing or developing any public utility in India is not unique to the present era and so the inquiry has to transcend the matrix of a particular government or party. Indians have not invented anything worthwhile in the entire epoch of modern history.
If we just look at the items in our homes — bulb, fan, cooler, air conditioner, air purifier, OTG, microwave, pen, watch, phone, TV, radio, etc. We can’t attach a single invention to an Indian name. This proves that India being a no invention nation is not limited to IT.
Historically Indians have segregated work from knowledge. The dominant Indian belief considers manual labour a ‘lowly’ job to be done by ‘lowly people’. This also means that there is little technological brainstorming towards making manual labour easier.
Moreover, large swaths of the population engaged in manual labour have been historically kept out of the knowledge domain. This disconnect is detrimental to the advancement of technology, which only prospers at a workshop. James watt
invented the steam engine in a workshop. Modern watch was invented by a locksmith. So was the printing press.
In India, however, these works have been done not by individuals but by castes, whose members have no access to knowledge. We had (and still have) a caste to wash clothes. The knowledgeable rishis in gurukuls never felt the need to make a machine to make their work easier.
The Indian idea of knowledge is grossly mistaken. We do not accept that the artisans, farmers, persons associated with animal husbandry or the tribes have produced any knowledge. The Indian idea of knowledge has religious connotations and puts a premium on memorising texts.
China has a tradition of writing texts, whereas in India, “mechanical rote learning of orally transmitted Vedas, Shrutis and Smritis” is considered the highest form of knowledge.
Professor Kancha Illaiah Shepherd, in his book Post-Hindu India argues that all knowledge produced in India belonged to the subaltern classes and tribes.
Traditionalism has killed the spirit of capitalism. The Hindu dogma of samsara (world) and karma (deed) has put shackles on the Indian mindset, making us believe that all individuals are born into a caste because of their deed in the previous life.
Sociologist Max Weber explains that, “So long as the Karma doctrine was unshaken, revolutionary ideas or progressiveness were inconceivable. The lowest castes, furthermore, had the most to win through ritual correctness and were least tempted to innovations.”
Weber goes on to argue that “it is extremely unlikely that the modern organization of industrial capitalism would ever have originated on the basis of caste system.”
He explains that since Hinduism holds any change in occupation as ritual degradation and bad karma, it is not capable of giving birth to industrial and technical revolutions.
Despite constitutional provisions of reservation, all centres of higher learning in India are mostly manned by members of the upper castes. Most professors at universities belong to this small caste group.
Journalist @RTIExpress of The Indian Express has reported that 95.2 per cent of professors, 92.9 per cent of associate professors and 66.27 per cent of assistant professors at India’s central universities belong to the general category.
Renny Thomas, while studying the upper caste domination in India’s scientific research institutions, undertook an ethnographic fieldwork at the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and found that there is “a Brahminical identity to science in India”.
“They (Brahmin and upper caste scientists) have been perceived to be the natural inheritors of scientific practice.” This hegemony of the upper castes limits the catchment area for talent, and makes these places of learning incompetent and uncompetitive.
Unless these factors are acknowledged and efforts made to counter their prevalence, we can only dream about that day when the US or China will threaten to ban Indian apps. The Indian idea of merit and knowledge needs a catharsis.
Until we achieve it, we can be happy being a self-proclaimed IT guru and keep on supplying cheap coders to the world.
What’s a machine? Machines are things to make life easier, to make processes fast. Why will you invent if you have castes to do your works? If you have Washerman caste, why will you invent Washing Machine?
Please share this thread and spread the word.

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The framework behind the successful marketing stories of Nike, HP, Microsoft; Stepwise narrative

Robert McKee re-designed the marketing of:

• Nike
• HP
• Microsoft

To be centered around stories.

In 2013, he laid out his step-by-step process to create powerful brand narratives.

Here’s a breakdown:

McKee has published two books:

• Story
• Storynomics

Both are incredible.

Story focuses on the art of screenwriting while Storynomics goes deep on story-centric brand building.

He also posts gold on his YouTube channel:

“The arc of the purpose-told story guides the consumer from an absence in her life to its fulfillment, from need to satisfaction.”

McKee lays out his 8 stages for great business storytelling.

He calls the framework ‘The Purpose-Told Story:’

1. The 3 Targets

Before considering your story, you must understand your:

• Target audience – who you’re talking to
• Target need – what problem they have your product solves
• Target action – what you want them to do

Without defining those three, you’re guessing.

2. Subject Matter

The constraints and subjects that make up your story.

McKee breaks it into 3 components:

• Core value – the value your brand couldn’t exist without
• Protagonist – the Hero your audience empathizes with
• Setting – society, time, and place

3. The Inciting Incident

Launch the story by throwing the protagonist’s life out of whack.

Your goal is two-fold:

• Grab your audience’s attention
• Propel the protagonist to action

McKee says, “fine storytellers seek out the negative side of life.”

4. The Object of Desire

An unfulfilled need the protagonist feels they need to get their life back on track

That happens to be fulfilled by your product / service.

McKee says the most compelling objects come with the highest price tags.

5. First Action

The tactical choice the protagonist makes to re-balance their life.

This cannot succeed. That’d be too easy.

Introduce antagonists – anything keeping the protagonist from the object of desire.

6. The First Reaction

The reaction to the First Action should be different or more powerful than expected.

This gap in expectation vs. reality leaves space for the protagonist to gain insight.

Two key aspects:

• Violation of expectations
• Turning points

7. Crisis Choice

The moment of truth – this final action must be more risky than the first.

It’s now or never.

The protagonist will either re-balance their life or remain in chaos.

8. Climactic Reaction

The protagonist gets their life back on track.

Neuroscientists find the brain’s response to a good story’s climax is a few seconds of heightened memory.

McKee recommends putting your logo right after the climax to take advantage of this.

The brilliant part of McKee’s process?

It’s built outside in.

He starts with the end – your audience, their problem, and the desired action.

Then he figures out the beginning – the event to trigger the story.

Last, you build the narrative arc to connect beginning and end.

I write about storytelling and creativity 1-2x per week.

Follow @nathanbaugh27 so you don’t miss those.

Here’s how Apple used a narrative to 10x its ad network (and crush FB):

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9 copywriting formulas that can help you sell millions

Copywriting is easy.

It’s even easier when you have the right formulas.

Here are the 9 copywriting formulas that have helped me sell millions:

#1. Problem – Agitate – Solve

P → Identify a problem

A → Agitate said problem

S → Give a solution

#2. Picture – Promise – Prove – Push

(This is my go-to formula for newsletters)

Picture → Paint an attention-grabbing picture (story)

Promise → Make your promise related to this picture

Prove → Add testimonials/ case studies as proof

Push → Push readers toward your CTA

#3. Features – Advantages – Benefits

Features → Talk about the “what” (what does your service include?)

Advantages → Talk about the “why” (why is your service useful?)

Benefits → Talk about the “what’s in it for you” factor

#4. Star – Story – Solution

Star → Introduce the main character of your story (this could be you too in case of personal branding)

Story → Elaborate on the story

Solution → Show how the Star won (and pitch a related service/ product)

#5. Awareness – Comprehension – Conviction – Action

Awareness → Create awareness of the problem

Comprehension → Explain the consequences of the problem and pitch your solution

Conviction → Convince your reader to try out your solution

Action → CTA

#6. The 6+1 Model

1. Context → Start with a strong hook
2. Attention → Grab your reader’s attention
3. Desire → Show them what they’re missing
4. The gap → Show how you help overcome the gap between reality & dreams
5. Solution → Pitch your solution
6. CTA

#7. Before – After – Bridge

Before → Life with the pain points

After → Life after solving the pain points

Bridge → The “how” – aka, your product

(I use this strategy in sales calls too.)

#8. Star – Chain – Hook

Star → Talk about your offer
Chain → Keep the copy going by creating a chain of facts, case studies, testimonials, etc
Hook → CTA
+1: Credibility → Add testimonials & case studies

#9. The 4 U’s

Useful → Have something of value

Urgent → Create a sense of urgency

Unique → Showcase the USP of your product/ service

Ultra-specific → Be ultra-specific with the first three U’s.

That’s all from me — comment which formula you’ll try out first.

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Traits of top 1% performing businesses: They often predict problems before they happen

As a Director on dozens of boards, I’ve seen:

Operational excellence adds millions in profits.

My 19 traits of top 1% performing businesses 🧵…

The company has internal and board-facing KPIs.

They are updated regularly and give a complete picture.

They often predict problems before they happen.

The company has audited annual financials.

Also, it promptly closes its books each month+quarter.

The CFO can answer reasonable questions on the spot.

Financials are mostly “up and to the right.”

High-performing companies are profitable+growing.

And good at predicting it with a solid budgeting process.

Board materials are distributed on time.

Well-prepared and free of typos.

They follow a consistent template used at each meeting.

Strong employees stick around.

Weak performers quit or leave.

Employee churn is low.

Leaders set deadlines, and they’re mostly met.

If the company meets all deadlines, I worry we’re sandbagging.

If we never meet deadlines, something is wrong.

The team is at a “healthy” level of stress.

Not burning out.

But healthily working hard on an inspiring mission.

People get along. No drama. No politics.

Body language is good.

I don’t see co-workers who hate each other.

Problem employees are identified.

And moved on quickly.

I worry when the same problem festers for months.

There is a clear business plan.

Ideally, something like EOS’ V/TO or another 1-page business plan system.

Everyone sees it in the company and is bought in.

The company publishes core values and behaviors.

Leaders evaluate, hire and fire using them.

Unethical behavior is not tolerated.

The company knows why it’s winning.

It has a clear picture of differentiators.

It uses them to win.

The CEO comes to board meetings prepared.

They make the most of their time with the board.

Focused on solving hard problems.

Simple stays simple.

Underperforming orgs love to make easy things hard.

Great ones don’t.

I’m pulling and not pushing.

When I’m on the board of great teams, I find I’m usually asking:

“Are you sure we’re not trying to do too much?”

Great companies make good decisions.

At a fast pace (see OODA Loops)

And create repeatable processes to minimize fire drills.

Leadership has a growth mindset.

They listen to feedback and ideas.

They seek to understand criticism rather than argue.

Employee engagement is measured regularly.

Ideally, by a system like Q12.

Leaders address problem areas directly.

The company office vibe is good.

It is also clean and tidy.

Especially the little things like bathrooms and kitchen.

Leadership answers questions well.

They can explain their logic soundly.

They say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

I’m sure there are more I missed (add yours below!).

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How to find (and hire) world-class talent

My last company went public at $2.7B.

The one before that was acquired for $100M.

Recruiting the best in the world enabled this success, but it’s a widely unknown art.

Here are 6 proven tips to find (and hire) world-class talent:

1. Map top candidates

Build a list of MVP-level candidates.

A few things to look for:

• Titles that map to your org
• Specific skills that’d do well at your company
• People who have a history of success in their role

Use LinkedIn advanced search to make this list.

One thing I’ve found to be true:

The best talent in the world are likely happily employed. And that’s OK.

Just finding them is half the battle.

So don’t be afraid to spend a lot of time on No. 1.

2. Cold-CEO Outreach

Candidates want to hear from the leader.

A personal outreach saying, “I want to hire you and I’m willing to spend my time with you.”

Tip: Use RocketReach for finding emails and Streak for tracking read-receipts.

3. Sell the first interview

I spend most of every first round selling the company – the mission, vision, values.

I build a 10 page slide deck that I share via Zoom.

Information is your friend and will build a lot of trust.

4. Seek to understand

I spend 25% of the interview understanding the candidate’s motivation.

• What drives you?
• Are you happy at your job?
• If you left, what would be your ideal role?

If you can put yourself in their shoes you are much more likely to connect with them.

5. Build a high bar for talent

A+ talent wants to work with other A+ talent.

It’s infectious to sit side-by-side with motivated folks who are the best in their field.

I walk candidates through the entire team and their accomplishments.

I want them to see we hire the best.

6. Wine & Dine

People want to be wanted.

I spend one-on-one time with the first ~100 hires of a new company. They set the tone for everyone who follows.

As we scale, I’m selectively pulled into the interview process.

If you want to close top talent, make them feel special.

To recap, 6 proven tips for finding and hiring the best talent in the world:

• Wine & dine
• Seek to understand
• Sell the first interview
• Do cold CEO outreach
• Build a high talent bar
• Map your MVP candidates

I hope you’ve found this thread helpful.

Follow me @adcock_brett for more on building companies.

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@MattMickiewicz Honestly my close rate at Madera seems to be higher than Coupa Cafe…

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Choosing the right cofounder is absolutely CRUCIAL.And there’s a smart way to do it

Choosing the right cofounder is absolutely CRUCIAL.

And there’s a smart way to do it.

Here’s everything you need to know about bringing on a cofounder (and staying safe):

Lets zoom out.

A startup is one of the BIGGEST commitments you can make.

If it works, you’ll be working on it for the next 10-20 YEARS.

When you choose your cofounder, is will be like marriage.

So here’s the thing ↓↓↓

In a marriage you can get a divorce… in a startup, there might be 100s of teammates, families, and investors relying on you.

A simple “division of assets” isn’t an option.

This is serious business.

Cofounders hold both great responsibility… and great power.


> Investors will listen to them
> The team will watch their every word & action
> And same with the press

They have the rights to the company’s finances, statements, upside, and relationships.

Get this right, but also don’t stress out.

** Note: you don’t actually need a cofounder **

Searching for one should be an exciting process!

Be open to someone that is your better half in business entering into your life.

… and follow the instructions below to stay safe.

~~ Evaluation ~~

Michael Fertik at Heroic Ventures wrote a post at hbr [dot] org/2011/02/how-to-pick-a-co-founder.

The attributes he called out are spot-on:
* A complementary temperament
* Different operational skills
* Similar work habits
* Self-sufficient

* A history of working together
* Emotional buoyancy
* Total honesty
* Comfort in her own skin
* A personality you like
* The same overall vision
I recently coached a founder who had a productive first employee.

They felt like they should make them a cofounder.

I asked them to rate all the above attributes on a scale of 1-10.

I also asked some questions.

Is this someone who you trust to:

1: Lead a town hall presentation in front of 100s of employees?

2: Represent the company well in front of any audience?

3: Communicate with high integrity through major disagreements?

4: Commit to serious ongoing personal growth?

5: Stay committed through the toughest times?

The answer should be a vehement YES to all of the above, and an 8+ on all the attributes.

If not, they’re an Employee, not a Co-Founder.

~~ Verification ~~

So you think someone might be “the one”?

That’s exciting… but safety first!

How you stay safe: a dating period.

Work with the person for at least a full month; build and ship REAL product to REAL customers.

~~ Legal ~~

Make sure that any introductory work done with a partner is *documented*.


If you don’t compensate & document, they could claim that they’re a co-founder and entitled to a major chunk of your company.

** Pro tip **: Use a self-serve legal tool online to do 90% of the work, and then run it by an attorney for final tweaks.

ie. eforms [dot] com/employment/independent-contractor/

~~ Equity split ~~

If you are a f!ck yes and ready for marriage, congratulations!

In that case, go 50/50.

But are there alternatives? Yes, absolutely.

A) Minority Ownership Cofounder. If you’re driving outsized value, you can bring on a cofounder for 10-15% ownership instead of 50%. This leaves room to give more equity down the road if they or other really step up.
B) Founding “ROLE”. You can bring someone on as a Founding CTO, Founding Head of Eng, Founding COO, Founding Head of Ops, etc. Equity percentages range from 2%-6%.

This person isn’t quite cofounder material, but they’re a 10X employee worth giving outsized equity and title to.

Options A and B are considerable roles to grant to someone.

But with far less risk.

** Pro tip **: If you’re not 100% sure you’re ready for marriage, make sure to retain board control. This means you have more board votes than they do, or that they’re not on the board at all.

~~ Pitfalls ~~

A: An extraordinary founder empower give too much equity to others.
B: A good (but not extraordinary) founder demands too much.

Have the self awareness recognize which camp you’re in. Command fair title and ownership, but don’t let your ego drive the negotiation.

~~ Working with friends ~~

It’s true that working with a friend can be awesome.

In fact, your most likely cofounder is an existing friend.

There’s energetic alignment, values alignment, and history.

BUT don’t forgo the advice above just because someone’s a friend.

Friends can sometimes be terrible cofounders.

The risk: your friendship can lead to too much excitement without conducting enough diligence.

Be careful skipping steps.

Make sure the merit is there; the arrangement is fair; and a work dating period is had.

~~ Discovery process ~~

If you’re really committed to bringing on a cofounder:

**Build a list
Go through every contact on your phone, fb, linkedin, etc. and write down every person you love and respect.

**Start to engage
Coffees, meetings, social events (lunches, dinners, etc)

**Choose a date
Out of these interactions, pick your favorite and ask them if they’re open to working on a project together

Do this until you find “the one” ⭐

~~ Working successfully together ~

You’ve found the one, congrats!!

Now the hard work begins.

A while ago, I wrote this thread about diving responsibilities between cofounders.

I highly recommend it:

Alright that’s it!

If you enjoyed this thread give me a follow @theryanking.

I tweet about lessons learned fundraising, building and operating businesses.

Now back to building!

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42 sentences that’ll make you more money than a $131,600 business degree

This took me 5 years to learn.

I’ll teach it to you in 2 minutes

Here are 42 sentences that’ll make you more money than a $131,600 business degree:

Your customer’s fear of loss is more powerful than their desire for gain.
Don’t sell the product, sell the outcome.
Don’t lower your prices, increase your value.
Start with a narrow niche first and expand later.
Desirable outcome + proof + scarcity + urgency + guarantee + bonuses = irresistible offer.
Don’t rely on social media, build your email list.
Story is the most powerful marketing weapon.
If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one.
Ask for the sale every single day.
100 ideal followers are more valuable than 10,000 random followers.
Use retargeting ads to show content and offers to all website visitors & followers, it prints money.
Email your list at least 1x a week.
Always pre-sell your offer before building it.
The greatest skill you can develop is decreasing the time between idea and execution.
People buy with emotion (stories), then justify with logic (statistics, graphs, data).
Study psychology, persuasion, and copywriting.
98% of people are not ready to buy now, but if you keep showing up, they might buy later.
Most money is in the follow-up.
The goal of your front-end offer is to acquire new customers, not to make a profit.
The goal of your back-end offer is to make a profit.
Focus on building a monthly recurring revenue so you don’t start each month at $0.
The goal of your marketing is to make your prospects feel understood.
Respond with “I completely understand” to every objection from a prospect.
Your job on a sales call is to ask specific questions, shut up and listen.
Best-known product will beat the best product every single time.
It is not how much you make, it is how much you keep.
He or she who can afford to spend the most to acquire a new customer wins.
Never compromise your reputation for money.
You are selling certainty and security — no matter what you’re selling.
Offer payment plans — but incentive upfront payments.
You don’t need a $3,000 MacBook Pro, $5,000 website, or a $87,000 degree to start a business.
Position your offer as a new opportunity, not another alternative.
Split test your headlines – five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.
Building an audience and community online is the best investment ever.
Always start your content with a powerful hook.
Use curiosity in your marketing to dramatically increase the response.
Create a lead magnet that attracts your dream clients and repels everybody else.
80% of your time should be spent on income-producing activities.
Give more value for free than what your competitors charge them for.
Imperfect action > Perfect inaction
Amazon, Reddit, Forums, FB Groups, and AnswerThePublic are great for market research.
Automate every repeating task by creating a system.
Which sentence was your favorite?

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Join 2,000+ subscribers and get actionable marketing & business growth strategies daily. Consumed in 3 minutes or less.

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Here are the techniques Google used to train engineers in handling difficult conversations, vetted by top experts in Psychology, EQ, and Neuroscience

Want the techniques Google used to train engineers on difficult conversations?

Top experts in Psychology, EQ, and Neuroscience developed the course.

Here’s the step-by-step method that got results (that you can use, too):

Google wanted to train its engineers to become more emotionally intelligent.

Communicating well is not a “soft skill.”

Doing it well requires self-awareness and technical expertise.

They developed a course called “Search Inside Yourself.”

It was based on the latest research in EQ, Neuroscience, and Psychology.

I had sold a company and never learned these lessons growing up.

I became one of their first certified teachers to master the lessons.

It became the most popular course inside Google.

The module on communication was based on research from the Harvard Negotiation Project.

1000s of conversations involving conflict were analyzed to develop the most successful techniques.

Because engineers were the audience, a clear framework was critical.

There are 3 levels within each conversation:

1. Content
2. Feelings
3. Identity

Let’s go through each.

1. Content

The content level is about: “what happened?”

This is where there is typically disagreement. The crticial perspective to take here is curiosity.

Arguing without understanding is not persuasive.

2. Feelings

The feelings level is about: “How did I feel?”

Failure to acknowledge feelings derails many difficult conversations.

Listening to understand each other’s feelings related to the conversation’s content creates the possiblity of progress.

A common trap is misunderstanding INTENT and IMPACT.

Successful difficult conversations:

1. Are generous with intrepreting the intent of the other party.

2. Recognize others feel the “impact” of our actions, regardless of our intent. Good intentions don’t sanitize bad impact.

3. Identity

The Identity level is the most important in any high-stakes conversation.

Our identities are as unique as a snowflake, but research shows that if 3 core identity aspects are threatened, conversations will get derailed.

Three most common core identity questions:

-Am I competent?
-Am I a good person?
-Am I worthy of love?

Language that focuses on “behaviors” and not on potential core “identity” questions of the party are more effective.

Identity-based: “You’re a confusing person.”

Behavior-based: “This behavior is making me feel confused.”

The second phrasing will lead to better outcomes.

To prepare for a conversation, the engineers were advised:

-On their own, write down the three levels of the conversation from their perspective (content, feelings, identity).

-Check their intention – should this issue even be raised?

If they decided to proceed…


Begin the conversation and attempt to describe it from a neutral third-party perspective.

Speak as warmly as possible. 90+% of conversations finish with the same tone as they begin (Gottman).


-What happened from their perspective?
-How did they feel?
-What might have been at stake for them? (Identity)


With both perspecvies shared, now is the time to problem solve.

If a compromise is useful, I recommend the 2 circle framework from Dr. John Gottman.

Define the values based items that are non-negotable for each party in the center circle.

Find common ground on items in the outer circle.


As the work of Psychologist Anatol Rapoport validated across cultures, DELAYING problem solving until AFTER the understanding is critical.

Humans need to have their perspective understood before being open to persuasion.

While hard conversations are still hard, a framework with preparation helps increase the likelihood that the conversation is productive.

Engineering and analytically minded people felt supported with a researched based framework to communicate more effectively.

Google’s Search Inside Yourself course consistently received 5.0 out of 5.0 scores from engineers after completion.

New cohorts of the course would fill up in minutes. The program eventually spun out of Google as a non-profit.

You don’t need to be an engineer to use this framework for better conversations.

Be sure you have another party willing to engage in good-faith.

With that in place, research based tools like the difficult conversations framework improves outcomes.

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