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Taking control of your career | Ethan Evans (Amazon)

People think invention takes all this time, but you only need two hours once a month. The thing is, once you have one good idea, it often takes years to express that. So you had the idea to have a newsletter. I know some of the history of your newsletter. You've been working on the expression of that idea for years now.

Jeff and amazon had ideas like, "let's have prime shipping.". Prime is still getting better and still being worked on. It's a 20 some year old idea. The kindle, a decades old idea now still getting better. The point here is you don't need very many good ideas to be seen as tremendously inventive. Today my guest is ethan evans. Ethan is a former vice president at amazon, executive coach, and course creator focused on helping leaders grow into executives. Ethan spent 15 years at amazon, helped invent and run prime video, the amazon appstore, prime gaming, and twitch commerce, which alone is a billion-dollar business for amazon. He led global teams of over 800, helped draft one of amazon's 14 core leadership principles, holds over 70 patents, and currently spends his time executive coaching and running courses to help people advance in their career, build leadership skills, and succeed in senior roles.

In our conversation, ethan shares an amazing story of when he failed on an important project for jeff bezos and what he learned from that experience. We spent some time on something called the magic loop, which is a very simple idea that i guarantee will help you get promoted and advance in your career. We also get into a bunch of other career advice, primarily for senior ics, any managers. We get into advice for standing out in interviews, plus some of amazon's most important and impactful leadership principles and much more. I learned a lot from ethan and i'm excited to bring you this episode. With that, i bring you ethan evans after a short word from our sponsors. Let me tell you about our product called sidebar.

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That's Let me tell you about a product called sprig. Next gen product teams like figma and notion rely on sprig to build products that people love. Sprig is an ai powered platform that enables you to collect relevant product experience insights from the right users so you can make product decisions quickly and confidently. Here's how it works. It all starts with sprig's precise targeting, which allows you to trigger in-app studies based on users' characteristics and actions taken in product. Then sprig's ai is layered on top of all studies to instantly surface your product's biggest learnings. Sprig's surveys enables you to target specific users to get relevant and timely feedback. Sprig replays enables you to capture targeted session clips to see your product experience firsthand. Sprig's ai is a game changer for product teams. They're the only platform with product level ai, meaning it analyzes data across all of your studies to centralize the most important product opportunities, trends, and correlations in one real-time feed. Visit to learn more and get 10% off. That's Ethan, thank you so much for being here and welcome to the podcast. Lenny, thank you a ton for having me.

I'm super excited to talk about some of the things we have teed up today and to help people. The first thing i thought we could chat about is the magic loop. So you wrote this guest post from my newsletter sometime earlier this year. It is, i don't know if you know this, but it's currently the sixth most popular post of all time on my newsletter across 300 plus posts. Did you expect this advice to resonate the way that it did, and why do you think it resonated as much as it did?so the competitive part of me really wants to analyze spots one to five and figure out, do they have an unfair advantage that they had more time? But i was very hopeful that the advice would resonate that way, because i put a lot of work into simplifying it and making it really easy to understand and follow. So i'm very pleased it has, but i was hopeful it would do so well, i will say sometimes they keep growing, so this isn't necessarily the terminal point for the post. The final position. Yeah. Okay. So for people that haven't read this post, or maybe for folks that have and maybe could use a refresher, let's spend a little time here.

Could you just briefly describe this idea of the magic loop that you wrote about? Yeah, absolutely. So the magic loop is how to grow your career in almost any circumstance, even with a somewhat difficult manager. It does assume that you're working in some environment, normally as an entrepreneur or with a boss. But the basic idea of the magic loop is five steps and they're very easy. The first one is you have to be doing your current job well. It's not possible to really grow your career if you're not considered at least performing at a solid level. Now, it doesn't mean you have to be the star on the team at this point, but what you can't have is your boss wishing that you were different. Like, "ethan's not very good.". So you have to talk to your manager and find out how you're doing and address any problems. So step one is do your job well. Then step two is ask your boss how you can help. Speaking as a manager, and i've talked to hundreds of managers, very few people go and ask their manager, "what can i do to help you? What do you need?". And so just asking sets you apart, and it begins to build a relationship that we're on the same team, that i'm here as a part of your organization to make you successful, not just myself.

Step three is whatever they say, do it. So you dig a big hole. If you say, "what could i do to help you?". And they say, "well, we really need someone to take out the tray sheets day," and you're like, "oh, i didn't mean that. I wanted exciting work. I don't want to do sort of this maintenance work or whatever.". So do what they ask, help out even if it's not your favorite work. Once you've done that though, and maybe you do that a couple times, the fourth step is where the magic comes in. You go back to your manager and say, "hey, i'm really enjoying working with you. I'm wondering is there some way i could help you that would also help me reach my goal?". And whether that goal is to change roles or get a raise or get a promotion, you say, "my goal is i'd really like to learn this new skill. Is there something you need that would also help me learn this new skill?". And the reason this works is managers help those who help them. It's just human nature. We all do that. Generally, they're very open to meeting you halfway and saying, "sure, i need this. We can rearrange it. We can find a way to meet your goals over time.".

Now for step four to work, you do have to know what is your goal, so you have to be clear on what it is you want. Well, that part's up to you. And then step five is the easiest step of all. It's just repeat. So like lather, rinse, repeat with your shampoo. Step five is once you're working with your manager towards your goal and discussing where you're going, and you're helping each other, the magic of the loop is just go around and around. I was going to ask you, why is it that you call it the magic loop? Also, we kind of dived right in, but what is the goal of this? I guess it's pretty clear maybe at this point of this helps you advance in your career, but whatever you want to share along those lines. Yeah,. Okay. Very fair. So i called it the magic loop because i pioneered it with my audience a few years ago. And it works so well, that people were writing back in and saying, "how do i turn this off?

I'm in over my head now. My boss has asked me to do all these cool things, and i feel like i can't catch up, and i've already been promoted once and i need time to digest it.". And it just seemed like it worked like magic. It worked in almost every circumstance. There are of course exceptions where you have very exploitative managers who are like, "oh, it's great. You're working harder, keep doing that, and they won't do anything for you.". But those are rare. And then the purpose, yeah, to help you get satisfaction in your career. A lot of people are unhappy with their jobs. Many people want to move up a level or get paid more. Not everyone. Some people want to change what they're doing, they're bored.

This is a path to all of that, because it's forming a partnership with your leadership to say, "look, i'l help you, but i need you also to help me.". And most good managers are very open to that. When we were working on this, one of the pieces of feedback i had was i feel like i could just tell my manager, "hey, i want to grow my career. What can we work on to help me get there?". And your feedback was like, most managers are not that good and not that thoughtful about their employee's careers. Can you just talk a little bit about that? People may be hearing this and be like, "why do i need to do this seems like a lot of work. "if you have a great manager, you may not need to do nearly as much formality. They may have given you good feedback, so you don't need to ask for feedback. They may have offered you opportunities to step up, and you've said yes to some and maybe no to others.

That's fantastic. I designed the magic loop for the people who either don't know what to do or their manager is either not that good or just very busy. Remember, lots of managers have great intentions to help their employees, but they get busy with their own lives, their own work, all the things they're focused on, even also their own career. The manager is often busy thinking about their own needs, and so they mean to get to you next week, and next week drifts on for a year. What has come up since this has come out that you would want to either add to, or tweak, or help people better understand? I imagine there's some criticism. I imagine there's a lot of, "yes. This really works.". Two things i'd love to clarify. The first is many people ask me, "why do i have to do this?

Shouldn't my manager notice what i'm doing? Shouldn't my manager help with my career? Shouldn't my manager be planning for me?". And what i say about that is what your manager should do and $4 will get you a cup of coffee at starbucks. The point of this loop is it's in your control. It is true that a good manager would do all those things i just mentioned, but not all managers are good and some of them need some help. And the thing i would just say about the magic loop is it's in your control. And so you can be upset that your manager isn't perfect, but move on from that and take control of your own situation.

That's the first thing i'd say. The other big extension i would make is look, if you are a manager or a leader of any type, you can initiate the magic loop from your side, so you can talk to your employees and say, "hey, what are your career goals? Would you like to form a partnership where you step up to new challenges and i help you get to your goals?". I had a lot of success forming this kind of partnership with my employees, where as they saw growth and success, they really leaned in and like, "this system works. You're actually investing in me now. I'l work extra hard.". And i'm like, "yes, and we can grow your team or grow your opportunity," and it was very win. To give people a little bit of social proof, you mentioned some of the folks you've worked with on this. Can you share some stories, or stats, or anything to help people understand how helpful this ended up being to folks you've worked with?yeah, absolutely.

I'l tell one story from each end of the spectrum. And what i mean there is entry-level people and then high level executive leaders. I had an entry-level person write me back and say, "look, when i learned about the magic loop, i was at a company and not doing very well. I started applying it. They offered me a $30,000 raise and a bigger job. And i turned it down because i got hired at this other company that was offering me even more, and i went there. And they've promoted me also," and he was one of the people who wrote in and said, his exact words were, "a year ago i was made redundant.". So he is in the uk, redundant is their word for laid off. "a year ago i was made redundant. I got this first job and i got an offer for an increased salary, and then i got the second job and i got an increase when i joined that was even bigger.".

And he was in that situation of, "mow i need to sort of slow down and digest all of that. "on. The complete other end, one of my best people i ever worked with joined my team at amazon as what we would call an sde i, which in amazon is a level five employee. He grew with me kind of following this process to a senior engineer. Then he switched to management and ran a small team. Then he became a senior manager and he relocated with my organization. He opened a new office in another city, was eventually promoted to director running his own office of a couple hundred people. And this was over the course of about eight years. He went from a mid-level engineer to an executive with a team of 800 people. Now he was a very hard worker, but over this eight years we just saw all this progress. And then eventually he moved on. He founded his own startup, sold that, and now works as an executive vice president at one of the major online banks. And so his career in some sense has exceeded mine, but during that eight year span, he just grew so much.

And this is the process we followed. Wow, those are excellent examples. What levels does this help you with? At what level is this most useful, and then does it kind of taper out it? I don't know if you get to vp level, do you still try using magic loop? So i think it works anywhere from the start of your career to pretty far into it. I think at my level, i finished my career as a vice president at amazon. It does peter out in the sense of the active. And what i mean by that is you're still doing the same thing, but you don't have to talk about it. Your managers are expecting you to step up and recognize challenges. They're expecting you to ask for resources when you need them, and you don't sort of have this level of explicit conversation around, what can i help you with? They're expecting you to anticipate what's needed. So in the newsletter we did together, i wrote about how over time, you go from asking your manager, "how can i help?". To suggesting to your manager, "these are some things i see that seem like they need to be done. Would you like me to do them?". To just seeing what needs to be done and sort of keeping your leader in the loop and saying, "hey, i noticed that we have this problem. I fixed it. I noticed we have this opportunity. I've started program against it.". I think at the executive level, it's much more you being proactive and just keeping your leader in the loop. I think in the post, the way you described this step is this is advanced mode. Don't jump straight to this. Don't just start suggesting things, because you may get it wrong.

Yeah, well, it's all a matter of rapport and trust. A huge part of career success is how much trust you have, mutual respect with your leadership. When they're confident that you're going to make the right decisions, they're confident to let you go. But yeah, when you're brand new or you're new to a manager, if you just jump in, you may either not work on the things they value or even find yourself working across purposes, and that isn't the right place to start. Awesome. Okay. Just to close out this conversation. You touched on this, but why is it that you think this is so important and effective? Why do you think this works so well?

People may not recognize, "i see this is the key to this.". Well, i think it's two things. First, i mentioned how rare it is for managers to be offered help. If you're a manager, you'l recognize this. If not, feel free to talk to any manager, whether your own or somebody else. Ask them how much they worry and how much they feel overwhelmed and wish someone would give them a hand. Management can be a lonely job, because you feel like you're responsible for everything. So having an ally, it's just a huge weight off people's shoulders.

And then i think a lot about social engineering. The social engineering's here is just the simple, "you help me, i'l help you.". It doesn't have to be exploitative, it's just we help those people who help us, and that's built into human survival. And i think this loop works so well because it's just leaning a little bit into that behavior. So many relationships with managers are oppositional. You tell me what to do, and i'm kind of like a kid in high school who's trying to figure out how do i skip as many classes as possible and turn in as little homework and still get by with a d? That relationship won't build your career. Some people approach their jobs as my goal is to do the least i can and still collect my paycheck. That's an approach if you're okay with where you are. It's not what i coach though. I assume people want to grow. Okay, so maybe it's just as a closing question, for people that are listening and want to start putting this into practice slash are stuck in their career and are just like, "okay, i see. Here's something i can do.". Could you just again summarize the loop briefly?sure. Step one, make sure you're doing your current job well. The way i explain this is when you go to your manager and ask, "what could i do to help?" you don't want their answer, even if they don't say it quite so bluntly to be, "do your f-ing job.". You need to be doing that already. So be doing a good job. And unfortunately, a good job is in the eyes of your manager in this case. You may think i'm doing great work, but if your manager doesn't, they're the ones you need to build as an ally here. Once you have that, go ask how you can help, do whatever you're asked, and then go back to your manager and suggest or ask, "i would like to meet this goal. Can i keep helping you? What could i take on that you need that would also help me meet this goal?". And that's where you start to try to bring your two sets of aims together. What do you need done, how can i get to my goal? And let's do those things together. And then you just repeat this loop. You build trust, you build the relationship.

And with all good managers, and even a lot of moderate managers, they appreciate the help so much, they really lean into that. I think there's two really important elements of this that you haven't even mentioned necessarily, that i think are part of the reason this works so well. One is this forces you and your manager to identify the gaps that are keeping you from the next level, which it's often vague, and then you get to a performance review, and then your manager's like, "ethan, you're still not good on this and this and that," and you're like, "you never told me that's the things you're looking for me to get promoted.". So i think there's this implicit, here's what you need to work on to get to the next level, which i think is part of step four. And then you actually did touch on this that it's important to share your goal to your manager. Here's what i want. I want to get promoted. A lot of times they don't know that and you helping them understand, "here's what i want, help me get there.". It goes a long way. So there's a lot-. Managers often fall into the trap. They chose to become managers, so they assume one of two things about you. They either assume that you want to keep doing exactly what you're doing forever, just maybe make a little more money. So you're an artist, you want to keep drawing forever. You're a lawyer, you want to keep writing contracts forever. Or they assume that, "hey, i became a manager.

I'm very proud of my career. That must be what you want.". And these assumptions are natural, right? We tend to view by default that our path is great and everyone would want to be us. Now of course, some good managers don't do that. But if you clarify and express your goals, you remove that ambiguity. I actually had a period in my career where i specifically did not want to get promoted. I was very happy where i was, and i just wanted to keep doing this awesome ic role. Is that something at all you see where people are just like, "i'm good. I don't need to get promoted," and then is this helpful in that in any way or is it not as big a deal? So first, i reached a point in my career where i was no longer pursuing promotion either, and i wanted to do other things. So i've lived that myself and i've used the same loop, but i used it to go do what i wanted to say, "this is now what i want, and how do we get there? How do we create a role where i'm adding value appropriate to my level, but i'm doing this other work that's fun?" i moved into gaming. And i really wanted to do that. Second, i think it is still helpful because there's something you want probably. Maybe you want to work on different kinds of projects or maybe you want to work with a different higher performance team. Or maybe you want to rebalance your life and say, "hey, i love what i'm doing, but how can i be a star performer for you but within these boundaries?". So if you truly have the perfect job just as it is, you may not need the magic loop. But i know so few people if you're like, "nope, there's absolutely nothing i could improve about my role. "yeah, i think that your point about your goal doesn't have to be promotion. It could be work on a different part of the org, try something totally maybe transition to a new function that could be part of your goal. Awesome. Okay, so along the same lines of career progression, you work with a lot of senior manager types, kind of the level of l7 and one m2-ish, and you share with me that one of the most frustrating parts of their job in that specific portion of their career is they get stuck at that level. And they don't move up, and it becomes really annoying, and they're not sure how to break out of that. What advice you share with folks like that may be listening?

Yeah, so it's common to get stuck there, and there are a few reasons for it. First, there are a lot of senior managers. If you think of your average director, they may have six to eight reports. How many more directors are needed? So there's a choke point. Second, that choke point is worse in the current economy, and in the past maybe a lot of companies, amazon, google, apple, etc., were growing very rapidly. And so it wasn't just you were waiting for some other director to leave. The teams were getting bigger. I experienced this at amazon, where over a nine-year period i went from managing six people to 800. And so i went from a senior manager all the way to a vice president, and i described i was, in some sense just riding the elevator. The elevator was going up, and as long as i managed to stay on it, i was going to arrive at vice president. But the other thing that causes people to get stuck is the difference between a senior manager and a director is how you lead and the work you're doing. And you can get as far as senior manager by being really strong in your function and being really good at getting things done. As a director, and as a vp beyond that, it becomes much more about influence, coordination with others, and letting go of being in all the details yourself. And so senior managers really have to change some behavior. I often reference the book by marshall goldsmith, what got you here won't get you there. Not only because it's a great book classically on this problem, but because the title tells the story. All the great traits that got you to this one level won't get you to the next level where you're more expected to be thinking in strategic terms, thinking longer term.

So to someone that may be in that role today and they're not moving up, is there anything they can do? This point about just there's no roles for you, there's only so much you can do there, is the advice just wait until an opportunity arrives? Is it run this magic loop until something happens? Is there anything you can do? I would be honest with people and say some patience is required. At this level, there is some notion of, do we need a director? Do we need a vice president? Do we have a challenge at that level that needs that person? And so promotions at this level, i often teach have two components. The first component is can i eat and do that job? Am i qualified? Do i have the skills? But the second piece is, do we have such a job that needs that? However, there is a lot you can do. A lot is in your control. And what is in your control is to start practicing those next level skills. Start working with your leadership on, where can i take on a strategic project? How can i become more of an inventor? I teach some about how to sort of systematically be inventive. It's not pure magic. Edison said it's 1% inspiration and 9% perspiration.

You can learn the 9%, and the 1% isn't as hard then. So you start showing those next level traits. And as i describe it most succinctly, how do you make yourself the person who will be chosen out of the eight?and you can be chosen, there are several ways to move up. Your boss can leave or be let go. They can be promoted to another role. But another way is i coach now, and i have several clients recently. I was just talking to a client yesterday, her two peers were let go. They were all the same level. Her two peers were let go and she was given their teams. And she expressed that her boss had been told, "you have too many senior managers for the size of your organization. We need to do some change in the organization, clean house, and put all your people under the folks who have potential.". Well, obviously she must be one of those people, because she still has her job and has more people and more to do. And unfortunately, her peers are shopping for new employment. So be that person, and that's where the magic loop comes in. Be that person. I was just talking actually to a senior pm leader who pointed out that with this kind of lean environment of a lot of flattening of orgs and a lot of layoffs, that this is becoming increasingly hard. Exactly what you're describing. There's just less spots, because companies are running more lean, and so you just kind of have to wait. I think part of this advice you just shared, which is classic do the job before you have the job makes all the sense in the world. Because once people see that you can do it, obviously they'l feel a lot more comfortable putting you in that position. And they'l be looking. I always remind people, as a leader, i want the best people under me i can have. It's not that i don't wish to promote you. If you think about my job, this helps people, right? I have selfish motivation to promote you. A lot of people think, "the bosses there holding me down.". Well, maybe some bosses are, but why wouldn't i want stronger, more capable direct reports? Why wouldn't i want people under me who can do more of my job?

Frankly, that's the only way i can do less of my job. Plus this pressure you're always getting from your reports. So like, "hey, i'm ready to get promoted, because this time" you mentioned this word inventiveness, and i was just listening to jeff bezos on lex fridman, and i don't know if you heard this, but jeff bezos described himself most as an inventor more than anything else that he does. Is that something that you think about? Is that influenced by jeff bezos any way, that idea of being an inventor as a leader? I'l say a couple things about that. First, i know you talked to my old boss, bill carr, who wrote working backwards. What i don't know is if he shared with you that after he published it, he actually realized there was a better title.

He wishes that he had called the book the invention machine, because what jeff was trying to do with amazon was create the most inventive company, the company that would systematically out-invent others. And so while working backwards is a great title, bill and jeff think they should have called it the invention machine. When i joined amazon, i did not think of myself as an inventor, but i saw that we had these leadership principles think big and invent and simplify that pushed on that. And i said, "i'm in trouble. I don't know how to do this.". And i sat down and thought about that. What am i going to do? It seems like that's required. And i figured out how to become systematically inventive. So i now hold over 70 patents as one benchmark of inventiveness, and they were all created during my 15 years at amazon. And the way i did that, inventiveness actually isn't that hard. I teach about this. And to invent systematically, first you do need to be somewhat of an expert in whatever area you want to invent. So lenny, if you and i say let's get together. And we're going to invent cancer drugs, we have the problem that neither of us, as far as i know is a biologist, a doctor. We don't have the right background, we don't know what we're doing. So we would just be fumbling around i guess with a bathtub full of chemicals hoping.

It's probably not going to work out that well. So you have to be something of a knowledgeable expert. But then the second thing people don't do is they don't spend dedicated time actually thinking. They feel like, "invention is just going to come to me.". When i want to invent, i get away from all my devices. I go in a room with the problem i have, and i force myself to actually concentrate on what do i know and how can i invent? And the most straightforward way to invent is not to somehow come up with something completely new, but instead to put together two things that exist. And so my example of this, i have a patent i talk about a lot for a drone delivery for amazon, but the drone doesn't fly from the warehouse. Instead, a truck with no top drives slowly around the neighborhood, and the drones go back and forth from the truck. As opposed to the driver stopping at every house, you can have four or six drones hitting everything in the neighborhood. And the way i came up with this idea is one day i was thinking about drones and delivery, but i loved military history. And so i was thinking also about an aircraft carrier and i was thinking, is there a way to have an aircraft carrier for drones? And from that, it was very quick for the light bulb to go on and say, well, what about a truck? And so i have this patent, and we haven't seen this become reality yet. I'm waiting for my idea to become part of amazon's drone delivery system, but i think ultimately it will. That is badass. I'm imagining returns come back to the truck. We're using that rope thing that just captures them with that little hook. Yeah. Well, there's no reason same thing. When you want to return something as opposed to taking it to the ups store or whatever, you just put it on your porch, and then on your phone, on your app, maybe you take a picture of it so that the drone can recognize the box or you put it in a designated spot, and you push a button and the drone takes your return away. Yes, there's no reason. Can't wait for that. And it takes your dog backs in it sometimes, part of it. My dog's too heavy, thank you. My dog's not. There's an owl in our backyard that we sometimes worry he is going to come grab our dog on.

This idea of invention, this is really interesting. I didn't plan to talk about this, but for someone like say a pm on a team that wants to get better at invention, innovation, big thinking, is there a practice you find helpful here? Is it block off two hours, get a pen and paper, and just think about the specific two adjacent things working together?so. That's part of the process, is put in dedicated time. The interesting thing i would say is you don't need that much time. Two hours is great, but you only need two hours once a month. People think invention takes all this time. The thing is once you have one good idea, it often takes years to express that. So you had the idea to have a newsletter. I know some of the history of your newsletter. You've been working on the expression of that idea for years now. Jeff and amazon had ideas like, "let's have prime shipping.". Well, prime is still getting better and still being worked on. It's a 20 some year old idea. The kindle a decade's old idea now still getting better. So the point here is you don't need very many good ideas to be seen as tremendously inventive. Like elon musk, tesla, he can kind of dust off his hands and be like, "i am now an edison-like inventor.". So he keeps doing it, but you don't need that many inventions. This touches on something else jeff bezos shared on the podcast that most of his innovation and work is in the optimizing phase. It's not the here's the idea, it's the making it cheaper, and better, and faster. And that's where most of the good stuff comes from. In this point of tesla, elon had this idea, and now the hard work is actually making it scalable and cheap enough for people to use, not just an electric car. With the idea of jeff saying that invention is really a lot of the incremental and optimization, i completely agree with that. To invent well, you need a base idea, but then there's so much of the work is making that idea real. And again, prime is a great example of this. The amazon prime program was a great example of, okay, we want fast free shipping. We want this program. That was a one-time idea that they did build, but now prime has expanded. First it was two-day in the us, then one-day in the us, now it's same day in the us. But also they added prime video, prime music, prime gaming. There's actually something like 25 things you get free with prime. Most people have no idea, because you get free photo storage and this ongoing list. And all of that is that incremental optimization to make it better.

And of course jeff's goal, which you probably heard him say, was to make prime a no-brainer, to where you would be irresponsible really not to be a member. I know you have an awesome jeff bezos story that i want to get to, but before we do that, one more question along this line of career advice and progression. So i read somewhere that you've interviewed over 2,500 people over the course of your career. And so kind of going back to the beginning of a career, or at least getting a job, what have you found is most helpful in standing out as a candidate when you're interviewing, and essentially getting hired? What advice do you have for people that may be going through an interview process right now? There's a lot of evidence that suggests that the number one and two factors in any interview are appearance and enthusiasm. And it doesn't mean you have to be beautiful, but show up somewhere looking like you're interested in the job, not in your pajamas. And most importantly, be enthusiastic. People want to work with people that want to work with them. So if you seem very judgmental of the company and like you have to sell me on it, you're going to turn them off. I look at every interview of whether or not i really want this job, i might've decided i don't want the job. I still want the offer. And so i come to any interview i do leaned in and talking about how excited i am to be a part of this opportunity and what i know about the company.

Beyond those cosmetics, the biggest thing i see particularly at higher levels is people talk about what they have done but not why it mattered. They don't talk about the impact. See, a leader is not hiring someone to just do work. They're hiring someone because they have a problem or a need. And so if you can show them, "look, here's the things i've done that have made a difference. Here's the things i've done that have helped my past employers where i've had an impact.". So i didn't just do work. That makes you a worker. Someone who has an impact is more of a leader. And leader doesn't need to mean people manager, just a higher level, that i have done something that solve the big problem, and here's how it changed the company or customer outlook.

That's what i'm looking for in an interview, is are you bringing me an understanding of the business that shows you contributed to the business, or are you just telling me how hard you worked?awesome. On that first piece, now that most interviews i imagine over zoom, in terms of enthusiasm and looking professional, is there anything you've found that people may not be thinking about in those two buckets? Yeah. Show the person full-time dedication. So unless you really don't have any choice, don't take an interview from a car, don't have your camera off. Eye contact is still a real thing. Body language is still a real thing. Gestures like i'm making now with my hands, they're part of your presentation. So be fully present and try to project through the camera a little bit of i'm excited to be a part of this. And i appreciate the opportunity. I often tell people the best way to prep for an interview might be a good night's sleep and a pot of coffee, that being fully engaged and energetic is a huge lever. Awesome. And i think basically, the feedback there is don't over obsess with the content. There's a lot of value in just how you come across. Yeah, 100%.

Let me tell you about a product called arcade is an interactive demo platform that enables teams to create polished on-brand demos in minutes. Telling the story of your product is hard, and customers want you to show them your product, not just talk about it or gate it. That's why product four teams such as atlassian, , and retool use arcade to tell better stories within their homepages, product change logs, emails, and documentation. But don't just take my word for it. Quantum metric, the leading digital analytics platform created an interactive product tour library to drive more prospects. With arcade, they achieved a 2x higher conversion rate for demos and saw five times more engagement than videos. On top of that, they built the demo 10 times faster than before. Creating a product demo has never been easier. With browser-based recording, arcade is the no-code solution for building personalized demos at scale. Arcade offers product customization options, designer approved editing tools, and rich insights about how your viewers engage every step of the way. Ready to tell more engaging product stories that drive results? Head to and get 50% off your first three months. That's Let's take a little trip to failure corner. This is something that i do more and more on this podcast, talk about people's failures in their career and their learnings.

And apparently you have a great story of failing the great jeff bezos and surviving to tell the tale. Could you share that story? I do. It's both a highlight and a low light. So i had been at amazon about six years. I had become a director, and i was responsible for launching amazon's app store. And so we were building an android-based app store to go on google phones and eventually on the kindle tablets. And we got to launch day. And at that time, jeff used to write a letter introducing new products. He would write a letter that said, "dear customers, today amazon's proud to launch blah. Blah, and it's got these great features. And i hope you really enjoy it. Thanks jeff.". And we would take down all the sales stuff on and that letter would fill the whole screen. And so he had written a jeff letter, and this jeff letter emphasized a particular feature of our product that he really liked. So that something that made it a little different. And that specific thing was we had a button called test drive that you could click on and it would open the app in a simulator in your web browser, so you could check out the app and interact with it before putting it on your phone. So he thought this was really cool and he was all about it. Well, my team had built all this technology. We had test drive working. It was kind of a hard piece of technology if you think about simulating any of thousands of arbitrary apps.

And we worked all night to launch it, and it wasn't quite working at 6:0 am. We were still debugging. Now you know engineers very well. And i'm sure most of your listeners know about engineers, even if that's not their discipline. We always think we're this close to finding the last bug. So about 6:15 am, i get a message from jeff that says, "hey, i woke up, where's the letter?". Because it was supposed to go live at 6:0 am, right after the markets in new york would've opened at 9:0 am eastern. And he says, "where's the letter?". And i write him back. And i say, "well, we're working on a few problems.". And what i'm thinking in my head is, "get in the shower, get in the shower. I just need 20 minutes, get in the shower. "for jeff to get in the shower. Yeah. And 30 seconds later, i have an email back that says, "what problems?". And at this point i have to start explaining, and i end up explaining that we're having a problem with a database, and we're debugging this database problem. And he's like, "wait, there's a database in your design? We're trying to eliminate all oracle databases and move to aws. Why do you even have this?". And he is just getting more and more frustrated and angry. And he starts copying in my boss, and my boss's boss who's with jeff wilke, the ceo of retail. And they start asking me questions. And it's just this snowballing, but 7:30 in the morning, jeff is clearly angry. And there's this list of other people waking up and feeling like, "well jeff is angry, so my job is to be even more angry," and it's just raining in on me. Oh man. So what did i do? The interesting thing is what do you do when the future richest man in the world is mad at you? He wasn't quite richest man in the world yet, but he was headed there.

So the first thing i did was i owned it. I said, "yes, it's not working. It's my fault. I will deal with it.". I took ownership. And the second thing i did was start updating him very proactively and saying, "here's where we are.". 8:0 am, "this is exactly where we are. This is what we're going to do and the next hour, and this is when you'l get your next update. I will update you again at 9:0 am, so here's our plan. "and even though jeff had sort of lost trust in me, like it's down, and it's not right, and i'm mad, given that he agreed with the plan, he was willing to give me 60 minutes. And then i would update him again and say, "okay, this is what we've done and this is what we're going to do, and we'l update you again at 10:0 am.".

So i was buying life one hour at a time. Now the other thing i did, and this is a good thing about amazon, as more and more leaders got copied into this angry thread, they started reaching out in back channel and saying, "we've all been under jeff's eye of sauron, we know it's miserable. What can we do to help?". And essentially andy jassy's organization, which was aws at that time, and his cto, a guy named werner vogels said, "you're having a database problem, let's get you some principal engineers from the aws database team.". And these principal engineers showed up at 9:0 am roughly, and they looked at our design. We had made some fundamental mistakes in our database usage and they said, "it's too complicated to fix this. We're just going to give you 500 aws machines so that your crappy design will run anyway. That's the immediate fix.". And i'm like, "okay, well i guess if you have 500 databases lying around because you're aws, it's a great solution," and that's what they did.

So the next step is we fixed the problem. A bunch of us worked together very hard to get the problem all fixed. Now it took all day, and jeff was still frustrated because the opportunity to sort of control the messaging and the media by having his letter up had passed. People had noticed our launch and the articles had been written, and so jeff was still very mad. So we fixed the problem, but jeff now had no trust in us. The weekend went by. He was using the system looking for bugs because he is like, "this team's not reliable now. Ethan's not reliable. I better check it myself.".

So you have the ceo checking on you. And he found a problem and emailed me like saturday night at 9:0 like, "i was doing this and it broke.". And luckily i was able to tell him exactly what happened by 9:30. Anyway, the next part of the story is that following week, i had a meeting with him on another topic. So i was part of this small group that was trying to figure out how to build a competing browser. You may not remember, but amazon had a browser called silk for a while. And i was invited to this meeting, but i wasn't a critical participant. So you may know this idea from scrum where they say some people are pigs and some are chickens, and the chickens are sort of observers.

I was a chicken in this meeting, and that turns out to be a great analogy because i was thinking, should i chicken out and not go? I could skip this meeting with the ceo who's angry at me. But when i had that thought, i realized if i can't face the ceo, i'd better pack my desk. That's the end. So i went to this meeting early, and jeff always sat in the same chair, so i knew where he would sit when he came in. So i sat down right next to his chair and i thought, "i don't know, let's find out. "and so the meeting goes by, and of course in my mind jeff is totally ignoring me, not even looking at me. But i think that's just me projecting, because remember i wasn't central to the meeting. So at the end of the meeting, everybody gets up to leave. He turns and looks at me and says, "so how are you doing? I bet it's been a hard week.". And i thought, "oh, okay, we're going to talk.". And i said, "yeah," i just sort of answered him with, "of course it's been hard, but here's what we're doing and here's what we're going to do in the future.".

And we had a very human conversation. And i didn't believe jeff would've forgotten that i let him down, but it was clear he had forgiven it. So i was still going to have to, as it turns out, re-earn his trust. But the thing i did that's key for people to learn from is it's really easy to flame. He had been flaming me, writing angry emails. Angry emails are easy. Sitting three feet from someone and being angry with them face-to-face is hard. And when faced with, i can either start ranting at this person who reports to me, or i can say something nice, he chose to say something nice, and that rebuilt our relationship.

So the end of the story is two years later, i was promoted to vice president. So even though i had failed the ceo on this very public launch where he was very definitely mad at me, i re-earned the trust, i showed i had learned the lessons of how to launch more reliably without outages, and i was promoted. And so i share that story because i think what i want people to understand is if i can get away with publicly failing one of the richest and most famous inventors on earth, and then get promoted and finish my career at amazon very successfully, you can dig out of any hole. You just have to manage it right. That is an amazing story. So there's a lot of lessons that i want to pull on here. One is just if you get caught in a situation like this where something completely fails, what i took down as you were talking, one is admit, yes, this is a huge problem, own it. This is like, don't try to deflect. Two is the way i describe what you did here, is something i call prioritizing and communicating, where you prioritize, "here's what we need to do," and then communicate. "here's our priorities.". And i love that you have this every hour, "here's the latest, here's the latest.". So make people understand you are on it and you'l continue to keep them updated.

I imagine one of the worst fears is i have no idea what's happening here. I'm going to go in and start micromanaging. You're exactly right. I'm trying to hold off micromanagement. I'm trying to give them, "okay, i believe with this. And i can wait an hour," and then i can wait an another hour because that team seems to be on it. So i'm trying to rebuild trust one hour at a time, and avoid having three or four levels of management all come in and start helping. Then i love this other piece of advice of meet them in person, try to take it offline essentially, which i know you did later. But that's such a good point that it's hard to be as mad, and angry, and flamey in person. People are just going to be like, "okay, i get it. Let's try to figure this out.". Amazing. Is there anything else? Those are the three that i took away.

Just like if you're caught in that situation in the moment, is there anything else that you found to be really helpful?i mean, work hard and fast, right? You do have to fix the problem. My team had been up all night. I had to start sending people home to sleep in shifts. We had to pull in all this help. And so it was a very hard weekend. When you have a mistake, it's on you to pull out the stops, even if it's uncomfortable to recover from it. And again, this is not the time to be like, "well, it's the weekend now, and my team, we'l hit it monday.". I'd have been out the door so fast, i would've had the comic wile e. coyote skid marks as i bumped down the street. So i would say that's important. It's part of showing ownership.

The other part of this is something i went through for a while when i was starting to become a more senior leader is i had a lot of imposter syndrome, and this fear that if i messed up, everything would crumble. People would see that i don't actually know what i'm doing, and i'm not really ready for this level of seniority. And so there's this fear of one big mistake, it's over. Clearly this was an example of a huge mistake and it was not over for you. Is there any lessons there that you take away of you can mess up and still do well, even if it's this level of mistake?i think a lot of people in my position would've quit.

They would've let the shame i was just a little bit bullheaded where i'm like, "yeah, i messed up. But i know i'm still a good person and a good worker. Yes, i made a mistake, but i'm going to move on.". Part of the story i haven't told that you might enjoy is i mentioned that jeff wilke was jeff's number two at that point. Jeff bezos, number two person, and he was my skip level. Well, during this process, he came physically into our offices and he wanted to talk to me, and my manager who was vice president said, "hey jeff, this is my team. I own it. If you have any criticism, say it to me. You don't mean to talk to my team.". And jeff wilke said to my boss, whose name was paul, that's excellent leadership. I really appreciate what you're doing. Please step out of the way. I want to talk to ethan. You're doing a great job, paul. Now step aside.". And then he kind of read me the riot act.

And the rest of that funny story is i was so happy with how well my meeting with jeff bezos went, i patted myself on the back and like, "i'm going to go face jeff wilke now. I'm going to schedule a meeting with him and do the same thing. I've got this down.". So i go to meet with jeff wilke, figuring i'm going to run the same playbook. I'm going to look him in the eye and all will be forgiven. And jeff wilke looks at me and says, "ethan, when you launched this, did you know you were gambling with the result? Did you know it might not work?". And i said, "yes. We had a media commitment to launch on that day, and i thought shooting for the date was more important than perfect certainty. "and he said, "well, two things. First, you were wrong. You were wrong to prioritize date over our reputation. You let amazon down in public and that was a mistake.". He said, "second though, at least you knew you were gambling. If you hadn't known you were gambling, we'd be discussing your departure.". And i'm like, "okay.". Here i thought i was rolling in this meeting like i'm going to run my relationship playbook. And he's evaluating whether or not to keep me. The bullheadedness is even after he had told me he had been considering firing me, i'm like, "well he isn't.

So i'm just going to go forward.". And a lot of that stubbornness of sure i made a mistake, but i'm not going to live in shame about it, i think is what people can take away. I think a lot of people feel they're more dead in the water than they are. Because everybody makes mistakes, right? I mean jeff and fire phone, that'l be an albatross around his neck. Jeff and fire phone will be a phrase of anybody who knows amazon for the rest of his life. Yeah, we talked about it on the working backwards podcast, and why didn't working backwards work for the fire phone, we talked about it. I love that these quotes and lines are so seared in your brain. You can remember it like word for word exactly what-. Well, i've relived that moment many times.

And then just along the lines of working your way out of the hole, is essentially what you did just succeed for two years and do great, and that was the key there?no, i think i did have to learn. I've always been sort of an operational cowboy, meaning i like to go fast and loose. I prioritize speed, and i really had to step back and say, "okay, amazon at this level and scale doesn't like that.". So i've taught myself a new phrase which was fear the new york times headline. Be aware that if amazon is down, it goes up on every news website immediately. And so if amazon has some kind of mistake, it's on wall street journal and cnn.and. So as a leader, i had to think, is what i'm doing going to generate a new york times headline? Because if it is, i'd better be really careful. And that's what i taught myself is you can't be paralyzed, but i taught my whole team, we don't want to be in the new york times for the wrong thing. And that was the lesson along the lines of lessons, last question here, what's something that you took away from the way you approached it that you should have changed or should have done differently, that you've done differently since?

Obviously don't you mentioned this idea of don't promise a date that you're not that certain you're going to hit. I guess is there anything along those lines? I have two things here. First, amazon loved in the past, they loved surprise launches. They love the idea of we're going to be quiet. Because basically it was a reaction i think to microsoft where they felt microsoft always talked about what was coming and then pushed the dates back. And so there was this whole thing about vaporware. And amazon wanted to be the other way, which is we won't say anything and then it will just be there. The problem i came to say is the biggest thing i learned with surprise launches is that you're surprised by what doesn't work. And so i shifted the approach to let's do a lot of beta testing. We always, even if others don't agree quite and say, "you're right, we're not going to have a surprise launch.". Some of our beta testers, even if they sign ndas are going to leak.

And that's a better outcome than launching something that doesn't work. That's one lesson. The other lesson is this thing that broke in front of jeff bezos, ultimately it was a new college graduate engineer who wrote that code. And he had been left alone to write part of our user interface, but he had written it in such a way that it didn't scale. Now we didn't give him any help or oversight. We left him on his own, because we were busy focusing on other pieces of the problem. And shortly after the disaster, he left the company. And the mistake i made was not reaching out to him and really reassuring him of, "yes, you wrote the bug, but that's not on you. The system failed you and we don't see you. Bugs happen. "so the thing i regret in this whole thing is not realizing that even though no one in the team ever yelled at him or whatever, he knew it was his bug, and he obviously saw me and others sort of taking a beating. And so he left, and i wish he hadn't done that. And i wish more than that i had stepped in. I didn't realize what he was feeling. It's interesting, the lesson there isn't catch that person sooner, and notice these links in the chain that may break. But it's more just be there for that human that have this challenge, that people may not be focusing on. Because we lost a good person, and he probably felt very bad about it.

And we all feel bad when we make mistakes. That can't be prevented. But he felt undue responsibility i think, and that i really regret. This is actually a really good example of ownership. You mentioned this term ownership and that connects to amazon has these leadership principles. I think there's 14 of them. One of them is around ownership. And apparently you helped craft the actual language for that principle, which i think is a huge deal with amazon. I imagine very few people have a say over how to define, and describe, and say these principles. Could you just talk about this principle that you contributed to, how it came to be that you helped actually write it? Amazon is now kind of on its fourth version in my mind, maybe there's more.

But its fourth major revision of its leadership principles over its 25 plus year history. And when it was going from version one to version two, jeff and his leadership team sat down together. And actually in version one, there were three different lists. They were leadership principles and core values, and something else i don't remember. And they were like, "three lists is stupid. Let's make one list. "well ownership, the term had been a part of one of those lists, but when they merged everything, they took it out. And this guy jeff wilke i mentioned, the number two and the leader of retail, he brought a bunch of us a bunch of his directors. He brought the proposed list to us in a meeting and said, "hey, this is the proposed new version, do you have any comment?". And we all sat around and talked and said, "where's ownership? Ownership is missing.". So we told him, he said, "look, ownership is missing. We think it should be there.". And he said, "well, why don't you propose a draft?". And so about a half dozen of us sat around and roughed out a draft of how we felt ownership should be written. And i proposed these six words, which are, "an owner never says that's not my job.". Maybe that's seven words. So i propose this specific language as a part of it and we sent off this draft. And months go by, we hear nothing. And then one day the leadership principles are announced and ownership is back in. It's been modified, but that, "an owner never says that's not my job," is a part of the leadership principle, and it's remained to this debt. And what i love about that is because amazon has one and a half million employees who live by these leadership principles, it's probably the most impactful thing i've ever written. Wow. So those seven words are the most impactful thing you've ever written. I love that and i totally get that. I'm looking at the principles right now and it comes right at the end of that principle. We'l link to the 14 leadership principles. Is there another principle that you really love or one or two? I don't know. It's probably hard to pick your favorites.

I'm a huge proponent of bias for action. Bias for action says speed matters in business and many decisions are reversible. And so it's important to go faster. And i think people don't understand that in a competitive environment, being right is good, but being quick is necessary. Because if there are 10 startups working on an idea, some of them will gamble, and they'l make bad gambles, and they'l go out of business. But some of them will gamble and make an early bet and be right. And if you are not moving quickly, you'l be beaten by the people who maybe got lucky. And so you've got to have a process that values speed, values, what can we do today?

What can we commit to today? So i really like bias for action. Now that is what got me in trouble with jeff, right? I was willing to gamble. So it has to be in balance, but that's my other favorite. Again, the jeff bezos interview with lex fridman, he was talking about how with blue origin, with the way amazon, he thought about amazon is customer obsession. That was the core goal and differentiator of amazon. With blue origin, he wants it to be decisiveness. It's basically leaning into this bias for action fully, which is really interesting. I saw that part of the interview and i thought, "wow, that's exactly right.". Because again, rockets blow up and they have people on them. You've got to get it right, but you also have to keep moving, because there's always one more thing you can safety test.

So how do you balance it?yeah, it's interesting. With rockets, that's the one that you pick. It's pretty bold to be all move forward kind of thing. So this principle, again, going back to ownership, so you basically suggested this phrase, "you didn't hear anything," and all of a sudden it becomes part of the whole thing. Did that feel weird that they never told you, or i don't know if they gave you credit for that, or it's like, no, it's great? Yeah, i wouldn't even claim credit for it, except i kept a copy of the email that says, "ethan thinks it should say blah.". I have the written proof. Because it's not about the credit. I'm very happy and proud that those words were kept. But in amazon, i doubt if jeff knows i wrote those words.

It's not like i've ever told him, "hey, do you know you kept my words?". That's not appropriate. It's just a fun anecdote. And it does show, i guess something people can learn from that though, you can influence way up in a company if your ideas are good. And also, when we challenged, jeff wilke was a strong opinionated leader who didn't necessarily always love being challenged. And so when we first told him, "well, we think you're missing ownership," he was like, "you're staying that the whole s team can't get its leadership principles right?". I mean it wasn't exactly that way, but he was very much like, "well, is this really necessary? Why do you think it's necessary?". And his challenge to us to write it was kind of framed as, "well if you're so sure it's good, show us.". But again, i'm stubborn and i'm like, "all right, let's write it.". And we did. That's funny. That's not a great example of leadership where he is like, "hey guys, i need your feedback on this thing. But no, don't actually tell me anything's wrong.". Well, yeah. I mean for a bunch of directors to kind of critique the work of people two levels higher, he wanted it, but then he's sort of naturally resistant to it if we're kind of poking at his baby.

It's unlikely that there's something huge missing and it turns out there was. Yeah. And i guess just on these principles, people may not know this, but this is where disagree and commit comes from. It's actually have backbone, disagree, and commit. We talked about this on the podcast about working backwards. I also love leaders are right a lot. That comes up a lot and i love that, to be successful, you need to be right. You can't just project confidence. You can't just be in a bunch of meetings and ship things. You need to be right to be successful. And that one's been rewritten to carefully say, it's always interesting what is the history of the edits, which you wish you could see the edit history on these. That one got modified to say something about leaders actively work to disconfirm their beliefs. And the key there is it was trying to get at the idea that you've got to be very open and always be questioning, "yes, i think i'm right, but what's the new evidence? What am i learning? What's changing?". And in fact, it also says they seek diverse perspectives. And that was a way of getting at what's called dei, diversity, equity, and inclusion. That's a subtle nod towards if everyone in the room is a 50-year-old white man, you may not really be making the right overall decision for amazon's customer base. You may be making the one for 50-year-old white suburban seattleites. And so it's just some of these, every word in those has been studied as an individual word inside the company.

Amazing. Okay. Let's move on to the final area i wanted to spend a little time on, and this is called contrarian corner. I'm curious if you have any contrarian opinions about things basically that other people believe that you don't believe, something you see that many people don't see. Is there anything that comes to mind?yeah, i think a place where i'm currently very contrarian is the return to office movement. Many leaders at my level appear or publicly favor the need to get back into the office potentially full-time. And i'm contrarian on this because of innovation. Specifically, i looked it up, you can check my facts on wikipedia. The first purpose-built office, the first building ever built to be an office was built in 1726 in london. And so we're about 300 years into learning how to use offices well. And what that means is offices aren't going to get much better. What's the last major thing you can think of that got better in offices? You might say well open offices, but a lot of people would say that's not even a good idea. These big rows of desks and loud pits. With working from home, we've only been doing that for a few years since the pandemic began and at all since the internet started 20 years ago. Which one is likely to have more opportunity for improvement? There's so many things we haven't explored with remote work. And i think the people who say, "back to the office, it's because we know it works," well we know what it is, but i have so much more faith in the opportunity to improve the remote experience.

And so i think long-term, it's going to triumph. The one other place where i'm a huge contrarian is doing business on a handshake. I understand companies need lawyers, and i have an attorney for certain things. But i coach people. Most of the people i coach, there's no nda in place. There's no contract in place. They pay me through paypal and i do good coaching for them. I think too much of the world is contract driven, and we've lost the idea of your word being your bond, and you can actually trust me to follow through on my commitments. And i'm a contrarian there. I realize i will occasionally get burnt. Someone will behave in a way, they'l let me down. But i think when we're always suspicious of people, that's a high cost. And the other place i'm contrarian is just doing business on faith. That reminds me, sam altman has a similar philosophy of just trust people and assume it'l all be okay. Sometimes you'l get burned, but on balance, it'l end up being much better for you and for everyone around you. I didn't know that sam had said that, but i strongly agree with it. Yeah, although he had some challenges recently. I don't know if it's working great, but it ended upgrade for him. So anyway, okay. We've actually reached our very exciting lightning round.

Before we get there, is there anything else you wanted to touch on, or share, or leave listeners with? No, i've really enjoyed this conversation. I could talk about careers forever and i love doing that, but i think we've covered a ton today that will really help people. So i'm good. Let's hit the lightning round. All right. With that, we reached our very exciting lightning round. Are you ready?i'm ready. Ethan, what are two or three books that you've recommended most to other people? Two or three books. My number one recommendation is a book called decisive. It's by chip and dan heath, and it's about the science of making better decisions. The reason i recommend it so much is it will make your career better because leaders are decision makers, but also your personal life. So i apply it at least as much in my personal life as i do in my professional life. My second most recommended book is leadership and self deception, much less known than decisive, a little bit harder to approach. It's by a group, a research group called the arbinger institute, and it's about, the self-deception is we cause a lot of our interpersonal problems while blaming them on others. And it walks through how are you part of the problem you're having with somebody else and what can you do about it?the third and final book was recently brought to me by someone i work with that you know,. Jason . That book is the almanack of naval ravikant. And naval ravikant is an angel investor responsible for angellist. But what i love about that book is he has a recipe. He really boils down how to be successful while loving what you do. And he says, "no one can be a better version of you.". Don't try to copy me and be, "i'm going to be like ethan, or i'm going to be like lenny.". Instead, figure out what you uniquely do best that you love, because no one can copy you being you. And that's your defensible sort of career value. And i really like that mental model. Yeah, naval has so many insightful messages, and you can read all these on his twitter. We'l link to his twitter, and someone just made a book out of his tweets basically. He's such an interesting dude. Yes, that's right. Awesome. What is a favorite recent movie or tv show you've really enjoyed? So i grew up on a farm, and so all the taylor sheridan, 1923, and yellowstone, and all of those series, we've watched everything he's put out.

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