In this episode:
01:17 – The lure of Manly
03:06 – Dean’s Orlando to Sydney journey
06:55 – You don’t need a car
07:10 – A review of the area’s restos
11:52 – How words matter
13:20 – Steered wrong by appearances
16:04 – Ideas versus execution
17:15 – Filtering and the Pareto Principle
22:29 – What outcome are you after?
24:45 – What fuels great discussions
27:24 – The Mac charger misadventure
30:58 – “Where did the weekend go?”
36:02 – You know you’re successful when…
38:17 – Putting down the tracks
39:32 – Dan Sullivan’s 3 paths
44:09 – Eliminating the stress of time
46:19 – What your golfing style says about you
48:37 – The trouble with school
51:07 – The impact of disruptors
(please forgive the audio quality – V8 cars do not mix well with recordings…)
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Dean: So here we go.
James: Here we go.
Dean: Year three. This is the second issue of the Manly Chronicles, isn’t it? Maybe you don’t recognize a pattern until the second.
James: This transforms what was an N 1 episode into a serialized podcast.
Dean: That’s exactly right.
James: This is part two of X.
Dean: I say we do 25 years.
James: So part 2 of 25.
Dean: Yes, 2 of 25.
James: Welcome Dean Jackson to Manly, Australia.
Dean: This has been a great week, James. As always.
James: Why do you come to Manly, just out of curiosity? Because I have an annual event and a good chunk of those visitors are from overseas. But for everyone who comes, there might be 10 who think, “Oh, that’s a long way.”
Dean: Oh, it is a long way. I’m not going to lie. I mean it’s like 26 hours door to door to get here on planes, trains and automobiles. When I flew to get here, I conquered the current longest flight in the sky, which is the Dallas to Sydney leg of the journey. It’s 17 hours.
James: Very nice.
James: So why do you do it?
Dean: You know, I love coming to Australia. It’s a nice… this is my third trip though. So the first time, it was kind of a bucket list adventure. You know, scratch Australia off the list. And then it’s turned into the third annual once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia.
James: Well I always like catching up with you and we spend a fair bit of time discussing things. Traditionally is we usually sort of recap some of the top thoughts, gives us a year to sort of mull them over.
Dean: It’s true.
Dean: I have to say that it’s a nice thing to reflect because we haven’t done any reflecting. We’ve mostly been living. So if we reflect on the week here, we seem to have a tradition of starting out the pantry. It’s one of my favorite places right after the beach in Manly. So right you arrived, I left Saturday night, just for people who are going to be coming from the States, just to paint a picture on what their journey looks like.
Travelling to Australia
I came from Orlando. So I came about as far as you can possibly come from the United States to come to Australia. And I was anxious to try this new Dallas to Sydney, because normally, on this journey, I’ll fly to Los Angeles and spend a couple of days, and then go to L.A. and fly from L.A.
But this time I thought, OK, let’s just try this. I left my house at 4:30 in the afternoon on Saturday and my flight to Dallas from L.A. was slightly delayed due to the weather, and I arrived in Dallas at exactly the time they were boarding the flight to Sydney, two gates down. So I didn’t have to run all over Dallas airport to get to the gate. I was just like on a train, walked off and started boarding the other flight.
And then I got all settled in my cozy cocoon for a 17-hour journey. It was 10:30 at night and my strategy is to try to stay up as late as I can. So I watched a movie and watched a couple of little documentary films on TV, had a meal, and then fell asleep. And I slept for, thanks to my new FitBit, approximately for a total of 11 hours of the whole journey, which makes a big difference.
I’m not going to say it’s fully restful, blissful sleep because even the lay flat pods in the airplane have limitations. I’m not going to say it wasn’t…
James: I’ve often slept 10 or 11 hours of the 14-hour Los Angeles flight. So I typically layover there at night. I have a meal, have a glass of wine and then a glass of water.
Dean: Then arriving, I watch the whole movie and then read a little bit and you arrive into Sydney at 6:30 in the morning. Go through the express lane for Customs and then my friend Jessie usually picks me up and we end up at the pantry. And this year, we had James and Taki Moore came and joined us for breakfast. So we had a nice morning there. And then I got a great bed and breakfast from an Airbnb place right on the beach a little bit further up from you James. Last year, I was in the same building as you, which wasn’t going to work this time because of the elevator maintenance.
So James, we were doing a lot of stuff. I averaged about almost 8,000 steps a day while we were here. But James average that many steps plus at least three 13 flight journeys up and down the stairs while the elevators are being serviced.
James: And a little surf each day.
Dean: And a surf.
James: It’s a kind of place where you don’t really need a car. Some people asked me about it. Do they need to rent a car? And I say, “No.” We caught a ferry to the city.
Dean: Yes, we did. That was wonderful
James: It was easy to do that. How’s the food and restaurants?
Food and restaurants
Dean: Ah, we had a great time. This was an interesting thing. So we’re doing a little testing, restaurant testing, on the way. So typically, we will have, I think we had all our meals together for the whole week. So we would start out for breakfast and there’s one in between us. There were three restaurants side by side. It’s an interesting marketing task. So one in the middle, Jellyfish, is just clearly the most popular of the three.
James: Yeah. Always the most busy.
Dean: Yes. Now interesting enough, they have the most interesting name. They also have the most interesting design. It’s very colorful. They have the most relevant theming in the beach surf community. They’ve got the interior theme, there’s surfboards on the walls. And I wonder if they have the advantage of being the middle of the three restaurants.
James: I suspect that it’s a Goldilocks scenario. It’s the one in the middle. People tend to take the middle option.
Dean: I think that may be true. But we actually put all that aside and we tested all three. We judged them based on food, service and their coffee.
Dean: And we found the clear winner in my opinion.
James: Yeah. I think so too. I think it would encourage me to go back there.
Dean: And so the winner wasn’t the popular, the most popular one. In fact, the service was the least friendly in that one, I would say.
James: In which one?
Dean: In Jellyfish.
James: Oh yeah. Well the popular one has hot and cold service. You can be left to your own devices. If you ask for water, they’ll never bring it. And I think they trained a bit too much on the fact that they’re busy. That removes a bit of their requirement to give service.
James: It’s almost like that higher car company that says we try harder. The other ones have to try a bit harder.
Dean: Maybe that’s it. The food is better. I will give them that they have the best coffee. They have great coffee. The Jellyfish coffee is the best.
James: And it is a coffee culture society. The food is great. The service isn’t the best.
Dean: Yeah. I think you can takeaway from that, so Ash’s Table, that’s not a power name.
James: It’s a weird name. It doesn’t really mean anything. It’s kind of got the most basic smattering of surf culture. A couple of pictures on the wall. And it’s the most obscured from the public. It has more protection at the front, which might appeal to all the people who don’t want the wind.
Dean: And by protection, you mean a plastic layering. Most of these are open air at the front. That’s really what I love about Manly, is this just beach sense of it.
James: The service was very good there, really good service. They’re constantly monitoring and snooping and checking in, happy to customize anything.
Dean: Yeah. So it was delightful. We discovered….
James: That it was the most empty everyday.
Dean: Yeah. So we could go and get a table for whatever; a booth, a table. Whatever we felt like…
James: We didn’t feel pressured to move on because they’re trying to change the covers for the day. And the food was great, the coffee was the second best.
Dean: That’s right.
James: The third one was the worst experience, wasn’t it?
Dean: Yes, it was. The Honolulu Grill.
James: It had a bit of the surfing theme, service was terrible, everything was too different.
Dean: It was. They don’t take well to exceptions. I have to prevail on them that I in fact had money and would be willing to pay a premium for my desire. But it wasn’t immediately clear that they could give me what I wanted and adjust the price.
James: There was problems, wasn’t it?
Dean: There was problems.
James: We didn’t even graduate to not a problem.
Dean: (laughs) Right.
James: We got just straight problem.
Dean: That’s funny.
James: We were talking about the service staff’s word track of not a problem, and it’s like a double negative. It’s a “not” and “a problem.” Why throw that in there at all? At best, it cancels to neutral, but it doesn’t take you any further more positive.
Dean: It’s compared to as we discussed, “my pleasure.” It is amazing how words matter.
James: Another one is saying “too easy.”
Dean: Too easy.
James: Yeah. That’s even more fun than not a problem.
Dean: OK. Too easy.
James: Too easy.
James: That’s like really, that is…
Dean: You think you’re trying to challenge me? That’s too easy.
James: Is that the best you got? What, not even a customized bread?
Dean: Well, this would probably a good point to bring up the power of words because we actually, appearances, and words, and preconceptions can sometimes lead you down the wrong path, as we discovered yesterday in Collaroy. Is that how you say it?
James: Yeah, Collaroy.
Dean: Collaroy. There you go. So James and I, we’d been going to movies. We had one great movie at Sydney Dendy theater. So we went and saw “Iris,” which you can check out our video review on Facebook. Then we decided, we set out to go see the new Woody Allen movie “Irrational Man,” which was playing at Collaroy.
When we got there, we were seduced, I’ll say it’s the right word, by the anticipated pleasure of sitting in the grand recliner section of the theater, which was only available in theater one, which was playing a movie called Five Levels Up, or something like that.
James: Interesting you’ve forgotten it after one day.
Dean: I mean I tried, just buried it, because on the surface again, it looked like it was going to be a great movie. It looked like it had all the makings it had. It had Morgan Freeman, it had Diane Keaton, it was set in New York. I mean it had all of the things that you would think, how can we really go wrong? We’re going to be sitting in the grand recliner, being entertained by two of the greatest actors of our generation; yet, it failed on every front. It was perhaps the most atrocious collection of movie cliches that I’ve ever experienced, acted out in a community theater, let’s make a movie kind of way.
James: And what’s supposed to be a delightful, warm, soft, romantic, little story evoked anger in me.
Dean: James was actually fuming.
James: I was angry at that movie.
Dean: Yeah. I wasn’t angry. I didn’t care that much, but it was just, just to show you, you can get steered wrong even when everything, all appearances look like, they’re going to be right. Now I’ll say the grand recliner was delightful, except for one crucial thing.
James: It doesn’t recline.
Dean: It did not recline (laughs). Except for the set angle of it, which you could argue, was reclined.
James: My theory is that it’s a lazy, Lazy Boy. It’s so lazy, it just couldn’t be bothered reclining.
Dean: That’s right.
James: It’s like the ultra Lazy Boy.
Dean: That’s right.
James: So we need to use IMDB as a filter. It’s important to have checks and balances. Same as if you’re interviewing someone.
Dean: Normally, I use Rotten Tomatoes.
James: I prefer IMDB. But if doesn’t make a certain threshold, it’s out. But it was a good movie, purely because it helps us identify a good movie when we see one.
Dean: Well that’s true.
James: It gives us a position of contrast.
Dean: And gives you further evidence. I used it as evidence in a lunchtime discussion. We had lunch with Taki and we were discussing the idea of ideas versus execution and I used that as a perfect example of ideas being more valuable than execution because you could say, that movie was executed flawlessly. It was shot nicely, everything was in frame, the sound was perfect, everything was there. But it was a bad idea.
James: Could you also argue that the movie is a good idea but it was poorly executed?
Dean: I don’t think that the movie was a good idea actually. I mean it was just a collection of bad ideas all around.
James: Even the core premise was very weak.
Dean: Yeah. Right.
James: It wasn’t a believable premise.
James: Every aspect was unbelievable. It didn’t work, it didn’t compel, it didn’t move. It was nothing.
Dean: That’s right. See.
James: Very interesting. That was one idea. We’ve also been tossing ideas around the Pareto Principle and filtering things that are more valuable or less valuable.
“Do ideas trump execution?”
Digging deep into the Pareto Principle
Dean: Yes. So we’ve had some interesting discussions about that because I’ve said, I live for things like this. I think that there are some value. I’m a believer in the 80/20 rule. I’m a believer in Dan Sullivan’s 80% approach, which is sort of a related but not exactly the same type of thing. Dan’s basic premise is that in most situations, 80% is more than enough in most situations.
“80 percent is more than enough.”
James: And the 80/20 power curve shows that to be true. We did a comparison between doing 4% of something versus 16% of something, and there was quite a very minimal difference. It’s a difference between 64% of the result from 4% being done versus 70-something if you do 16% of something. But then if you do the other 74%, you’re really only potentially getting 30% more.
Dean: I think that in order for Pareto to really work the most effective way, I think we were looking for, this was our breakfast discussion is that, I think there are situations where it does not apply. I think there are some physical things. I think that where it gets mixed up, so let me just get this out here and we can throw it all out on the table. We’ve got to arrange it and mix it up here how it fits up.
I believe that there are things that work in conjunction with the idea of the minimum effective dose. I really like that idea that there’s something that reaches a point where the minimal effective dose and then there’s also the corollary to that, which would be the maximum effect of dose, where if you’re doing something where there are degrees of something that can be measured and you could get the results, you get the minimum effect of results with this dosing or this amount that anything else beyond that has the diminishing returns. But how do you balance that out when we are talking about if our thing when you, almost like when you bring in the laws of physics into something, physical things, that there seems to be a limitation in that.
Like we talked about can you, for our goal was to walk from the restaurant where we work to the ferry, that you can’t get the result of getting to the ferry by doing 20% of the distance to the ferry. What can you do with 80%? There are some things that the minimum effect of dose is to get to the ferry. But you brought up some other things, as there are alternate things, what your goal but…
James: I think firstly, to use the formula, you have to consider 100% of something. So you can’t just say a small percentage of something. So you may be have to zoom out until you capture at least 100% of the thing. So if getting from one place to another is 100%, then you could say, which things are the most important in terms of getting there.
One factor might be taking the most direct, possible route. So having good navigation might be more important. If you don’t have the most great possible route, then you could take three times longer to get there or travel three times a distance. Then you might be thinking transportation thing. What’s the return on energy for my sneakers versus buying a skateboard and skating to the ferry? You might be able to do it with less effort in a faster time.
So I think maybe it’s just breaking down the various components of that mission. It’s the transportation device, it’s the direction, you could get in a taxi and get there way quicker with no energy spended. So I guess you’ve got to say, “Well, of all the variables, what’s the most important element here? Is it how I get there? Is it which route that I take? Is it how long it takes to get there? Is it how much it costs to get there?” Depending on which criteria is more important, you could probably optimize the journey by focusing on the bits that make that happen and ignoring the other bits.
Dean: Right. Yeah, I mean it is interesting because I am a fan of doing the least thing. I think you need more input. Just like you said, you have to be aware of what is the outcome that you need. What’s the outcome that you’re looking for. I was just reading an article about the way that Spotify and Apple calculate the royalty pool to give to artists on their streaming music service and on Apple for instance, 20 seconds of streaming is enough to trigger the royalty.
So if you were an artist, trying to maximize your revenue on a streaming service, it would seem efficient to write 21-second songs and have more of them because it’s not streaming time, it’s not the amount of minutes streamed. It’s the songs streamed. I think they have to be aware of the environment.
James: Well it’s all about setting the rules or setting the frame. If you’re selling something, you can teach your customer how to score you or how to select you out of different competitor by setting the frame. Like you are yet to create the rules. So it always comes back to the point. What’s the point? You know, constantly thinking that people have never really set down a thought about the point of doing the thing. They go and build businesses that they then hate it because it’s too complex or it sucks up their entire life’s energy and they think, why did I do this?
That’s actually what annoyed me the most about that lame movie was that it was completely pointless. The whole exercise that they were going through had no point. No valid point in my mind. It was a weak point but it wasn’t good enough reason.
Dean: Yeah. Listening to our discussion, it would seem that we’ve been eating brownies. (laughs)
James: What do you mean by that?
Dean: It seems like we’ve been consuming some sort of enhanced brownies or something to have this deep, philosophical discussion.
James: I think we have these discussions because we can and we ramble in all sorts of it, like we explore good questions in each other’s business situation. One thing that I’m always interested in is what can you see that I can’t see. And then you reverse that across on what can I see that you can’t see. That’s one of the best ways to leverage an existing resource. It’s like totally a Jay Abraham or Eli Goldratt thing. An obvious answer to something that’s right under your nose that you couldn’t see. Something like, I’m always seeing stuff with my students because that’s what I do. And they’re asking questions, I can see it so clearly and often, they can’t. But we have to be open about what other people can see about us.
And then we have to filter it according to what we actually want. What’s the point is that the problem with advice, most people give advice according to their filters, not the person who’s asking for the advice.
Dean: So yeah, we did have a lot of great discussions this week. Well, we always do. Time just flies, doesn’t it?
James: Yes. Well, one of the interesting things on this trip is that it felt much more at ease having the discussion because things business-wise are working along quite smoothly. I had more things happening by the team now than what I was doing last year. So that’s been good. And of course I’m much more engaged into my surfing. That’s been a daily requirement in the routine.
Dean: You know we have a very similar rhythm to our days. This is the rhythm of my days normally. So it’s easy for our rhythms to mash up in a way because it’s the same. But your rhythm of getting in the surfing into the equation right from the get-go makes a big difference.
James: What are concepts have we talked about?
“What can you see that I can’t see?”
Adventures in flying
Dean: You know, this is very interesting. We had a little adventure. For some reason, the cord on my Macbook was not connecting, not charging my Macbook, so I asked James if he had an extra one. Because of the 13-flight stair climb, we concocted a wonderful plan, which involved some wonderful packaging techniques by James, wrapping up a charger in a paper bag, putting that in another paperbag, putting that in a plastic.
James: It’s actually a stiff brown paper bag with crumple zones. I drew back onto my auto industry knowledge. It was designed to land beautifully, and then it was wrapped in a hard plastic bag that gave it an outer shell.
Dean: So I was down at the bottom, 13 floors below, and we had sort of agreed on a landing area.
James: It was like a very large…
Dean: Yeah, pretty large landing area. James threw it over. I was quite impressed with the descent. It was very like pillowy and like a parachute coming down. I was expecting it to land harder, and then at the very last minute, a gust of wind landed it on somebody’s balcony on the first floor, on 101. It was literally a fleet away from glory. If it had been a foot lower, it would have bounced off the side of the balcony and come straight down.
James: We think it’s something with the vortex under the building, wind rushing. I saw it go down beautifully and at the very last second it just disappeared from view. It sucked it in. We had to then come up with alternative sort of situation plans. What do we do? Do we scale the balcony or risk getting arrested or breaking a bone? Do we go up with a ladder? We went up to the unit but there was no one there because their flyer from 3 weeks ago was still there. So we came up with an idea of drawing a diagram.
Dean: What actually happened, the flight had actually happened and the intended flight back.
Dean: What could possibly go wrong?
James: What could possibly go wrong? I said the illustration of a cartoon character with an animal that it landed on it’s head accidentally.
Dean: Oh man.
James: We got there eventually.
Dean: That’s so funny. But anyway, you found another charger for me so no problem. And now of course, I’m heading to Melbourne and Australia’s single, largest Apple fan boy, Ed Dale, will certainly be able to accommodate me with an extra charger. He’s got the museum of Apple product history.
James: Yes, he must.
Dean: Yes, he must.
James: So you will be well powered up.
Dean: I’ll be in good hands. So what else did we talk about?
Books and documentaries
James: Well, we talked about some good books and documentaries. We might share those things, things that have been interesting for you or I. You borrowed a book from the Schramko book library.
Dean: Yes, the Schramko lending library.
James: That was “The Seven-Day Weekend,” which really is a whole book about very different way of running a business.
Dean: Well it’s an interesting book. It is an interesting idea – where did the weekend go? That was the question he was asking that it was long ago that the work week started encroaching on to the weekend.
James: Yes. And with technology, it just disappeared.
Dean: Yeah, it just. And then he realized, if they’re going to come this way, then why can’t we send a little bit of the weekend encroaching into the week.
James: And he has this whole idea that a business should get people to conserve themselves first and the business second. And so someone wants to work for a company like that.
Dean: Yeah. You read more thoroughly than I did. I just got to glance through. So what would were the positive takeaways from that idea of 7-Day Weekend?
James: I think the main point is we should question why we’re doing anything in our business. Why do we measure hours, why do we measure 9 to 5, why do we have policies or placards or stupid company mottos that are meaningless? That if you switch them to some other company would be exactly the same. We strive, or we endeavor, to serve customers with the best possible service, blah blah blah, like it’s all…
Dean: Honesty, integrity…
James: Yeah. I mean that’s just silly stuff. So it talks about removing controls a little bit and empowering people to do what they’re supposed to do, even letting them choose what they want to do, and how much they get paid, if they want to come to a meeting or not, or if they’d rather take a call from home, it’s their choice. So it’s a democratic way of operating the business.
In his case, it’s turned out to be a 30-year experiment, very profitable, low turnover. The key lessons from a business perspective are that they seek out complex markets where they can be the number one player and that they can then cross-sell their other business divisions once they acquire the same customer. And the same customer with completely unrelated business units. They could be doing the payroll for a company and also making electric engines for them. So they go for very big customers.
Dean: That makes sense. I was really interested because in the beginning, one of my favorite notations, it was in the beginning where James was listing all these things; we don’t have any goals, no 5-year plans, no this; and James is writing up on the thing bull****, and then “see page 197, see page 37, see page 33,” and he’s circling there’s no goal, there’s no 5-year plan, and then on page 137, it says, our goal on the 5-year plan is to go to a billion dollars.
Dean: It was pretty funny.
James: When I first read the first part, it sounded too good to be true. So my cynical writer comes on and I’m looking for it and sure enough, it comes back in later in the book. So it was a bit hypocritical, and I just missed quite a lot of what he says based on the fact that he contradicts himself in the book. Almost every author does, by the way. I think that again, question everything. Because if someone wrote something, it doesn’t mean that that’s the only way or the best way, or even though it works at all, you have to put on your question hat and filter as you go.
So yeah, I scribbled all through the book and I wrote my notes at the back. But what I did as a result is I really had some great discussions with my team. And I said, “Listen, I think, if we don’t have much work on an afternoon, then go to the mall with your family in the afternoon, and then catch up a little bit at a different time, when we do need some.” And last night, sure enough, I needed something coded on the site fairly urgently, and my best coder in the team fixed it in 3 minutes flat on a Friday night after hours, but then I said, “Just make sure you take time off from this,” to compensate for it. So yeah, it’s about not slave driving or over controlling people in your business.
Dean: Right. I like that it’s good soundbyte though, ”the 7-day weekend.”
James: Clever name.
Dean: Yeah. And that is a good premise because I think we really do need sort of more blended lives in a way.
Dean: But I think ultimately, that comes down to the daily rhythm.
James: Your routine is everything, and I still got your printout stuck to my filing cabinet in my garage. The “I know I’m being successful when…” You really encouraged me with the lifestyle design with that thing. And you’ve been living that way for a while now.
Dean: Yeah. And you know what’s interesting is I didn’t really realize, like that now is, I first started that in 1998-1999, you know, completely finished by 2000 for sure. Really having polished them and really thought them through, they’re equally applicable today as they were the day that I wrote them because they were written in a way that allowed for growth.
James: They were written with an evergreen approach.
Dean: Yes. They weren’t aspirational or sort of checked that off sort of thing. I always look back at the one that’s pivotal because my number 3, I know I’m being successful when I’m working on projects I’m excited about and doing my very best work. So I don’t aspire, I don’t see a time when I’m not working, when I’m not doing some things that I enjoy so much, but I’m working on projects, I’m not stuck in something that is like an ongoing thing. I’m making stuff up and making it real and setting up teams and situations that make something recur. But working on a project I’m excited about and doing my very best work gives me, there’s lots of freedom in that, and that my very best work today is better than my very best work 5 years ago because I’m a different person.
James: So you might call them a set of guidelines.
James: My metaphor for that would be setting train tracks because the train can chug up and down for the rest of its life, and there are still train tracks now going between places that were laid down in the beginning. You know they cleared the path, put down the slippers and hammered those tracks in and they’re still getting hammered today. Just trains going up and down and up and down the track. They won’t veer from those guidelines because they were set.
“Routine is everything.”
Dean: That makes sense.
James: Yeah. It’s how I help people make progress as we think about what station we want to get to, we think about where they are now, and then we lay down the tracks, and then we start firing up the engine, we shovel the coal in, and then we hire someone to shovel the coal, and then we hire someone to drive the train, and that’s how we build something great, we make progress, and then across occasionally, there’ll be logs on the tracks so we have to clear them.
Dean: Clear the logs.
James: It’s a weekly call. It’s about checking which station we’re at, if there’s any logs on the track and making sure we keep shovelling coal.
Dean: That’s interesting. Have you read or heard Dan Sullivan talk about this idea of the three paths of make it up, make it real, and make it recur?
James: I haven’t.
Dean: It’s kind of an interesting thing because that’s been a big distinction for me in the last year or so of understanding what my role in things is. I’m definitely as an entrepreneur a make-it-up kind of guy. Like I like to think of something new, like I use the 90-minute book theme is an example of something that is I made this up, this idea creating a book, then made it real by creating what the protocols would have to be to do that. And then build a team around it to we’re not that whole business operates without any involvement for me because I’m not a make-it-recur kind of guy.
James: I call them a bus driver.
Dean: A bus driver. OK.
James: Someone who likes doing the same route over and over and over again. There’s bus drivers, and then there’s the designers, and the dreamers, and the innovators who like to create new stuff all the time.
Dean: Yeah. That’s what I like. That’s the thing. I’ve really taken on embracing my bovinity these last two years. But this year particularly, my whole organization is set up now to embrace the idea that I am an idea cow, a cash cow. I just make milk and that’s it. And to realize that anything that is not making the milk is really not something that I should be doing. And so that has been a big difference for me. I think that’s probably the biggest thing over the last 12 months, is to really, fully embrace that.
James: It’s closely related to the task transfer that I’ve been undergoing and passing on to the others, and that is listing out everything that I do and then transferring it to someone else.
James: More or less the same thing.
James: So it could be focus.
Dean: But then you have to aware, this is where we call that, we do that exact same thing but then we draw the line linearly on that and say, where is the milk?
James: Yeah. Which tasks have to be transferrable or shouldn’t be transferrable. It’s like I pull the task that I want to do and I pass everything else. I still like making podcasts. So that task doesn’t get transferred yet. But then I don’t like sending broadcast emails so I transferred that one. That’s been great.
Dean: Yes, me too. Yeah, I love that. For anybody broadcasting things, the milk is the actual email, the words that you’re saying. So we got to a point where the most technical tool that I aspire to use is Gmail.
James: I like to just talk. That’s my preferred number one activity, and then just put the recording. After this call, I have to literally forward the audio that comes back from Auphonic to a team member and everything else will happen. Blog post and email will happen.
Dean: All done?
James: All done.
Dean: Yeah, it’s great.
James: We’re getting close to the airport now, Dean.
Dean: Look at us.
James: Are you excited?
Dean: I’m excited. This is going to be my first time in Melbourne.
James: I will have to reroute us to the domestic airport though.
Dean: Yes, OK. You were about to take me to the international.
James: I was thinking about it.
Dean: On my way.
James: On further reflection. Yeah, I’ll just make sure it’s the correct one.
Dean: OK. That’s funny.
James: It’s an easy thing to do because this is where I took you last time.
Dean: That’s right. Normally, when I come here, I’m not travelling domestically.
James: It’s a trick.
Dean: But this is my best strategy of my stress-free travel is we’re arriving at the airport, I don’t have a ticket yet, but knowing that they have one on the hour every hour, that’s why we can get up and we had a great breakfast.
James: Well, we removed the time restraints.
Dean: Yeah. And that’s one of the things that whenever possible, I love to eliminate time.
James: That had a real slow and effect. It meant that I could surf without a watch.
James: I don’t like to surf with a watch.
Dean: Right. Because if I had to be there at a certain time then all of a sudden, the clock is ticking and I don’t even know what time it is actually.
James: Actually the watch that I wear for surfing is a dull plastic, so it doesn’t reflect like fish scales, which can attract fish, big fish with teeth. So I don’t wear a watch if there’s no time constraint. And I’ll surf until I feel done.
Dean: And that’s always the best way to do everything, isn’t it?
James: It’s the best way, and it’s a choice. That’s probably the most important thing. You can make decisions that give you different results than other decisions.
Dean: So now the good thing is we got here, and I’ll figure out what’s the next, I’m not going to rush. I’ll take the second next flight. Not the one I have to run through the gate and might make it.
Dean: I’ll take the one after that one. And a gentleman never runs. I want the sophisticated gentleman pace. Look at this golf course right by the airport here. That’s interesting.
James: Yes. Some of Sydney’s finest golf courses are near the airport.
Dean: Is that right?
James: Uh-hm. The most exclusive one is. Then there’s other ones where there’s no Internet at all with the side oaks. There’s ones by the sea. We saw one yesterday in Collaroy.
Dean: I have to bring my golf clubs. Do you golf?
James: I do. Very poorly. I golf maybe once a year.
James: I used to do the corporate golf days at Mercedes-Benz. And I was OK then because it’s good to let customers beat you and let them show you how it works to feel special. You don’t want to beat the customers. They get really cross. And here’s something; I don’t know if you found this true or not but I have, people play golf the same way they do business. The customers who cheat at golf are the cheaters in business. The ones who want to have their invoice made out to a different name or different amount dodge tax and staff or try and pay you in cash, they’re the ones who move the ball or not count a stroke. Do you know that?
Dean: Yeah, it is, well parallels. I mean the people who get angry on the golf course tend to be people who get angry in life. Why are you angry on the golf course? I mean we’re golfing. Nobody cares if you missed a shot or I don’t know, I never understood that.
James: I guess they just got a lot of expectation on themselves.
Dean: They may be in character flaw… My reason of the 80% approach is a flaw in me, too but I found some elementary school report cards at my mom’s house. And I was looking through them, and you know, there was handwriting in the comments in front. And the comment that kind of summed it all up was that “Dean was able to achieve excellent results with what seems like little effort. Imagine if he applied himself.”
Dean: That was the overriding thing. A general comment from my third grade teacher Mrs. Jefferson.
James: So you had minimum effective dose style.
Dean: I really had that dialled in there. I look back on it and I realize that’s really what was happening, I guess.
“Where is the milk?”
Where schools have it wrong
James: The problem with school that I’ve found when I go to the parent teacher nights with my kids is that teachers are, they’re scoring the wrong way. My daughter got penalized for delivering a presentation on a topic and then she wrote a book on the same topic. And she got penalized for not doing a different topic.
And I asked the teacher if she’d actually specified that it must be on a different topic, and she said no, but she would have expected that, for her to stretch. And I said, well, in the real world, syndication is a really valid way to demonstrate that you’re using multiple mediums to get a core message out there. Like it’s rewarded. In the real world, you wouldn’t go and write completely different things, there’s no leverage of your IP, you’re not able to…
Dean: Nobody teaches IP in school. It’s, so funny, isn’t it?
James: Yeah. Like my 15-year-old was telling me the other day that in his business class, they said, right, let’s make a product. And he was paired off with his buddies, and they’re saying, let’s make it expensive, so we make more money. And my kid’s saying, don’t worry so much about the price, we can probably make it a little lower. What we really want is frequency. We want to get paid 10 or 12 or 15 times.
James: Even if it’s a little less. We’ll make it a lower barrier to entry so they can get started on it and stay a lifetime customer. And they’re all just looking at him like he’s an alien.
Dean: That’s so great. It is funny, you know, kids of entrepreneurs. It’s always entrepreneurs that are realizing how the education system isn’t equipping kids for reality.
James: That’s right.
Dean: And I think it’s really because we all, really… You know, none of the entrepreneur folks I know were class valedictorian, for instance. Because there’s really, as we get back to it, it’s kind of a diminishing return.
James: Peter Thiel’s really onto than one. And Peter Drucker was also onto it, in the ‘60s. They had some really good points. They’re just teaching kids to regurgitate things or to research.
Dean: I just saw this billboard here that said, “Ride sharing is no safer than hitchhiking.” It’s anti-Uber propaganda, at the airport, going here.
James: Yeah. We don’t like the fact that we’re missing out on the tax.
Dean: Oh, that’s something.
James: There’s a big campaign against Uber in Australia.
James: And Airbnb.
James: Taxi companies don’t like losing their monopoly.
Dean: No. I’m a fan of both of those. They’re disrupters.
James: Well, they also don’t really own anything. It’s a very clever business model.
Dean: I love that.
That was where I was showing you where I met Salim Ismail, who wrote Exponential Organizations. That’s a whole study of all of these companies and the things that they do, and that’s had a big impact on the stuff we’ve been doing.
Well, here we are.
James: We are here.
Dean: Another successful entry.
James: Which airline are you?
Dean: Qantas. Well I don’t have a ticket yet, but I’m going to get one.
James: We’ll just go one more in that case.
James: This is the Virgin.
Dean: OK, yeah, we’re going to go on Qantas.
James: Yeah, if we get you to the right airport…
Dean: At the right counter.
James: And the right counter, then we’ve really got it all figured out.
Dean: Oh, so we’re not at Terminal 2, we’re at another terminal. Ok, one more.
James: Just one more.
Dean: OK, good.
James: So as Drucker said, it’s all about doing the right things, instead of doing things right.
Dean: Yeah, it is interesting. I mean, I feel good that really my whole school career, if I reframe that as…
James: You were on the right track.
Dean: That’s what Dan Sullivan said. He’ll continue to get excellent results as long as he continues with his path of little effort.
James: Very good. What a great way to finish. OK, Dean, I’m going to send you out.
Dean: Well, there you go. This is a wrap on the Manly Chronicles Episode 2.
James: Thank you again.
Dean: It’s been delightful.
James: See you next year.
Dean: Yes sir.