Unlocking Long-Term Success

be radical Briefing | February 7th, 2023


Dear Friend,

We did it! Disrupt Disruption – How do Decode the Future, Disrupt Your Industry, and Transform Your Business launched on Wednesday, February 1st, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and pretty much any other bookstore — and made it to #1 Bestseller status on Amazon within 12 hours of launching (in all three categories the book is listed in – which is neat).

We continue our launch sale with the $0.99 Kindle eBook for the next week – get your copy now!

And for those of you who have or are planning on buying the paperback – send us a photo of your book and an address, and we will send you a personal bookplate to turn your book into a personally signed copy!

Lastly – if you liked the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. It makes a huge difference.

Read on for insights into building sustainable teams from computer and console game giant Electronic Arts…

Decode. Disrupt. Transform.

I recently caught up with Andy Billings, Head of Profitable Creativity at Electronic Arts. Andy’s insights on disruption, specifically his comment, “Is it really possible to be planful, thoughtful, effective, well organized, and linear in managing disruptive change? When you talk to the people on the front lines, they will tell you that it doesn’t look like what it is being described as in the books” kickstarted our journey of writing Disrupt Disruption in 2019.

In our conversation back in 2019, Andy stressed the importance of building and maintaining teams working on projects long-term (in the case of a computer game, often 3-5 years) versus the organizational norm in many industries of moving high-performers from project to project in short 1-2 year bursts. The latter regularly leads to innovation projects failing due to a lack of consistent vision and leadership.

During our follow-up conversation, I asked Andy how companies like Electronic Arts manage to retain and motivate talent to stick with a single project for the long run. Andy remarked it begins and ends with a specific type of person – people who are drawn to long-term product success and fulfilling customer needs. His company carefully selects for this attitude – and then creates an environment allowing these people to thrive. Promotions, salary increases, and status are available to people without the need to manage (more) people through promotion pathways such as “distinguished artists.” Management focuses on removing friction (something Andy calls the “path to yes”) by constantly asking, “what do the product and team need to succeed” instead of the all-to-common attitude of “let’s get together and see how we can kill the product.” And lastly, acknowledging that bandwidth is a strictly limiting factor and thus the necessity to remove tangential responsibilities from people’s plates, to allow them to focus on what truly matters are three key ingredients to achieve true long-term sustainable relevance in the industry.

Combine all of this with genuine care for your people – simply talking and listening to people and what excites them, gives them energy, and drives them, goes a long, long way in creating a culture and organizational structure geared up for long-term success by not only investing into innovation initiatives but also seeing them through. (via Pascal)

What We Are Reading

🧑‍💼 How AI Will Transform Project Management Did you know that only 35% of projects today are completed successfully, partly due to unsophisticated project management solutions? This is about to change. AI is about to change all that! JaneRead

🐄 Crispr Wants to Feed the World We’re familiar with Crispr editing genetic code in humans to help with diseases; we can soon expect the same for cattle as the FDA has approved editing that allows cows to tolerate increasing temperatures. MafeRead

🏗️ The Story Construction Tells About America’s Economy Is Disturbing Construction labor in affluent societies tends to become LESS productive over time despite advantages in technologies, tools & resources. The productivity drag seems to come from a complex interaction between competing interests that are more likely to emerge and organize amid affluence. JeffreyRead

🏋️‍♂️ People are already using ChatGPT to create workout plans One of the many ways in which Chat GPT can find its way into your daily life. In this case, proving to be more useful as a tool of inspiration and entertainment — for now. JulianRead

📬 How do I empty my inbox? In 2021, an estimated 319.6 billion emails were sent and received around the globe daily. If you feel like you’re drowning in your inbox, try these useful tips. PedroRead

📺 YouTube has become the world’s nanny We are outsourcing childcare to our devices — specifically YouTube. The long(er) term consequences might not be quite clear. PascalRead

The Thin Wisps of Tomorrow

💡 Investment firm ARK Research’s latest Big Ideas report is always worth a read.

🏢 The reality of post-COVID work: You can’t bribe or threaten people to come back to the office.

😱 Luckily, this is only a parody (for now): Governed by algorithms.

🦤 The dodo might be coming back – thanks to genetic engineering.

💨 New wind and solar are cheaper than the costs to operate all but one US coal plant.

Internet Finds

An utterly delightful collection of office pictures from the 1980s. We have come a long, long way! 🏢

In Case You Missed It

🏴‍☠️ The Heretic: Stick With It 🎧 Listen to the audio version

🧨 Disrupt Disruption: We dig deep into the learnings from thousands of startups, explore how corporates can better partner and work with entrepreneurs and their companies, and discuss common pitfalls to avoid with the amazing Mary Grove, Managing Partner at Bread and Butter in our latest episode of the podcast. Listen now.

Radically yours, take good care, friend!

— Pascal, Mafe, Pedro, Vivian, and the three Js (Jane, Jeffrey, and Julian)