Professional Advice & Life Lessons from Scott Galloway
August 20, 2018
At the end of The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, Scott Galloway gives professional advice and shares some of his life lessons. I love hearing the advice others have, after-all, none of us will live long enough to learn everything from our own experiences. So below, I’ve included a summary of the advice from Galloway, I hope you enjoy.
Focus on Your Strengths:
Some people are better at words, some at images. Invest aggressively in your strength(s) and spend modest effort to get your weaknesses to average so they don’t hold you back.
My business strategy message boils down to “What can you do really well that is also really hard?”
The difference between good and great can be 10 percent or less, but the delta in rewards is closer to 10 times. So, if not naturally great, what behaviors help achieve the extra 10 percent? The fundamentals won’t change. Excellence, grit, and empathy are timeless attributes of successful people in every field.
If you can’t get into a fancy college, what should you to do? Transfer. In most cases, it’s a whole lot easier to get into a good school as a junior, where dropouts have left empty slots, rather than as a freshman, where you’re up against everybody. Get into a second- or even third-tier university, and then work your ass off: a great GPA, honors programs, awards, service clubs, etc. This is also a much cheaper route as well.
Early Career Matters – Work Hard:
The slope of the trajectory for your career is (unfairly) set the first five years post-graduation. If you want the trajectory to be steep, you’ll need to burn a lot of fuel. The world is not yours for the taking, but for the trying. Try hard, really hard.
Execute Financial Discipline:
Except when in school, spend less than you make. The definition of rich is when your passive income exceeds your nut (what you need to live). Therefore, the path to rich(es) is a path of living below your means and investing in income-producing assets. Rich is more a function of discipline than how much you make.
If there are no equity opportunities at your company, you need to create your own by maxing out all tax-advantaged accounts (401k and others)
Go Where Your Skill Is Valued, Where It’s Core to the Business:
If you’re in the discipline that drives the company, what it excels at, you will be working with the best people on the most challenging projects and are more likely to be noticed by senior management.
Why remote working won’t become the norm & you need to be where the action is for your field: Wealth, information, power, and opportunities have concentrated, as innovation is a function of ideas having sex. Progress is typically in person. Also, we are hunter-gatherers and are happiest and most productive when in the company of others and in motion.
Stay Loyal to People, Not Organizations
Be loyal to people. People transcend corporations, and people, unlike corporations, value loyalty. Good leaders know they are only as good as the team standing behind them—and once they have forged a bond of trust with someone, will do whatever it takes to keep that person happy and on their team. If your boss isn’t fighting for you, you either have a bad boss or you are a bad employee.
External hires are paid nearly 20 percent more than company veterans at the same level, despite receiving lower performance evaluations and still being more likely to quit. The strategy is serial monogamy. Find a good employer where you can learn new skills, garner senior-level sponsorship (somebody who will fight for you), get equity/forced savings, and fully dedicate yourself to that company for three to five years. At a sensible juncture (don’t start looking when you’ve just started a demanding new position at your current employer, for example) return headhunter calls, go on some interviews, ask others for help or introductions. Consider if you would benefit from additional training. If a conversation turns to an attractive offer, be transparent with your current boss—you’ve been a loyal employee, you like where you are, but you have an offer that is better on xyz dimensions. You are attractive to strangers, as evidenced by the feedback received from the marketplace. Don’t bluff. The truth has a nice ring to it. Often your external offer will make you much more attractive to your current firm without having to leave. If your firm does not counter, that means there was limited upside, and it’s time to leave. If, on the other hand, this walk on the wild side turns out, settle on the best thing for your next three to five years, then repeat the process.
You need to ask for help if you plan on being successful. You also should get in the habit of helping people junior to you.
You need a medium to spread your awesomeness, as the path to under-compensation is doing good work that never gets explicitly pimped or attached to you. Yes, it’s unseemly, and your work and achievements should speak for themselves. They don’t. Figure out how you are going to reach 10, 1,000, 10,000 people who otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to your work and awesomeness