Our decisions shape who we are and the reality we live in.

The advantage of going first

Have you ever had the experience of walking down the street and found yourself smiling at a stranger who smiled at you first? You were practicing mirrored reciprocity, a universal social norm. For the last 20,000 years of recorded human history, mirrored reciprocity has been foundational in human relationships, culture, and economic exchange. By choosing... more

Find the root cause

To build something new requires you get good at solving problems, and you need every advantage to solve them. Clearly defining the problem is always the first step in the process. Tease apart the problem and break it down into smaller pieces to recognize the type of problem you are facing. We frequently do not... more

Solving problems backward

I want to share one of my favorite mental models called inversion. Mental models provide shortcuts to higher-level thinking, forcing your brain to think about a problem or decision from different perspectives. Inversion helps you flip a problem around and approach it from the opposite end of the natural starting point. Instead of starting at... more

The advantages of thinking gray

Black-and-white thinking distorts your ability to see reality objectively. Jumping to conclusions too quickly when making important decisions does not serve you well. The stakes are high because your decisions will play a large part in determining whether you succeed or fail. The world is complex. To efficiently navigate life, we make instant judgments. We... more

Unlocking innovation with wireless power

What if we could power robots, sensors, tools, and all electronic devices wirelessly? Imagine if designers of devices in health care, manufacturing, logistics, and construction were not limited by wires or batteries. Wireless power is going to unleash a wave of new innovation just like wireless communication unlocked smart phones and WiFi liberated data and... more

College is broken. New models can help fix it.

Education provides the foundation of our prosperity as a society. Our chance to improve our quality of life requires transferring knowledge to the next generation to spur innovation and accelerate technology development. To compete in the global marketplace, the United States must deliver high-quality education to its citizens. History is littered with failed civilizations. Unless... more

Mental models – a secret weapon for startup founders

Mental models help startup founders avoid bias and blind spots, thus making decisions less risky. A mental model is an idea that helps you better understand the reality of the world around you. They provide shortcuts to higher-level thinking by forcing your brain to think about a problem or decision from different perspectives. Mental models... more

Don’t act like a victim

People who struggle with victim mentality blame other people and their circumstances for their unhappiness. Blaming other people is not productive. Victim mentality robs us of our agency and power. It prevents us from taking responsibility and action to improve our situation. According to Webster’s dictionary, “a victim is someone that has been injured, tricked,... more

My search for meaning

What’s the meaning of life? It took me decades to realize I was asking the wrong question. There is no one answer that applies to everyone. Rather, we create meaning through our beliefs, thoughts, and actions. Now, I ask a better question: How do I create meaning and purpose in my life? From listening to... more

Innovation requires the competition of ideas

The advance of knowledge requires the collision of ideas. Good ideas survive deep skepticism and intense competition. Look at the United States Constitution, which is a collection of ideas that were fiercely debated and challenged before it was adopted. Those ideas have stood the test of time. Stress-testing ideas exposes their weaknesses and highlights their... more
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