The one sentence summary

Smart creatives hold the key to success for companies.


  • Smart creatives hold the key to success for companies. They are a new breed of employee capable of creating superior products.
  • The internet, mobile and cloud computing have shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers.
  • There are many pearls of advice here, including:

~ Your plan is wrong: keep adjusting and iterating.

~ Keep them crowded: people in close proximity work more effectively.

~ Messiness is a virtue: creative people need to generate stuff and have it around them.

~ Passionate people don’t use the word: they live it.

~ Don’t listen to the HIPPOs: that’s the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. A tenurocracy is where length of tenure gets you promoted, rather than merit.

~ Do all reorgs in one day: forget the 100-day plan and get on with it.

~ Bet on technical insights, not market research: engineers and smart creatives can tell you what is possible; customers probably can’t.

~ Default to open not closed: let people outside the company help to improve your products.

~ Urgency of the role isn’t sufficiently important to compromise quality when hiring: if they are not right, keep looking.

~ Decide with data: “You’re both right” may be true in opinion-based (overly diplomatic?) companies, but the data should rule decision making.

~ Be a damn good router: good leaders keep information and communications flowing regularly through the company.

~ 70/20/10 time allocation: 70% of resources dedicated to the core business, 20% on emerging, and 10% on new (speculative) work.


Climb, confess, comply is a good management approach. When pilots get in trouble, this is their approach:

  1. Climb: get yourself out of danger.
  2. Confess: talk to the tower, explain that you screwed up and how.
  3. Comply: when traffic controllers tell you how to do it better next time, do it.

“I leave out the parts that people skip.” Elmore Leonard, writer.

Good advice for emails.

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

Mario Andretti, racing driver.


  • It’s debatable whether much of this advice could help any company other than a fast-moving tech one.