Sunset at DoubleM Systems (, Del Mar, California

Friday, September 25, 2020

Buffett's 4 Choices Separating Doers from Dreamers


Common sense, yes. But for many of us, it's not common practice. That is, until we become believers that the principles actually work. All you need to do is act on them with positive intent.

1. Pick your friends wisely.

Buffett has taught so many lessons appealing to our common sense. One of them was recently highlighted in Bill Gates's memorable 90th-birthday message to his close friend: "Of all the things I've learned from Warren," said Gates, "the most important thing might be what friendship is all about. As Warren himself put it a few years ago when we spoke with some college students, 'You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with. So it's important to associate with people that are better than yourself. The friends you have will form you as you go through life. Make some good friends, keep them for the rest of your life, but have them be people that you admire as well as like.'"

2. Go to bed a little smarter each day.

The fact that Buffett has achieved so much means his advice is highly sought after. He thinks anyone can do the same if they follow one simple rule: the Buffett Formula.

According to Buffett, the key to your success is to go to bed a little smarter each day. Buffett pointed out the strong similarity with investing when he said, "That's how knowledge builds up. Like compound interest."

One of the ways he famously builds his knowledge is to read. A lot. While Buffett has been known to spend 80 percent of his daily routine reading, whether or not you have time for such an ambitious goal is largely irrelevant. The point of the Buffett Formula is to make whatever progress you can and improve your life on a daily basis.

3. Improve your communication skills.

"The most important investment you can make is in yourself," said Buffett. That includes personal and professional development to propel you forward in life and business. 

Buffett invested in improving his capacity to communicate better at an early age, which he said would increase your worth: "One easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills--both written and verbal." 

4. Say no.

Buffett learned a long time ago that the greatest commodity of all is time. He simply mastered the art and practice of setting boundaries for himself. That's why this Buffett quote remains a powerful life lesson:

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

EZchecklist™ Update - First Day of Autumn, 2020


✅ EZchecklist™ ✅

Dear Friends of EZchecklist...

Here's the mercifully brief update, with Big News:

I'm here to help, just let me know.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Politics for the CEO

I'm an undecided voter, so please send me as many unfounded political memes, videos, rumors, conspiracy theories, outright lies, and your personal opinions as possible to help me decide... said no one, ever.

I'm not really an undecided voter, of course, and you probably aren't either, and there is virtually nothing you can post that will change anyone's mind. The percentage of undecided voters is around 10% so that means that half will go with each of the candidates, and therefore only 5% will go *your* way, so your junk political posts will have virtually zero effect on the elections. So why do we do it?
My guess is that it's a combination of frustration, monkey see / monkey do, and also because we are addicted to the endorphin hit we get when we get likes and even the hates.
None of it will have any effect on the real world, and it just creates more division.
I learned long ago that if you want to be successful in life and in business, it's a very good policy to keep your mouth shut, especially on the topics of sex, religion, and politics because you will likely alienate at least half of your audience and have no good effect at all.
Sharing juicy tidbits of news on social media is a signal that you have read the news, and you think your "friends" have not, and that they will really appreciate you telling them what is important for them to know. Do we really have friends that are so out of the loop on current events?
Let me share some news that's positive: I took a nice long walk by the ocean this morning, fresh air and sunshine, peace and quiet, while thinking good thoughts, then came home to meditate, stretch, and have a healthy breakfast. I hope that doesn't alienate anyone, and if it does, well I apologize and please delete me as a friend or unfollow...



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

What would Bill Campbell Do?


What would Bill Campbell do?

Google’s former CEO and his co-authors reflect on the wisdom of the legendary management coach, and what advice he would give in the midst of the pandemic.

What would Bill Campbell do?
[Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images]

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and protests against racial injustice, we are often asked, “What would Bill do?” The Bill in question is Bill Campbell, our late friend and coach, and the subject of Trillion Dollar Coach, the book we published about him last year.  

Bill Campbell was a head football coach at Columbia University, who, upon entering the business world at age 39, rose to executive positions at Apple and the CEO role at Claris, Go, and Intuit. Subsequently, Bill became the executive coach to a number of Silicon Valley executives. He was a revered behind-the-scenes voice in our business; the mentor to dozens—if not hundreds—of leaders, ourselves included. Bill passed away in 2016, and we feel his loss this year more acutely than ever.  

Bill would have turned 80 on August 31. “What would Bill do?” In light of his birthday, we’ve been thinking about him often, and asking ourselves the same question. Here’s what we think he would say.  


Bill coached us that the top priority of any leader is the well-being and success of their people. Today, that is more critical than ever. People’s lives are in upheaval; they need to know that their manager and company leadership has their back. Executives will work on strategies, plans, and processes, but none of those matter if your people aren’t well.  


Bill coached us to start team meetings with trip reports, as a way to get people talking about their lives and perspectives outside of their roles at work. Today, however, we think he would tell us to start with empathy.  

Begin every day, every speech, every team meeting with a reflection on our shared humanity. While each of us are affected in different ways, some of us are fortunate in our circumstances, while millions of others have been hit hard by the pandemic, the economy, and racial injustices. Share your empathy, not just once, but often, for those who are suffering.

We always want to jump in and get to work. Before you do, consider: did something happen in the world overnight or over the weekend that may be affecting people on your team? Or you? Are they dealing with circumstances beyond work that are taking a toll? If so, then start by acknowledging that. They aren’t looking for you to solve their problems, but they need you to see and validate them.  


Bill was a champion listener. You always had his attention. Your colleagues deserve the same from you.

Bill was at his best face-to-face, but we don’t have that option today. Whenever you can, use videoconferencing. Keep the camera on, and look into it to create eye contact. Put the phone away, close other screens, unmute the microphone, and do what you can to communicate physically (nod, laugh, clap, raise your hand). Bill was the king of hugs; we’re sure he would have figured out a way to hug virtually.  


This may all seem like basic digital hygiene, but it’s so easy to forget and slip into bad habits. Videoconferencing is the best option we have to stay close to people, so we need to do our best to use it well.

Create reasons to meet with people, and for them to meet with each other. The danger of working from home isn’t loss of productivity, it’s the loss of energy that comes from people running into each other in the office. Working from home eliminates those positive serendipitous interactions that happen naturally in an office environment. Do your best to make up for that by creating reasons to meet. This will energize both of you. We know . . . more meetings? Really? Yes! 


We knew an executive at Google that Bill refused to coach, because said leader didn’t really care about his people. That’s not an option today. For people to succeed while working in a crisis, they need to know that their leaders and colleagues actually care about them. Companies can express caring by having employee-friendly policies; people need to go beyond that.  

Fortunately, in some ways it is easier today to care about others, because when we are on a videoconference with someone, we are usually looking right into their homes. There are family pictures on the wall behind them, random bits of sports gear stacked in the corner, a cat, dog, toddler, or teen strolling by in the background. What would Bill do? He wouldn’t ignore the passerby or prized pictures—he would ask about them. He would invite the kid into the videoconference and chat with them. How do they like attending school from home? Are they being nice to their parents? In fact, we could envision the home tour taking over the meeting with Bill, so curious was he about the whole person.   

By the way, remember that people are scrutinizing your background, too. We are on lots of videoconferences where people use fake or blurred backgrounds, but Bill would tell us that’s a bad idea. Let people see your home! But keep it real. Keep family photos and keepsakes visible, put books on the shelves that you have actually read, let the third-grader paintings stay taped to the wall, and if that toddler or teen wanders by, go with it. This isn’t about coming off as intellectual or perfect; it’s about coming off as you.  


When confronted with a problem, Bill wouldn’t dig into the problem, he would dig into the team. Who is working the problem? How are they working together? You can’t get anything done without a team, Bill often said. So how’s your team doing? Perhaps you have attended to them as individuals, but what are you doing to ensure the team is healthy?


There’s a phrase going around Silicon Valley: while all of us are in the same storm, we are each in different boats. Individual employees should be given the flexibility to take the time and actions necessary to ensure their health and well-being and that of their family. Since not everyone is equal in the burdens they may be experiencing outside of work, some team members may not be able to do as much, and others may have to pick it up. This is what great teams do, and you should expect it of yours too.  

Expect it, but also acknowledge it. Be empathetic and supportive of the people who need to take care of things outside of work, but also of those who step in and do more.   


We tell a story in Trillion Dollar Coach of one CEO who ran into some significant issues with his company and was considering stepping down. Bill stepped in and chewed him out, telling him, in effect, that when times are challenging, that’s when leaders have to lead.

These times are challenging! If we were to complain to Bill about that, he would empathize, check on our well-being and that of our families, then kick us in the ass and tell us to get to work.


Let’s be realistic. The pandemic which is keeping many of us from going into the office, traveling, or even going to our favorite restaurants is not going away anytime soon. Have a plan for at least the next year that assumes the current environment is more or less unchanged. Whether that means working from home or creating safe work environments, assume this isn’t temporary. This is our new normal, so plan that way.

On the other hand, don’t make permanent decisions based on the current environment.  We are all in a period of uncertainty and must do our best to accommodate one another.  We should assume those accommodations will last at least a year. But Bill would likely counsel us that decisions around commuting and our work environments and locations are best not made in times of crisis. We may well discover that some teams and functions can succeed remotely, but others cannot. Let’s do that evaluation ex post and not ex ante.


Bill never hesitated to tell it to us straight. He would identify the biggest problem in the room and bring it out, front and center. Do your teams the same honor. Tell them the facts, as you know them. Trust that they can handle it.  


Bill was a constant cheerleader for his teams. He would stand and clap in meetings to celebrate peoples’ accomplishments. In the face of challenges, people need this sort of support. So don’t forget to channel Bill and be a cheerleader. Let them know they can do it. When someone does something remarkable, don’t just nod and mutter “good job.” Get excited! Clap, woohoo, and whistle! A crisis is an enervating slog. Bring the energy.  


Bill often growled about how much he disliked consensus. He thought it’s a terrible way to make decisions. Rather, managers should create room for all perspectives to be heard, and if the best decision doesn’t emerge from that conversation, they should break the tie and expect everyone to rally behind the decision.  


These principles are as true today as ever, but we see instances emerging that may need a more deft touch. Many questions are coming up now—What happens after the pandemic? How do we address systemic racism?—that are about longer term issues. They cannot be resolved in a single answer or single step. Yet our tendency as leaders in a crisis may be to respond with a quick answer. There is a sense of urgency about these issues, and we don’t want to seem indecisive.  

But as Bill would tell us, you can’t be sure you make the right decision, but you can be sure you run the right decision-making process. When these questions come up, respond with a truthful process answer, then spend time with the teams to run a good process to get to the answer. It may go against instincts, but it is often better to give a softer process answer, which gives you time and will lead to a better outcome.  


Your mindset as a leader has a tremendous impact on your teams, as does the example you set by your behavior. You are just vulnerable to the effects of stress as anyone else on your team, so check in regularly on your own well-being, mental and physical. Take real vacation and close the laptop at night. This gives everyone else on your team permission to do the same.  


At the end of our coaching sessions with Bill, he would give us an assignment for the next session, something to think about and work on. With this article, we give you our interpretation of how Bill would coach us today. But everyone’s situation is different, so your assignment from us is to think about Bill’s principles and decide how to best apply them for your situation. How are you going to take care of your people and teams, and lead them? What are you going to do differently? Now that you know what Bill would do, what will you do?

Bill was an optimist. He was full of love for life, for his family, for his friends and community. We hope that Bill’s principles will inspire and help you. Perhaps you will make a change in how you lead in a time of such turmoil. So here’s one more assignment. Whatever you do, however you decide to lead, do it with love. That’s what Bill would do.

Eric Schmidt served as Google CEO and chairman from 2001 until 2011, Google executive chairman from 2011 to 2015, and Alphabet executive chairman from 2015 to 2018. He is the co-founder of Schmidt Futures.

Jonathan Rosenberg was a Senior Vice President at Google and is an adviser to the Alphabet management team. He ran the Google product team from 2002 to 2011.

Alan Eagle has been a director at Google since 2007. Formerly Eric and Jonathan’s speechwriter, he currently runs a set of Google’s sales programs.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Startups for Love and Money

Startups for Love and Money: Six extraordinary startup adventures, past and present by [Michael McCafferty]

Pre-publication Kindle ebook

Only 99 cents during introductory period

All proceeds to this worthy cause

 First Review, unsolicited:

Reviewed in the United States on August 24, 2020

In Start Ups for Love and Money, McCafferty takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the software start-up world, 
revealing his rich wisdoms along the way. It's a fun and fascinating ride. 
Amazing to think one guy has had all of these experiences and is willing to share them with us--successes and failures. 
You can read this book in one sitting and walk away feeling as though you just broke bread with a t
rue entrepreneurial guru. I loved it and learned a lot from it.

Steve Bierman MD

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Superior Man

The superior man is 
slow in his words and 
earnest in his conduct.

The way of a superior man is threefold: 
virtuous, he is free from anxieties; 
wise, he is free from perplexities; 
bold, he is free from fear

Monday, August 24, 2020



Most of what we say and do is not essential.
If you can eliminate it,
you'll have more time, and more tranquility.

Marcus Aurelius

Monday, August 17, 2020

Personal Problems Cause Business Problems

You Don't Have Business Problems
You Have Personal Problems
Here's How to Turn Them Around

Check what Inc. Magazine says about this:

Improve your mindset and 

save your business.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

App Needed: Addiction Manager

The Battle of the Bandwidth: Dedicated Server Vs. Cloud Service

Hello, my name is Michael and I am an addict. 

My addiction is dopamine
My source of an unlimited supply of it is online in the form of "News". 
Other sources of this dopamine flood are facebook, instagram, etc.
Something is always happening somewhere that's gonna get me hooked and falling down the rabbit hole to a time suck while dosing myself with more juicy dopamine... More, more, more! 

I know it's a bad thing. I gotta stop. 
But it's so easy to get a hit, just a click away. 

How would James Clear (Atomic Habits) deal with this? 
Just a simple matter of eliminating a bad habit. 
Gotta look that up. 

My first (Virgo engineer) thought is to create an app that would filter all inputs according to user-set criteria. Why exercise self control when we can make an app for that? 

STOP NEWS ADDICTION. aka “DoomScrolling”

Limit number of news viewing events, and duration of each. For example, a limit of 3 news viewings per day and limit of 20 minutes per view. Describe the act of news viewing so heinous, so ridiculous and illogical that it would be inconceivable that anyone would spend their time doing such a thing. Rather like reading the National Enquirer or other tabloid. I want to remain an island of calm in a great calm sea, with storms barely noticeable out on the far horizon. Imagine the time that can be put to other good use instead of being dosed with dopamine because of some random ClickBait. It really is a lot like trolling for idiots who will snap at the next shiny object. Do not be that idiot. 

All media exists to produce addictive dopamine experiences.
All random events reduce planned productive bandwidth.

The unlimited variety of media, and increasingly sensational clickbait (headlines, graphics, etc) all indicate a growing need to manage bandwidth for certain activities.

Resolve to recognize the motives of the medium before allowing input to proceed. And then, also based on a variety of filters. For me this would delete any news of Kardashians, all of Hollywood actually, the music scene, politics, sports, religion, gambling, violent crime, and would favor news about local events...)

Use the medium (news) for what it can provide, but with portion controls, and other similar nutritional filters (which medium (podcast, url, etc), which subject matter keywords, etc.).

There seems some futility to delegating our self control to technology. 
We want the quick fix.

I want to know the way where the quick fix is automatic.
Click on.
Click off.

A bad habit (addiction) can be attributed to having nothing better to do.
Find something more rewarding to do and the "addiction" falls away.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Habits: Autopilot for Living, Good or Bad

In my years of flying, I often wished I had an Autopilot, but that would have taken the adventure out of the experience. It was a lot of work

All commercial airliners, business jets and most other aircraft have an Autopilot installed to relieve the human pilot of a lot of the busy work of staying on the proper compass heading, maintaining altitude, keeping the wings level, etc. These things consume a lot of mind-share while flying but when delegated to a robot who will perform tirelessly and perfectly, the pilot can focus on other important tasks such as communicating with air traffic controllers, looking out for traffic, dealing with checklists, etc.

Ordinary humans have an Autopilot feature too. It's called Habit.

an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed 
until it has become almost involuntary

After we have performed a task enough times, we can do it without thinking; it becomes a habit. Like riding a bike, or making a cup of coffee. The challenge with human habits is that it takes a lot of "programming" for a habit to be bulletproof. The Autopilot on airplanes comes already programmed and works flawlessly from the first time you use it.

We would probably like to have some rock solid habits such as exercise, meditation, getting enough sleep, being more organized and productive, etc.  Maybe we do exercise, but we are inconsistent and therefore miss a lot of the benefits.

Also, we probably have some bad habits we would like to drop, such as eating too much, eating the wrong foods, excessive drinking, staying up too late to watch TV, procrastination, disorganization, etc.

First we make our habits,
and then our habits make us.
John Dryden

Wouldn't it be great if we had the good habits that guarantee a good life and success in business?
It works best if we create good habits when we're younger, but here we are right now, a jumble of some good habits, hopefully, and a lot of bad habits we'd like to get rid of. That probably seems like a lot of work, almost impossible, right? That's what I thought, but I found a way that makes it a lot easier than you might imagine.

We get into the habit of living 
before we acquire the habit of thinking.  
Albert Camus

We are what we repeatedly do,
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a Habit.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt
until they are too heavy to be broken.
Warren Buffett

You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily.
The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
John C. Maxwell

Motivation is what gets you going.
Habit is what keeps you going.
Jim Rohn

Watch your thoughts; they become words. 
Watch your words; they become actions. 
Watch your actions; they become habits. 
Watch your habits; they become character. 
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny
Lao Tzu

In the absence of clearly defined goals 
we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia 
until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
Robert Heinlein

The strength of a man's virtue 
should not be measured by his special exertions, 
but by his habitual acts.
Blaise Pascal

Your net worth to the world is usually determined by 
what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.
Benjamin Franklin