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Sunday Briefing: On productivity, Airbnb, and how people get rich today

Sunday Briefing: On productivity, Airbnb, and how people get rich today

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Welcome to the Sunday Briefing newsletter where we share some of the interesting lessons in life, business, and investing that we’ve come across during the week.

What we’ve been reading

Bending the curves of productivity. Tiago Forte argues that in order to create a productivity flywheel, deep work with large working chunks do not work in times of inevitable interruptions. Rather, one should create work in intermediate packets. This is something I’m starting to experiment with.

If we see our work as creating these intermediate packets, we can find ways to create value in any span of time, no matter how short. Productivity becomes a game of matching each available block of time with a corresponding packet of value.​

Actually finishing things is critical to our motivation and morale. Why not redefine our work in smaller units that give us this feeling of completion at a more consistent pace?

Deep dive of Airbnb.

I think that the opportunity for many firms nowadays lays in offering an integral service or a 360 product to customers. A 360 service will make the company’s services sticky. In the case of Airbnb we already saw that this is one of the goals of the company, to become an E2E travel experience which will not be focused on tourism but on allowing customers to directly live like a local.

How people get rich now.

There were no fund managers among the 100 richest Americans in 1982. Hedge funds and private equity firms existed in 1982, but none of their founders were rich enough yet to make it into the top 100. Two things changed: fund managers discovered new ways to generate high returns, and more investors were willing to trust them with their money.​

[…] The decreasing cost of starting a startup has in turn changed the balance of power between founders and investors. Back when starting a startup meant building a factory, you needed investors’ permission to do it at all. But now investors need founders more than founders need investors, and that, combined with the increasing amount of venture capital available, has driven up valuations.

Quote of the week

Mark Twain on reading.

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.

A thought

The moment you think you’ve got it all figured out is likely the moment before disaster.

Have a great coming week,
Oliver Sung

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