The Profile: The man helping you get out of debt & the company making hair loss cool

I compiled 10 lessons on leadership I've learned from the world's most successful people.

Good morning, friends!

On Saturday, Joe Biden was elected to become the 46th president of the United States.

I recently compiled 10 lessons on leadership I've learned from the world's most successful people. Shockingly (or not), none of them are politicians.

  1. Know the edge of your own competence. When Charlie Munger was younger, he struggled to overcome his own arrogance. Over the years, he’s learned a valuable lesson: No one is infallible, and you need to operate within the subject areas you know best.

  2. Let people be their true selves. As a leader, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya believes you have a responsibility to create an environment where people don’t feel like they have to pretend in order to fit in. “One of the first things I did was normalize the phrase, ‘I don’t know,’” he says. “It’s OK if you don’t know something. If you are trying to be someone you’re not, then you’re pretending. If you erase that, you save 50% to 70% of your time.”

  3. Persuade through questions. Ariel Investments co-CEO and president Mellody Hobson says the best way to help someone see a different perspective is not to pound the table & berate them but rather ask questions to help them understand your view. Asking questions, she believes, is the best persuasion tool we have.

  4. Leadership is found in the mundane. No matter who you are or what stage in life you’re in, you’re a leader. “There is someone somewhere who is looking at you and learning from you,” says Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter. “You can be extraordinary in the most normal occasions and settings.”

  5. Get proximate to suffering. To gain perspective, visit a shelter, volunteer at a food bank, or lend someone a helping hand. Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, says, “If you're willing to get closer to people who are suffering, you will find the power to change the world.”

  6. Control what you can. Ultra-runner Courtney Dauwalter won the Moab 240, a 240.3 mile footrace through some of Utah's most challenging terrain. It took her 58 hours, and she beat the second-place finisher by more than 10 hours. The environment, the weather, and the competitors are things she could not control. So when the world feels big and uncertain, she recommends becoming hyper-focused on the minuscule things within your circle of control. For her, it’s eating, pacing, breathing, and staying calm. “I had no control over how the day unfolded for anyone else but myself,” she says. “I just had to be ready to react to it.”

  7. Be a scenario player. Annie Duke says you should deconstruct decisions before the outcomes have occurred. Write down all the possible outcomes and assign a probability to each various scenario. This way, even when the unlikely happens, you don’t overreact because you’ve thought about it in advance. “Do as much work as you can before you get to the outcome,” she says.

  8. Let people vent. For the 9/11 compensation fund, Kenneth Feinberg met with 950 victims in person, with 8 to 10 meetings per day. “You become a very good listener, because there’s very little you can say that will help,” he says. It’s better just be quiet and let people talk.” Oftentimes, the people suffering from trauma don’t need advice. They need you to listen.

  9. Be open-minded to perspectives you disagree with.Astronaut Scott Kelly says, “Leadership is not being afraid to credit those with whom we often disagree.”

  10. Keep your word even if it doesn’t benefit you.Actor Hugh Jackman believes promises are sacred.His dad taught him to always stay true to his word — even if it turns out there’s a better option or something will benefit him more. “If you get an invitation to go across the road to your mate’s place for dinner, and then an hour later, you get an invitation from the queen of England to go to Buckingham Palace, you stick by your first one,” Jackman says. “You always keep your word.” This, Jackman believes, is the only way you become a trustworthy human.

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The man helping you get out of debt
Tech's fiercest bug-hunter
Google's cloud tech legend
The billionaire trying to modernize a private equity giant
The painter making direct-to-consumer art
The company making hair loss cool[**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The company that stumbled into the future of the internet


The man helping you get out of debt: Dave Ramsey is considered America's most influential personal finance guru. His mortal enemy is personal debt, and he has spent the last three decades on a crusade against credit card companies (scum), payday lenders (the scum of the earth), and debt collectors (“some good people”, but largely “complete scum”). He believes that getting out of debt is the key to gaining personal freedom. Here's how Ramsey became America's debt savior. (The Guardian)

“If you’re working on paying off debt, the only time you should see the inside of a restaurant is if you’re working there.”

Tech's fiercest bug-hunter: Growing up, Maddie Stone wasn't a coding whiz kid. In fact, she didn't know much about computers at all. Now, she's a prominent researcher on Google’s Project Zero bug-hunting team, which finds critical software flaws and vulnerabilities. In her first year, she has investigated dozens of actively exploited software flaws to determine how each one works, whether the techniques it uses are novel or widespread, and what tools attackers may have used to find the initial bug. (WIRED)

“The key thing to remember is that the problem we’re working on is not theoretical. These are issues that are affecting real people, cause user harm, and have an impact on society."

Google's cloud tech legend: Kelsey Hightower, the principal engineer for Google Cloud, is one of the most prominent and respected faces in cloud computing and open-source software. He also stands out as one of the few Black men in enterprise infrastructure tech. "He didn't get there by accident. There's no way a Black guy got there by accident," said Bryan Liles, a principal engineer at VMware. Here's how Hightower's early life helped lead him to the upper echelon of his profession. (Protocol)

"There's just no way you're going to produce the best of everything without a little bit of everyone."

The billionaire trying to modernize a private equity giant: Private equity giant Apollo Global Management is known for its cutthroat culture and sharp-elbowed approach to dealmaking. Apollo co-founder Josh Harris, who is a ruthless leader himself, is trying to smooth the firm's rough-edged image and modernize its corporate structure. That's a tall order ... Is Harris the right guy for this job? (WSJ; Reply to this email if you can't access this article)

“Some people play golf. Some people play tennis. I work."

The painter making direct-to-consumer art: Mason Saltarrelli has built his career within the gallery system, but he's discovered a newfound freedom in the direct-to-consumer model. Saltarrelli realized that he was able to reach people for whom the gallery world is inaccessible, bypassing the elitism and exclusiveness that's always been part of the traditional art world. (GQ)

“People are lost in stresses and anxieties. I don’t want to add to it. I would rather give someone a break."


The company making hair loss cool: Hims built a $1.6 billion online empire by offering generic prescription drugs to treat erectile dysfunction and hair loss. It's largely selling to millennials under an Instagram-friendly, hipster brand. Hims, which is about to go public, needs to tread carefully because it’s not selling mattresses or razors. It’s peddling prescription drugs that can have major side effects. (Bloomberg)

“Ten years from now, the health system is going to look and feel more like consumer brands than hospitals.”

The company that stumbled into the future of the internet: Discord is at the center of the gaming universe. It has more than 100 million monthly active users, in millions of communities for every game and player imaginable. Discord is also undergoing a big pivot: It's pushing to turn the platform into a communication tool not just for gamers, but for everyone from study groups to sneakerheads to gardening enthusiasts. Here's how Discord realized it may have accidentally stumbled into something like the future of the internet. (Protocol)

"Discord is like a country with 100 million inhabitants, living in different states and towns."

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Cyan Banister on her investing process: Cyan Banister is an early-stage investor who has made bets on companies like Uber, Affirm, and Niantic. Her first (and most famous) early bet was on Elon Musk's company SpaceX. Writing that check drew her into the world of venture capital, and she has become one of the most independent thinkers and decision-makers in Silicon Valley today. (Link available to premium members.)

Tommy Caldwell on coping with life-threatening situations: In this podcast, rock climber Tommy Caldwell delves into what happened when he & three other climbers were kidnapped and held for six days in Kyrgyzstan before making a daring escape. “In Kyrgyzstan, when life seemed in peril, faith is where you turned because you needed comfort,” he says. “Even if you’re not religious, you start to wonder whether you should be religious. Those thoughts can be helpful.” (Link available to premium members.)

Will Ahmed on driving behavior change: We have become a society obsessed with tracking every aspect of our health — from our sleep to our nutrition to our heart variability. Will Ahmed, the founder and CEO of fitness tracking band Whoop, believes this trend will only accelerate. Here's why he thinks arming people with data is the key to changing behavior and implementing better habits. (Link available to premium members.)


Scooter Braun on his origin story: Before Scooter Braun became a manager to some of the world's biggest stars, he was a college student trying to make some extra cash. He began his entrepreneurial journey with a not-so-savory (or legal) enterprise: He sold fake IDs to underage students. He then moved on party promoting. Finally, he dropped out from Emory University in order to chart his own path. There are some really valuable lessons in this conversation. Highly recommend. (Link available to premium members.)

Courtney Dauwalter on cultivating toughness: Ultra-runner Courtney Dauwalter has won the Moab 240, a 240-mile race through a desert, canyons, slick rock, and two mountain ranges. She completed it in less than 58 hours and took a total of two naps — one that was 20 minutes and one that was 1 minute-long. In this conversation, she talks about vivid hallucinations, going temporarily blind mid-race, and the mental challenge of pushing your body to its limits. (Link available to premium members.)

Poo Bear on becoming a hitmaker: Jason 'Poo Bear' Boyd is Justin Bieber's secret weapon. "Poo Bear," as he's known, has written some of Bieber's most memorable chart-toppers. He has a fascinating life story, having written his first song at age 11 and getting signed by his first record label by age 12. After Poo Bear teamed up with Bieber, he was integral in helping craft his comeback album "Purpose" that changed Bieber's entire career trajectory. (Link available to premium members.)

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