Garry Kasparov is perhaps the greatest chess player of all time. For nearly 20 years, from 1986 until his retirement in 2005, he was ranked No. 1 in the world by Elo rating; and despite not being mentioned in the same vain as the great athletes of our time, few would rival his work ethic. In studying his mental habits, I learned why surprise is as much a strategy in chess as it is in business - because as Garry once said "ultimately, what separates a winner from a loser at the grandmaster level is the willingness to do the unthinkable.
A brilliant strategy is certainly, a matter of intelligence, but intelligence without audaciousness is not enough. Given the opportunity, I must have the guts to explode the game, to upend my opponent's thinking and, in so dong, unnerve him. So it is in business: One does not succeed by sticking to convention. When your opponent can easily anticipate every move you make, your strategy deteriorates and becomes commoditized." Of course, no business is immune to competition, but its often our own thinking that stifles our growth.
Jeroen De Flander has been a voice of reason for entrepreneurs for many years, and in his latest book, The Execution Shortcut, he distills his approach to strategy to this one choice.
- Michael Serbinis: What I've Learned — Visionary Entrepreneur, investor and CEO and Founder of the new healthcare startup, LEAGUE, Michael Serbinis shares what he learned building three disruptive startups, selling two of them and working with Kimbal and Elon Musk.
- eero Designs Wi-Fi for the Smart Home Era — Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Principal at Shasta Ventures, recently distinguished exceptional founders by their ability to prioritize. “It all comes back to prioritization, speed, paranoia, and knowing that if you don’t iterate, even after finding product market fit, you can be disrupted by the next product,” he says.
- How Marketers Can Adapt to the Attention Economy — When LiveIntent CMO Suneet Bhatt described email as our digital passports, it clicked. “Our emails have gone from a place where we receive messages online to the way we identify ourselves,” he explained. In thinking about my own inbox, I completely agree. Whether it’s the First Round Review emails or a newsletter from one of the brands I follow, like Lunya or Parachute, I await my weekly updates.
back to the blog