To Be And To Last #15

This week we explore Mike Rowe’s work habits, a structured approach to career design, and a 2001 interview with a luxury brand with $63B in 2019 sales.

How I Work

“…I spend much of my day trying to do the things that will matter to me one day in the future…” - Dan Ariely

I’m currently in my sixth month working from home, and this disruption of my normal routine has been an uncomfortable forcing function to rethinking the design of my work day.

I’ve certainly had many days when I simply jumped from email to meeting like one of Pavlov’s dogs, but I’ve also seized a few moments to focus more deeply on the things that matter. And I’ve been revisiting some of Lifehacker’s iconic “How I Work” interview series, with people like Dan Ariely and Mike Rowe.

Do Great Work

Speaking of work, Cal Newport’s book So Good They Can’t Ignore You provides a framework for career design that I find myself frequently referencing. In short, Newport proposes optimizing for mastery, autonomy, and purpose. These are earned through “career capital”. This summary is excellent.

Building Brands That Last

The problem is that the quality of timelessness takes years to develop, even decades. You cannot just decree it. A brand has to pay its dues—it has to come to stand for something in the eyes of the world. But you can, as a manager, enhance timelessness—that is, create the impression of timelessness sooner rather than later. - Bernard Arnault of Louis Vuitton

What goes up fast, often comes down just as rapidly. As a growth marketer who mostly focuses on a 2-12 month ROI horizon, I enjoyed this 2001 interview with Arnault. At the time LVMH was selling $10B of luxury products a year; in 2019, they sold $63B.

$1.3B of workout clothes?

By and large, flushing money down the toilet will give you a better ROI than influencer marketing. It’s an over-hyped and under-researched marketing channel today.

But in 2012 influencer marketing was mostly unknown, and an enterprising fitness entrepreneur leapt at the opportunity. Rather than compete with Nike’s athlete sponsorships, Gymshark went directly to smaller influencers who Nike ignored.

PS. Check back to edition #10 for insight into how this same company also innovated on the financial side.


To Be And To Last: Thinker Nate Desmond’s weekly roundup of long reads, contrarian thoughts, and hidden jewels that aren’t getting enough attention.

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