Passages from books I’ve read recently that stuck out (to come off smaht-like).
Even Google is Getting Amazoned
“Google is, relatively speaking, losing to Amazon. Not to say that Google isn’t an amazing company, but the good money is on Amazon to beat Google in the race to a trillion. Searches for product are lucrative – they get healthy bids, as there may be a purchase at the end of it. Amazon’s search franchise my rival Google’s in value someday, as a people looking to spend start their search at Amazon. But the real victim is traditional retail, who’s only growth channel, online, it’s sunsetting at the hands of Amazon. Each year, Google and brand.coms lose product search volume to Amazon (6 to 12 percent for retailers for 2015 to 2016). Conventional thinking is that consumers are researching on brand sites, then going to Amazon to buy. In reality, 55 percent of product searches start on Amazon (vs. 28 percent on search engines such as Google). This shifts the power, and margin, from Google and retailers to Amazon.”
“Facebook is gaining influence faster than any enterprise in history. And that’s because what we covet is… what’s on Facebook. If you look at the influences that convince a consumer to spend money, Facebook has flooded the awareness stage, the top of the marketing funnel.
What we learn on the social network, and especially on Facebook’s subsidiary Instagram, creates ideas and desires. A friend posts an image wearing J.Crew sandals in Mexico, or drinking an Old Fashioned on the rooftop of the Soho House Istanbul, and we want to own/experience these things, too. Facebook gestates intent better than any promotion or advertising channel. Once in pursuit, we go to Google or Amazon to see where to get it. Thus Facebook is higher up the funnel than Google. It suggests the “what,” while Google supplies the “how” and Amazon the “when” you will have it.”
“Generally, when SEALs go out for deployment or come back, we do so very quietly – that’s the nature of special operations. There are usually few people around except for our immediate families; sometimes not even them. In this case, because of when I was heading out, it happened that I passed a small group of protesters demonstrating against the war. They had signs about baby killers and murderers and whatever, protesting the troops who were going over to fight.
They were protesting the wrong people. We didn’t vote in Congress; we didn’t vote to go to war. I signed up to protect this country. I do not choose the wars. It happens that I love to fight. But I do not choose which battles I go to. Y’all send me to them.
I had to wonder why these people weren’t protesting at their congressional offices or in Washington. Protesting the people who were ordered to protect them – let’s just say it put a bad taste in my mouth.”
The Art of War
“There are no copyright laws in investment banking and no way to patent a good idea. Pride of authorship is superseded by pride of profits. If Solomon Brothers creates a new kind of bond or stock, within twenty-four hours Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and the rest will have figured out how it worked and will be trying to make one just like it. I understand this as part of the game. I recall that one of the first investment bankers I met taught me a poem.
God gave you eyes,
A handy ditty when competing with other firms.
Principles: Life and Work
“If you don’t look back at your life 1-2 years ago and think: Wow, I was pretty stupid. Well… you haven’t learned much since then.”
The Places In Between
And I Have Mine
Author’s account of walking across Afghanistan in 2002, following in the footsteps of 16th century emperor and founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babur. The Scotsmen relied on his knowledge of Persian dialects, Arabic, Central Asian history, and the hospitality of Afghan villagers during his travels:
“Nasir-i-Yazdani said he’d hit a Russian vehicle with a rocket, near the crater where the coalition had blown up four Taliban in a car. Then he led me inside because it was cold and he thought I was tired. I told him I had hoped to understand the Hazara but had only gathered disconnected and puzzling anecdotes. I asked what could explain the Hazara to me. He smiled and put clean blankets on the floor. And when I lay down he removed a bundle from a carved wooden box, kissed it, said a prayer, unwrapped it, and, opening the Koran, read:
And what can explain the steep path to you?
It is the freeing of a slave,
Or the giving of food in a day of starvation…
And as I lay wondering who he was, he continued gently:
Unbeliever, I do not worship what you worship,
Nor do you worship what I worship.
I shall never worship what you worship,
Nor will you ever worship what I worship.
You have your religion and I have mine.”