Sustainable Sources of Competitive Advantage

A great article from Collaborative Fund about 5 sustainable sources of competitive advantage.  My favorite was number 2 – Eat Your Own Dog Food.

Forty-seven percent of mutual fund mangers do not personally own any of their own fund, according to Morningstar. That’s shocking. But I suspect something similar happens across most businesses.

What percentage of McDonald’s executives frequent their own restaurant as a legitimate customer interested in the chain’s food, rather than a fact-finding mission? Few, I imagine. How many times has the CEO of Delta Airlines been bumped from a flight, or had his bags lost by the airline? Never, I assume.

The inability to understand how your customers experience your product almost guarantees an eventual drift between the problems a business tries to solve and the problems customers need solved. Here again, a person with a lower IQ who can empathize with customers will almost always beat someone with a higher IQ who can’t put themselves in customers’ shoes.

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Bad Management is Sabotage

Middle managers, especially, can get in on the act. Those with white-collar jobs should pontificate, flip-flop, and take every decision into committee, says a section on ‘General Interference with Organizations and Production.’ “Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible,” the OSS advises. Promote bad workers and complain about good ones. “Haggle over precise wordings… Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.”

-CIA Sabotage Field Manual

From Atlas Obscura.

Bad Culture Is Like Lead Pipes

Maybe people will look back on what we think is the really important part of the internet, all the memey stuff and the social networks and the places where people are making all this money, and they will look back on it the way we look back on the use of lead plumbing on the part of the aristocracy in ancient Rome. Which, to them this was like ‘Oh my god this is the sign you’ve arrived, this is where the action is, we have plumbing and it’s awesome!’ And it was! It was this amazing technological infrastructure. It was beautifully made, it provided them with an incredibly high standard of living and it also slowly, gradually made them irretrievably sick and insane*. It poisoned them day by day.
And we look back at it now as this thing that was simultaneously a fascinating part of how their culture worked, and the invention of a new kind of urban living but also as something that was slowly but surely making the ruling class into people who were desperately ill with terrible impulse control without ever realizing it or understanding why.

From The Last Word On Nothing