On today’s episode of Trend Following Radio Michael Covel interviews Kathleen Eisenhardt. Kathleen is Co-Author of the best selling book “Simple Rules.” She is also the Co-Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Her book’s foundation is based on the argument that too much structure and too many rules don’t get products out the door and the other extreme, no rules or structure tend to not produce results either. In short, simplicity beats complexity. Her book “Simple Rules” is not just about rules in business, but in all aspects of life; sports, entertainment, investing, diets, etc.
Kathleen defines simple rules as shortcuts that save on time and are more commonly known as, “rules of thumb” (heuristics). Michael and Kathleen pull in examples from Google, Netflix, The White Stripes, Billy Bean and the Oakland A’s, General Motors, Stanford football and an expedition in the South Pole launched in 1912. Kathleen shows in all the scenarios how people who modeled the past failed and how the simple route conquered the complex every time. She stresses that the philosophy, psychology, and the system itself may not be so simple, but the rules to follow are.
Kathleen and Michael go on to discuss people who make a living out of of being complicated. Lawyers, accountants, lobbyists make a living out of having a lot of rules nobody can decipher. Kathleen discusses the differences in risk adverse people, more strategic people and the people who just go ahead and wing it in business and in life. Kathleen explains her three step process in creating simpler guidelines. “Bottleneck” is the 2nd rule in the three step process. The “Bottleneck” is what keeps you from getting to the objective. It’s what holds you up from moving forward. You solve the bottleneck and you have solved your problem.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
- Bottleneck concept
- Complexity is not always best
- Tax code for political gain
- Simplifying government
- Improving your probabilities with rules
- The Federal Reserve
“There are two kinds of complicators. One are people who are risk adverse. They just want to lock everything down so there is no problem. If they plan for every contingency then they have it covered. The problem is that you can’t predict contingencies.” – Kathleen Eisenhardt
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