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Tom Willis in conversation with Ed Olson

Ed Olson

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Tom sits down with Ed Olson, the CEO and Co-Founder of May Mobility and a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. His passion is solving real-world problems by creating new technologies-- for example, by creating autonomous vehicles that help everyday people get safely and enjoyably around.

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Ed Olson great to see you my friend how are you? Hey tom how are you ? I'm great good good. we've known each other for a few years. Now we did some work together and I'm just excited to have you on our podcast today. You are at least in my mind one of the top probably 10 folks in the world who are leading and doing autonomous vehicle work.

You guys aren't just talking about the theory of it and sort of the science project aspect of it like a lot of companies are you guys have been doing it. You've had vehicles on the road for years now um that are truly autonomous and so you know why don't we start there just give us uh give us a status of where we are in you know late 2021 when it comes to autonomous vehicles. Well i think uh we're all sort of slowly figuring out that autonomous vehicles are really hard and uh lots of lots of dollars are going into it because the opportunity is so great it's attracting a lot of capital and a lot of interest.

I think what we've been doing is trying to figure out what's a what's a more incremental approach towards building an av company sort of you know instead of going off into a corner and going into research mode for four or five years and then eureka we've got the product uh our our mo is much more let's build something let's get it out to a customer let's see what we can learn about it and let's use that to iterate really fast.

We've been doing over the last few years and quite successfully every time i check into linkedin you guys are adding a new city or somewhere in the world i know you launched in japan i think it was earlier this year um i know you've gotten millions tens of millions of dollars from different companies like toyota so how are you guys doing and what's making you successful you think well you know i think one of the things that is is very that weighs very heavily on me is why do people come to may because there are other av companies out there and any anyone at our company could be somewhere else they're they're choosing to be here for a reason and oftentimes we work them harder they could go somewhere else and work less hard and probably make the same money so what keeps them at may and that that's that's been a really important thing for me to wrap my head around and you know it comes down to the mission of the company they're here because there's there's an itch that they have that we can scratch that they can't get scratched as as easily anywhere else and so i want to i want to keep people here and motivated by our mission which i kind of skipped past but the the thing that we're really excited about is is not just avs but avs as a way of uh transforming cities so you travel a fair amount you've experienced like you go out to you're you're on the road you're in a hotel room you look out the window and what do you see when you look at the hotel room depends on where i am but a whole lot of cars and a whole lot of concrete yeah yeah and i hate it because you can look at your window and there's like the eiffel tower something amazing and it's surrounded by streets and parking and lots of transportation that doesn't serve anyone very well and the same thing's very true here in the detroit area as well that there's just a huge amount of real estate devoted to expensive inefficient infrastructure and the exciting thing and i think the reason that people come to work for may is because we we can see a future where cities can be more walkable more friendly more uh quieter where you can have uh where you can sit down at a at a cafe on the outside under a tree with a quiet mixed mode traffic uh calmly driving by kids playing on the sidewalk next to you go walking to school instead of taking a big school bus and you know it's funny because none of those things say autonomous vehicles but it's actually autonomous vehicles that make that kind of future city possible by really redefining what the economics of transportation systems are and that that is something that that uh that i think appeals a lot to may i like to say that we're trying to build a company of missionaries rather than mercenaries i love it i love it you know it was an interesting image that just popped in my head and we've you know we've been we worked with you guys for quite some time and helped you with a lot of that mission discussion and and it's not about the mission statement it's about how do you bring that alive into people's imaginations um but for the first time ever i had this image of like being in you've brought the eiffel tower being in a city like paris and usually the traffic really is so loud you know you've got the the engine noise you've got people honking you've got people cutting each other off you know it's it's almost deafening if you're close to the road and now for the first time i actually saw this image of like being just as close to the transportation but at you know a third or less of the actual volume um i love that imagery that's really cool yeah and i think it's achievable because a lot of the sound the the volume comes from speed and if you can have an efficient flow of vehicles turns out like 20 miles per hour is enough to get you anywhere you want to go in manhattan in a fraction of the time that it takes you to get there today today there's so much congestion uh the average speed of a taxi in manhattan manhattan's 4.7 miles per hour but if you could actually have the traffic calmly flowing at 20 miles an hour you get there in 25 the time and cars traveling at 20 miles per hour are not loud especially you know the kinds of electric vehicles that that we are focusing on fascinating so so help us uh neophytes um who aren't in the top 10 when it comes to autonomous vehicles and and all this work understand what that means so what do you mean by a more efficient you know pace of 20 miles per hour what would that actually look like well i think the the number one problem that we have is that uh transportation planners know the transportation problems that they face in their cities today uh they but they don't always have the right tools to solve those transportation problems uh most some cities some transportation planners might have subways or light rail to play with but a lot of them really only have buses now if you think back to yourself the last time you saw a bus how many people were on that bus

probably not very many most of the buses that we see even in ann arbor are nearly empty and the problem with that is i mean there's a reason for that oftentimes that that they don't provide the level of service that attracts ridership the buses are expensive they can only be in one place at a time and so the transportation planners have to do the best they can with a small number of buses because they can't afford any more but the result is a relatively low level of service that most riders won't are not excited about and you know you or i we can afford to take a lyft or an uber we can afford to sit in the back seat with our laptop and and hack away on emails while we're stuck in traffic rather than take the bus but what that does is it actually makes everything worse because we're contributing to congestion at the same time that we're not helping promote the public transit services so to answer your question what i what i'm envisioning here is a transportation system that actually appeals to a very broad section of the of the population the affluent the poor the disabled uh the kid kids going to school because if you can provide a transportation system that appeals to a broad market then you can end up you can end up in a place where you can afford to invest in a public transit system that works that's scalable that keeps cities solvent and is a service that you and i would choose to ride instead of taking a lift or an uber yeah yeah because it's it's accessible we know the impact and we're all the sort of society at large is benefiting from that um what's that future look like when you think of maybe um interstate transit you know talking about the united states for instance you know i was i just went on a trip with my family for my my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary and we went out of state awesome talk talk about that what is what will that future look like well i think out of the gate it's going to be a while before autonomous vehicles can make uh interstate travel just because of the amount of freeway and and validation required to cover those kinds of distances but you know an interesting question would be if people start giving up personal car ownership because their day-to-day transportation needs are met better by taking a may shuttle than by owning a personal car then that might actually shift their interest to looking at trains and other modes of transportation that instead of driving to chicago you might choose to take the train and maybe if you and a lot of other people are choosing to take the train there would be better trains and so there could be a lot of positive impacts once we can really make the case that individual car ownership is is not the the best solution for for many people yeah it's a it's a complete mind shift you know you can get to those um euro trains where we can get from detroit to chicago instead of four or five hours in a car you can get there in an hour and a half on a train because it's a it's a bullet train and today it's a it's a very pleasant four to ten hour train ride that's that's no joke yet i got my my mba i was still living in the detroit area but i was getting it in chicago and so every other weekend i jump on the amtrak um almost every other weekend sometimes i drive it was great by and large but there was a few times where you know uh passengers are second-class citizens you know the freight trains actually are our first priority and there were a few times where that four hour five hour trip took 12 hours and you're stuck on a train so we're a long way to go from that that future but it is exciting to to think about you know as we we're on a culture podcast we're on a leadership podcast so we could spend the entire time talking about sort of the autonomous vehicle component of this but i want to bring it back to that that mission and you know that imagery that you that you planted in our heads around that future and um just talk a little bit about why is that mission important to you personally what what is it about that that gets you excited yeah well you know uh i didn't start off as a as a transit geek you know i started off really with a passion for technology and and applying technology to real world problems and and that's that's that for me provides uh enough energy to keep me going and excited what i what i realized as i was starting may is that building cool stuff and getting it into market is is is only really part of the picture and that you can start to flesh out uh flesh out the mission of the company from build really cool things and get it out of market into ways that start to bring in other parts of your brain that start to appeal to like actually you know uh life could be better cities could be safer pedestrians wouldn't be great if i could walk walk to if my kids could walk to school rather than taking a bus and so bringing in all of those ideas and and packaging them into a mission statement that's uh hopefully inspiring uh that that gets people excited about what we're doing is is a great way to to recruit people to the company and to align us around what's really important and what do you what do you do with that on a weekly basis how do you continue to um because we would argue that the mission statement at best is a reminder of the mission that you're on you know it's it's at best very few mission statements kind of get people inspired or excited so how do you go about putting that into your team's imaginations how do you remind them of the mission that you're on in a regular way you know i think a fail failure mode of many mission and vision and value statements is that they they go up on the wall and then that's the end of the discussion about the mission and the vision and the value do you have a mission vision value check uh and that doesn't cut it it's it's a little surprising to me how often um we keep coming back to it we need to keep coming back to it one and one reason is because we're growing really really fast and there are people who haven't heard me talk about looking out the window and seeing parking structures rather than parks uh that's and so repeating it is really important and the other thing that i think is really important is you know how do you build a company that can scale and and uh i think there's actually a deep connection between the scalability of a company and establishing a clear mission vision and value statement and that comes down to like how a company makes decisions when when our company was very very small we had basically two ways of making decisions like the six of us would get around a table and we would sometimes decide by a consensus and sometimes we would decide by asking ed asking me what what the decision is and neither of those are very scalable right as the company gets bigger and we're making hundreds of decisions a day and now we're 190 people we can't yeah i know we keep getting bigger and bigger neither of those decision makers just for the listeners out there when we started working together which i think was about two years ago and um you were not even half of that and so that's that's just phenomenal growth it's it's a lot to stay in front of um but you know with 190 people you can't just make decisions in the same way they can't all come back to me and we can't all gather around the table to decide by consensus and so the question is how do you make decisions and i think it's it's about knowing being able to delegate so you need to be able to decentralize your decision making empower your leaders to make decisions but how do you do that how do you know if you're the ceo that your vp is going to make the right call that they're going to make something that you would you would be comfortable with and that's what points right back to mission vision and values if you are aligned on on your on the mission and vision and and the values of the company it gives you a a framework to to believe that your your team are going to make good decisions without you having to be there and so that's that's really been the thing that i've been trying to channel uh because of course there are engineers we have a lot of engineers a lot of them listen to this sort of mission vision value stuff and kind of you see the eyes rolling like uh mission vision values um and i actually say actually i get that but think about how you scale decision making and i i explain what i i just did now and they're like oh okay okay um and the door is open at that point to to talk about how how we align in advance on what's important so that we can later on make decisions independently yeah you're providing a framework and a a system through which people can make millions of decisions you know and not having to script every single decision um that's the difference between i think a an organization that empowers its people and pushes the decisions down to the front line as close as possible and those that are stuck in you know micromanagement land yeah and it's still hard right you still worry like are all the decisions going to be made the right way uh but this is this is the beginning right this is how you can start to establish that decentralization and and after a while you start to realize that like hey it seems to be working pretty well and it makes it easier to lean into we'll talk about your your own journey there ed because um obviously i'm privy to it um um so share whatever you're comfortable sharing but talk about your own journey and this sort of evolution that you've gone through as a ceo and as a leader well uh so i've told this story before but uh you know when i first started i'm a first-time ceo uh the the reality is i don't really know what i'm doing um and you know you rely on on tropes uh on like things you've seen on tv things you've read it works of fiction on what a ceo is supposed to do and there's this this model uh of of what a ceo is or should be liberal air quotes here should be uh you know the ceo who who knows everything is amazing problem solver can solve any problems there's a conference room people are arguing they don't know how to how to get the sales numbers up what happens the cu goes into the room says don't worry i'm here i've got this you do this you do that problem solved see you later and you know just triumph after triumph um and and that's that's a not a good model it's a work of that isn't truly a work of fiction it is it is and you know you add to it uh doubt about um you know whether you really know what you're doing because of course you don't know what you're doing nobody's ever built may mobility before even experienced ceos would be in the deep end on a new company with new problems uh you add in you know insecurities about are people going to worry that ed doesn't know the answers that that oh is this company going to be adrift are we all going to go down if ed doesn't know the answer and a lot of those sorts of weights you know can can bring out that kind of behavior of feeling like this is the part that i've been cast to play the the person who's going to come in and know all of the answers uh but like you said it it doesn't work that's that's a it's a disaster um and uh you know it led to to challenges at may uh you know led to a lot of bumpy conversations and and it's something i've really had to to learn from and try to figure out what is the what is my role as a ceo and i mean it sounds sounds so stupid but you know you're it's not all a cognitive exercise a lot of it is like that that reptile brain that's telling you stupid things uh trying to you try you eventually have to just yell down the reptile brain which says it's okay ed if you don't always know the answers

so what's the status of ed today if that's if that's you a couple years ago where you're kind of this superhero that has all the answers and um and where are you today in that journey from a leadership perspective you know it's uh you're never done so you can kind of come around one corner and then then realize that there's a you know another hill in front of you um but uh you know i feel like i've come a long way uh i feel like my team is is functioning at a level that uh is really extraordinary and really exciting and and the best thing about it is that it's it's not like a a endless slog where every hill is steeper than the last one you just got on you start to see uh the positive aspects of you know you make some changes and and good things happen and you're like hell yeah i want more of that and you know you just kind of start working the feedback loop and yeah there's still challenges and there's still times when when you know we're trying to figure out when we got a really hard conversa a hard decision to make um you know how are we going to navigate that who's going to make the final call uh that's that's hard it's gonna keep being hard but it it's it gets easier all the time yeah and i think if i were to underline anything in that that you said you're never done and i think that's that's so critical i think for especially for young leaders out there who are learning this whole leadership thing you know i know for me i thought well i just need to figure it out once i figured out then i'll have it mastered and that delusion got me in a lot of trouble um what i what i've shifted to over my life is that leadership is an infinite journey you know that we're we're never gonna get there we're just gonna keep getting better and better and better and so long as we're better than we were last week then that's that's all we really need to care about is focusing on continuous improvement 100 and and i think you know challenging yourself you know knowing where you are are weak uh where you can use to stand to grow uh and and kind of leaning into it's really important um you know i think one of the things i do reasonably well is get people excited about may and what we do and why it matters um and we talked about sort of leadership management and coaching uh i think i'm pretty good at that sort of leadership inspiration thing i think i'm okay at coaching i think i'm pretty abysmal uh on the management side uh and that's that's a place where my minnesota nice really works against me you know management uh being so important about uh getting people to sign up for things being accountable uh and you know committing to dates and and being responsible for the the work that they do and for someone who's minnesota nice uh it's that's that can be squarely in the the crosshairs of conflict of saying you know tom um you said you would have the the report ready for me last week and it's not here and inside my my brain is shouting like just just give them more time like the easiest thing in the world would be to just you know not have the conversation and so that's that's a that's that's an example of a place where you know i continue to work yeah we we haven't told you that but we started working with three new clients in minnesota so we are we are inundated with minnesota nice right now and so for the listeners uh ed is from minnesota so that's why he's he's using that that idea that up there in the midwest really i think but in minnesota in particular there's this idea of being nice which is different than being kind you know nice is is much more sort of you're dancing around the issue we're as kind as you're going right at stuff because you care about the other person you want to get stuff done you know you're much more willing to be be direct and i know ed's been working on that um and working on his you know his management muscle there because that is that is critical um i love that you brought up leadership management coaching because i know where you learn that from that's our some of our bread and butter here and the work that we do um leadership as you you talked about so the inspirational stuff you know management's all about getting stuff done getting people to make promises and then following up on those promises holding each other accountable you know all that and then there's coaching the the third leg of the stool uh and i know you said you're okay at that but i think you're probably underestimating your own your own talents there and and the the may culture because i know uh you guys we're coaching each other and you've come a long way compared to to where you were even just a couple years ago and i know at one point you said that that you see improving that and continuously improving the coaching culture as one of your key advantages that you'll have over other organizations out there so what does what does that mean why do you think having a coaching culture is so important yeah absolutely so you know part of i'll speak selfishly first that that uh you know i am a first time ceo i love this job uh i hope to still be the right person for this job five years from now but if i'm gonna grow professionally to be able to to do that well and be really the right person the number one person in the world to continue to leave lead may in its five-year future from here i got a lot of growth to do there's a lot of stuff i gotta learn about and if i if i can get the people who work around me to coach me and help me identify where i'm doing well and where i need to focus and you know where maybe i'm just completely screwing up then that is the best way for me to be successful in achieving my goals which is to continue to grow and be be the right person to to lead the company and so even though i don't like being told when i'm not doing things right uh i i see the the essentialness of that to my my own goals and aspirations and it doesn't take a big leap from there to imagine that other people are probably uh in a similar spot right that they have goals and aspirations they they probably would benefit from from the expertise we have an amazing team here at may and if everyone was really behind everyone else pushing contributing helping them know uh helping them improve and encouraging them towards professional growth you know you could imagine basically everybody sort of maxing out what they're they can achieve right full fully uh manifesting their their ability and that that's a recipe for not just like individual success but corporate success i want everyone at the company to be the biggest most accomplished version of what they can achieve and we can only get there if we can have real conversations real conversations where we can help and support each other uh both on the good side and in places where there's need for improvement and and how are you guys doing at that how do you how do you go about coaching each other because there's a lot of confusion out there i think around what coaching is versus feedback versus mentoring um i read a great article there did that said somebody's saying to you and they've actually studied this in the brain that um someone's saying to you can i give you some feedback is this is the kin to uh hearing footsteps in the dark behind you that it triggers the same sort of emotional and and brain reaction from your amygdala um so you know that's very different than a truly supportive what i'll call loving culture where we're actually helping each other grow and improve every day so how are how do you guys go about that oh this is super hard uh you know the same thing like the uh are you open to some coaching um kind of being a trigger uh same thing like when when uh you know your manager or anyone calls you wants to talk to you and they say you know tom um one thing you do really well is and you're like oh crap here comes the compliment sandwich right and you're just like [Laughter] and it's involuntary because you know there are these these sorts of recipes for um for providing feedback um you know and the other other challenge is that there are legitimate management uh tasks of providing feedback like you committed to do x you did not do x i'm holding you accountable for that and uh that's not coaching that's that's performance feedback that's management um but we we also struggle with with people who uh think that any negative anything that is negative or critical of their performance needs to be opt-in and that's that's really a corrosive place to be too because that just shuts down the ability to manage effectively and you know if you can't manage if you can't give real feedback about how someone's doing um how do you how do you get to the place where you can actually have a coaching conversation you know to talk about like hey here's some things you might try here's how you know here's how you can be more how i think you could be more successful so this is this is really hard it's it's incredibly hard uh because we're all just people who are uh oftentimes insecure about what we're getting right what we're getting wrong we don't really like criticism i think most of us are naturally conflict avoidant um yeah so so trying to what i'll answer this a different way i'm kind of babbling but one of the values of the company was written down explicitly to encourage uh these these sorts of important conversations whether especially on the management side uh which is to invest in personal relationships which which to me means uh tom if i if i have a feedback for you like hey that report was late that's an uncomfortable conversation there's a part of me that doesn't want to do that the easiest thing in the world for me is to not do it but the value is that i am willing to invest energy invest my discomfort in having that conversation because it's an investment in you and your your professional growth and your well-being um you know it's almost selfish to not do that and that's it's it's this is one of those values of the company that i think will forever be aspirational right we're never going to be able to put a checkbox in that we've mastered this but it's there deliberately as a reminder that it takes an investment of energy it takes putting yourself into uncomfortable places to move that value forward yeah yeah the well your example isn't hypothetical either i mean you and i have had conversations where we have had it's been uncomfortable for both of us right and we've but in so doing we've helped each other grow and get better at our respective jobs then we've done it because we were committed to helping other person not because we were committed to our own comfort and so um it's it's a great example that it's not it's not easy it's not always fun but if you take your eye off of yourself and your own ego and how you feel and put your eye on okay what does this person need how can i help them it changes the whole game i think i i agree still makes it hard yes i remember one of the things that uh uh you or or brad used to say um uh you know when you know you i think you would say are you willing to have this con this difficult conversation with a person uh and i think i said uh i no i'm not comfortable doing it and i think you said i didn't ask if you were comfortable i said are you willing to do it yes yes yes a good coach isn't isn't concerned about the person's comfort they're con they're concerned about the person's growth and so those are very different so um what would you say to you know this is on the context of you know shaping high-performing culture and shaping a high performing team that you know you've got these different tools and your tool belt you've got leadership you've got management you've got coaching you know we could spend another two hours and we'll we spend months with our clients helping them really master these tools and helping them shape a high-performing culture so we don't have time to fully get into it but what would you say based on your experience of the work um to a new maybe ceo out there who's a new startup ceo or maybe even an existing startup ceo who's a few years in the team is growing like crazy and all of a sudden you know they're saying oh my gosh i don't i'm struggling i don't know how to keep up with this i don't know how to keep growing myself and keep growing my team um what would what advice would you give to those folks out there i think the first thing that pops to mind is is almost that uh you don't need to expect this to be easy you need permission to find you you don't need you uh but i don't know what the right turn of phrase turn a phrase but if it's hard if you find it really exhausting difficult challenging that's okay that means you're like 100 of the other ceos out there in the world and and so you know for me for example having this this caricature of the super confident ceo who has no insecurities you know and can strut on stage and can solve problems with a wave of his hand and you know a clever retort to every every you know snarky comment um that's a hard hard thing to live up to and i wouldn't want to anymore but giving yourself permission to find it hard to find it something that it's okay that you need to work on it i think that is is one of the the most useful things uh the other thing i found really useful is the teasing a part of the job uh into different dimensions like like the leadership management and coaching uh i found it very emotionally hard to say oh i i'm struggling uh i must be a bad ceo and sort of like spreading out like well actually what does leadership what does being a ceo mean well it actually means a couple different things and i found it a lot i found some psychological safety and being able to say well okay i'm actually doing okay on this one i probably wouldn't have ended up as a ceo if i wasn't good at some one of these things and then being able to sort of zero in on ah okay i need to work on this one a little bit and this one i need to really focus on um so just kind of teasing apart what the the job description is what the the space of being good versus needing needing to work on things i found really helpful yeah so there's there's i think i heard two things in that one is to give yourself permission that it's okay if it's hard it's actually a good thing it means you're human um it means you're a human ceo and not one of those robots um we're working on those

which will make you a much more effective leader when it comes to other humans by the way um and and two you know teasing apart the job and getting more specific there's almost an equation to this work you know that that brad and i are working on actually as we think about writing this well as we go about writing a new book um you know the what's the equation for creating a high-performing team in a high-performing culture because it it can be boiled down into some component parts that are universal and they're frankly timeless too you know the ideas um of leadership of management of coaching and you know how do you make these things conscious and how do we become more conscious as leaders and all those components go into shaping a high-performing culture but you got to start with you know a recognition that you as a ceo you don't have all the answers i think that's critical um if you think you've got all the answers then you're in trouble um and you need to reevaluate because if you got all the answers you're not going to be able to grow your team very far in my opinion what do you think i i completely agree if you want a team of really fantastic leaders with you which of them are going to want to work for someone who always knows the right answer you know ceo who signals in everything that they do that uh you don't really need them

um well the time is flying by ed what uh

one more startup question and then we'll wrap up maybe with uh with the book recommendation um you know startups are hard my my wife has obviously been working one for a few years and she's doing phenomenally well with the pocket nest um but i watch her and i watch other startup founders i think of you all the time you know and the work you guys are doing is just you know beyond impressive it's but it's hard work um so what would you say to to fellow ceos out there about about this work about creating a high-performing culture oh wow um

it's hard i i think that's that's kind of the the number one thing um but you know i think especially early on uh i could see that i was i was modeling behaviors that i did not want in the company right and when the company was small we got away with it or i should say i got away with it for for a long time and so even early on in the company when you can get away with a lot of stuff like inefficient decision making strategies or uh you know you might have a more junior team that that doesn't push back on on the some of the bad behaviors you might have uh trying to to be very deliberate about how you want to grow the team thinking about what kind of ceo you want to be what how you're going to support the growth of your team and doing that early on is really important because any problems that you sort of plant in the ground in the early days are just going to to grow and become bigger problems as the company tries to scale yeah i love that there's a there's a lot there i especially love this idea of how intentional are you about helping yourself grow and your team grow because if you're not doing that as a ceo you're not doing one of your fundamental jobs you know which is to to grow your people because the only way you grow an organization is by is by growing your people so whether it's a leadership forum of other ceos or it's work like brad and i do or it's somebody else like that um so critical that you're uh you're not having uh pretend like you've got it all figured out you know go get some help go talk to people go talk to other ceos go go grow constantly learn and and strive to get better every day absolutely yep uh and it starts i think you know day one or at least with employee number two

so what uh what book do you have for us yeah so you know you you actually mentioned earlier on that a lot of the the ideas about leadership management and coaching are uh kind of timeless that they they're they're not exactly new concepts and and when you you you gave me a heads up that i should think of a book to recommend and and i said a high bar and i was thinking like okay which book kind of blew my mind and i couldn't think of one right i couldn't think of a book that like fundamentally transformed the way i think like most more like trust is good yeah i agree accountability is good yeah i'm with you um and and i it as i was thinking about this i what i eventually decided on is it's not any one book it's sort of like uh you know walking down swimming down a a swim lane and you're getting these little waves that kind of bump you in different directions you know and each book is is just a little bit of a a correction force that kind of steers you back to what you probably already knew or have read before but that for some reason had hadn't hadn't set its hook in you quite the right way and i'm mixing metaphors in a horrific way um so so with that in mind uh what i what i thought i would do is just the the books that came to mind that most recently kind of nudged me had an influence like oh yeah right that's an important thing um you know thinking fast and slow was was a one that that uh jumped out at me um five dysfunctions of team was a another one that i i read recently um four disciplines of execution about goal setting uh that one was like okay yeah that's an interesting way to think about it um and then you know less on the leadership management coaching the rebel allocator was a was a fun read uh sprint about the the doing sprints was was a lot of fun um and uh measure what matters which is actually a book that uh i don't love but one that through reading it i felt myself sort of um nudged in a direction i thought was was helpful so kind of kind of all over the place there but i think the value of those books is actually like any time you get advice it's to scan the advice for what's what's worth what what resonates what what's what's the advice that you actually needed today and to be open to that uh and and not to create any one of these books as a bible yeah i love it i love it it's uh i think that's a great way to think about it is to i like this idea of nudging you down the path that every book you read can transform your life you know and most people

i shouldn't say most many people don't read a lot because they don't they don't have quote unquote time the reality is we all have time we just got to pick how to use it and um just just the discipline of reading even 10 or 15 minutes a day can can literally be life changing what whatever you're reading um but what i think i hear from you is just just keep reading keep seeking keep trying to add knowledge to your repertoire because every one of the books you read is going to is going to add to your life and make you a better leader better parents maybe a better son you know better daughter whatever you know it's going to make you a better human being i i think that's right uh and i think there's you know little nuggets in in most of these books that uh you know might resonate you resonate with you uh and next month it might be a different chapter that was the one that was like oh right that's a good point so yeah kind of having a conversation with the books and and seeing where they uh where where they nudge you or or which one which advice kind of lands in your gut and it's like oh i don't like that that's an interesting question so why don't you like that and you might find you like you just wildly agree or disagree uh but that's that's a fun like being a curious reader yeah be curious and be a lifelong reader just keep reading that's right i love it love it well this has been a lot of fun thanks for the time i appreciate it and uh we will chat with you very soon i'm sure thanks so much tom and looking forward to your book everybody should read it yeah that's right everyone go and get our book that doesn't exist yet it'll we uh we begin that journey in about two weeks and so in about who knows eight to 12 months from now we'll have a book for everybody to to fall asleep to i mean to read uh and devour when it's finally done so um

thanks ed thank you.

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