“A lack of communication is a lack of performance.”— Sam Corcos
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Want to hear an episode with another founder who finds novel ways to manage time? Listen to my conversation with Asana’s Dustin Moskovitz, in which we discussed making quicker decisions, avoiding the paradox of choice, difficult but desirable delegation, No Meeting Wednesdays, effective altruism, the future of AI, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Sam Corcos:
- Publicly Shared Company-Building and Strategy Docs | Levels Health
- Sam Corcos Delegations
- Organizational Design Principles
- Organizational Entropy
- Principles of Effective Communication (Part 1)
- Principles of Effective Communication (Part 2)
- Confidence Is Earned
- Principles of Decision-Making
- Why We Write Such Long Memos
- Internal Communications Principles
- How We Do Meetings
- Team Building at Levels
- Transparency Strategy — Building in Public
- And Our Follow-up Transparency Strategy, Where We Push Things a Little Further
- Job Titles
- Hiring Philosophy
- Compensation Philosophy
- Product-Design-Engineering Bottlenecks
- How to Reduce Scope and Combat Scope Creep
- What Should a Startup Prioritize?
- Software Development Culture Shift — May 2023
- Levels: A Cultural Anomaly | The Generalist
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss | Amazon
- Executive Assistants and Why They Are a Force Multiplier for Our Team | Levels: Inside the Company #26
- A Tactical Guide to Working with EAs: How to Make Delegation Your Superpower | First Round Review
- An Exact Breakdown of How One CEO Spent His First Two Years of Company-Building | First Round Review
- Imposter Syndrome: Why You May Feel Like a Fraud | Verywell Mind
- No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer | Amazon
- The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp | Amazon
- Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values by Marshall B. Rosenberg | Amazon
- The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande | Amazon
- Treat People Like Adults | A Whole New Level #67
- A Lack of Communication Is a Lack of Performance | A Whole New Level #188
- Ray Dalio’s Employees Called Out His Terrible Leadership. His Response Vastly Improved Their Corporate Culture | Inc.
- One Platform to Connect | Zoom
- Async Video Messaging for Work | Loom
- A “Good at Computers” Loom Session with Jackie | Levels Health
- The Birth of Radio Drama | The Atlantic
- Pair Programming | Wikipedia
- Friday Forums | Levels Health
- Your Connected Workspace for Wiki, Docs, and Projects | Notion
- Google Docs | Google Workspace
- The Real Reason the Sound of Your Own Voice Makes You Cringe | The Guardian
- “I’m Not Listening to Your 3-Minute Voice Note.” | Seth at Instagram
- Introducing ChatGPT | OpenAI
- How to Create a Great Organizational Culture at Your Company | Loom
- The World’s Work Marketplace | Upwork
- Headhunter Agency for Overseas Talent | Shepherd
- Twilight Imperium 4th Edition | Amazon
- Find Local Pros | Thumbtack
- How Slack Ruined Work | Wired UK
- Fully Automated Time-Tracking Software | RescueTime
- The Low Information Diet | Mr. Money Mustache
- Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday | Amazon
- Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy | The New York Times
- Addictive Potential of Social Media, Explained | Scope
- A Deep Dive Into Levels’ Month-Long Onboarding Program | Medium
- The Levels Cultural Handbook | A Whole New Level #39
- GitLab’s Guide to All-Remote | GitLab
- 1982 Tron Light Cycle Race | YouTube
- How to Blur Sensitive Information | Loom
- Ditch Your To-Do List and Use Your Calendar Instead | MGMT Ideas
- Waking Up with Sam Harris App
- Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnlund | Amazon
- The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker | Amazon
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries | Amazon
- The Japanese Call This Practice Tsundoku, and It May Provide Lasting Benefits | Big Think
- How to Host Salon Dinners | Levels Health
- Democracy and the Epistemic Commons | The Consilience Project
- NFTs in Wine: Barrels, Bottles, and Blockchains | The World of Fine Wine
- How AI Could Finally Give Crypto Its Use Case | Fast Company
- Jackie Treehorn’s Doodle Pad | The Big Lebowski
- Free Online Appointment Scheduling Software | Calendly
- Public Opinion on Scheduling Etiquette Is Shifting | Calendly
- Inbox Zero and Time Management for Productivity | A Whole New Level #8
- Shortcut All the Things | Why We Emphasize Keyboard Shortcuts | Levels Health
- Less Typing, Fewer Mistakes: How Gmail Snippets Can Save You Time and Effort | ZDNET
- Why the Most Successful People Schedule Their Free Time | Inc.
- What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture by Ben Horowitz | Amazon
- The Matrix | Prime Video
- Six Steps for Successful Postmortem Meetings | Asana
- Founder Dynamics | A Whole New Level #14
- Dustin Moskovitz’s Template: Time Budget | Google Sheets
- Context Switching is Killing Your Productivity | Asana
- Memos over Meetings | A Whole New Level #65
- Creating a Digital Media Strategy | A Whole New Level #70
- Making Neural Nets Uncool Again | Fast.ai
- How Levels got a 37,000-Person Waitlist | Mixergy
- Plenty of Brainy People Believe in God. Let’s Hear from Them | The Guardian
- The Holy Trinity: Doctrine of One God in Three Persons | Christianity.com
- How to be Ultra Spiritual with JP Sears | Awaken with JP
- The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature by William James | Amazon
- Postmodernism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Moral Relativism | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- A Brief Introduction to Marxism | The Curious Classroom
- Burning Man
- Network Theory | Wikipedia
- Dunbar’s Number: Why We Can Only Maintain 150 Relationships | BBC Future
- Eigenvector Centrality | Wikipedia
- The Strength of Weak Ties by Mark Granovetter | American Journal of Sociology
- The Real Strength of Weak Ties | Stanford News
- The Juice Cart | A Whole New Level #4
- Creating New Categories: Metabolic Health with Sam Corcos & Andrew Conner, Co-Founders of Levels | The Deep End
- Sam’s Minimum Viable Stuff (December 2021) | Google Slides
- Pocket US Constitution and Declaration of Independence | Amazon
- [05:08] Delegation implementation and common mistakes.
- [11:07] Recommended reading for delegators, delegatees, and all humans.
- [13:26] Building a company culture that treats people like adults.
- [15:01] Tools for performance and communication accountability.
- [20:39] Why Sam considers Loom the “most important” tool in the kit.
- [24:18] Friday Forum.
- [27:17] Acclimating the recording-averse to Loom.
- [30:40] Organizing Loom recordings for later search and use.
- [36:35] Common challenges of sourcing and properly utilizing EAs/chiefs of staff.
- [43:19] Novelty-seeking and board games.
- [44:35] Vetting, pairing, and onboarding EAs and chiefs of staff.
- [48:38] News and social media sobriety.
- [55:20] Why does new employee onboarding take a month at Levels?
- [1:00:59] What most delegators wish they’d known as newbs.
- [1:04:57] Loom security and privacy concerns.
- [1:08:10] From to-do list to calendar.
- [1:13:17] How Sam skips the to-do list entirely.
- [1:16:49] General schedule and repeating items.
- [1:18:22] Scheduling stress reduction.
- [1:21:59] Selecting books and hosting themed salon dinners.
- [1:37:03] Calendly and related social hurdles.
- [1:38:42] Using email proactively.
- [1:41:23] The underrated power of hotkeys and shortcuts.
- [1:44:42] Scheduling spontaneity.
- [1:48:23] Calendar course correction.
- [1:49:59] How Sam utilizes multiple EAs.
- [1:51:58] Improvement growth for intermediate delegators.
- [1:58:56] The Working with Sam user manual.
- [2:04:20] Memo culture over meeting culture.
- [2:11:55] Fighting organizational entropy.
- [2:14:12] Raised secularly, what does Sam get out of theology?
- [2:22:54] The perils of postmodernism.
- [2:26:35] Network theory and relationship management.
- [2:39:33] The investor-swaying juice cart moment.
- [2:41:22] Metabolic health and the Levels mission.
- [2:45:29] Who is Levels hiring right now?
- [2:46:37] Physical over philosophical minimalism.
- [2:51:37] Why Sam has a travel-sized copy of the US Constitution.
- [2:55:21] Parting thoughts.
MORE SAM CORCOS QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“A lack of communication is a lack of performance.”
— Sam Corcos
“One of my new rules over the last couple of years is, I will only purchase a book if it is the next book that I’m going to read. I just found that stacks of books that I have committed to reading, that I have not read, felt like a betrayal of my own commitment to myself.”
— Sam Corcos
“You spend a handful of minutes, 15 minutes, maybe 10 minutes, one time, learning what hotkeys to use. And most people will see a 10 to 40 percent increase in productivity immediately for the rest of their lives. And yet most people don’t take the time to learn them. It is a free productivity boost.”
— Sam Corcos
“If you cannot write out your ideas, you do not have coherent thoughts.”
— Sam Corcos
“Every new surface that you add is an obligation to maintain — maybe forever.”
— Sam Corcos
- Zachary Henderson
- Ray Dalio
- Tony Milio
- Josh Clemente
- Nick Huber
- Jonathan Swanson
- Ryan Holiday
- Kim Kardashian
- Cosima Travis
- Sam Harris
- Eric Ries
- Casey Means
- Ben Horowitz
- Murillo Nicácio De Marães
- Dustin Moskovitz
- Todd Opalski
- Mike Haney
- David Perell
- Richard Dawkins
- JP Sears
- William James
- John Gager
- Bill Gates
- Mark Granovetter
- Marco Canora
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