This book has more twists and turns and drama than a teenage political spy novel – and it’s all legitimately happened to one, very resilient CEO. But we’re not going to go through the epic drama that was Adam Neumann, The abusive aquisition of WeWork or Meetup’s 3 consecutive rounds of layoffs, or putting the business of a physical meeting through covid.
Instead, Let’s cover David’s big takeaways from Meetup:
- Be kind and be honest
- Be confident and be bold
- Expand your options
- Be long-term focused
- Be speedy, but be pragmatic
- Do what’s right for the business and your employees
- Be surprised only by being surprised.
In This Blog
The top 3 takeaways I took from this book:
1. David was bold, speedy, and pragmatic under Adam’s thumb
David wasn’t having the billionaire mogul’s crazy responses. He was bold, he expanded his options by distancing himself from Adam and he put the employees and long-term health of Meetup over the company’s performance for Adam’s parent company, We Work.
It only took a few months before Sh*t totally hit the fan, WeWork broke down, Meetup was required to fire entire teams to look better on paper, and David was left delivering more bad news in 6 months than a county coroner.
2. David’s capacity to maintain empathy while threading a complex needle is incredible.
The second takeaway left me feeling genuinely awed by David’s capacity to empathize with his employees. On 5 standout occasions, David was informed about the dismal future of his company in mere hours and in one case minutes before his employees would be informed they no longer worked for the company.
WeWork’s incapacity to plan ahead, manage expectations, and enforce procedures left David with no other choice [bring back lessons] but to be nimble, speedy, and pragmatic with his employees and the choices he was forced to make. On one occasion the man had to usher all employees into a single room to tell them Meetup was being sold, right as the articles were leaked to the press – less than 10 minutes before it was published.
3. Pivoting a physical meet-up the company during the pandemic – required a lot of powerful reflection
Meetup, until 2019 was a physical events company. David recollects in the book that the purpose of Meetup was to use technology, to get people off of technology. But that wasn’t really the mission and values of Meetup. David knew it and the pivot for Decide & Conquer was easy.
Expanding your options also means seeing options outside of your boundaries. When your currently available suite of choices doesn’t include a really good one – It’s time to rethink why you believe what you believe. And David did exactly that.
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It’s not dry reading in the least, thank goodness! While I never had aspirations to be a CEO, this book cemented it. 🙂 I’m still mulling over being okay with not being liked. I can do that pretty well in my non-work life, but I’ve got a ways to go in my work life. And “asking for advice…” excellent!
“turn a crisis into an opportunity for your employees too (153).” Expanding this lesson learned to a general community could make or break how much a stakeholder organization will get from the community. this goes back to being the bear or the flower and I absolutely support it. What hits me hardest hear is that he bookends it with quote, “If you need to do something difficult, always do it as humanely as possible. (155)”
My takeaways for chapters 5: “Because the future is unpredictable, having a visionary plan is not enough. Planning must be accompanied through a thorough plan to iterate. Never jut set it and forget it. Put together a series of expirements that then influence the ultimate plan (98)” I struggle a lot with people who talk about iterative strategy as if the strategy part needs to be purely experimentation. It throws out the concept of having a plan, a goal, and a north star which are obviously critical to business success. I see it as a dialectical tension between where you are going, and where others are willing to go with you.