Welcome to the 14th episode of the property show in Hinduism, the number of years of Rome's exile in the forests with Seeta and Laxman was 14 and a mythology in a number of pieces.
The body of Osiris was torn in two by his fratricidal brother. Set was 14 pieces. That's not very nice.
We're going to be much better. We're going to cut up this world of news, this world of learning into 14 pieces this year. Fratricidal professor, this is a property show.
In today's episode, we speak with Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, will discuss effective altruism, virtue signalling and a few existential risk to humanity. You probably haven't thought about and of course, we'll do our office hours and wrap with an algebra of happiness. So let's get into today's episode. Let's talk a little bit about the news and let's taxonomies business concepts in the news. According to data from facts at the estimated earnings decline for the S&P 500 is forty three or basically forty four percent in Q2.
If that's the actual decline for the quarter, it will mark the largest year over year decline in earnings reported by the index since 2008. So it looks as if we're headed into not just a recession, but potentially a depression. And yet the markets keep screaming forward. If you think about where the economy is, if you think about where unemployment is, anything about the fact that the Nasdaq is up and continues to go up, it just feels as if we've had a total disconnect.
And what might be happening here. If you think about the stock market, it's effectively a reflection of our emotions and sentiment about forward looking, what we think the market's going to look like, not in one year or three years, but maybe five years. And I think that the market has essentially said, all right, this is an opportunity for the strongest the biggest elephants to consolidate the market post. Korona So these things are somewhat misnomers. They're also dangerous because again, and we've talked about this, they mask kind of the underlying sickness in our economy.
I think the biggest news, the biggest news is this relapse, and that is it looks as if we have coronavirus or we it doesn't look as if we are, in fact, seeing a spike across. I think it's twenty four states. You hear this narrative. Oh, it's about agricultural infections or it's happening in nursing homes, whatever it might be. The fact is there is more infection rates and people would say, well, it's because we're testing more.
So we'll see if there's a lag and if deaths begin to spike again. But it strikes me that we as Americans or maybe it's our species, we develop a narrative in the narrative around the novel coronavirus was that, OK, we were going to flatten the curve and then summer would come and that the virus would dissipate and then it would relapse in the fall. And that seems to be kind of the the narrative. And then by that time, we might have better therapies, maybe even a vaccine that would begin distributing to frontline workers.
It's as if there's been a narrative developed and it strikes me that we are not comfortable with accepting the unknown. And I wonder if we're in the midst of are on the precipice of just an absolute revolt and that the disruption that has happened in movie theaters, restaurants, sporting events, basically any industry where you consume the product by sitting shoulder to shoulder with someone I education has gone through just a massive recall disruption, almost just a dramatic shock. But what's different about sports versus education is I do think sports will probably return to previous covid levels.
Will education likely not? And that is people are going to realize, OK, I just don't need to go back to seven thousand dollars per class, which is what a lot of universities charge. So it's going to be interesting to see what happens. And already the narrative is being blown up. It looks like the relapse is here. It looks like it's beginning to spike again because Americans don't seem to want to wear masks or don't seem to want to distance or have had trouble isolating and tracing.
And we've had a what I would describe as an extraordinary lack of leadership. OK, some other news, some other news. Bloomberg reporting that Walmart is partnering with Shopify to create or substantially turbocharge their marketplace offer. Walmart will add twelve hundred Shopify sellers this year on its third party platform.
This is Walmart is probably I think Walmart and Disney are the only two companies that have effectively counterpunched against big tech, specifically counterpunched against Amazon and Netflix, respectively, that has the leadership, the access to capital, the support from their investors to do kind of do what's required regardless of how much it costs. Walmart has made a series of bad acquisitions which reflect which reflect how smart they've been. And that is they recognize that in order to catch up, they're going to have to overpay and acquire some stuff that just doesn't work out.
I was a big critic of the dotcom acquisition at three billion dollars and described it as a three billion dollar hair transplant on a mid-life crisis. Wal-Mart. But but it took them up dramatically in terms of the percentage of sales done online and in the marketplace at three hundred dollars billion market cap company, which it was at the time, that goes from six percent of their sales to sixteen percent online, that is worth more than three billion. So it actually I did not see that the Doug did not see that.
I did not see that if you could take or add substantially or double the percentage of sales are doing online was. With more than three billion dollars, even though in isolation, dotcom wasn't likely worth three billion dollars, I think Jet Dotcom's founders and investors played a game of chicken and I just admire how big their balls were because that thing was going to I think it was losing about 50 million dollars a month. At some point that thing was going to crash into a wall and just have a fiery death.
But Wal-Mart or the market kind of blinked first, if you will. Retail sales were up more than 17 percent in May. And granted, that's a half a pretty impaired base. But that was a heck of a lot more than the markets were thinking, that estimates were going to be eight percent in the markets this morning spiked and then came back because there's just such incredible volatility in the marketplace. Most underreported business story, in my view of the week, is the fact that the nation has announced that they're not going to release the names of the businesses that have they have given PPY loans to.
And the initial thought was they stated that there would be total transparency except for who actually gets the loans. Basically, this was nothing but a giveaway to America's wealthiest cohort and that of small business owners. We took 20, maybe 30 percent, maybe 40 percent of it and got it to the people who really needed it. And that was small business people who have this incredible trope like shock and didn't want to lay off people and needed to get through to the other side.
OK, we get it. But for the majority of this capital, I think any analysis, forensic analysis is going to show that we did nothing. But as we do with every every government program in the United States or nearly every huge expenditure program, we just flattened the curve for rich people.
If we were honest, we would call these bailout programs a hate crime against future generations.
OK, OK, let's leave or let's end on the notion of a of an economic hate crime. Stay with us. We'll be right back. There are a lot of blue light glasses on the market, but not all are created equal. They're not. They're different with Felix Gray. You know, they use a proprietary industry, leading lens technology that filters 90 percent of blue light out in the most damaging range and eliminates 99 percent of glare. This is so important because your favorite devices, such as phones, tablets and computers are a major source of blue light.
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Welcome back. Here's our conversation with evolutionary psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, Geoffrey Miller.
Professor Miller. Geoffrey, where does this find you?
You found me in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it's always sunny and where there's not too much coronavirus hanging around.
Yeah, that's our that's our sense in the Southwest that you guys are still living your best life. So let's talk. You're doing something. You're working on something. It's effective altruism.
Say more effective altruism is this new social movement. It's only about 10 or 12 years old. And it's rapidly become kind of a cutting edge movement in terms of doing evidence based attempts to do more good in the world. And it really started out trying to do more quantitative charity evaluation, asking what really works in terms of charities and not just, you know, which charities have the lowest overhead, but which charities actually deliver the most bang for the buck in terms of human welfare.
And then from there, it kind of branched out into identifying certain cause areas, as they call them, like animal welfare or reducing existential risks to humanity or reducing global poverty, producing more global public health. So it's a fascinating window into human psychology and all the ways that were deeply irrational about ways that we try to do good, including, for example, virtue signalling Carcamo about virtue signalling.
I've never I used the term a lot, but grounded in some kind of context and instinct for us.
Virtue signalling is this term that became popular, I think mostly during the 2016 election. And it was a way of derogating your political opponents, where if somebody you disagree with is making a lot of noise about some cause that they think is important, but they're not actually doing anything productive, they're not really investing much time or energy or money and solving the problem, you might just go, oh, you just virtue signalling meaning. Yeah, you got a bumper sticker, but are you actually giving any significant money to this cause?
But I view it as a more neutral thing. I think virtue signalling is a human universal. Everybody does it to some degree and I think it can be a huge force for good. I mean, I think some of the best things about human altruism actually come out of virtue, signalling where, you know, you're trying to show off your moral virtues, your good qualities, your ethical priorities to others. And if you do that in a way that's impressive to others, like you get social status for it or you attract mates with it, it creates this amazing incentive in humans to actually do good sometimes and, you know, to attract friends and mates through doing good.
Talk to have a little bit about sort of these existential risk to humanity that have fallen under this effective altruism movement where they've been looking at some of the bigger risks.
So a lot of the effective altruism movement, people have kind of converged on this view that the number one priority is simply not to go extinct in this century. And the usual concern about extinction risk is people talk about climate change as if it's an existential risk or risk. It's not it's not an X risk. It's a global catastrophic risk, which means it might be bad news for hundreds of millions of people. But it's climate change itself is not going to drive every last human extinct.
What could do that? Well, nuclear war plus nuclear winter could potentially do that. A genetically engineered bioweapon like coronavirus on steroids could potentially drive everybody extinct. Artificial general intelligence is also widely considered a major possible threat. So it's basically bad nukes, bad bugs, bad AI. Those seem to be the three big X risks that we're facing at the moment.
What it as someone likes to you try to. My sense is a view, Jeffrey, as you try to take yourself out of your own emotions in your own kind of media, echo chamber and say rationally, what are the risks? What is the bus we don't see coming? If you were to and this is hard to do, but if you were to pick one, you pick three right there. What do you think? As a scientist, it presents the greatest risk right now that we're not allocating enough capital to not preparing for not funding government agencies in defense of not thinking about how do we ensure this doesn't happen.
I think all three of these risks that I mentioned are massively underfunded. I mean, the estimates I've seen are that the coronavirus pandemic is wiping maybe 30 percent of gross world product this year. Gross world product is one hundred trillion dollars. So we're losing 30 trillion. In the economy, arguably this year, and yet, you know, the amount of funding that was allocated to preventing and planning for pandemics is globally only a few billion dollars a year maximum.
So the return on investment, if we had prepared for pandemics, as well as Bill Gates had argued that we should be would have been colossal. Likewise, if you read Daniel Ellsberg amazing book, The Doomsday Machine about the risk of nuclear war, that's still not a solved problem. We still have 70 50 active strategic nuclear warheads. Russia still has a big arsenal lot. You know, several other countries have significant arsenals. And you've got these little flashpoints like Pakistan versus India that could easily escalate into nuclear war.
But there again, you know, the number of papers that are serious analyses of would we get a nuclear winter that exterminates a lot of humans after nuclear war, only about a thousand as many papers on that as on climate change.
Let's talk a little bit about A.I., because I've always felt that the risks from A.I., and it's probably because I don't understand it that well have always been overblown, that at the end of the day, the machines are indifferent and it's the people programming the machines so that A.I. is just at the end of the day, these things aren't sentiment and make decisions, don't have emotion. They're totally indifferent and they're really just weapons that they're another form of weapons to make decisions the way a guidance system on a nuclear bomb decides to steer last year right here down to hit a metro.
What is the threat around A.I. that I'm not saying the version of it the most effective altruists are worried about is getting into a situation where you have a kind of rapid take off of intelligence because you get an A.I. system that's capable of improving itself, not just at the software level, but also at the hardware level, either through taking over a significant amount of cloud computing power or combining that with a kind of adaptive machine learning so it gets smarter and smarter kind of playing itself the way that Alpha go did.
And then you could potentially get a sort of not necessarily a malevolent A.I., but an AI that's optimizing for the wrong things that kind of, incidentally, causes a lot of human suffering. I think that's probably at least 20 or 30 years away. But I think it's a significant enough issue that we should be devoting, you know, a few tens of billions of dollars a year to taking it seriously. And then I think the second level of of danger is things like basically autonomous weapons and A.I. driven new technology that could lead to things like, let's say, much easier assassination drones.
They could take out heads of state with minimal risk to the people launching the drone. I think that could be quite geopolitically destabilizing and I think that could sort of amplify other risks, like increase the risk of nuclear war.
What about talk talk a little bit about politics and where you see the state of America right now and you see things changing because of covid or generally speaking, as you watch our nation evolve, if you will, any observations around the current political environment?
Well, yeah, we're both you know, we're both pretty active on Twitter. And it's astonishing how Americans excel at making. Everything into a partisan issue. And a lot of those issues, I could have imagined it going kind of either way until a few months ago, the standard kind of dogma in social psychology and evolutionary psychology was that conservatives, political conservatives are more wary of infectious disease. They're more risk averse. They would be more sensitive to pandemics and they would be more worried about getting ill.
And instead, we've seen the exact opposite. So I think it's basically the dynamics of social media turning everyone into kind of a partisan virtue, signalling junkie. And that leaves people like me who are self-described centrists, just kind of very amused and despairing. Maybe next year after the election, things will kind of calm down. But I kind of doubt it. And I think there's going to be a massive recalibration of not just a bunch of industries, but in terms of citizens in general, kind of being much warier about public life and of each other for at least several years in the future.
And what. What are your what are your thoughts around what can be done here, where I think it's important to talk about the risk. There are some basic things. Capital allocation, pandemics and pestilence have killed more people in wars and violence. We spend 700 billion dollars on a military, six billion on the CDC and things like, OK, we need to reallocate capital. Is there anything else as a evolutionary anthropologist, you think I should be our go to moves in terms of what we want to communicate to our children or how we want to change our norms or viewpoints?
What is the what are the one or two things you would tell us to teach our children?
Well, I think at the policy level, we need to game out the pandemics as seriously as we game out. You know, what happens is the Soviet Union invades West Germany back in the 80s or the way we came out. You know what could go wrong in the South China Seas? We need large amounts of talent thinking really hard about what happens if there are a second or third waves of coronavirus. What happens if bad actors or terrorist cells actually deliberately unleash the next pandemic at multiple airports on multiple continents?
This is just not something that is attracting the best and the brightest to to think about and to sort of run the game theory and the strategy and then figure out all the implications, I think, for parents who are concerned about families and kids. Man, what what I'd be worried about is how do you create a kind of educational track and career track for your kids that's relatively resistant to the most likely kinds of catastrophes and shocks that that they might face?
This is not going to be the last global pandemic. They're going to be others in the future. So how do you equip teenagers to think about, hey, what kind of skills could I develop? What could I do that would still be viable even if large sectors of the economy shut down?
Is there any one thing that has had the most profound impact on your behavior, your view coming out of covid-19? Hopefully coming out, I should say, before covid-19?
I sort of knew abstractly that civilization won't collapse all at once. It's not going to be like you see in science fiction movies for it's like before the apocalypse. And then there's after the apocalypse and there's a short, sharp shock like nuclear war that could happen. But, you know, the people I knew in the proper community emphasized no civilization kind of collapses, patchwork in stages, like maybe the federal government collapses. That doesn't necessarily mean state governments collapse.
Maybe telecoms goes down, but the electric grid stays up. Maybe this sector of the economy fails, but these other sectors do OK. And I've kind of realized certain aspects of civilization are just remarkably fragile, like if you prohibit public gatherings of more than 50 people. Oh my God, there's whole sets of goods and services that are no longer possible. And yet lots of other stuff can stay relatively the same. So I think that that notion that civilization is kind of fragile around the edges, but it's got, you know, defense and depth.
It's got a bunch of layers, some of which are actually remarkably resilient.
So that's an optimistic view. You're saying that we're a robust society, that even if we can have classism and I'm supposed to have one hundred and seventy kids show up on September one to brand strategy and they're going to put me in a room where the windows don't open, I personally don't think that's going to happen. I think, as you said, any any environment or any industry dependent upon or as a future of has people sitting shoulder to shoulder that is severely impaired.
But at the same time, you know, life is absolutely going on. We're still finding ways to learn. We're still finding ways to communicate. We're still finding ways to date. As you pointed out, we're still finding ways to raise our kids. But, yeah, I like that. Let's end there. Where a.. Let's hope our antifragile.
Is that the term I'm willing to use that on again, despite the occasional my occasional tensions with Besim. Sure. Why not?
Geoffrey Miller is an evolutionary psychologist, best known for his books, The Mating Mine Mating Intelligence Spent and Mate. He is a tenured associate professor at the University of New Mexico. Jeffrey, stay safe.
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OK, it's time for our officers as a reminder, you can ask us anything if you'd like to submit a question, please email a voice recording to office at Section four Dotcom Road, Question one.
Hi, Professor Galloway, this is Rob Murray and I'm a second year MBA student at Stern. Like you, I'm a firm believer that this crisis and the recovery from it will present incredible opportunities for startups to solve many new problems and address changing consumer behaviors. During the last economic crisis and recovery, we saw new themes like the sharing economy, the experience economy and a Cambrian explosion of B2B. SAS companies be a driving force behind the creation of many highly successful startups.
What new themes do you think entrepreneurs should be looking out for in the covid post covid economic environment? Rob a thoughtful question.
Cambrian, I like. That's a great word. OK, so where where is there going to be opportunity? So looking at a more meta, I believe that the best time to start a business is in the midst of a recession. And unfortunately this looks like it might turn into a depression and all bets are off. I have never experienced a depression, so I don't know if it's a good time to start a business in a depression. I can't imagine it's a good time to do anything in a depression.
But anyways, anyways, let's assume that we're able to coordinate globally with central banks, helicopters, so much money that we avoid a depression and just stick in a recession and kick the can down the road such that future generations can endure the depression and not us.
So starting a business, I've started nine businesses and the only thing I can indicate that signals their success is part of the economic cycle I started the business in. And the ones that were started in recessions did well. The one started in boom times less. Well, case in point, we have office space at Section four on Spring Street and Soho. Lovely bride office space. It cost seventy four bucks a square foot, I think when we moved in a year ago.
And now I'm pretty sure I think I heard that someone is doing a sublease in that same building at twenty five bucks a square foot, by the way. That's the offer price. I don't think they've actually even leased it. So think about this. Office space has been cut by two thirds. There are good people probably available now who would like to work from home, who don't want to get on a train into the city or a city, who are willing to trade off flexibility for compensation.
And so the cost structure, the DNA you can imprint on a company right now, and this is important, the DNA gets imprinted early, is wonderful. And that is as an entrepreneur, one of the keys to success is throwing out around nickels like their manhole covers. So I think this is a great time to start a business as it relates to specific areas. The theme I have in my mind is this great dispersion or specifically how geography is no longer a component of creating a cartel or maintaining margin in the two industries that have leveraged geography to their advantage by creating these sort of artificial cartels are health care and education, which also happen to be the two most disruptive industries in the world.
So everything from remote health to telemedicine to online learning, I think are going to boom and be great areas. Wired magazine also highlighted some interesting things, obviously artificial intelligence. I wonder if that's going to be overinvested or quite frankly, robotics supply chain, trying to figure out a way to have, quite frankly, reduce the number of asymptomatic carriers that as humans that has some long term and short term social ramifications. We've got to think robotics are going to be an interesting place.
Agritech, what was the one thing we didn't stop consuming food, right? So what if everything from cold storage of food delivery, when we go from one point six percent of grocery shopping done online to fifteen or twenty, there's just going to be so many opportunities there. So supply chain vaccination of supply chain obviously feels like payments are going to continue to grow. You could probably take the fastest growing industries and just extrapolate them out ten years and have a pretty decent idea of where we're headed and where the opportunity is, thanks to the question.
Hi, Scott. My name is Eric and I'm a marketing analytics student at Northeastern University. It's been an absolutely crazy week in the world. I'd love to hear some of your thoughts in this time of uncertainty. Not unlike the uncertainty I feel deciding whether to catch up on my one thousand or zoom lecture or sell my soul to the Zuck. My question isn't just that Zork came out saying Facebook won't be an arbiter of truth after Trump took action. Who do you see holding that power of defining truth in the years to come?
Thank you and hope you give it some of those blue light closer to the film crew. Wouldn't want I damage from the reflection of the dogs Dohm. The dogs don't that hurts, that hurts. Eric, thank you for the question. So if you think about Facebook, they've claimed they don't want to be the arbiter of truth. Initially, all the platform said we were going to provide voice to the unheard, which was total bullshit. None of them had any background of First Amendment.
What they wanted was to skirt any obligation around the damage they were causing. And now they've moved to this notion that we don't want to be the arbiter of truth. Well, actually, you know what? It's again, that is just total bullshit. Facebook has decided they're very comfortable being an arbiter. It's the truth. They have a problem with her specifically. They are comfortable with Facebook being the arbiter or specifically anyone who will pay Facebook becomes the arbiter of what our troops are.
And that is voices or facts or non facts get elevated based on who has a credit card at the end of it. And this is incredibly damaging. These rage machines give false information that's incendiary more oxygen than it deserves on its own. It's not First Amendment, it's Second Gulf Stream. And that is that every decision Facebook makes is around how Zach and his direct reports got their second, third and fourth Gulf Stream First Amendment. Give me a fucking break anyways.
You also have what is really interesting, and that is the politicization of social media platforms. And I wrote about this on Friday, just as the environment became politicized, it used to be a bipartisan issue. And then all of a sudden we decided Democrats care about the environment and Republicans care about coal. Neither of those is 100 percent true, but they seem to bifurcate and immediately start having this reflex or gag reflex around things that we're seen as pro environment or anti environment based on your political party mass have now been politicized, that this seems to have become a Democrat Republican issue.
And the latest thing or the next thing it'll be politicized. I think it's social media platforms who have tried to stay neutral such that they could appeal to everybody. But it's too late. And I think the politicization of social media platforms is now under way. Specifically, Mark Zuckerberg has outed himself as the biggest oligarch in history and an oligarch. The definition of an oligarch is leveraging their proximity to power to further corruption such that they enrich themselves. That kind of perfectly defines this arc right now.
And obviously, it's his proximity to Trump. This has not gone unnoticed. Democrats are outraged. This is an opportunity for Twitter to go blue and be the IOC. The whole world is Android or iOS, and that is Android effectively says OK to the masses will molest your privacy. We won't protect your data. In exchange, you get a free phone. And by the way, for a lot of people, that's a great deal. And then iOS says, OK, we'll only pull two hundred data points a day instead of twelve hundred from your phone and we let you signal your wealth in exchange for paying the household income or one month's household income in Turkey for four hundred dollars worth of chipsets and sensors.
That's how SS is. Democrats want to signal their their worth as a mate and value their privacy more, although I think it's more about signalling an Android says we'll give you something cheaper to the masses, but hey, all bets are off in terms of our behavior around that data set. That sort of social media is head of Facebook's going to be the android for the masses that is abused or your actions, your data set will be abused. And Twitter potentially has the opportunity to say we're going to start kicking people off the platform to engage in hate speech that actually enforce their terms of service.
I believe they should move to a subscription program and sort of starch their hat blue, if you will. I think that's the opportunity for Twitter. And I think regardless of whether they seize that opportunity, social media is becoming red and blue. But be clear, my brother. Be clear, Eric. The arbiter of our truths is Mark Zuckerberg and the arbiter of his decision around what our troops are is money. Full stop. Thanks for the question or next question.
Hey, Professor, I'll be here from Manhattan. I appreciate your office hours as I just graduated last May. And coming up on my year, one anniversary full time in corporate America. Yes, Professor, I did in fact sell my soul. But that was only after meeting a Fortune 50 CEO when I was sixteen. Anyways, question around being a young person working in a Fortune 500 company and very interested in leadership. One, How do you take this crisis as a learning opportunity?
I'm sitting over here taking notes and how leadership at every level has been acting and reacting. What else can I do to learn and how can a curious person like myself live into this global case study and what good leadership looks like? Secondly, how can a young person step up and lean in at a time like this? How can I accelerate at work based on my drive and determination? First job level or title? Appreciate your insights. Thanks for taking the question.
Thanks, Elby. You seem frighteningly ambitious. And smart and together for someone your age, first up, I don't think you sold your soul either in corporate America or the US corporation is the greatest platform for wealth creation and stakeholder value creation. I think the US corporation is one of the greatest sources of good in history. They converted their factories from building washing machines to be 20 for flying super fortresses. They employed and created a middle class. So I think the US corporation is vastly underrated and entrepreneurship is overrated.
And I say that as an entrepreneur. So ain't nothing wrong with the with with the big company anyways. Leadership is something that's talked a lot about. And I'll start with a question of what you can do. I think this is a tremendous time, especially your age, to really turn on the Jets and that as well. Everyone else is in the pits and we've discussed this before. If you're fortunate enough to work in a company that's provided you with the ability to work and continue to be productive, I would pretty much work around the clock right now because this is a crisis.
There's a ton of opportunity, there's a ton of chaos. And so senior management is so distracted that if you can be one of the people that's helping make sure the trains run on time, make sure that the product evolves, put your shoulder down and make their lives easier as they deal with probably more stress and they've had to deal with in a long time. You're going to have tremendous opportunity. And whenever there's change, there's opportunity. And specifically, usually a lot of changes.
Change tends to be better for younger people and worse for older people, because older people, especially in corporate America, have figured out hopefully a decent way to kind of go on cruise control and don't want a lot of change, whereas young people change is a good thing as it creates gaps and upward opportunity for them. So the first isn't it sounds very trite, but just work exceptionally hard. It sounds as if you have senior level sponsorship. So asking people to be your mentor, I think is a wonderful thing.
And it sounds like you have that there. Also, I find the great leaders are great entrepreneurs typically have a few things in common. And the first is they have to demonstrate excellence. I think people want to follow others that are just great at what they do. So find an area of the company or find a competence or skill and just say, I'm just going to own this. I'm going to try and be the best in my company at this one thing and commit to becoming great at something.
And that can be a variety of things, whether it's domain expertise or on a specific topic. If it's you're the best at pulling together a presentation or you're the best with pivot tables on Excel, whatever it might be, you're the best it at welcoming new employees into the company. But commit to something that you've shown some aptitude and say, I'm going to become the best in the world. The second is I would hold yourself and other people accountable that you work with, and that is I wouldn't be afraid to ask people to hit certain deadlines.
You may not be in a management position yet, but when you do, people want others who hold themselves and other people accountable. And there's this Hallmark Channel vision of how we're supposed to behave at work. But work is about being productive and getting a greater return on capital than your peer group, which is both a greater return on invested capital through good decisions, but also getting more out of yourself and more out of your team. And there's just no getting around that.
You need to hold yourself and others accountable. And then finally, I think that there's empathy or recognizing that greatness is in the agency of others and really trying to understand what motivates other people. When I was your age, I thought that everyone just wanted to to do what I wanted to do and that would be ridiculously fucking rich and be ridiculously fucking awesome. And that everybody else should just trust that if they worked really hard with inform me that they would get that.
And that's what we all wanted. And then as I got older, I realized that different people value different things. Some people want the opportunity to manage others. Some people want the opportunity to have more flexibility. Some people want the opportunity to really want public recognition, but trying to understand what makes people tick and also highlight other people's achievement. So, one, demonstrating excellence to holding your team accountable. And three, demonstrating empathy, recognizing that greatness is achieved in the agency of others I think are all decent places to start.
But it sounds like you're on already an incredible slope. Congratulations, LPN. Thanks for the question.
Keep sending in your questions again. If you'd like to submit one, please email a voice recording to officers at Section four Dotcom.
However, of happiness, decades and weeks, Lennon, great quote, and it's a key theme to the show and a lot of the work that I'm doing right now, both professionally and personally. And that is again, and I love this metric and you're going to get sick of hearing it. But e-commerce has gone from 18 percent of retail to twenty eight percent in eight weeks. It was growing one percent a year or it had gone up 10 percent in 10 years.
And then it went up, exploded 10 percent in eight weeks. So we've had, as Lenin said, decades happen in the weeks. And the most interesting thing to do professionally, I think, is to take the two or three most dominant trends in your industry, take them out ten years, and then realize that that's where your company is now. And then look at your human capital, your skills, your strategy, your ratio of stores to digital, whatever it might be, and realize you're there.
Now, I'm also going to ask you to do this personally, and that is imagine where your relationship with your parents would be in 10 years if you forwarded a decade and said, OK, my parents are sixty five now. When they're seventy five, I would expect to be more involved in their lives, pivoting from being the child to the parent, taking care of them, being more forgiving, spending more time thinking about them and helping them logistically and then think about how can I do that now?
Because it's surviving a pandemic as a in sixty five isn't senior, but surviving a pandemic, if you're more vulnerable, is going to take their risks and perhaps even their health for 10 years. And the opportunity around this is to say what is the relationship I would want with my parents or what would I expect it to be in 10 years and then to start behaving that way? Now, if if I'm in a relationship with a partner or spouse, where would I want that relationship to be in 10 years?
Is it headed in the wrong direction? Is it bringing out the worst of us? Would we expect to correct or is it just on a bad track? And this isn't a Hallmark Channel? I think it's time to think about ending relationships. Where would you hope your friendships would be? Where would you hope that your relationship with your spouse would be in assuming you're there and make the requisite adjustments? Would you hope that you would be more involved in their lives around certain things, your relationship with your kids?
What is it you hope for? I know with I have this vision of the kind of daddy I want to be. And then what I need to think about is, OK, I have a nine and a twelve year old. What would I want their relationship with me to be like? And I would hope that it would be obviously for them that they would be entering or leaving good school and optimistic and have the skill set to be productive adults.
But I would want them to look back and think the last ten years were about a great deal of time with my father, a great deal of I don't believe in quality time. I think that's a bullshit notion to forgive people who focus on work and don't allocate time for their kids. I don't think there is any such thing as quality time. There's just time. I would want them to look back and say that Dad worked hard, Dad provided.
But more than anything, we were first. And I would want them to think that Dad was really affectionate. I would want them to think that Dad made the investment in discipline and it's an investment. I'm the good cop around the household and quite frankly, it's because I'm lazy. And that is I want to be the guy who gets to watch TV, take them boogie boarding, try and be a peacemaker. But the reality is putting up guardrails and constantly being in their face and reminding them when when they're not behaving correctly, reminding them that they need to get their homework done, reminding them that they need to look out for the younger brother.
It's exhausting, but you'd want to be, as they were adults look back and say, yeah, he made that effort to discipline when it was hard and when I wasn't open to it. And I've decided, OK, I need to do that now. I need to be that guy now if I want them to think that way when they're nineteen and when they're twenty two, I need to stop envisioning the dad I want to be and just start being that dude and there's just no getting around it.
It's a certain amount of time, it's a certain amount of hard decisions. But take your relationships for ten years and think to yourself, where would I want them to be in a decade with my parents, with my friends, with my spouse, with my kids, and determine that if if you're going to get there in ten years, what would that mean? Now, also decide the relationship you want to have with yourself? Would you hope after ten years that you had achieved enough that you were a little less hard on yourself?
I'm not saying don't work your ass off. I'm not saying don't have high expectations. But are you too hard on yourself? Do you think that maybe in ten years you would look back and say, I wish I hadn't been so hard on myself? Will that not only bring forgiveness to your relationships, bring forgiveness to yourself, the one regret, the biggest regret old people have? Around their younger selves is they wish they hadn't been so hard on themselves.
Cut yourself some slack, cut yourself some slack, bring forgiveness, forgive yourself. Our producers, our Caroline Chagrinned, Andrew, burgs, if you like what you heard, please follow, download and subscribe. Thank you for listening.
We will catch you next week with another episode of Proff G Show from Section four and the Westwood One podcast network.
That's not very nice.