Season 2 Finale: The Tyranny of Inertia

Reflect on where you’ve been, take stock of where you are, and look to the future to see where you are going.

Season 2 Finale: The Tyranny of Inertia

For the season 2 finale, David talks about the dangers of fossilization to your business and taking the time to take out the figurative trash preventing growth. He also emphasizes the importance of analyzing old processes and eliminating or rethinking them to your benefit.

Show Notes

In this episode, David goes over:

  • Significant disruptions to your business that could fundamentally restructure how it operates.
  • Becoming comfortable with change, especially technological advancements like AI.
  • How companies are relying on new technology, like AI, to gain an edge over their competitors.
  • Addressing unreliable processes and procedures in your business that are no longer working for you.
  • Adapting to adversity and learning from your past mistakes.


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Show Transcript

[00:00:00.000] – David Maples

We all find ourselves subject to the tyranny of inertia. That fact that we’re either stopped in one place in our business or moving towards another place and we don’t know how to change course. We’re not even sure if we should. And this episode is all about reflection. It’s about looking on where we’ve been in two seasons of the podcast, where you and your company have been, and understanding that you’re going to have to embrace change and hold it tight like a lover over the next 18 to 24 months, if your business is going to survive. Because if you don’t, one quarter of you will find yourself out of business. And I don’t want that for anybody. Today on The Buck Stops Here.


[00:00:55.340] – David Maples

This episode represents the end of season two. And as the end of all things happens, it’s a good time to reflect on where you’ve been, take stock of where you are, and look to the future and see where you’re going. And we decided to… I sat down with my producers and we decided to entitle this episode The Tyranny of Inertia. Because in business, there’s a certain velocity that happens to where you’re going. There’s a certain amount of inertia or inputted… There’s a certain amount of energy input in to your efforts. And there are these physical constants of the universe, like nature abhors a vacuum. It’s a classic one. The one I was thinking about a lot is Newton’s first law of motion, that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless operated on by an outside or unbalanced force. And I’ve been reflecting a lot lately based on some of the feedback I’ve gotten in some of the most recent episodes. And thank you guys for your kind words and your cruel criticism. That’s totally valid as well. Based on the three part series, we just finished on artificial intelligence, and there would be more to come from that. That is actually something that you have requested that we actually talk more about that. And I was thinking about reflecting upon the totality of human experience in business. The idea of the buck stops here, the fact that you are responsible for what you choose to do, the course you choose to take, or to not take action as an action in and of itself, how that is fundamental to any business owner anywhere.


[00:02:56.410] – David Maples

It doesn’t matter where you are in business and what you’re doing. And so the reason this episode is titled the tyranny of inertia is because it seems like one of those almost unjust physical forces that’s forced to act on you. You have something you’ve done this way for years, and it’s always worked for you, so you don’t tend to change on things. Or you’re continuing in a certain motion and you’re a captain of industry and you’re doing amazing things in your business, and so there’s no reason to change course. And then a bomb gets dropped in your lap. Or then somebody on thing, fundamentally different changes, whether it’s a pandemic that fundamentally restructures the way everything works globally, whether it’s a major change in your business. You have somebody who leaves your company who is one of those vital resources. They pass away, they move on to another company, something else happens, and it fundamentally restructures what you’re doing. And what we find is that if you’ve continued to move in a certain direction or change action based on these things, you might be making the right choice or not. But no matter which way you do it, you have to overcome this inertia to remain on the current trajectory or to change where you’re currently at.


[00:04:21.040] – David Maples

And I’ve said before in the podcast, and I will continue to say this, that change is something you have to be very comfortable with, especially in the current business environment. We are coming across what would have been 100 years of technological advancement in a decade or a handful of years now. So that means that what you would have had a century to adapt to, companies were born, fall, and die in that period of time, you’re having the amount of upheaval and change in industry now in just either a handful of years or on the outside of decade. And I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in the context of technology, especially with the adoption of artificial intelligence and how that is going to restructure the way businesses work and operate in the coming months. And I was saying in the coming decades or years, but I think it’s pretty apparent it’s going to be months. And how if you allow yourself to be complacent in this new, changing, accelerating, exponentially, increasing business environment, you’re probably not going to survive. Eighty percent of businesses will be impacted by artificial intelligence over the next 18 months. 80%.


[00:05:53.640] – David Maples

Thirty percent will be fundamentally restructured to adapt, either to adopt or to change how they offer the technology and things like that. And I think if there’s one thing I can do at the end of two seasons of this podcast in business, which is interesting. We started this in the pandemic, and we’ve seen an awful lot of change happen. And even now, I had an episode called Do We Even Need the Office anymore? I think like that. And I said that I think the future is going to be a lot more remote work. I still am adhering to that. Although, according to most recent business reports, only 75% of people were required to work in office before the pandemic, and now that numbers creep back up to 72%. And that’s really shocking for a lot of people because you’d think that remote work was here to stay. And I think that what we’re also seeing is the inertia in business, the fact that these businesses are heavily invested in the brick and mortar and they still have those things. A lot of these companies have bought buildings, spent billions of dollars on these assets.


[00:06:58.870] – David Maples

And so they have a lot of they have a vested interest in putting people back in those locations. And you’re seeing a lot of data on that on the other side of it. You’re seeing people right now who are talking about this idea that collaboration happens more in that individual space. And what I’ve been probably the most disheartened by or probably disappointed in in technology and companies is that the companies are not adapting. And I’m going to start calling those companies the old guard. Some of them are large technology companies. And what I’m going to say to you is that these new companies that are being born out of artificial intelligence are coming for you. The idea that your people can’t work remotely because you don’t feel like you can monitor or check their productivity levels, or you feel like productivity is way off… I think you’re missing vast opportunities here. And this is not to lecture. It’s not about that. It’s that the way you’re doing things is very much wed to a very old time. I feel kind of like it’s going to geo cities right now and saying, man, that’s the height of a web page in 2023.


[00:08:13.220] – David Maples

Some of you will get that reference. Some of you won’t. If you don’t go Google it or ask your chat GPT about it, you’ll probably get a laugh. But the point about it is that there’s a lot of technology that’s coming out. And I know a lot of people have criticized Zuckerberg with Facebook, etc, about how, Oh, the metaverse, he spent all this money on this. That’s coming. That is coming. And it’s coming in a major way. And all the nay-sayers, she says, that’s not going to be a thing. The people said, Oh, crypto, it’s all out to sea right now. Well, Bitcoin’s valuation is coming back and so is Ethereum. And these are blockchain items that are tied into, not Bitcoin so much, but Ethereum, tied into actually powering internet transactions. That’s not going away. They’re hitting the finance exchanges now with Binance and Coinbase with all these regulations about they were trying to hide information and hide money and not comply. Is that any different than the savings and loans scandal in the late 1980s? You act like financial fraud is a new thing to have happened in these new financial devices. Do you all remember the financial meltdown in 2007 and 2008?


[00:09:26.880] – David Maples

This is not even a decade, barely a decade old now, and you’re acting like you’re surprised that people were selling items they didn’t know what they ran and then committing fraud on the massive scale. That’s human nature as far as a lot of business owners go. And the idea that people are surprised to buy these things, I find a little laughable and kind of funny. And that’s not an ego thing. It’s really interesting. We have a very, very short finite memory. I know we’ve entered the age of the 24 hours news cycle, but the idea, there’s nothing new under the sun. These are just literally shell games that are being played on a different stage. I find it very interesting that a lot of these companies are not choosing to adopt this technology. They’re not choosing to double down on this technology. They’re going back to the way that things were before. And I think that is a very dangerous way to be. I could be wrong about this. I could be completely wrong. The metaverse, crypto, and these other things are not going to be part of the future.


[00:10:39.630] – David Maples

I predicted the financial meltdown back in 2006 and 2007 before it happened. I wasn’t alone in that. I didn’t make the money I probably should have, but I definitely knew it was coming. And you should understand that things really shouldn’t be black and white. Things in life are much more nuanced than that. And a lot of things are in shades of gray. And so why am I talking about this at the end of season two, reflecting upon where we’ve been? We live in a world of exponential change. And I’ve said this before, and I will continue to say it again, and it’s changing faster than even I would have predicted six months ago. Technology is changing. Within the next decade, we could possibly see, and this has been predicted for the past, they’ve said for the past 50 years that nuclear fusion was only 10 years away, but we had a net power gain. And there’s some nuanced things in that reporting. There totally are. It’s not just it’s a double net power gain, etc. Versus inputs. It was also using 1980 solid state lasers technology, which are efficient only at 120th of the level of modern laser technology. So there’s a lot of things in that report that are not what you talked about.


[00:11:59.570] – David Maples

But what you could see within the next decade is nuclear fusion. You could see quantum computing, which could, in theory, make the fastest super computers on the world today look like children sitting at the knees of their parents in just 24 to 36 months. You’re going to see artificial intelligence, and you might see artificial generalized intelligence. If that’s actually achievable and possible, that could be coming in the next 24 months. And that changes everything. And there’s no bright enough line. There’s no thick enough black magic marker. I can underline this with a thousand times. I can’t ride it across the sky with an airplane and make this big enough for people to sit up and listen to. What you have to understand is that technology is changing and it’s changing in a faster pace than ever before. And if you are not willing to adopt to this, you will not be here. And artificial intelligence is part of it. Native technology will continue to accelerate. If artificial generalized intelligence becomes a reality, you will start seeing drug research happen at a faster rate than ever before. You’re going to see legislation and technology and governments ctumble and no longer be here because they could not adapt.


[00:13:26.230] – David Maples

We need major oversight on these technologies. We need people in the halls of power to understand the thing they’re trying to harness. And you need to be careful that you don’t fly too high to the sky and burn, or you don’t fly too low to the sea and have the spray destroy your wings is the Icarus and Daedalus stories that goes back to Greek myth. You have to understand that this is a very different world that we’re inhabiting and that our children will continue to inherit. So the question is, what does this mean for the podcast right now? What does this mean for me to talk to you today? I’m going to talk about what you need to do. Fossilization is the enemy of change. I’ve fallen victim to it before in the past. This brings me to the no BS portion of this segment. There is something that you have done in your business, either adopted, taken action on, or not taken action on because of something bad that happened to you, some trauma that happened to you in your company. It could have been a bad employee. It could have been a series of bad employees.


[00:14:45.080] – David Maples

It could be bad investments that you invested in. And because of that, you have changed your way of operating moving forward. My friend, you need to make that bad luggage that you leave at the curb. It is not helping you. People talk about trauma from their childhoods. They carry with them until they’re 30, and they finally see a therapist. They’re like, Oh, gosh. So these coping mechanisms I learned when I were 12 because X, Y, Z happened to me don’t work for me anymore. Yeah, no shit, Sherlock, they don’t. And if you’re honest with yourself, they don’t work for your business either. Because you had a bad experience with a set of employees. You had a bad hand dealt to you. You had a natural disaster. My company is from Louisiana in the United States of America. We have suffered through no less than three or four major natural disasters in the past decade. That is very difficult. If we had not learned from the second and third of those, we would not have made it through the fourth. It is time for you to really do a lot of spring cleaning to clean out the stuff in your attic.


[00:15:53.630] – David Maples

Look at the baggage you’re carrying along. Look at the things you’re doing. You’ll see stuff about this all the time. People talk about, We only hire people with college degrees. How’s that working for you? You’ve heard people talk about tearing the paper ceiling, the idea that you need a degree. People can be trained through alternative means. That’s important. If it’s not something that helps move your people forward, then why is it a criteria? I understand it’s a thing to help filter out all the chaff. You create rules and regulations and things like that because they help you keep from doing the following things. Rules are made to be bent, and if the rule doesn’t work, you should break it. So what I’m telling you right now is I want you to look at the things you’re doing in your business. I want you to line them up into things that we’ve been doing that have worked for us. And I want you to look at those and say, Okay, where did those come from? Why have they work for you? Historically, what have you been doing with those things? Where did they come from? I’ve had business owners to work with, and I said, Why do you do that?


[00:16:59.410] – David Maples

And they said, Oh, my daughter suggested that 10 years ago, and we thought it was a really cool idea. All right, where’s your daughter now? Is she involved in the company? Oh, she was eight. And that’s sweet. I think that’s really sentimental. But if it’s not signing the checks, then maybe it shouldn’t be involved in your business. Sentimentality is great. It’s also a very human notion. But if it doesn’t work for you, don’t keep something around just because it’s old. If it makes you look dated and old, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in your business. If it’s because the way you’ve always done it, or you’ve always had people with computer science degrees, Google, I’m looking at you, I understand you didn’t want to put people in the management until they did things. That’s why they lost a ton of those engineers and stuff to other companies. Is that working for you? Does that serve you? Or is it because you have so many applications coming in? That’s an easier way to filter it. And look, be honest with yourself. Don’t bullshit yourself about it. If you’ve got a set of rules that you put in place because you’re too tired to go through a thousand resumes, cool, admit it to yourself and move on.


[00:18:07.800] – David Maples

But is there another way you could filter through those in a different way? Is there some way you could find out how that would work? Why don’t you give bonuses to your employees if they help you find a new employee that comes in the door? We’ve never done that before. Why the hell not? Why have you never done that before? You could turn your organization into a recruiting tool for you. Is there some reason why you haven’t done that? How much does an average employee cost you to replace? That’s just off the top of my head. There’s a lot of these things. So if there’s a technology you use, time to clean out the closet. Go look at the things you’re spending money on. This doesn’t mean just to analyze your accountant and your insurance company, everything else. Those are important things, too. Why do you use this? We’ve always used this company. Is there a relationship there? If there is, then you keep it. If it’s a transactional thing just because you happen to buy that because you saw it on the back of a bumper sticker one day, then maybe you don’t do that.


[00:19:09.160] – David Maples

You need to be very honest with challenging your assumptions. This podcast has grown out of hundreds of hours of consulting I’ve done over the past several years. It’s the result of a lot of things that we’ve learned. Somebody asked us how we got to be so smart at my company at Catapult. I said, we made every damn mistake under the sun, but we learn from them. At Catapult, we like to say that we build champions because champions either win or they learn. They don’t ever lose. And I believe that’s a very good thing for us in life. It’s a good motto to have. It’s okay to lose. There’s a line in one of the Indiana Jones movies. I think it’s Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail. And this guy who gives Indiana Jones his hat, and I know this is fiction, but some of the best lessons in life can be illustrated through movies and books. And this guy looks down at Indiana Jones, he says, You lost it, kid. That doesn’t mean you have to like it. I think that’s a very valuable thing because failure is one of the best teachers in life.


[00:20:14.760] – David Maples

You may not always remember how you made it and how you were victorious or accomplish something big, but I guarantee you those lessons that you have learned through the “School of Hard Knocks” are things that have informed the decisions you’re making moving forward. So what I’m going to challenge you to do today is to change your perspective. Get some feedback from someone else you trust. Ask your own team what you should start, stop, or continue doing. It’s a very simple exercise. Think about things we’ve done since the pandemic. What are things that you guys think we should start doing now that we haven’t been doing? What are things we should stop doing that we have been doing? And what are things we should continue doing, things that really make us do those things? If you have those pillars or those planks in your company that are sacrosanct and are not negotiable, analyze where those business planks came from. Is it a core value and belief of what you do? I fundamentally, at the companies I’ve worked with and the people I advise, I only want to work with people who want to make the world a better place than they found it.


[00:21:32.650] – David Maples

If your only object is money, I’m not interested in consulting you. I’ve made people millions and millions of dollars. I don’t want to work with those people. This is not about me, but that is a core value for me, and that is a nonnegotiable. I’ve had the blank check offered to me and I’ve turned it down. That being said, your values that you have at your company only have value if they’ve cost you something, either personally or professionally. I think that if you have those blanks, you hold tight to them. They’re very important. But I think that everything else you do in your business, every single thing else you do in your business is challengeable and assailable. And I think you should challenge them on a regular basis. Because here’s the thing, the world is going to change whether you do or not. And if you don’t analyze what you’re doing in your business and how you got here, you won’t be here tomorrow, or you won’t be competitive in the way you were. And history is littered with the carcasses of businesses that didn’t survive because they did things the way they were. I ask people a lot of times, did you know that…


[00:22:46.310] – David Maples

What does Intel make? People are like, oh, microprocessors. I was like, they started out as a memory company. Most people have never, ever heard of that or thought about that. They have no idea. That’s a company that survived. If you want to read a great book, Andy Grove, Only the Paranoid Survived. I think that’s a great book for a CEO or a business owner living in changing times and understanding how things work and how things move. And I will highly recommend that to anyone out there. But I think at the end of the day, the point of this podcast is reflection. And as I said, it’s that tyranny of inertia that keeps you from taking new action because you’re moving in a certain direction. Even if you’re in flight towards the target, you can tweak your angle and get closer to the bull’s eye. And I think at the end of the day, that’s where we all want to be. We all want to land in a place of bountiful existence where our people who work with us and our families that we provide for have a better future and a better brighter tomorrow because we were actually thinking about things while we were in flight.


[00:23:59.500] – David Maples

So your takeaways for this episode of The Buck Stops Here are it’s time for reflection in this world of change. The first thing I want you to look at is your core values that you have in your company. Before you get into analyzing what you’re doing, analyze those first. Decide which of those core values work for you, which one are truly core that your business is operating. And when I say that core, I mean, you can’t do without them. This is not about 32 guide posts or anything else. This is the five to seven single words that you can identify and that the people on your teams can explain to other people of why you do what you do. Then the second thing you should do is you should analyze all the technology and all the different things you use in your technology stack and your business service stack and look at every one of those and say, does this line up with our core values? Do these companies align with ours? Because I guarantee you if they do align with yours, you’re on the same journey together. You’re more likely to get there. And I think I would challenge all the things on there.


[00:25:02.100] – David Maples

I think you would have to come up with a pros and cons list. And it’s very basic. You guys have probably done it since you were kids. What are the pros for this? What are the cons? You need to stack up what lines up in each side, and you’re going to find there’s some cost savings in there, probably. And there’s some things you probably need to invest more money in, the things that work really well for you and score them. Give them a score on one to five on each one of these things. Like how important are these for our business, successful ideas? And I think the last thing I would do is challenge your assumptions about the industry and the way things are moving. Reflection is not just about where you’ve been, it’s about what the market looks like. And I’m telling you, as you enter this land of change over the next two or three years, you’re going to see a lot of things change in the landscape for any company you’re in. From a technology standpoint, how you use social media, how any of these things work, you’re going to see that there’s a very a vast landscape in front of you and things are changing.


[00:26:05.280] – David Maples

Now ask yourself, if you’ve adopted fully, like remote work or things you adopted in the pandemic, my company, I’d be glad to share that with some of you guys privately if you’d like to talk about that, we have a very elaborate and very powerful technology stack that has made working from home much more successful than I’d probably say 95 % of the companies out there. We worked hard on this. We worked hard and we were deliberate about this. We got rid of three office spaces that we didn’t go to for three years. And that was a very hard decision. It was a very hard decision. But I think we’re a stronger company and we’re better because of it moving forward. And I think you would look very hard at the lessons you’ve learned in the past three years. Don’t discard them and they’ll go back to the status quo. Think about how that can help you have a competitive edge in this new world you’re moving forward into. So with that, I’m closing out season two. I’m excited about seeing you guys in a couple of weeks for season three. We’re going to be upping the ante again with some new things, some new interviews and stuff moving forward.


[00:27:10.600] – David Maples

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