FASTer - Issue #146

(What is your)Single Greatest Asset Purchase 🌁

Opened in 1929, the Ambassador Bridge, stretching over the Detroit River to connect Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, has been more than a mere architectural marvel. It was the world's longest suspended central span bridge at the time of its completion and has since played a crucial role in North American trade. Handling over 10,000 commercial vehicles daily and facilitating approximately 25% of trade between Canada and the United States, the bridge stands as a testament to strategic geographical and economic significance.

Those are crazy numbers. Yet one person owned this bridge…

Manuel Moroun: Visionary or Monopolist?

Moroun’s acquisition of the Ambassador Bridge in 1979 marked a pivotal moment in both his career and the bridge's history. His tenure was characterized by significant legal and political battles, especially concerning his resistance to competing bridge projects. Despite the controversies, Moroun’s stewardship of the bridge underscores a key entrepreneurial lesson: the profound impact of a strategically chosen asset.

Expanding the Metaphor: Your Entrepreneurial 'Ambassador Bridge'

In your entrepreneurial journey, the "Ambassador Bridge" could manifest in various forms. It might be a skill that sets your venture apart, a key employee whose vision drives your business forward, a daring decision that opens new markets, or a product that redefines your industry. Identifying and nurturing this element can set the stage for significant competitive advantage and long-term success.

The Impact of Decisions and People

Remember, sometimes the most impactful asset in your arsenal could be a strategic decision – like when to pivot, invest in emerging technology, or forge a new partnership. Similarly, a team member with a unique skill set or innovative thinking can become as crucial to your business as the Ambassador Bridge has been to cross-border trade.

Moroun's story, interwoven with the legacy of the Ambassador Bridge, serves as a powerful analogy for entrepreneurs. It exemplifies that impactful assets in our professional pursuits can vary greatly – from tangible structures to intangible yet crucial elements like skills, decisions, or people. As you steer through the entrepreneurial landscape, reflect on this: What is your "Ambassador Bridge"? Identifying this could well be your stepping stone to bridging the gap between current achievements and your most ambitious entrepreneurial goals.


Doing things that don’t scale. But doing them your self to understand the problem well, followed by having the grit to stick it out and having the focus to make the right choices. This is one of the most incredible entrepreneurial stories Ive read, about how to navigate your own outcomes.

One New Thing (That you should know)

In 1988 Ivan McGuire, an experienced skydiver with 800 recorded dives jumped from the plane for his 3rd dive that day. He had his camera rig with him but completely forgot to equip a parachute rig, thus he jumped to his death from 10.000 feet. The camera footage of the fatal fall survived. Tragic, as is any loss of life. But there is a lesson in this for entrepreneurs, experience distinguishes your career but process makes sure you live long enough to tell the story.

Meaning process if done right will most days ensure that your business survives even in the hands of others(employees etc) if there is process that every one must follow. Accidents will still happen but confusing experience with process is false confidence and it always leads to tragic outcomes.

Boring Stuff That Scales

Being content. Otherwise every outcome has the chance to be backwards.

The Backwards Law, a concept that seems paradoxical at first, suggests that the more intensely we pursue certain things, like happiness or success, the more elusive they become. This happens because the pursuit often highlights what we lack, rather than what we have, creating a sense of dissatisfaction and longing.

When you focus solely on chasing happiness, for instance, you might become more aware of your current unhappiness or what you perceive as a lack of happiness. This heightened awareness of what's missing in your life can ironically lead to increased feelings of unhappiness or dissatisfaction.

Similarly, in seeking success or perfection, you may become more conscious of your shortcomings or the distance yet to travel to reach your goals. This can result in feelings of inadequacy, stress, or failure, even if you're making progress.

The key insight of the Backwards Law is that a more effective approach to achieving these goals (like happiness or success) might be to focus less on them as destinations to be reached. Instead, finding contentment in the present moment and appreciating what you already have can paradoxically lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and, ultimately, bring you closer to the very goals you stopped actively pursuing.

This concept encourages a shift in perspective: from a constant striving and dissatisfaction with the present, to an acceptance and appreciation of the now, which can ironically bring about more of the desired outcome.

The concept of the "Backwards Law" originates from Alan Watts, a British philosopher known for popularizing Eastern philosophy in the West. Watts discussed this idea in his book "The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety," published in 1951. In his work, Watts explores the paradox of how our relentless pursuit of future happiness and security often leads to increased anxiety and a reduced ability to enjoy the present moment. As entrepreneurs and technologists and founders it is critical that some times you focus on the obvious and the boring and be happy to be successful, vs striving to be successful to be happy.

What You Should Be Reading

A great read. One of the most incredible things I read was the following: If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is. —John von Neumann

Net net, read this to understand how difficult it is to make money and how easy is it to give it up by those who inherit it. Many interesting frameworks to think about your own financial decisions especially if you are down the path of an entrepreneurial journey and do not have much guidance or experience, this should give you some brilliant perspectives.

Monetize your time - at any age

By being open to learning some thing new. Especially processes that you have come to rely on.

“One of the things that [former Google CEO Eric Schmidt] talked about a lot was that at every order of magnitude, you should expect every process to break—and you should expect to have to completely reinvent it. It’s very different to deal with tens of people versus hundreds of people versus thousands of people”

One Last Thing

Building (products/services/startups) in a world of situationships.

Cleveland Clinic defines situationships as romantic entanglements where the participants haven’t established the nature of their relationship.

Sweethearts, the candy brand has entered this space. It has noted that the dating app Tinder said young singles consider the situationship to be a legitimate relationship status. Sweethearts is entering the dating world full of mixed signals and uncertainty with a sweet new candy.

The popular candy brand, known for 40 sayings on its colorful heart-shaped candy such as “Be Mine” and “Hug Me” is debuting specially designed boxes with blurry, misprinted candies that are as hard to read as Gen-Z relationships.

In a rapidly changing world, the speed at which you bring products to market is effective only if you're attuned to current trends. If you're able to quickly develop and innovate, thereby improving your results, you'll generally have a greater advantage over those who are slower to adapt and innovate.

Bonus! Thought(s) of the week

End of an era: The last Sears store in the New York metro area is closing its doors for good. At its peak, the retailer, along with Kmart, had ~3.5k US stores and 300k+ employees. Now, there are just 12 stores left.

A history lesson in how Amazon took over from Sears. A lesson in Staying power vs Building power. As entrepreneurs, we all know, most things new are some thing old. But typically done differently for better outcomes. Here is your chance to learn from the experiences around us especially this one.