The Profile: The CEO who wants to bank more billionaires & the founder spending $100M to cure a rare disease
This edition of The Profile features Chip Wilson, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Ralph Hamers, and others.
Good morning, friends!
I recently interviewed Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich. I really enjoyed our conversation, and he said many insightful things that you can apply to your own life. But there was one particularly interesting concept that I’m thinking about implementing myself.
In his book, Know What Matters, Shaich writes:
“I cannot tell you whether there is a judgement day ‘up there.’ But after watching my father during his last few months, I can tell you this: there is one down here, if we have time to face it. Barring sudden death or mental incapacitation, the impending final deadline forces each of us to judge the life we have lived.”
But rather than waiting until we’re on our deathbed to conduct this “ultimate performance review,” Shaich proposes doing a “pre-mortem.” This mental simulation helps you imagine yourself in your old age, looking back at your life.
He offers the following sample questions: “Have I lived my life with a sense of integrity? Have I done everything in my power to be a good father to my children, a good husband to my wife, a good steward of my businesses and assets, and a person who has left a positive impact on the world? Have I honored my body and soul?”
If you’re not living up to your expectations, you can act and change your habits today. I recently did this and combined it with David Goggins’ principle of “the accountability mirror.”
When Goggins decided to become a Navy SEAL, he looked at his reflection in the mirror and said, "You’re fat, you’re lazy, and you’re a liar. What are you going to do about it?”
This sounds harsh, but Goggins says that he needed to face the insecurities life gave him head on in order to overcome them. He created something he called the “Accountability Mirror.”
He pasted sticky notes around the outside of the mirror outlining the practical steps he needed to take to achieve his goals. They would say things like, "Go one day without lying for external validation" and "Go on a 2-mile run." If you're not happy with your reflection, Goggins suggests asking yourself, "What am I going to do today to change what I see in the mirror?”
We all go through a season of self-reflection, and for me, that season happens to be right now. I’m making a lot of changes because I genuinely want to respect the person I see in the mirror 40 years from now. So the pre-mortem is an excellent way to ask, “Am I doing the things today that my future self would be proud of?”
ICYMI: In our conversation, Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich and I discuss how to build iconic brands, why ubiquity can breed contempt, and what founders should consider before taking their company public. It is a conversation filled with practical takeaways for founders and CEOs. Read it here.
— The founder spending $100M to cure a rare disease [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The CEO who wants to bank more billionaires
— The woman plagued by misconceptions
— The hospice nurse on the grace of dying
— The skincare company reinventing itself
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The founder spending $100M to cure a rare disease: Unknown to the public, throughout his long career Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has been watching his body slowly waste away from muscular dystrophy. The form of the disease Wilson has is FSHD, for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. It affects about 1 in 8,333 people, and he has the even rarer Type 2 version, which afflicts only 5% of those who have FSHD. The pharma industry has been reluctant to invest in finding a cure, as there aren’t enough patients to justify the cost. So last year, Wilson announced he would invest $100 million of his own money to do it. For the estimated 870,000 patients worldwide who share Wilson’s diagnosis, the initiative has brought new hope. (Bloomberg; complimentary link provided but reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“I have the right amount of money at the right time. And I’m willing to take the risks.”
The CEO who wants to bank more billionaires: In March, UBS agreed to buy Credit Suisse for $3.8 billion. It was also evident that the CEO of UBS at the time, Ralph Hamers was not the man for the job. Two weeks later, Sergio Ermotti was in a temporary office at UBS’s headquarters in Zurich, getting ready for his second term running the bank after giving up his role as chairman of reinsurer Swiss Re. His strategy? Double down on wealth management and expanding in the US. Fun fact: It banks more than half the world’s billionaires. (Bloomberg; complimentary link provided but reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“In two or three years’ time, the integration will be over, and the clock resets.”
The woman plagued by misconceptions: This is a really nuanced profile of Jada Pinkett-Smith, who just released her memoir in which she answers big questions and sets the record straight on her marriage to Will Smith. Smith himself said that the memoir woke him up. “When you’ve been with someone for more than half of your life,” he wrote, “a sort of emotional blindness sets in, and you can all too easily lose your sensitivity to their hidden nuances and subtle beauties.” (The New York Times)
“Those boxes I’d been checking had not delivered the gifts that had been promised.”
The hospice nurse on the grace of dying: A decade ago, Hadley Vlahos, 31, was lost. She was searching for meaning and struggling to make ends meet while she navigated nursing school. After earning her degree, working in immediate care, she made the switch to hospice nursing and changed the path of her life. She found herself drawn to the uncanny, intense and often unexplainable emotional, physical and intellectual gray zones that come along with caring for those at the end of their lives, areas of uncertainty that she calls “the in-between.” Here’s what she thinks more people should know about death. (The New York Times)
“What is so interesting to me is that almost everyone will know exactly when it is someone’s last breath. That moment. Not one minute later.”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The skincare company reinventing itself: Glossier’s buzz was always bigger than its actual business. Now, with new chief executive officer Kyle Leahy at the helm, the onetime direct-to-consumer darling appears to be closer than ever to aligning those two factors. Glossier is reportedly on track to clock in $100 million in sales in its first year at Sephora, marking a departure from its prior strategy and adopting a more traditional retail playbook. (WWD)
“The brand is so resilient.”
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