Obscure and Interesting Memos
The best memos I've found on the Internet. If you have suggestions for the list please contact me.
"The aim should be Reports which set out the main points in a series of short, crisp paragraphs."
Javier Grillo-Marxuach (producer on Lost) on what it takes to run a television show.
See also: Javier's interview about this memo.
Written in 2011. A Google employee meant to publish internally but accidentally posted to the public. Goes into detail on how and why Google was falling behind Amazon as a platform.
An outsider wrote to the SEC multiple times explaining how Bernie Madoff's investment fund was a fraud. This one was in 2005, but he presented to the SEC as early as 1999. Madoff wasn't caught until 2008.
Elon trying to fight a war with acronymcs. I do wonder if this is the type of thing that the external world fawns at as insightful and interesting, and the internal employees roll their eyes at Yet Another Thing that will be mostly ignored.
Steve laying out what he thinks HarperCollins' options are w/r/t their ebook catalogue (this was part of a much longer negotiation with HC.)
Strategy memo written for President Carter as he went into the secret Camp David negotiations with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
What came out was the historic Camp David Accords, and Menachem and Anwar were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Over the past ten years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand."
Sam created a famous system (fans chanted "Trust The Process" at the end of losing games) but ultimately wasn't given the time to turn the corner and be with the 76s during their success.
"It’s critical to making rational decisions over the long term. We are all so tempted to simplify when something is hard to think about, simply to get it out of our mind by treating it as impossible. This goes from academic sounding to life altering in basketball team building, though. Looking at a player with an estimated 10% or 20% chance of being a star over the next three or four years can’t be written to zero—that’s about as high as those odds ever get."
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