May 15, 2024




How to lead effectively

At a glance

This edition is brought to you by Rize

Good morning to all new and old readers! Here is your Wednesday edition of Faster Than Normal, exploring one short story about a person, a company, a high-performance tool, a trend I’m watching closely, and curated media to help you build businesses, wealth, and the most important asset of all: yourself. 

If you enjoy this, feel free to forward it along to a friend or colleague who might too. First time reading? Sign up here.

Today’s edition:

> Stories: Arianna Huffington &
> High-performance: First who, then what
> Trend: The rise of digital nomadism
> Tactical: What effective leadership looks like
> 1 Question: Relationships and growth


P.S. Send me feedback on how we can improve. I respond to every email.

Stories of Excellence

Person: Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post and founder of Thrive Global, has made an indelible mark on the media landscape and the conversation around well-being. Born in Greece, Huffington's journey led her to become one of the most influential women in the world. Huffington's entrepreneurial spirit and passion for journalism culminated in the launch of The Huffington Post in 2005, which quickly became a digital media powerhouse. However, a personal wake-up call in 2007 prompted her to redefine success beyond money and power, advocating for a "third metric" that prioritizes well-being, wisdom, and giving. Today, through Thrive Global, Huffington is leading the charge in ending the stress and burnout epidemic, empowering individuals and companies to unlock their full potential.

What we can learn from Arianna Huffington:

  • On failure: "The difference between success and failure is perseverance and not giving up after one or two or three failures."

  • On intuition: "If you are not in touch with your intuition, you cannot be successful."

Read More.


In 1996, Geert-Jan Bruinsma stumbled upon a website that let him book hotel rooms online. Inspired, the Dutch entrepreneur launched from his home - with a single server under his desk. In 2000, merged with Bookings Online to form By 2005, the fast-growing startup caught the eye of Priceline Group. They acquired for $133 million and merged it with Active Hotels to create an online travel powerhouse. Under CEO Darren Huston and later Glenn Fogel, aggressively expanded, becoming the world's top platform for accommodation bookings with over 28 million listings today.

What we can learn from

  • On branding:'s catchy ads, like "Booking.yeah", use humor to build an engaging brand that stands out. Their huge ad spend has made them a household name.

  • On customer acquisition: "Google AdWords was introduced and suddenly we could place a very targeted advertisement, and we could also see exactly how much each advertisement had generated." - Founder Geert-Jan Bruinsma. mastered paid search early on to efficiently acquire customers.

  • On business model: charges hotels a commission but is free for travelers. "It's an effective approach, but in such a competitive sector, winning marketing strategies are required first and foremost to bring in the customers." By creating a marketplace that benefits both sides, they built a business model with strong network effects.

Read More.

Take care of your most valuable asset: Time tracks how you spend your time on your computer and gives you personalized insights to improve your focus and build better work habits. It tells you when to take breaks so you can recharge and avoid burnout.

I've found incredibly valuable for understanding how I use my time and identifying distractions. The break reminders keep me energized throughout the day.

Most people drastically underestimate distractions during the day—Rize gives you nowhere to hide. Reality is confronting. I challenge you to give a try and see how your time-use stacks up.

(You can use coupon code "ALEXBROGAN" for 25% off for 3 months.)


High-performance tool

First Who, Then What

Consider this: you're steering a company not by sight but by the crew you assemble. Simple. If you stack your team with the right folks—those who mesh well and ignite the engine of progress—you can navigate any route that unfolds. Leadership isn't about having all the answers about direction; it's about assembling a crew that adapts and excels, no matter the destination. Jim Collins nailed it when he said, "Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats."

Here's the stark truth—motivation and management headaches vanish when you've got the right crew. You don't need to micromanage or ignite passion; the right people already have the drive. They aren't just filling a seat; they're there to pilot the journey alongside you. As Collins explains, "The right people don’t need to be tightly managed or fired up; they will be self-motivated by the inner drive to produce the best results and to be part of creating something great."

Forget tweaking the incentive schemes. Research shows no link between how you pay your executives and the leap from good to great. It's about who, not how much. When you have leaders who pursue excellence for its own sake, no carrot or stick is needed. They're driven by a deeper commitment that Jack Welch encapsulates well: "The right people are your most important asset." Focus on who’s on the bus, because the right team members are self-propelling.

A trend I’m watching: The Rise of Digital Nomadism

The pandemic has accelerated a lifestyle shift that was already gaining traction - the rise of digital nomads. With remote work becoming the norm, an increasing number of people are embracing the freedom to work from anywhere with just a laptop and an internet connection. Reddit's r/digitalnomad community now has over 1.1 million members sharing tips and experiences.

As connectivity improves globally, more workers are untethering from offices to explore new cultures while continuing their careers. This trend is especially appealing to the tech-savvy millennial and Gen Z workforce who prioritize experiences and flexibility over traditional office-bound roles.

Potential Business Opportunities:

  • Remote work tools like collaboration apps, virtual office spaces, and productivity software tailored for digital nomads.

  • Nomad co-living spaces that provide community, amenities, and temporary housing in nomad hotspots.

  • Travel gear and apparel designed specifically for the digital nomad lifestyle.

  • Consulting services to help companies build remote work policies and engage nomadic employees.

Read More.

Tactical reads

> When you need to be a more effective leader
Lessons from Keith Rabois Essay 3: How to be an Effective Executive (Read it here)

> When planning for financial independence
Fifteen Years to Financial Independence (Read it here)

> When you need to improve your critical thinking
How to improve your Critical Thinking skills (Read it here)

> When considering sustainability
100 Million Farmers: Breakthrough Models for Financing a Sustainability Transition (Read it here)

> When understanding private equity
Primer on Private Equity (Read it here)

1 question

Think about a relationship that has significantly evolved over time. What has this change taught you about the nature of personal growth and relationships?

That’s all for today, folks. As always, please give me your feedback. Which section is your favourite? What do you want to see more or less of? Other suggestions? Please let me know.

Have a wonderful rest of week, all.


Recommendation Zone

If you’re considering building your own personal brand, starting a Newsletter, or saving time by delegating to offshore assistants, I documented my journey doing each of these as a part-time Creator. Check them out if you’re interested:

  1. Newsletter Mastery: How you can build a newsletter like Faster Than Normal.

  2. The Sovereign Creator: How you can build your personal brand on Twitter, LinkedIn, & more.

  3. The Master Delegator: How to hire, onboard, and ramp a virtual assistant as a founder, executive, or investor.

Why Faster Than Normal? Our mission is to be a friend to the ambitious, a mentor to the becoming, and a partner to the bold. We achieve this by sharing the stories, ideas, and frameworks of the world's most prolific people and companies—and how you can apply them to build businesses, wealth, and the most important asset of all: yourself.

Faster Than Normal is a ‘state' of being’ rather than an outcome. Outlier performance requires continuous, compounded improvement. We’re your partner on this journey.

Send us your feedback and help us continuously improve our content and achieve our mission. We want to hear from you and respond to everyone.

Interested in reaching Founders, Operators, and Investors like you? To become a Faster Than Normal partner, apply here.

The Faster Than Normal Newsletter

Join 70,000 others receiving timeless ideas to break from normal.

Delivered twice weekly to your inbox

Wednesday and Saturday

100% free

You're in!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We won't send spam. Unsubscribe at any time.