Trillion Dollar Coach – Book Summary

Book Summary: Trillion Dollar Coach

By Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg & Alan Eagle

Bill Campbell.

He’s responsible for some of Silicon Valley’s biggest wins. He coached some of the world’s most important CEOs; Apple and Google wouldn’t be what they are without him. Campbell was the silent weapon in the arsenal of companies that have revolutionised the world–and he did it all for free.

Yes, you read that right.

Campbell spent the latter part of his life helping CEOs grow trillion dollar companies and wanted nothing in return.

Bill took “No stock, no cash and no bullshit” – if you wanted him to coach you and/or your team. He honestly and genuinely cared for the people around him and simply wanted to do right by them. Campbell coached both the Apple and Google boards at a time when both companies were fighting legal battles with each other. He’d built such a level of trust and integrity that no one in either company thought this was a conflict. Let that sink in for a moment.

He was the Trillion Dollar Coach and he may just be one of the most inspiring people you’ll ever read about.

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The book is an amazingly easy and digestible read, with great actionable advice readers could start implementing immediately. Written by Google CEO’s Eric Schmidt, the book is a fascinating anecdotal account of the impact that Bill Campbell had on the companies he coached. The book is brimming with stories that will make you laugh, reflect, think hard and most importantly, change the way you approach your life and work. At the end of each chapter, there is a concise summary where the key insights & habits of Bill are outlined for readers to action. 

Key advice from the book: 

  1. Start with Trip Reports: to build rapport and better relationships among team members, start team meetings with trip reports, or other types of more personal, non-business topics
  2. 5 words on a whiteboard: Have structure for 1:1s, and take the time to prepare for them, as they are the best way to help people be more effective and to grow. Prior to your team member coming into the room, write down 5 words that summarise what you need to discuss.
  3. Manage the aberrant genius: when you have a high performing but difficult team member – tolerate and even protect them, as long as their behaviour isn’t unethical or abusive and their value outweighs the toll their behaviour takes on management, colleges and teams.
  4. Only coach the coachable: the traits that make a person coachable include honesty and humility, the willingness to preserver and work hard, and a constant openness to learning. If someone is no longer coachable, they are not worth your time. 
  5. Practice free form listening: Listen to people with full and undivided attention – don’t think ahead to what you’re going to say next and ask questions to get to real issue. Make people feel that they are the only person in the world you’re listening to. 
  6. Be the evangelist for courage: believe in people more than they believe in themselves, and push them to be more courageous. Vocalise this when they seem nervous and unsure of themselves. 
  7. Full identity front and centre: people are most effective when they can be completely themselves and bring their full identity to work. If you know someone is faking it to “fit in”, take them aside and privately tell them they shouldn’t have to.
  8. Work the team and then the problem: when faced with a problem or opportunity, the first step is to ensure the right team in place and working on it and not the other way around.
  9. The percussive clap: cheer demonstrably for people and their successes, and ensure the rest of your team does this as well. 
  10. Always build communities: build communities inside and outside work. A place is much stronger when people are connected.  

Need help commercialising your startup or just curious about corporate innovation? Feel free to connect with me via LinkedInTwitterFacebook or via my blog;

Thank you for reading my post. I regularly write about productivity hacks, people management, digital & data. If you would like to read my regular posts, please click ‘Follow’. Here are some other recent articles I have written:

About: Imteaz Ahamed works in the digital space for RB. In the early 90’s at the tender age of 6, his father bought him a 386 PC for $3000, the best investment he could’ve ever made for his son. Imteaz also mentors early stage startups & entrepreneurs from all over the world and is avid fan of hackathons. He is also a StartupBus Mentor and Alumni – the most intense 72 hour startup hackathon in the world.

Meet Amy, my AI personal assistant

Colleague: “Who’s Amy? And since when did you have a PA?”


Meet Amy – she’s my AI powered meeting scheduling ninja who I simply CC on email every time I need a meeting scheduled. Let me demonstrate her magic:


Amy, who already has access to all my work (Office365) and personal (Google Suite) calendars & my contact details, reaches out to Sam with available slots in my calendar:

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 10.30.04 am.png

Sam then responds to Amy with:


Amy Responds:

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 10.45.33 am.png

Sam responds and confirm the time:

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 10.38.22 am.png

Amy then proceeds to put in the call as a meeting in both of our calendars:

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 10.46.15 am.png

Amy also acknowledges Sam’s confirmation of the meeting.

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 10.46.41 am.png

As per the above example, using Amy is a breeze. She saves me on average 4-5 emails per meeting, specifically with external people where I don’t have calendar visibility.

Pro’s: so simple and easy to use.

Con’s: I’ve been using her for over a year now. Initially she was a bit patchy, but she’s significantly improved since launch.

Pricing: there are four tiers of pricing with Amy, ranging from a free account to schedule up to 5 meetings/month all the way to enterprise level plan where you can give her own individual company account.

Thank you for reading my post. I regularly write about productivity hacks, people management, digital & data. If you would like to read my regular posts, please click ‘Follow’ and feel free to also connect via Twitter & Facebook. Here are some other recent articles I have written:

About: Imteaz Ahamed works in the digital space for RB. At the tender age of 6, in the early 90’s his father bought him a 386 PC for $3000, the best investment he could’ve ever made for his son. Imteaz also mentors early stage startups & entrepreneurs from all over the world and is avid fan of hackathons. He is also a StartupBus Conductor and Alumni – the most intense 72 hour startup hackathon in the world.

Big Data: What you need to know

The below is a transcript of the speech that at the Sharq Youth Conference  on 7th October 2017 in Istanbul Turkey.


I’m here to tell you what you need to know about the mega trend, that is big data
The value of data – is exponentially increasing, But before we talk about value of data, I want to talk about pies.

So, have a guess, at what is America’s favourite pie?

The common thought would be the Apple pie, and 5-10 years ago, you’d be right.
But guess what happens when the supermarkets decided to launch 11cm, a single serve pie?

Apple was no longer the best selling pie. Why? With a 30cm pie – because you have to share it with family and friends – apple pie is actually everyone’s second pick.

To give you background into why I’m interested in this

I work at & StartupBus

RB – is a world leader in consumer healthcare and more recently in infant nutrition

Startupbus – is the worlds most intense statup hackathon –
Where unicorns such as instacart was born
What I’m interested in: is how we bring together vast sets of data with consumers, internal business systems, media buys, external patterns and commericalise it to solve problems and unlock new revenue.

So the burning question – What’s is big Data & what makes it big?

Big data is right time business insight and decision making at Extreme Scale

In this presentation today, we are going to explore the 5 Vs of Big Data
& finally Value

But first – what are the trends that are driving us here?
1. Storage cost of data is coming down
2. CPU Cost – data processing costs are coming down
3. Number of connections to the internet & amount of data we produce going up
4. Cost of internet connectovity is going down

But let me show how I’ve grown up with these trends over the last 30 years

Back in 1993, my dad bought our first computer a 386 for $3000. The computer was running MS-DOS and there were limited Apps we could get for the computer

Fast forward 10 years – when I’m at high school, dial up internet starts to take off but LAN gaming was the big thing.

By the time I’m at univeristy – the first Iphone has launcha nd facebook starts its journey. This is also the time when cloud computing starts and we see billions of users with internet connectivity

And now.. We have whats called “ambient computing” – with billions of users, apps, sensors, devices. That’s a picture of my daughter, who regularly asks “alexa, tell me a a joke story”

So is the world we live in today

Going back to the 5 V’s – over the next few slides we are going to go over what each one of these mean

A common iPhone holds 128GB of data, back in 1992 we weren’t even producing that much data per day.  Versus now, we’re producing 400 iphones worth of data a second

So in 2017, every minute of the day – the amount of data we’re creating on this planet is mind blowing.. And it continuous to grow day on day, hour on hour.

Every minute we send over 500k snapchats.. Half of which is likely to be out gulf countries… 3.6m google searches & the weather channel is processing 18m data requests


Refers to the speed at which data is created, processed, stored and analysed. Modern cars have over 100 sensors monitoring everything from fuel usage, to engine wear. I’m not even going into self driving cars which have even more systems running on them

But to put this into perspective, there over 18 billion network connections today to the internet 2.5 / per living human being today – and this number continues to grow.

We’re foing to spend some time discussing this different types of data, be it text, audio, video, sensor data, click streams, log files.

2 types of data – structured vs. unstructured data

Structured data = when we have a common & identifiable marker to tell us what it is.

Exampe – when you fill in an online form, first name, last name email – are fields from we can understand your inputs

Unstructured data – is things that aren’t so easy to classify. E.g. social posts, videos, images

Just note that 90% of the data is currently unstructured, which is by we need all this tech to decipher and make sense of it/ What I’m trying to understand in my job – is almost everything about the customer that buys my products. With the intention of serving them better and selling them more of my products

Which is the uncertainty we have with data quality and integrity. Say you’re an ecommerce company and you have list of 1m email addresses for people who like your brand but you only ship products inside Europe, and 90% of your emails subscribers are from outside EU that email wont have a high sales/conversion rate = but does that mean email doesn’t work?

Finally on value
Let me remind of the world we live in today
Uber has no taxi
Airbnb no real estate
Facebook – makes no content
Alibaba – has no inventory

So what can we do?

The previous slides show you that theres a lot of possibilities and opportunities to do with data. I’m personally interested in healthcare & marketing technologies behind that
But also think that Agriculture & manufacturing will be massively impacted – as we see population growth and climate change impacting more of our world

So what should you do?

This is a chart showing you how to become a data scientist – which is a combination of Computer science, mathematics and Domain expertise.

Not everyone can be a data scientist, but there is nothing stopping you from understanding the data points in your field of work. Which is what we’re going to explore at the big data workshop

Which leads me to my final thought

Big data’s power does not erase the need for Vision and Insight – we still need very smart people to continue being very smart people in each of your fields

The data created every minute of the internet: 2017

Only 3.7 billion of the world’s 7.5 billion people are online. Many of the 3.7 billion people are only relatively connected via low-speed mobile networks. We have barely even started the massive data explosion that augmented reality will bring into our lives via video and data that is enhanced, edited, and filtered for information and entertainment.

Expect these numbers to continue to grow 10X over the 3-5 years.


StartupBus Europe’16 – Washup.

I had the privilege of being a mentor on the Belgium bus at this year’s Startupbus Europe that wrapped at the Pirate Summit in Cologne on 7th September 2016 and wanted to share some thoughts, learnings and recommendations.

For those who have no idea of what StartupBus is, please view this video:


This post is in two parts, the first section is more specific to tech & platform focus of the ideas at StartupBus Europe and the second part is advice for participants of open hackathons (an open hackathon is where participants are not limited to a building something for a specific industry or corporate interest).

Part 1: General observations on tech & platform focus at StartupBus Europe 2016

  • AR/VR: 4 months ago mass adoption of augmented reality seemed like it was years away..then Pokemon Go happened. The developer community in this space is growing rapidly and was apparent wit the 3 out of the 22 StartupBus Europe teams being being in AR/VR.
  • Chat Bots: are coming faster than we think. Two teams built functioning chat bots that were live on Facebook messenger by demo day (in 72 hours). User adoption of chat bots will be accelerated as the they become more intelligent with more use over time. Mary Meeker’s latest Internet Trend Report points out that most Gen Y would prefer customer service interactions with brands over chat versus phone – which does not surprise me given that they were the generation that grew up with MSN messenger & SMS.
  • Starting day one as a platform: instead of creating apps to serve direct users, creating platforms for other entities to use at scale certainly has its commercial & scale benefits. The winning team, Trustful Voting, which enables secure voting using blockchain & NFC technologies is perfect example of how the team demonstrated a use case for their tech (voting for political elections) but also showed how their tech and business was built for multiple applications across industries. Similarly, another team AudioBeacon, which enables users to place audio pins on Google Maps demonstrated a use case for their tech for the visually impaired, but also showed how commercial partners were extremely interested in licensing their tech for other uses (travel & entertainment industries specifically)

Part 2: Advice for Open Hackathon Participants (not limited to StartupBus participants)

Please do: 

  • Gain understanding of a P&L: We have a clear gap in startup ecosystem where very few founders (and hustlers) understand the elements of the P&L and the impacts it has on profitably & likeliness to scale.
  • Understanding cash flow: not understanding cash flow is the number one reason new businesses fail. If you’re serious about taking your hackathon idea to being a real startup, know your numbers. This will only impress future partners and give you confidence in understanding your business.
  • I would rather see a Startup bootstrapping and breaking even, rather than someone who is burning cash to acquire one off/short term customers. No denying this is very difficult to do from day one, but specifically if you’re a first time founder – get to know your numbers better than anyone else in your team.
  • Protip: if you ever get the chance: work in the commercial function of a hyper growth startup or large company where you own the numbers, right down to margin/operating profit.
  • Gain Dev Knowledge (non tech participants): learn the core platforms, what they do, why they do it etc. Protip: Always ask your hacker friends what they code in and what they do with it & like about it. Nod and pretend to understand. Then ask why they feel its important 😃
  • Learn to draw: communicating complexity through wireframes at hacks is 100x faster than explaining your idea to your hacker/wider team
  • Differentiate, specifically with marketplace startup ideas: creating a niche marketplace is frequent idea choice at the moment: but very few teams explain their acquisition & differentiation strategy.
  • Key question to answer is “What makes you 10x better than the incumbent market leader?”
  • “Build and they will come” mentality does not work in spaces that are already cluttered with competitors.

Please stop relying on: 

  • One partner’s API (or data source) for your USP: Most tech startups can be summarised in the following way:
    • Inputs – what data goes into your app/service
    • Processing – what does your app/service do with it
    • Outputs – what recommendations/suggestions/decisions does your app/service provides
  • If your startup relies solely on one entity’s API for your idea (specifically if that entity is a private one) you’re kinda at their mercy… try public APIs where possible and/or unlock value by mixing multiple points of data to come up with the solution to the problem you’re trying to solve.
  • Affiliate marketing programs for your only source of revenue. Warren Buffet advises “Never depend on a single source of income”. Always think about the value adds (the surprise and delight moments) you can provide your users & how you can monetise them.
  • “Selling the data” as a source of revenue from day one (unless you have people on the team who’ve commercialised data previously). Given the privacy laws in most western markets this is really hard to do in the beginning and you really only make money from this once your startup is acquired (think Dollar Shave Club & Unilever). Turning Data into information/insights isn’t as easy as extracting numbers onto an spreadsheet and giving it to a client to make decisions from it 😃

Need help commercialising your startup or just curious about corporate innovation? Feel free to connect via LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook.


Do you even [bench]? My new favourite online meeting platform.

Move over Hangouts, Skype for Business,, Webex… there’s a new player in town and boy does it rock. I’ve been using it for the past few days with 5 different remotely located teams and have found it to be the best online meeting platform I’ve used to date.

Collaborating online or via teleconference is always a painful process. So much time is wasted in:

  • dailling in… who ever saves those numbers into contacts anyways?
  • entering the *correct* pin code,  which I always seem to stuff up (especially under pressure.. coz I’m usually the last one onto the call)
    • iPhones aren’t easy to navigate during a call, specifically for muting/unmuting as you have to switch screens
  • finding out that the software isn’t installed/compatible with your browser/laptop
  • lagging/freezing frames during screen sharing / presentations – even when you have excellent wifi.

Enter [bench]. The UI (user interface) is so simple that even the oldies get it, faster than they got Slack.

Think of a [bench] as a shared work space, like a physical meeting table. You put all the things you want to discuss on the [bench], and during the meeting you all see together, point/click together, type/work together, draw together, and most importantly: effectively collaborate together. The best thing is, the [bench] is saved when you conclude your meeting, meaning that all parties  have access to everything you discussed when you next catch up.

On each [bench] you can collaborate via:

  • Notes – example use case: typing up the meeting agenda prior to the meeting & actions whilst you’re all discussing them (and everyone sees them in REAL TIME!)
  • Whiteboard – example use case: giving feedback on a piece of creative, highlighting and drawing over it
  • Screenshare
    • A single Screenshot
    • Your whole desktop or a single Chrome tab
  • Folder – you can store the files you want to discuss straight onto here.

You sign up (you can try it without signing up), create a [bench], get the secret meeting link and share it with your meeting attendees. That simple!
Using it for the first time:

  • your attendees will feel a little weird seeing multiple cursors flying around the screen, but then… the ‘aha’ moment will come!
  • you need to install the [bench] chrome extension to enable desktop screen sharing, which is very light and takes a few seconds
  • get everyone part of the meeting to connect individually, that way their name and inputs are seen and included
  • can be used on tablet via Chrome
  • you’ll be blown away at the audio quality, the speed andresponsiveness in which the cursors and elements within the [bench] move. It’s like they’ve implemented lossless compression! (couldn’t resist the PiedPiper/Silicon Valley reference).


  • Doesn’t work on mobile as yet, but surely this would be on the road map
  • Big meetings: the biggest meeting I used it for had 4 people – so not sure how effective it would be for a meeting with more than 5 people. That said, too many people on a conference call/online meeting is ineffective anyway (with the exception being if the communication is meant to be going one way)
  • Office integration: you can’t open .docxs or .pptxs within the [bench], the file downloads onto your machine to open it up. I assume this is difficult to build in at launch, specifically if the people aren’t working in the same cloud environment (Microsoft vs. Google)
  • This isn’t technically a limitation but… [bench] works only on Chrome or Firefox; anyone still having to use Internet Explorer for work, tell your IT department to get out of the nineties…


  • Free individual account for up to 3 benches
  • $9.95/month per team member for up to 25 benches


The team at [bench] has solved a real problem that many professionals and freelancers face on a daily basis and definitely worth immediately switching over to from existing services. There are still elements the team needs to add in and continue to work on, but the audio and visual quality is far superior to anything I’ve witnessed to date.

Thank you for reading my post. I regularly write about productivity hacks, people management, digital & data. If you would like to read my regular posts, please click ‘Follow’ and feel free to also connect via Twitter & Facebook. Here are some other recent articles I have written:

About: Imteaz Ahamed works in the digital space for RB. At the tender age of 6, in the early 90’s his father bought him a 386 PC for $3000, the best investment he could’ve ever made for his son. Imteaz also mentors early stage startups & entrepreneurs from all over the world and is avid fan of hackathons. He is also aStartupBus Conductor and Alumni – the most intense 72 hour startup hackathon in the world.