All Podcast Episodes

#66: Redefining Beauty with Katia Beauchamp

Sri talks with entrepreneur Katia Beauchamp about what she learned about leadership (and herself!) while upending the beauty industry. Katia is the cofounder of Birchbox, which raised $90 million in venture funding and was valued at one time at half a billion dollars. Katia...

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#65: Searching for Attributes with Rich Diviney

Should you hire for skills or innate qualities? On this episode Sri interviews Rich Diviney, highly accomplished career SEAL officer and author of the book The Attributes. Rich makes the case that skills are a poor predictor of success, especially during times of stress...

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#64: Never Enough with Mike Hayes

Mike Hayes is the former commanding officer of SEAL Team TWO and the author of “Never Enough.” He was a White House Fellow and subsequently Chief Operating Officer at Ray Dalio's hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates.  He currently serves as the Chief Digital Transformation Officer...

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#63: Jump Off the Mountain with Alok Chanani

EXPLICIT EPISODE: If you have kids in the car, we hope you’ll choose another. Army combat vet and VC-backed entrepreneur Alok Chanani talks about leadership lessons from the warzone to the board room.  Alok led a critical team carrying duffle bags of cash in...

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#62: TWO KINDS OF BOREDOM (4MUW)

There are two kinds of boredom, but only one is good for you 🙂 Hat tip to Maria Popova at Brainpickings, who writes frequently about the benefits of boredom in general. Highly recommend her site! This episode is part of the 4 Minutes Underwater...

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#61: QUADROFRENETICA (4MUW)

70s rock giants The Who help Sri explain nervous energy in organizations. This episode is part of the “4 Minutes Underwater” series (4MUW). notes The rock opera Quadrophenia by the Who   (Prime Video) Album explanation  (Wikipedia) Outro: cover by Bank Street Band &...

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#60: 4MUW (RESPONSIBILITY HANGOVER)

Sri discusses how our decision-making models get outdated as we increase our experience in this second edition of our “4 Minutes Underwater” minisode series (4MUW). notes The book Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath (Amazon) Connect with Sri on Instagram: @sri_the_warrior_poet  + @sri_actually  Intro...

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#59: 4 Minutes Underwater (ELON’S SHOWER)

In this new format, Sri offers 4 minutes of musings on stoicism, abundance, and pursuing unbound upside.  notes:  Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb

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#58R: Find Your North Star

Sri and Edmund Hillary talk about the Japanese concept of Ikigai: how to figure out what to achieve & how to persevere in the face of adversity. notes Errata: Ugh, I think I said “Dorgay” instead of “Norgay.” Apologies.  Man on Wire: Amazing documentary...

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#58: Getting Naked with Will Branum

“Water boils at 212 degrees. I was at 210.” Will Branum is a former Navy SEAL who founded Naked Warrior Recovery based on his own struggles with anxiety. Sri talks with Will about veteran suicide (see charities below!) and leadership lessons from the military....

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#57R: Work the Problem

A deep dive on some of the concepts from Sri's interview with Nat Thompson on episode #57. Namely, what it means to “cultivate appropriate levels of tribalism” on your team — and examples of “work the problem” in combat and crisis.   Connect with Sri...

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#57: Nat Thompson on Growing New Leaders

Nat Thompson, Sri's longtime brother from the SEAL Teams, teaches us how to hire and develop new leaders. Plus, how to nurture a sense of team exceptionalism without becoming Colonel Kurtz. Nat's experience ranges from conducting strategic military operations in austere environments to revamping...

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UPDATE: Exciting Changes

Sri emerges from his cave and sees six early weeks of spring — plus exciting changes coming to the podcast soon. Thanks for your patience!!!

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#56: Back to Basics: What is Leadership?

Sri distinguishes leadership from, well, other things. notes Related episodes:

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#55: Purely Consensual

You can’t compete if you don’t have the best people. But interview processes are all the same these days. As a society we’ve converged on a method

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#54: Great Mistakes

Listen before you make your 2021 resolutions! Oriah’s ‘The Invitation,” tips to garden rare lettuces, and boot camp.

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#53: Focus Pocus

Focus is all the rage in self-help culture, but what does it really mean? And what does true focus entail? “Tools and techniques” of succes

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#52: The Dark Quadrant

Sri talks about a type of knowledge that is largely ignored relative to its siblings: the unknown known. Connect with Sri on Ins

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#51: Tandem Jump

Organizations tend to value displaying coordination than truly being coordinated. Operating at world-class levels demands trust,

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#50: Departures Magazine

Party in the back: Four desserts that should exist in this world | “The Pitbull Option” Business in the front: It’s tough balancing when to work on setting goals and planning vs. just executing with your head down like a bull. If you plan...

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#49: Charmonium

It is fashionable to celebrate the idea that leaders can be quiet, unassuming, and uninspiring. Sri has a different take. Connect with Sri on Instagram: @sri_the_warrior_poet + @sri_actually notes Music video for “She Don’t Use Jelly” by the Flaming Lips Jack Black sings “She...

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#48: Leader As Therapist

Management is usually obsessed with things it can measure — and rightly so. But this can go too far. One example is focusing too much on hard skills like coding, data analysis, or design skills. While these are important, they are generally learnable. Often...

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#47: Half and Half

Sri discusses an overlooked Godfather character and why companies get fat. Innovative companies get caught in a no man’s land, i.e. halfway, between innovation and collection of innovation ‘rents.’ And agile process can give the impression that true innovation is happening even though startups...

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#46: Project-Based Yearning

How a project-based focus can transform your work and life

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#45: Free Radical

This is not a political podcast. Sri’s been “clean” from politics for years. But he takes a break to explain why he’s not voting in the imminent election. Plus, curated covers of one of the best pop-rock songs of the 90s. EXPLICIT EPISODE: If...

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#44: Hunger Strike

Sri discusses what to do with your life with Charlie Munger and Temple of the Dog. Connect with Sri on Instagram: @sri_the_warrior_poet  + @sri_actually notes The Psychology of Human Misjudgment, by Charlie Munger Ayo, the author: How to Decide What to Do With Your Life ...

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#43: WALL-ME

Tired of running through brick walls? There may be a better way. Sri discusses when to exercise “tactical patience” and why WALL-E is terribly overrated. EXPLICIT EPISODE: If you have kids in the car, we hope you’ll choose another. Connect with Sri on Instagram:...

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#42: Trust the Pro-cess

How do you know when you should stop analyzing and start executing? This is a hard problem, perhaps a philosophical one. Sri takes a stab with help from Canada. 

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#41: The Happiness Factor

When you’re a midshipman at the Naval Academy, you often recalculate something called “the Happiness Factor” to encourage yourself (or torture said self, depending on the circumstances). The idea that one’s happiness is a calculable quantity somehow distinct from the self is interesting on...

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#40: The One Thing

Sri discusses the bestselling book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Plus, what serving as an altar boy has to do with building assets. 

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#39: ABC, BBD

Sri and The Gang from Always Sunny bring the ABCs of leadership back again from Motown to Philly. Keith Rabois is a highly successful startup leader, venture capitalist, and member of the Paypal mafia. Sri goes over some of Keith’s leadership lessons and compares...

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#38: Gately’s Paradox

Is it possible to choose things you want to believe even if you currently think they’re ludicrous? And then even come to actually believe them just by reciting what originally was nonsense? This is what Don Gately mulls over while in an AA session...

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#37: Burned In

“Burning in” is a euphemism for what happens when your parachute doesn’t open. In a shorter form than usual Sri muses on what carpe diem really means. 

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#36: Massive Attack

Feeling stuck? You can use the tactics for responding to an ambush to propel you in a productive direction (any direction). Sri shows you how. Plus, the interesting group Massive Attack. And what hospital show has the best theme song. Connect with Sri on...

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#35: McFly

Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies is the perfect caricature of our own gut reactions to others in life and work. Marty’s nemesis, Biff had a recurring line throughout the trilogy: “What’s a matter, McFly — are ya chicken?!” Many of...

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#34: Worthless Chorus

Why do we not listen to common sense? Do you ever “discover” lessons that Ben Franklin made catch-phrases of long ago or that your parents preached to you? Sri suggests ways to better internalize such principles.  Connect with Sri on Instagram: @sri_the_warrior_poet  + @sri_actually...

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#33: Different Strokes

Sri does what few others will by taking a dispassionate look at team diversity.  Unsurprisingly, corporate leaders are more concerned with looking good — and good intentions — than truth or nuanced approaches. The “hotness” of the topic also means that usually no one...

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#32: OK Computer

The mind is a software creation machine — that consumes its own output. Sri throws his Amazon Echo against the wall and, in a somewhat more mature state of mind, explores what features of ourselves are features vs. bugs. And gets real about high-school...

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#31: Trust Falls

To paraphrase Joe Biden: Trust is a big f-ing deal. Sri mulls over ‘servant leadership’ and explains why trust in an organization is a one-way street.

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#30: The Illusionist

Edward Norton returns to the program and helps Sri discuss his ‘five illusions of leadership.’ It is easy to feel like you’re succeeding as a leader. We all lie to ourselves, and Sri suggests five key ways that authority figures convince themselves that they...

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#29: Train Your Spotlight

Sri offers tips on training the mind’s attention on what really matters with help from Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. Mindfulness has been in the public consciousness for years, and Buddhism has been around for millenia. Sri argues that the way the mind is...

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#28: In Vino Veritas

Doc Holliday helps Sri explore truth while under the influence. 

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#27: Happy Hypoxia

You can drown without knowing it. It happens. Under the right (wrong) circumstances, a diver underwater can get less oxygen than they need and pass out — without even feeling like they are out of breath.  In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic tons...

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#26: Paleo Life — Part 2 of 2

Sri explores paleo child-rearing and a$$h**$ in the workplace. notes The Art of War by Sun TzuThe Kindle version right now is only 49 cents 🙂 (The audiobook is a mere 66 cents, but I doubt it’s possible to get the value without slowly pondering...

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#25: Paleo Life (Part 1 of 2)

What if you applied the logic of the paleo diet to your career — and life?! Connect with Sri on Instagram: @sri_the_warrior_poet  + @sri_actually notes The Alliance by Reif Hoffman, et al Article on “tours of duty” in Harvard Business Review by Reid Hoffman...

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#24: Granted — Part 2 of 2

Stop taking things for granted and come up with ideas that matter. Sri offers up his “Time Warner Cable” framework for ideation and distinguishes between “positive” and “negative” approaches to asking “why.” Plus, thoughts on another great Pixies song. This episode is a continuation...

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#23: Granted — Part 1 of 2

What are you taking for granted in your business, life, and society? The answer is most likely virtually everything even though so many are merely protocols or products of inertia.   “Transformational vision comes from transformational ideas. Transformational ideas come from radical conceptions. Radical...

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#22: Bad Boys

Sri ponders irreverence on the playing field and in the office while confusing Martin Lawrence with Martin Short. Joey Pants stays amazing. EXPLICIT EPISODE: If you have kids in the car, we hope you’ll choose another. Connect with Sri on Instagram: @sri_the_warrior_poet + @sri_actually ...

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#21: Trading in Souls

“Investing in people” makes hiring and development sound lofty and idealistic. Sri thinks the reality is more like risk-averse speculation… in souls. Sri traded commodities derivatives on Wall Street and compares/contrasts that work with recruiting candidates into your company. Hiring is rife with inefficiencies...

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#20: Teams and S—

Are you “kinda tired of getting told to throw your hands up in the air?” Sri dissects the true definition of a team with the help of Lorde. We disambiguate miselading corporate terms like “partners” and “single-threaded leader.” Team America: World Police share a...

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#19: Go

Ever feel like your stuck in your career? And what if your success or failure in a company were predestined? And what does Amway have to do with Jay Mohr? notes “All Is Not Lost – Keys n Krates Remix” by OK Go (Spotify)...

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#18: Method

Most leaders overlook operations as a part of leadership itself. Sri offers helpful tips on how to improve the operational side of your leadership via Method Man. How to write an Amazon white paper. Apocalypse Now returns.  notes Principles by Ray Dalio — controversial...

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#17: Weak

Weak leaders are more dangerous than they seem. Sri helps understand weakness and opines on whether “indie pop” is an oxymoron. AJR assists. EXPLICIT EPISODE: If you have kids in the car, we hope you’ll choose another. Connect with Sri on Instagram: @sri_the_warrior_poet and...

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#16: Message to Garcia

Sri discusses the classic leadership essay “A Message to Garcia” and how to apply it in your work. And what stealing your mom’s car has to do with Stranger Things. EXPLICIT EPISODE: If you have kids in the car, we hope you’ll choose another....

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#15: Erectus

Leadership is a skill, and it should not be assumed that career progress is measured based on whether someone leads others.  Sri discusses the origins of team leadership and promotion criteria. 

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#14: Chasing Tail

QOTSA’s “If I Had a Tail” helps Sri discuss counterfactual thinking and its relevance to leadership, business, and society. Also, how SEALs conduct debriefs, thoughts on Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the start of World War I. notes “If I Had a Tail” by Queens of...

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#13: Stretch Marks

When do stretch goals make sense? Staying humble with Kendrick Lamar and Tiny Meat Gang. Also: newborns, vanity metrics. *** notes More on how scammy Kickstarter stretch goals are (Medium) Also on Kickstarter: “One Million Stretch Goals” (WTF?) Who knew? Definition of ‘meeple’ (Wiktionary) ...

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#12: No Future Selves

Sri introduces the “No-Future-Selves Fallacy,” a tendency to overplan, with the help of British-American duo the Kills. notes ‘Future Starts Slow’ by the Kills (official video on Youtube) Chill cover of the Kills’ ‘Future Starts Slow’ by Adam Blazer (Youtube) Intro and/or outro music...

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#11: Angel of Nuance

Are you the ‘angel of nuance’ in your organization? Sri uses this loved and detested character from the Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN to inform the leader’s approach to communicating strategy and solving complex problems. notes Angel of Nuance highlights (Youtube)

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#10: Skinny-Fat Life

Sri questions whether you could be living a skinny-fat life. How would you know? Val Kilmer helps us think about cheat days. PS. “Skinny fat” is weakness masquerading as fitness. *** notes Thanks to guitarguy1985 for the great EKG sounds. 

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