Can 2024 Be Our "Annus Mirabilis"? Inspiration from History's Miracle Years and Words of Wisdom to Build on


In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, and the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe began to collapse, making the year a pivotal time of political change, particularly in Europe. 1969 saw significant advancements in space exploration, with the Apollo 11 mission that put the first humans on the moon. In 1922, James Joyce published "Ulysses" and T.S. Eliot published "The Waste Land," two masterpieces that were part of a flood of transformational works of literature. Albert Einstein published four groundbreaking papers in the field of theoretical physics in 1905, fundamentally changing views on space, time, mass, and energy, and laying the groundwork for modern physics. Classical music took a significant step forward in 1791, when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed some of his most famous works, including "The Magic Flute" and the "Requiem." And in 1666, as the plague ravaged Europe, Sir Isaac Newton left Cambridge for his small hometown where he spent the year discovering revolutionary advancements in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy.

At a glance, these moments seem to have little in common. They span history and geography, science, the arts, and politics. And yet, they all have been labeled as Annus Mirabilis — miracle years defined by extraordinary achievements and significant events.

Could 2024 could be an Annus Mirabilis? There is every reason to believe it could. We enter 2024 equipped with learnings from a(nother) year of innovations created to solve globally vexing challenges. To support the possibility of a miracle year for you in 2024, we've collected 24 pieces of wisdom and guidance from our team and experts who have led change throughout history.

On people

  • Mediocre employees identify problems after the damage is done. Good employees identify problems before the damage is done. And great ones identify problems in advance and recommend thoughtful solutions without being prompted.
  • High standards that seem difficult to achieve become a habit for excellent leaders and teams.
  • Don't scrimp on key hires. The opportunity cost massively exceeds the difference in the salary asks if you get the right person in the seat.
  • A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players. —Steve Jobs
  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead
  • Great vision without great people is irrelevant. The principle is not getting the right people on the bus, it's FIRST GETTING the right people on the bus. —Jim Collins

On strategy

  • Go slow to go fast.
  • Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. —Abraham Lincoln
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast —Peter Drucker
  • Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. —Thomas Edison

On markets

  • The best friend of wealth creation is large, blue ocean markets where buyers exhibit compulsory buying habits.
  • Listen first. Try to hear between the words. That's where the real insight hides.
  • Focus is essential. Trying to target multiple segments when you are first getting started dilutes everything.  Find the segment that most closely aligns with the value your product/service brings, align everyone around that target, continue to learn, and apply those learnings when it's time to scale beyond that initial segment/target.
  • There is so much that you can do in marketing, it’s overwhelming to know what to tackle first. Identify the 3-5 core objectives that will move the needle and double-down on those. There is always time to expand your resources to tackle everything else on the list.
  • Aligning Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success is critical to driving revenue. It ensures that all teams are driving toward the same objectives and outcomes. Teams can no longer operate in silos and still have a complete view of revenue operations.

On wealth

  • If the money lasts, the fortune will follow.
  • Throughout history, the vast majority of wealth creation has come as a natural result of addressing the needs or problems of others. 
  • The only reliable predictor of future performance in private markets is consistent past performance.
  • Savings plus thoughtful diversification is the game of millionaires. Risk-taking and thoughtful concentration is the game of billionaires.
  • All the real benefits of life come from compound interest. —Naval Ravikant

On success

  • Make your mind large, your heart big, and those who advise you exemplary so you can deal with paradoxes, conflicting truths, and complexity.
  • Never allow ideology to supplant reason.
  • Failure is only a teaching tool if you allow it to be.
  • Since the dawn of human existence, innovation has been the greatest driver of wealth creation. 

Your turn. What insights and observations are you relying on to make 2024 your transformative Annus Mirabilis?

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