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The Little Vehicles That Could

The Mission Newsletter, 7/3/18

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” ―Bill Watterson

Talking With Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora

Episode 47 of The Mission Daily

In this episode, we talk with Tien Tzuo, the founder and CEO of Zuora. We cover his new book, Subscribed, and how subscriptions can change business for the better. We also talk about stories from his early days at Oracle and Salesforce, and how he built a massively successful publicly traded technology company.

Listen to Episode 47 on iTunes or Google Play.

The Mission Daily is a podcast dedicated to accelerated learning and helping you become healthier, wealthier, and wiser. It is designed to help you learn — as fast as you possibly can.

The Mission Book Club

Our Next Book Pick

We are excited to announce our third book pick for The Mission Book Club! 🥁 🥁 🥁

We will be reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel! 🎉 🎉

Zero to One is widely read and talked about, but we can’t find anywhere where the most important points are discussed publicly. Plus, it’s required reading for everyone at The Mission!

Pick up a copy on Amazon, and be prepared to discuss it with us in a Facebook Live on July 16th!

(Interested in participating in The Mission Book Club? Join here!)

News That Matters


It’s old news that serotonin is the neurotransmitter in our brain that helps us feel happy and a lack of serotonin is one cause of depression. A new study revealed that serotonin may also be what’s helping us adapt to the world and changes we encounter. A lack of serotonin makes adapting harder, and scientists wanted to learn why.

They designed a study in which they taught mice a certain task, then turned the task “upside down,” and basically had the mice suddenly have to adapt to the new scenario. Normally, doing so and then excelling at the new task took about three days. But in one set of experiments, scientists blocked the serotonin-producing neurons while learning the initial task, and so when the task was reversed, the mice struggled even more. The mice that were not inhibited were able to perform the task, and even adapt to surprise scenarios better than expected.

Read the study and its results here.


How much are companies spending on marketing and advertising, and what’s the right amount? 🧐

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact number or percentage, but certain companies are putting more into it than ever before.

What was once thought to be a classic 10% line item in a budget is now much more complicated than that. In 2016, Salesforce invested 49% of their $6.67 billion in revenue toward sales and marketing, and they were rewarded big time with 24% growth over the previous year. The tech and manufacturing industries are following similar trends, although they aren’t going quite as high as 49%.

“Overall, companies are spending money on marketing because it matters to the bottom line. The amount each company spends differs according to a number of factors including business type, revenue and growth goals, but the message is clear: Unless you are Apple, spending less than 10% of your revenue isn’t going to cut it. In order to see growth, companies, especially companies in their growth phase, need to invest heavily in the mechanism that promotes, sells and creates this growth. That mechanism is marketing.”

Learn more here.


Did you know that your brain is not stationary?

New video from researchers out of Stanford University, NICHD, and Stevens Institute of Technology shows that breathing increases blood flow in the brain stem, thalamus, and cortex.

Check out the amazing video here.

Tech Trends

Little vehicles are taking over. Or at least they will be soon according to an in-depth report from CityLab.

Defined as, essentially, motorized vehicles that are not cars — think bikes, skateboards, scooters, etc. — little vehicles are becoming more ubiquitous. This is especially true in urban environments such as New York City and San Francisco, where bike sharing, and now scooter sharing, have been all the rage for a long time. If the predicted wider adoption takes place, little vehicles have the potential to solve problems including traffic and motor vehicle safety, and will make a significant dent in curbing harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Plus, when not confined to a car, users are forced to take in their surroundings and the people around them, which leads to riders feeling more connected to their cities and neighbors. As more start-ups break into the industry, big names like Uber and Lyft are doing their part to scoop them up to stay ahead of the game.

Find out more about the little vehicle revolution here.

Marketing Trends

For Verizon, it’s easy to say that you’re the most reliable network in America — that’s been their marketing strategy for years and it’s worked. But for CMO Diego Scotti, that’s not enough. Which is why he wanted to start the #humanibility campaign to show that the company has a positive impact on people’s lives. In doing that, Verizon will be able to form a more lasting and meaningful relationship with their customers. This, according to Scotti, is the way of the future in marketing.

“I have to go one step further in terms of creating a very strong connection with the consumer. I have always loved that about marketing. I always take it as a challenge to figure out how to make that connection even stronger, every step of the way.”

Scotti also believes that the future of marketing depends on the diversity of the young leaders who will be taking up the ship shortly. For this reason, Scotti and Verizon introduced the AdFellows Program to help keep diversity at the forefront of the industry. Learn more about the program and Scotti, here.

Education Trends

Personalized learning is becoming the go-to education model, according to recent reports. The idea is to give students a customized path to learning so that they can go at their own pace using content tailored to them and tech that is helpful in the process.

Many parents love it, but it raises questions about whether there is still benefit to teaching common skills and content and whether the personalized method will wind up leaving certain students behind — after all, if everyone is armed equally with the same information, then that, theoretically, should balance out the fairness in the college and job markets.

Rogers Elementary School in Texas adopted a pilot program that embraced the concept of personalized learning where the students are the drivers of their education. The results have been interesting. Many students are much more in tune with their strengths and weaknesses and show more independence. The jury is still out on whether this type of learning is truly revolutionary — a research study revealed that test results of those who participated in the personalized program scored only marginally better than those who did not. However, the autonomy gained in the environment is substantial and the benefits of that are hard to judge.

Learn more about the program here.

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The Best of What We Are Reading

“Basically, CEOs have five essential choices for deploying capital — investing in existing operations, acquiring other businesses, issuing dividends, paying down debt, or repurchasing stock — and three alternatives for raising it — tapping internal cash flow, issuing debt, or raising equity. Think of these options collectively as a tool kit. Over the long term, returns for shareholders will be determined largely by the decisions a CEO makes in choosing which tools to use (and which to avoid) among these various options. Stated simply, two companies with identical operating results and different approaches to allocating capital will derive two very different long-term outcomes for shareholders.” ―William N. Thorndike

Read: The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William N. Thorndike

Writer Spotlights

3 Mistakes Novice Investors Make That Can Be Easily Avoided by Apolo Ohno

Why “quiet your inner critic” is bad advice by Ozan Varol

The One Thing You Should Do Before Every Big Project by Bryan Collins

Our Media

The Mission is a new kind of media company. We publish stories, videos, and podcasts to help smart people get smarter. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or learn more about us here. We’d love to connect!

Custom Podcasts

The Mission helps mission-driven companies build trust and connect with customers in a new way.

We create custom podcast sponsorships for enterprise companies. To learn more about why companies like Salesforce trust us to produce results, connect with our team here.

The Little Vehicles That Could was originally published in The Mission on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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