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Robert (Bob) Sutton is a Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He is the co-founder of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the D School).

Bob is currently working with Huggy Rao on The Friction Project, where they focus on why companies make the right things too complicated and the wrong things too easy and what to do about it. He’s published over 200 articles in academic and popular outlets, and seven of Bob’s books have gotten accolades, including being part of the Top 100 Business Books list, New York Times Bestseller, The Wall Street Journal bestseller, and more.

His books include Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, And Total Nonsense; The Knowing-Doing Gap; Weird Ideas That Work, The No Asshole Rule, and Good, Bad Boss. He also wrote The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt and Scaling-Up Excellence.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Why Bob Sutton started the Friction Project
  • Bob discusses the challenges of “cluster fogs” and why you need to looks at hand-offs when you want to simplify things
  • Bob shares the current roadmap for his next book with Huggy Rao and what has happened faster as a result of COVID-19
  • Some examples of business friction that should be removed post-COVID-19
  • Bob talks about a lesson from Adobe on a frictionless approach to doing business and how it can help improve review systems for organizations
  • Why Bob consider Uber and Walmart an interesting case for his studies
  • Bob talks about the inception of the Institute of Design (the D School)
  • How people can go wrong with user feedback
  • Bob’s favorite stories from the book, Weird Ideas That Work
  • The best story from the No Asshole Rule book

In this episode…

Many companies are doing the opposite of what they need to do in order to scale their business. They make bad things easy and faster to do, while good things pose more challenges and are accomplished at a slower pace. Bob Sutton says that many companies make this mistake in a variety of ways, from creating friction-laden processes to spending a ton of money on billable hours while doing mundane and unproductive tasks.

So what’s the alternative approach that is making unicorns like Facebook change their perspective? How are top CEOs like Patrick Collison of Stripe accomplishing massive things that would typically take months so quickly?

Listen to this episode of the Inspired Insider podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz as he talks to Stanford professor, best selling author, and in-demand speaker, Bob Sutton, about some of the exciting things he discovered through The Friction Project. They’ll be discussing how top brands like Uber, Google, and Facebook get things done so quickly, how companies can uncomplicate the process for easy tasks, how to avoid making bad things an effortless endeavour, and more. Stay tuned.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

Books by Bob Sutton


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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz

Dr. Jeremy weisz here, Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. Some of the past interviews you can check out Founder of P90x, Founder of RX Ba, Founder of Atari. They talk about not just the ups but the downs in the journey. This interview is a little bit different. This was for the Process Breakdown Podcast that I did. It was so good that I had to release it on Inspired Insider so stay tuned. And before you get to it, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 which I co founded with my business partner, John Corcoran, what we do is a Rise25 we help b2b businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 partnerships and clients We help you run your podcast, so it generates ROI and the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at a way to give to my best relationships. A podcast for me over over the past 10 years has allowed me to profile others thought leadership and companies and give to them and have them on my podcasts and platform. So if you have questions about podcasting go to you can watch a video my business partner and I bands are like an old married couple check out Thanks. Listen to the episode.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, host of The Process Breakdown Podcast where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company and getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. You know, over the body of work if you study Bob Sutton which you should if you haven’t, the body of work that he’s put out gives exactly that you know exactly that the staff everything you need to be successful. Not everything, but a lot of things. Okay, before I introduce Bob and give them the introduction The episode is brought to you by Sweet Process. And so if you’ve had team members ask you the same questions over and over and it’s a 10th time Well, there’s probably a better solution or you haven’t done a good enough job systemising suite process is actually a software which makes it drop dead easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff. And Bob when I was talking to Owen the founder, I knew universities use it banks use it hospitals but it didn’t realize that first responder government agencies use it in life or death situation so you can use Sweet Process to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time. You can focus on growing your team and empowering them. There’s a 14 day free trial no credit card required. Go to, sweet like candy Sweet Process. I’m excited for today’s guest. Robert Sutton officially goes by Bob Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford. We co founded the Stanford technology ventures program you The Institute of Design The official the D School, right Bob, the D School and he studies leadership organizational change innovation sales well

Bob Sutton

that’s what we call it everybody calls it that.

Jeremy Weisz

I love it. And you know his current project is the friction project and he focuses on why companies make the right things too difficult the wrong things too easy and what to do about it. And he’s published over 200 articles in academic and popular outlets. seven books have gotten accolades from top 100 business books to you New York Times bestseller The Wall Street Journal bestseller on you should check out hard facts dangerous half truths and total nonsense nonsense the net the knowing doing gap, you know, he says his neglected book which everyone should go get because he released it after 911 so it didn’t get the attention deserves weird ideas that work. I personally have loved the good boss, bad boss. My personal favorite out of them Bob and the no asshole rule and the no asshole Survival Guide. And that was enough scaling up excellence. So, Bob, thank you for joining me.

Bob Sutton

right to be here. Great to talk to you, Jeremy.

Jeremy Weisz

You know, there’s so much going on in today’s world, and there’s a lot to discuss with you. But I figured we’d start with The Friction Project. And, you know, I mentioned why companies make the right things too difficult, the wrong things too easy and what to do about it. So what do you what does that mean?

Bob Sutton

So the way we got interested in this, and this is what my co author Huggy Rao, is in 2014, we published this book, Scaling-up Excellence, and that was about two elements of scaling. One is how to spread good things across networks, and organizations. And then the second one was how to grow organizations. So so that that was sort of the focus. But what we started realizing, as we were working with different organizations was as they got bigger complex things got harder and harder to do. So we got interested in sort of like your sponsor, and I mean to plug your sponsor, but sort of like your sponsor, well, what can you do to make things better? And, and then the other part we got interested in once we dug into this friction stuff is that there’s actually a whole bunch of things that organizations should make harder, like unethical behavior, like launching products before they’re ready, that can hurt people, things like that. So So we’ve been kind of futzing around with this for four or five years doing case studies and Uber writing pieces. And, and, and the main thing, the great thing about being a professor is like all these smart students. So we have our students doing case studies, and in some cases, working with organizations to reduce friction. So that’s kind of the adventure we’re on.

Jeremy Weisz

So can you give me an A, let’s talk about an example. For each what’s a couple of things that organizations should make harder, and then maybe an example of one of the case studies

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