Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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Richard Branson: 'I don't believe that retirement should be the goal'

Richard Branson: 'I don't believe that retirement should be the goal' | Competitive Edge |

Since leaving school at age 16 to start his first business, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has overseen hundreds of companies and accumulated a fortune of approximately $5 billion. Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

"I've never thought [of] work as work and play as play; to me, it's all living and learning. The way I see it, life is all about striving and growing. I never want to have made it; I want to continue making it!" Richard Branson

THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*'s curator insight, September 12, 12:34 AM

"Too many people live to retire and therefore cheat themselves out of an exciting existence."

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To Achieve Your Goals You Must Become Attractive On the Inside

To Achieve Your Goals You Must Become Attractive On the Inside | Competitive Edge |
Your success is always parallel to your level of personal development. Thankfully, we can always grow.

Half of this year is gone. Have you reached 50 percent of your goals? 

If one of your goals is to be successful -- in any area of your life or career -- before 2016 comes to an end, the one thing you must to do is to become an attractive person. I'm not talking about external attractiveness, but rather the internal kind. As the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Success is something you attract by the person you become.” 

If you want success and all that it brings, you have to become a better, more attractive person. Period. “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development,” Rohn once said. The personal development he referred to can be knowledge, experience, mindset or beliefs.

You become attractive by developing yourself into the person you know you need to be in order to attract, create and sustain the level of success you want in your life. Well, how in the world do you do that? I'm glad you asked. To read more: click image or title.


FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Dave...I downloaded your business plan template...It is great!!!...My tax consultants say your plan is amazing. Thanks Dave!!!

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article. Understand this and you have found the way to success.

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7 Rock Star Female Founders Share Their Best Startup Advice

7 Rock Star Female Founders Share Their Best Startup Advice | Competitive Edge |

Seven successful women share hard-won advice for staying the course.

There's proof in the data. According to Bloomberg and research by Lesa Mitchell and Professor Vivek Wadhwa, women-led high-tech startups are more capital efficient, achieve 35 percent higher return on investment, and generate 12 percent higher revenue than male-owned companies when venture-backed. Despite these facts, women receive less venture funding and hold fewer C-level positions and fewer partner seats at VCs than men.

This is changing for the better. From Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) to Sophia Amarosa (Founder of NastyGal), women are leading and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs and leaders. My grandmother was a ceiling-buster at GE and became one of the first women managers at the iconic company. My mother blazed a trail for women during her career in technology and telecommunication. They've inspired me to follow in their footsteps and contribute to the voice for gender equality by celebrating and highlighting highly successful female founders, CEOs and investors.

I have interviewed six all-star female entrepreneurs to learn how they achieved their success and share valuable advice. The key takeaways are as follows. Read more: click image or title.



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Via Alldens Lane
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

There is power in #data. #Women led startups perform better.

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Just 3 Characteristics Separate Successful Entrepreneurs From the Failures

Just 3 Characteristics Separate Successful Entrepreneurs From the Failures | Competitive Edge |
A great idea doesn't mean a whole lot in the world of business with hard work, patience and open-mindedness.


Let me share a story with you that my friend and mentor Joe Polish, shared with me when I was first getting started out.

Joe started out in the carpet cleaning business and it was failing miserably. He was dead broke and living off his credit cards and then something happened that changed the course of his future. One of his friends from high school invited him on a boating trip where his dad, a multimillionaire real estate investor would be coming along. Joe thought he might be able to pick his friend’s dad’s brain. So he asked him, "What business would you suggest I go into where I could make a lot of money and turn my situation around?"

So the real estate investor responded and asked, "Are there people in your industry making money?"

Joe replied, “Yes” and the real estate investor responded by saying, “Then there is nothing wrong with your business. There is something wrong with you.”

After that conversation Joe buckled down and turned around his business, went on to make millions in the carpet cleaning industry and started one of the highest level masterminds in the world for direct marketers, called Genius Network. Read more: click image or title.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great article. What makes the difference between #success and #failure?

Friilance's curator insight, April 28, 5:42 PM

Just 3 Characteristics Separate Successful Entrepreneurs From the Failures

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Entrepreneurs On How They Handle Stress To Stay Focused On Success

Entrepreneurs On How They Handle Stress To Stay Focused On Success | Competitive Edge |

In this second column of a series, five more entrepreneurs chime in on how they manage the daily stress and what they think is the biggest misconception about entrepreneurship.

Ah, that emotional roller-coaster that is entrepreneurship--when you ask the question on "how do you manage it"- even the busiest entrepreneur has an answer. As I noted in a prior post, I decided to reach out to a variety of entrepreneurs (tech, established, funded, bootstrapped, local and global) how they deal with a particularly stressful days (which can be endless). Stress comes in an endless stream of forms--whether it is the stress which can arise from the drama of scaling a business or expanding into a new market or the stress which arises from juggling family commitments with the needs of a growing venture (and investor expectations).

My five questions must have hit a nerve, as Deborah Jackson, founder of (and my former business partner in a prior startup venture) fired back her responses in record time:

  1. Talk to husband, daughters or friends.
  2. Don't quit
  3. They succeed.
  4. Just get out there and learn and iterate. There is no straight line to success.
  5. Talk to someone who has started a company. Talk to a founder that did not succeed. If you do not have sufficient passion, conviction or an idea for something we actually need in the world, don't be the founder. Join a startup in another position instead to learn some skills and insights. Don't do something trivial. It is the same work to do something that matters.

Below you'll discover the answers from four more entrepreneurs on how they deal with stress, to their secrets to pushing forward to startup success and oh, those massive misconceptions of entrepreneurship. Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How do you #cope with #stress ?

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Thoughts on building weatherproof companies — Software Is Eating the World

Thoughts on building weatherproof companies - Software Is Eating the World - Medium

The best founder/CEOs want to build long-lasting, strong companies. But this isn’t just a want, it’s necessary— especially today as companies stay private longer.

CEOs who expect their companies to be acquired as a “quick exit” aren’t going to have it easy. It’s especially hard for those CEOs and advisors who never had to learn how to build a full-fledged, well-governed company — with sustainable sales, marketing, HR, legal, customer support, accounting, and finance — without losing their sense of urgency. They “simply” needed to build a winning product, merge with a larger company, and then let others take care of the rest.

This is both tough and good news for today’s founders/CEOs.

The good news: You have a bigger opportunity than ever before to build a long-lasting, fundamentally important technology company.

The tough news: To do so, you must grow — personally and professionally — to a higher level than you might have experienced in your life before. Doing so means committing to building a company that can go “all the way” on its own.

Below, I share some things I learned on my own journey here. When I ran SuccessFactors, we used to say “we’re building the company like Lambeau Field” (Lambeau Field stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the home field of the NFL Green Bay Packers, who under their coach Vince Lombardi were known for their winning streak and ability to grab crucial wins even in the worst snow, because their team was built to handle tough weather conditions).

When you are building for long term — as opposed to a quick exit — it becomes obvious very quickly that you’ll have to make very different decisions, on every level from hiring and culture to how you treat sales and customers. You need to test every decision that’s obviously meant for immediate results with “will it also strengthen us in the long term?”

 Successful companies are bought, not sold

Even if your company does end up getting acquired, building your company well is the best you can do for the price you get. When we negotiated selling SuccessFactors for 11X revenues (which at the time was the highest multiple on sales in a decade), if we didn’t like where the value or discussions were going, we knew we could just stop negotiations and keep on building the company. And we weren’t bluffing, which you cannot fake. Because good companies are bought … not sold.

Just as a dog can smell fear, any experienced M&A team can smell a mile off if you want to sell your company, and consequently the price goes down. If you are not selling, and you have the power to stay independent because you are well-built and can handle “bad weather”, you can hold out longer than the acquirer, and the price of your company goes up to what you know it’s worth.

So how do you build such scale, without shortcuts? To start, there are at least five areas I believe a founder must focus on:

Read more: click image or title.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Extensive article and great advice for would-be #startup

#success story #founders.

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12 Reasons not to Work at a Startup

12 Reasons not to Work at a Startup | Competitive Edge |

  Working at a startup is great, you can learn so much and growth-hack your professional skills and get an inside scoop on how to be an entrepreneur. But what's the other side of the experience? Let's take a humorous look at the sometimes stark reality. Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Getting involved with a #startup is a huge challenge. Think twice and read this article. If you're a #founder, be honest and upfront with your hires.

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10 Habits Remarkable People Give Up Every Day

If you are experiencing any kind of setback or failure, you can get yourself back in the groove. Here's how many people do it daily.

When you get off track, it seems impossible to ever pull yourself together and get to where you need to be. 

What we need to do is learn from those who know how to give up on unhealthy habits, an ability which makes them remarkable.

Here is how they do it: Read more: click title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This is what #winners are made of.

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Paul Graham's Startup Survival Rules 

Paul Graham's Startup Survival Rules  | Competitive Edge |
Based on Y Combinator's cofounder Paul Graham's "Startups in 13 Sentences" we shared startup survival tips for startups

When things get difficult, sometimes you have to whip out the old survival guide to make sure your startup gets through a challenging phase in your business. That’s why we are sharing this guide with entrepreneurs, based on Y Combinator’s cofounder Paul Graham‘s “Startups in 13 Sentences“.  He shared 13 tips you every entrepreneur should live by:

Pick Good Cofounders

Sometimes the problem lives within. Finding a good cofounder is not always easy, and just like finding a partner in love, finding the right business partner takes time. Graham says that, “the success of a startup is almost always a function of its founders,” and we couldn’t agree more.

Launch Fast

You don’t really know what your customers want until you launch. Launch before you get used to not being useful.

Let Your Idea Evolve

Many successful startups changed their ideas fundamentally. Pivoting is part of your startup growth, and sometimes you just have to let that initial idea go.

Click image or title to

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Growthink really understands how to create compelling business plans and raise capital, and Growthink's Capital Raising Products succeed in infusing this knowledge.
-John Morris
Managing Director, GKM Ventures,
Board of Governors, Tech Coast Angels

Via StartupYard
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Live by simple rules, Paul Graham understands that.

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Little’s Law Is Big For Startups | TechCrunch

Little’s Law Is Big For Startups  |  TechCrunch | Competitive Edge |

Traffic, traction, growth. We all know that these terms are prerequisites to success. As we launch our startups we hope for initial customer acceptance, which would lead to traffic, traction and growth (TTG). In some cases, we’re willing to pay for traffic. In most other cases, we work around the clock to ignite organic TTG.

When we read about the successful co-founders of a Yelp, Pinterest, or WhatsApp, we find ourselves inspired by their drive and intellect, but we often leave wondering what it really was that gave these startups the astronomical TTG that we all want. There’s certainly no shortage of ideas and opinions about how one startup achieved success, but as analytical founders, the prescribed path from “good to great” often does not satisfy us. We crave more mathematical guidance.

One discipline to turn to in order to understand the underlying mechanics of business is operations research (OR).

OR principles not only guide us to optimize and run our businesses smoothly but also provide us with statistical analysis of underlying business concepts via modeling and simulation. One of the most interesting studies in OR which provides relevant guidance to today’s applications is queuing theory. And inside queuing theory, Little’s law is a hidden gem that gives us profound hints on where to focus to achieve superior traffic, traction and growth.

Queuing theory in its simplest terms tackles problems within the context of the following flow in a store:

Arrival –> Service–> Departure

In a queuing system, there are items that arrive at some rate to the system. Then they depart. An item can be a customer or inventory. When we think about it, this is exactly what we have on a website or app. Visitors arrive, they stick around for a while, then they leave. The most valuable company is the one with the most visitors that stay the longest.

Little’s Law says that, under steady state conditions, the average number of items in a queuing system equals the average rate at which items arrive multiplied by the average time that an item spends in the system.


L =average number of items in the queuing system,

W = average waiting time in the system for an item, and

λ =average number of items arriving per unit time, the law states the following:

“The long-term average number of customers in a stable system is equal to the long-term effective arrival rate multiplied by the average time a customer spends in the store.”

This statement sounds trivial. Its magic, however, lies in the simplicity that the relationship is not influenced by the service distribution, service order or anything else. It’s not influenced by the color of the site, the distribution of the content or the price of the product. The only thing that matters is how fast the visitors are coming and how long they’re staying. Everything else is secondary. Little’s law doesn’t only apply to queues in physical stores; it applies to networks and to any system where there’s a flow of items.

To examine a real-life situation, it’s safe to claim that Google, as a search engine, has the highest arrival rate of visitors, namely λ. But the visitors don’t stick around much. They quickly click through to another site via organic or paid links. Then they come back later for another search only to leave quickly. Google has done a phenomenal job at building up that arrival rate that made the company what it is today. But take a look at the acquisitions, research or any other top initiative at Google, and you’ll easily see that all of them target the second part of Little’s law: W, the average time a customer spends at a Google property, whether that’s email, phone, calendar or web browser.

According to Comscore, Google received about 13 billion search queries in March 2014. This translates to 433.3 million queries per day, 18 million per hour, 300 thousand per minute and only 5,000 per second. A quick comparison to Bing looks like this:


Number of search queries

TimeframeMicrosoftGooglePermonth3,600,000,000.0013,000,000,000.00Per day120,000,000.00433,333,333.33Per hour5,000,000.0018,055,555.56Per minute83,333.33300,925.93Per second1,388.895,015.43Per millisecond1.45


One wonders if Bing at any point exceeded Google’s 5,000 per second search rate. If yes, that’s good for Bing and bad for Google and it’s crucial to figure out why that jolt happened at that particular second. Investigating short bursts of higher-than-usual traffic leads to significant hints versus observing daily or monthly numbers.

Now consider Facebook. Facebook has both great arrival rate and time spent in “store.” But its customer arrival rate (λ) is not as high as Google’s. This is why all the top acquisitions and projects at Facebook target increasing the arrival rate. We visit Facebook a few times a day and stick around a little bit but then we quickly jump to a Google search.

Operation managers and entrepreneurs are more concerned with the throughput rate rather than the arrival rate. But the throughput rate is important only if there is arrival. Arrival is certainly a binary function without which there’s no usefulness. Once visitors arrive, the key metric to monitor is how fast they arrive, not how many.

Here are three implications of Little’s law as it applies to startups:

  1. For investors evaluating startups, it’s best to examine traffic figures at the lowest level of granularity possible. Even if the monthly uniques are low, surges in traffic at much smaller time intervals provide traces of higher value. The reverse is also true. Dips in arrival rates may suggest potential problems.
  2. For an entrepreneur, instead of focusing on the monthly stats, working on how to increase the searches per second is a healthier effort — particularly for those wanting to disrupt a certain market. The traffic numbers may be up and down and all over the place throughout the month, but it is the peaks of high traffic per second (or millisecond) that deserves the attention.
  3. It’s important to focus on why and how the influx of visitors surged in the smallest time frame available. Work to figure out ways to sustain that instead of focusing on monthly uniques.

Little’s law provides hints for social or viral growth, too, because in both cases, influence is spread out in short bursts as people visit the site/page/app almost all at the same time. Viral influx is the dream of a startup and after that, some level of stickiness is required to keep people around. But early traction trumps great content. Normalizing your metrics over time and looking at meaningful windows of time are a lot more useful than just looking at long-term averages.

If you’re hungry for analytical insights on traffic, traction and growth, look no further than queuing theory and particularly Little’s law. For those of you interested in the mathematical proof of Little’s law, here’s the link to Professor Little’s 2011 paper celebrating the 50th anniversary of his theory.

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Startup experts talking formulas...

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You'll Never Hear Successful People Say These 15 Phrases

You'll Never Hear Successful People Say These 15 Phrases | Competitive Edge |
To get to where you want to be, the best and easiest thing to do is to simply follow the examples that others set for you.

If you want to become more successful as an entrepreneur or in your career, you can start by making a habit of talking and thinking more like the people you know or read about who are already successful.

Here are some phrases you’ll never hear a successful person say:

1. "We can't do that."

One thing that makes people and companies successful is the ability to make solving their customers’ problems and demands their main priority. If a need arises repeatedly, the most successful people learn how to solve it as quickly as they can.

2. "I don't know how."

Instead of automatically shutting down solution-finding, successful people learn what they can in order to succeed in a project or in their career. For example, you would never see a truly successful international business consultant who travels to Italy multiple times per year refusing to learn Italian.

3. "I don’t know what that is."

Pleading ignorance doesn’t make the problem go away. It just makes the asker find someone who is able to work with them to solve the problem. While’s it’s always good to be honest with those you interact with, finishing this phrase with “but I’ll find out” is a surefire way to become more successful.

4. "I did everything on my own."

The best people know to surround themselves with others who are smart, savvy and as dedicated as they are. What makes this work is always giving credit where it’s due, as due credit to you will always come back in hand. Recognize those that have helped you or made an impact and you’ll continue to earn success and recognition yourself.

5. "That's too early."

You would never hear Benjamin Franklin or someone such as Steve Jobs say, “that is too early for me to be there.” If there is a networking meeting, project launch or interview opportunity at the very beginning of the day, the most successful people do what it takes to be there. Part of being successful is being at the right place at the right time, no matter if you’re a morning bird or night owl.

6. "That’s too late."

Along the same lines, if you’re asked to a 9 p.m. dinner by a potential business partner, and you can make it, definitely go. You may be tired the next day, but the connections you will make during a small dinner or after-hours meeting can make all the difference when it comes to your career or next project.

7. "It's too bad we couldn't work together."

Truly hitting it off with someone can be a rare occurrence, but if you truly connect with someone and want to work with them, find a way to make it work. Finding people that you really enjoy communicating with don’t come along too often, so whether it’s a case study or a new business, successful people know that working with those who truly align with your personality and interests are the path to true success.

8. "Let's catch up sometime."

Many times, this phrase is said as filler, without any true follow up. Successful people know that if they really want to catch up with someone, they follow up to make it happen. This also builds on the idea that the most successful people have worked hard to build genuine connections and relationships within their network, without any hidden agenda. Nurturing your network means being thoughtful of others, while keeping your relationships with them on top of your mind.

9. "I'm sorry, I'm too busy."

If an opportunity comes their way, successful people do what it takes to make it happen. Sure, this might mean longer hours occasionally, but if you want something to work, that is what it takes. After all, according to Lao-Tzu: "Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’”

10. "That was all my idea."

Again, as mentioned in number four, the most successful people spread the wealth when it comes to doling out praise from a successful project. No idea is truly one’s own -- it’s a sum of their experiences from interacting and building off of collaborative ideas with a team. Doling out praise and encouragement is a crucial part of building a successful company and culture.

11. "I never read books."

Tom Corley of Rich Habits found that rich people read (and listen to) books at a much higher rate than poor people: “63 percent of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3 percent of poor.” Also, “63 percent of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5 percent of poor people.” Reading non-fiction (as well as fiction) can help reduce stress, enhance creativity and boost your memory.

12. "I'm not good enough."

Part of being successful is having a high sense of self-worth. Being yourself is one trait that promises success in business and your personal life. Follow your true interests. What you would do in your life if you didn’t need money?

13. "It's OK." (over and over)

Successful people know when to walk away and stop taking excuses from others. If there is a bottleneck and something (or someone) is preventing you from completing a project on time, build up your business, or move you forward in your goals, then it’s time to set boundaries and decide to limit your involvement.

14. "If our competitors don't have it, then we don't need it."

Copying competitors is one of the many possible deaths for most companies. True innovation comes from the flip side: figuring out what competitors aren’t doing and fill that niche to answer a need in the industry.

15. "Time off is for suckers."

True success should be seen as a well-rounded approach, one with vacations, weekends with friends and family and hours of downtime on the weekdays. While workload varies for everyone at times, taking vacation can make you better at your job.

Sometimes to get to where you want to be, the best and easiest thing to do is to simply follow the examples that others set for you.

What phrases are you going to eliminate from your day-to-day conversations and thinking?

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Important to adapt some attitudes geared for success!

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20 Signs You’re Succeeding In Life Even If You Don’t Feel You Are

20 Signs You’re Succeeding In Life Even If You Don’t Feel You Are | Competitive Edge |
Do you feel like a failure sometimes? Don't worry, here are 20 signs that you are probably succeeding a lot more than you think you are.

We all feel like failures from time to time. While this is a normal feeling, you have to find a way to see yourself and your life from a different perspective. Sometimes we ignore the “little things.” Just because you are not a millionaire, don’t live in a mansion, and you don’t drive a fancy car, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. In fact, it’s quite the contrary.

Here are 20 signs that you are succeeding in life:

1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be.

Drama is not maturity. As we age, we should develop maturity. So maybe your relationships were drama-filled in your past, but if you have moved beyond that, then you are successful.

2. You are not afraid to ask for help and support any more.

Asking for help does not equal weakness. In fact, it is a strength. No person has ever succeeded in isolation. It takes teamwork to accomplish goals.

3. You have raised your standards.

You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.

4. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good.

No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love is success. Love yourself enough to say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t serve your purpose, or drags you down.

5. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror.

Ideally, you should appreciate who you see in the mirror at every moment. But even if that doesn’t happen, if you do it more than you used to, then that is success. Love yourself. You are awesome.

6. You have learned that setbacks and failureare part of self-growth.

Not everyone can have success 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic. Life is about victories and losses. So look at your setbacks as stepping stones to something better. In reality, there really is no such thing as as setback. It’s all just part of a wondrous journey.

7. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.

If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who only pretend that they do, then you have succeeded. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal, you can stay away from those people.

8. You don’t complain much.

Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you really have gone through some horrific life experience and had unimaginable losses, most of what we all experience on a day-to-day basis is just mundane. And successful people know that. And they live in a space of gratitude.

9. You can celebrate others’ successes.

Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.

10. You have passions that you pursue.

You are not stagnant. You know you have something wonderful to contribute to the world. You have unique talents and gifts. Not only do you know that, you pursue it.

11. You have things to look forward to.

If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.

12. You have goals that have come true.

Even though “failures” are a part of life, you have stuck to your goals and dreams long enough to make them come to fruition. You have  some tastes of victory. It fuels you.

13. You have empathy for others.

A person without empathy is dead inside. Empathy equals spreading love and positive energy into the world. Successful people know this. They love others as if they are family.

14. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.

Love is risky, and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection. If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, then you are successful.

15. You refuse to be be a victim.

You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.

16. You don’t care what other people think.

You know you can’t please everyone. You know that the standards with which society judges people is many times unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.

17. You always look on the bright side.

Life can be full of disappointments – if you choose to see them that way. Otherwise, they are learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.

18. You accept what you can’t change.

Let’s face it – there many things you can’t change in life. All you can change is how you view what happens. If you can change your negative perspective on situations to a positive one, then you are successful.

19. You change what you can.

And let’s face it again – there are many things you can change in life. Successful people don’t sit around accepting the negatives that are changeable. They get out there and do something about it!!

20. You are happy.

To me, this is the ultimate definition of success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is,  or how many fancy vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life.

Even if you don’t see yourself in many of these 20 things, don’t fret. It’s okay. Be happy that you see yourself in just a few. In time, the rest will come. You just need to keep moving onward and upward.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Very often things like 'feeling good', 'being healthy', 'being happy', are not very obvious, or are just there when there are no negative symptoms or pain. You function and move ahead and focus. It's only when we're out of 'sync' that we become aware of our situation.

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Lauren Maillian Bias: Cracking The Female Entrepreneur Code

Lauren Maillian Bias: Cracking The Female Entrepreneur Code | Competitive Edge |

I recently caught up with Lauren Maillian Bias, who is the author of the new book "The Path Redefined: Getting to the Top on Your Own Terms". Bias is the Founder and CEO of Luxury Market Branding, a strategic marketing and branding consultancy where she brings her firsthand knowledge, expertise and passion for marketing to her clients. She is also the Founding Partner and Director of Operations for Gen Y Capital, an early stage venture firm. Prior to Luxury Market Branding, Lauren was the Proprietor, Creator and Chief Operating Officer of Sugarleaf Vineyards, the only African-American owned and operated winery in Virginia. The Winery became an award winning brand under her leadership within five years and was sold in 2011.

"You stand out naturally when you consistently exceed expectations, whether you are a man or a woman. Women who consistently exceed expectations and have other roles in life such as mother or wife, and in my case, being a single-mother, stand-out because it’s remarkable that the juggling act can be so graceful."

To read the full article, click on the image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Have you ever doubted yourself? Of course. Take a look at what this woman accomplished, and how she did it.

malek's curator insight, May 21, 2014 5:15 PM

I like the holistic approach to face the challenges of integrating work and family life.  A great  example of everyday reality

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8 Ways I've Coped with Failure in My Life

8 Ways I've Coped with Failure in My Life | Competitive Edge |
You will fail over and over and over. It's getting back up that makes you the person you are.

Several years back I had purchased, a thriving ecommerce company with millions in monthly sales. I came into this company thinking I was the Little did I know, 6 months later due to unforeseen events, we were out of business. I felt like my world was going to end. I was 4 months newly married and everything I had worked for in my life was gone.

Guess what helped me get past all the pain?  Coping with failure. You've probably heard that message before. And, while there's a lot of truth to that, it still doesn't change the fact failure is one of the hardest experiences you'll have to overcome in your life.

In this post I'll teach you 8 techniques I've used in my life to help me cope with failure. Read more: click image or title.



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Dave...I downloaded your business plan template...It is great!!!...My tax consultants say your plan is amazing. Thanks Dave!!!

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Failure can be managed and turned around. Excellent article.

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3 Ways to Catapult Your Business Success

3 Ways to Catapult Your Business Success | Competitive Edge |
Whatever business you think you are in, you are really in the people business.

Something that has always deeply fascinated me is learning about the journey that has helped in the development of a majorly successful company get to where they are now. I absolutely love hearing about all of the strategies and tactics that have drastically helped in their growth as an organization, but also all of the obstacles that they had to overcome along the way.

The one thing that I have learned over the years having the great fortune of sitting down with executives from major organizations as well as successful startup founders is that there is a learning opportunity within their success for all of us to benefit from regardless of what industry one is in. Read more: click image or title.



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Dave...I downloaded your business plan template...It is great!!!...My tax consultants say your plan is amazing. Thanks Dave!!!

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

About #niche, #culture and #relationships in business.

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The Most Important Question for Any Entrepreneur, Period.

The Most Important Question for Any Entrepreneur, Period. | Competitive Edge |
The secret to success for four highly motivated people comes down to what makes them move forward.

What would you do if your back gave out -- after 100 miles of nonstop running?

What would you do if you were in a tent in the most remote part of theHebrides, swallowing gnats when you were breathing?

What would you do if you were so injured that you had to re-learn how to walk?

What would you do if you were held hostage for 92 hours, hung upside down and whipped until you bled?

What would keep you moving forward?  Read more: click image or title



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How do you push yourself beyond your own #limits?

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5 Businesses That Almost Failed and Showed Us Why It Pays to Keep Going

5 Businesses That Almost Failed and Showed Us Why It Pays to Keep Going | Competitive Edge |
If Apple, Fedex and AirBnB could turn themselves around, why not you too?

No matter how good or promising your business idea is, there will be times as an entrepreneur that you’ll question whether or not your company will ever be a success. Those overnight, rags-to-riches stories of explosive popularity for a lucky few have permeated our collective startup culture, leading young and inexperienced entrepreneurs to see those stories as a typical trajectory for businesses. Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

No matter how successful, everyone doubts at some point if they will make it.

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Elon Musk's Surprisingly Simple Secret to Success

Elon Musk's Surprisingly Simple Secret to Success | Competitive Edge |
From Paypal to Tesla, Elon Musk has one winning strategy all entrepreneurs should implement now.

On the cusp of his new Tesla release, Elon Musk has me, and other entrepreneurs, curious about what makes him a success. Like many of us, he took serious risks to get his companies off the ground (both figuratively, with Tesla, and physically, with SpaceX). He seems to take those risks and win, even when he "fails."

I found a simple, excellent theory for Musk's success that is applicable to all of us. It is from Farnam Street, which cites Musk's colleagues:  Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's a very simple #strategy, and it almost guarantees #success. It has nothing to do with #failure.

Marsien's curator insight, March 31, 4:33 AM

It's a very simple #strategy, and it almost guarantees #success. It has nothing to do with #failure.

Pierre Cellard's curator insight, March 31, 9:27 AM

Pierre's comment : It's a very simple #strategy, and it almost guarantees #success. It has nothing to do with #failure.

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Creating the Inevitability of Success Mindset - Influencive

Creating the Inevitability of Success Mindset - Influencive | Competitive Edge |
I’ve spent a lot of time learning about the mindset of success. I’ve taken a look and deconstructed some of my biggest failures and greatest successes. I’ve interviewed, talked and listened to billionaire entrepreneurs and wildly successful business people. I’ve learned what has made and lost myself and others the most money and put together this post to show how you can recreate the mindset of success. Success means different things to different people. The great news is that this…

Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A great article to ponder this Easter weekend: is #success eluding me or do I know how to get it? What's the secret?

Tommy Donovan's curator insight, March 26, 10:55 PM

Success is measured differently by almost everyone. If you ask ten different people what success means to them, I'm sure you will get at least 5 different answers. You will obviously get the answer of being rich, having a nice house, or a great job, but although I would love these things, its not what success means to  me. Success to me is to be happy. I don't care what I do with my life, to a certain extent, as long as I am smiling and happy all the time. 

This article describes different ways to train your mind into being successful, because if you truly believe success is coming, which ever definition of success that may be, it is inevitable it will happen. In order to be successful, you must KNOW you will be successful. The mindset cannot be "IF I'm successful, I will then do.." It must be "WHEN I am successful, I will then do.." Using conditional statements will not help you reach success. Drop all sentences similar to "If I could get Matt's help, I would be fine". IFs are bad, Whens are good, "When I get a promotion, I'm going to buy a car.

A major component of becoming successful is understanding that we are not our thoughts, we just simply read our thoughts. It is up to us to understand which thoughts will help us, and which thoughts we need to drop immediately. The only way a thought can negatively affect you, is if you allow it to affect you. 

If everyone took a minute to sit back and  analyze their plan to reach success, I believe many more people would realize they are disobeying at least one of these steps in this article. Life is what you make of it, and If you make yourself believe you need help and would fail without it, or if you listened to all the negativity inside your head instead of eliminating it, you will not succeed. Eliminate the bad in your life, invite the good!

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The Only Two Things You Need for Entrepreneurial Success

The Only Two Things You Need for Entrepreneurial Success | Competitive Edge |

There’s a disease spreading throughout the United States among today’s aspiring entrepreneurs. It's called the “big idea syndrome.” Many people assume that all that separates them from business and financial success is one great idea.  Having worked with several entrepreneurs over the years, I have discovered that what distinguish a thriving business owner from one that is barely surviving isn’t more start-up capital, more talent or even access to more resources (though having these things does help). It’s perseverance and self-belief.

Njeri Rionge, co-founder of Wananchi Online, East Africa’s first mass market Internet service provider, has used this mind-set to become a pioneer in the IT industry, a position typically reserved for men. “I have no time to think about challenges,” Rionge told How We Made it in Africa magazine. Because I convert them, they stop being challenges. I have been at many points where I knew the cookie was about to crumble, but my focus was [that] it cannot crumble. Therefore, I focus on the upward movement.” Read more: click image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

What distinguishes one entrepreneur's success from another's failure?

andy alagappan's curator insight, December 12, 2015 6:07 PM

Develop your unique value proposition 

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The 20 Habits of Eventual Millionaires — Life Learning — Medium

The 20 Habits of Eventual Millionaires - Life Learning - Medium
This is the wrong question. It’s upside down.

This is a tacky question. This is sort of a rude question.

Actually, the question was a bit worse. It was “I’m in my 20s — can someone in their 40s tell me what I need to do to become a financial success?”

Maybe don’t look for shortcuts. Too many shortcuts is “death by a thousand cuts”.

Here’s a question: I’m in my 40s, can someone in their 20s tell me how to restore that feeling of lightness, no obligations and the feeling that “Enough” is a Feast?

Answer me that.

Here’s a question: I’m in my 20s, can someone tell me what success is?

Here’s another question: I’m lonely, can someone tell me how a ray of sunlight can remember that by itself it is nothing, but together it’s the Sun?

But ok. Another friend of mine wrote a good post on this topic. But I know him and how he made his millions and although his answer was good, it wasn’t how he made his money.

Money is not everything. It’s a side effect. It’s a byproduct. It’s nuclear waste after all the energy has already powered the Earth.

Focus just on the habits. Only the first half of the question.

Everyone needs different habits. If someone has an arm amputated he needs a new arm. Another person might need a new eye.

Another person needs to listen better.

20 Habits...    Read More: click image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Habits fsor #Success. Some stimulating ideas here. Worthwhile reading.

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9 Easy-To-Steal Habits Of The Super Successful

9 Easy-To-Steal Habits Of The Super Successful | Competitive Edge |

Wouldn't it be great if success was simple?

But it isn't.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer for success in work and life, but we will do our best to steer you in the right direction.

Here's a list of helpful habits of some highly successful—and wildly productive—people to get your started.

Read more here:

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Growthink helped me with two business plans. I liked working with Anna Vitale because she was a professional yet personable and that gave me a sense of trust. Keep up the good work.”

Phil Marcu

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7 Lessons On Business And Success You Won't Learn In School

Here are 7 important lessons on business, entrepreneurship and success I have learned from interviewing over 60 successful entrepreneurs from around the world.

Less than 3 years ago, frustrated by my lack of success, I made the decision to start reaching out to and learning from successful people.

There was just one problem: I barely knew any. So I did the only thing I could think of, and that was to start a blog.

With a blog as my platform, I started interviewing successful people. It took me over a year to find my groove (I had absolutely zero online marketing experience before doing this), but eventually the blog became a podcast, and the podcast became a community.

As I write this article, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing over 60 successful entrepreneurs from all over the world. Their collective stories and advice have rewarded me with an education on business and success unlike anything that is taught in a classroom.


Here are 7 important lessons on business and success I have learned from this journey:


1.Success is 90% failure.

Some people define success as doing everything right – as getting the result they want. They view failure as something to be avoided at all costs. They try to create a perfect plan, and they only take action if they are confident that their plan is going to work. They try to avoid failure, thinking that by avoiding failure they will achieve success.

One of the things I’ve learned from interviewing so many successful individuals is that they’ve all experienced failure, and their failures often preceded their successes. This led me to conclude that a person’s failures actually serve as the stepping stones to their successes. Therefore if you avoid failure, by default, you also avoid success.

Stop worrying about failure and stay focused on your results. When you get the result you want, you might call that success. When you don’t get the result you want, you get the feedback you need to change your strategy.

Don’t be afraid to take action with no promise of success. It’s better to take the wrong action and pivot than to not take any action at all. Expect 90% of what you try to not work. Sometimes you have to learn what doesn’t work in order to find what does.


2.Hire help. Great people are not as expensive as you think.

We live in a global, digitally connected economy. This means that we all have access to a global talent pool of incredibly skilled individuals for very competitive rates. Even if you’re not a business owner, do yourself a favor and hire help as soon as possible. You’d be amazed how much of your precious time you can get back if you leverage the time and expertise of others.

Whether for a specific project, or on a long term basis, it isn’t hard to find the right people for the job and it isn’t expensive either. I currently manage a full time virtual assistant and doing so takes only a few minutes of my time per week. I also hire contractors and freelancers for specific tasks and projects on a regular basis.

If you haven’t already, check out or and see for yourself just how easy it is to find and hire great people. You’ll be glad you did.


3. Don’t get too attached to your ideas. Test them before you invest in them

I once met an individual who told me they had a ground breaking idea for a new business. There was just one problem: they refused to tell anybody what their idea was because they were scared someone would steal it. This person failed to recognize that ideas, by themselves, ideas have little value. The real value comes from execution.

There is no shortage of ideas in this world. Many of us have ideas on a daily basis. Are all of them good? Absolutely not. Until an idea is actually implemented, there is no way of knowing how valuable it really is.

Testing an idea on a small scale to see what result it creates is much wiser than investing time, energy and resources pursuing something only to discover that it doesn’t work. Let go of bad ideas early and quickly. More ideas will always come to you.



4. Stop networking. Start building relationships

In the context of business, networking is typically defined as “interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.” It’s a pretty straight forward definition, and yes, networking can yield many benefits. The problem is that most people haven’t been taught how to do it properly.

The typical approach to networking consists of attending conferences or events in your industry, delivering your “elevator pitch” to everyone you meet and giving out and/or collecting as many business cards as possible, hoping that those connections somehow turn into employment or business opportunities. This has become one of the least effective ways to build a strong network.

To build a strong network, shift your focus from collecting contacts to building relationships.

Become genuinely interested in the people you meet. Encourage them to talk about themselves. Ask them about their current projects, and find out if there are any challenges they are currently facing. Offer a helpful suggestion, idea, or an introduction to someone else who can help them. Give without any expectation of receiving. You’ll soon discover that when you selflessly add value to others, they will gladly return the favor at some point in the future.


5. Model other successful people but don’t try to be them

Regardless of which industry you’re in, there will likely be other people who are ahead of you and who you consider to be more successful than yourself. This is perfectly fine. In fact, one of the most efficient ways to succeed in any industry quickly is to learn the principles and model the strategies of those who are already successful. But always remember one thing: you are not them.

Learn and apply what has worked for others to see if it will work for you, but never try to be something that you’re not. Remember that you are unique. Do what feels true to you. Always be authentic. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to other people. No one succeeds overnight. We all must start from where we are and with what we have. Respect the journey that other people have travelled, but remember to stay focused on your own.


6. Results speak louder than credentials

I definitely respect the dedication of people who invest several years obtaining degrees and credentials to advance their careers, but the harsh reality is that credentials alone have almost no bearing on the level of success a person attains. In fact, many highly qualified individuals often find themselves without work or beginning careers in new industries for reasons that were beyond their control.

We live in a results-based economy. To ensure your success regardless of which industry you are in, you must acquire any and all skills that will enable you to get results. If you’re an entrepreneur, you must learn how to get results for your business. If you work for someone else, find out what result they want and help them get it.

Many of the successful entrepreneurs I have interviewed barely made it through high school and yet no one questions their intelligence or skills. Why? Because they have a track record of tangible, hard won results. A track record of positive results speaks louder than any credentials you print on a business card or a resume.


7. The journey is the reward.

The final lesson that I’d like to share with you is to enjoy the journey. The trouble with ambition is that it causes us to chase the future, often at the expense of appreciating the present. Pause and reflect often. Praise yourself for how far you’ve already come. Stay focused on the outcomes you want, and respect the process required to create them.

Set big goals not because of what you will get when you achieve the goal, but for what it will make of you in the process. The person you become as you achieve your goals is more valuable than the goal itself.

“The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.” – Jim Rohn

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Wow, great article, so much wisdom.

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7 Principles for Propelling Your Startup to Success | New Beginnings

Want a venture to succeed?

I developed seven principles that can help a startup improve its odds at success based on analysis of more than 1,500 public companies that I did for my book Value Leadership.

Companies that followed these principles the most closely (I call them value leaders) grew sales 35 percent faster and generated 109 percent higher net margins than their peers and increased shareholder value almost five times faster than the market in the 10 years before 2003. Companies that do a better job of creating value for key stakeholders, such as employees, customers and communities, also happen to generate more value for shareholders.

The organizations that apply all these principles will outperform those that skimp on some. For example, one of Google’s glaring weaknesses today is its inability to create a significant new source of revenue beyond advertising. That does not seem to hurt the company too much now but it could in the future.

Although I developed the following seven principles years ago, I believe they can help a startup succeed today as has been borne out by recent company history

1. Value human relationships.

Entrepreneurs can’t do it all themselves, which means they need to hire talented people. Treat talented people with respect and be sure they are a good fit with the values of the company.

For example, Google hires very smart people who fit with its unconventional approach to problem solving. Google has used its famous data-driven approach to decision making to identify traits associated with effective management. And it has used those insightsto hire and promote peope who demonstrate these skills.

2. Foster teamwork.

If an entrepreneur hires talented people, he or she should demand that they debate solutions. Ask them to use their skills to develop better solutions from working together than they would by toiling on their own.

In the last few years, Google has encouraged more teamwork, which has helped the company bring new ideas like Google Glass to fruition.

3. Experiment frugally.

Startup CEOs must resist the urge to perfect their products before launching them. Instead, they should build fast, inexpensive versions of their products, receive feedback from the market and improve the product in response.

Google encouraged this kind of frugal experimentation by letting its employees spend 20 percent of their time working on projects of personal interest.

In 2011 new CEO, Larry Page, decided he wanted to “put more wood behind fewer arrows” and phased out 20 percent time while phasing in the Google X lab to work on innovations, Quartz reported.

4. Fulfill commitments.

A startup will not succeed unless the team knows the management’s intentions and then leaders act accordingly. And leaders who tell their people they’ll do one thing but do the opposite will lose trust.

Google has certainly tried to follow through on its oft-stated value “don’t be evil.” Sadly, it has not always succeeded, such as when it decided tocensor search results in China in 2006. It stopped in 2010.

Don’t make the same mistake. It’s better for a startup to give up on a business opportunity than to violate its core values.

5. Fight complacency.

Don’t let the success of a particular product or service keep the company from searching for better ways to meet customers’ needs. Remember Blockbuster? To fight complacency, maintain a healthy paranoia and always be on the lookout for how to adopt new technologies that will give customers superior value.

Consider how Netflix transformed itself from a DVD-by-mail service to an online streaming provider. Not only has Netflix managed the transition masterfully, it has also added new capabilities like creating popular shows and managing relationships with high-bandwidth service providers.

6. Win through multiple means.

Don’t let the startup become dependent on one product that competitors can copy. Protect sources of revenue and profit by being good at a few key skills that are difficult for rivals to copy.

Under Steve Jobs, Apple could enter into existing businesses (like MP3 players, smartphones and tablets) and cut itself a big slice of the profit pie. Apple won through multiple means: It had great product design, superb marketing and customer service, an efficient supply chain and the ability to motivate third-party providers as evidenced by the success of iTunes and the App Store.

7. Give to the community.

Running a startup is especially challenging because business owners can’t pay enough to attract top talent. But they can make up for the smaller pay packet by developing a meaningful mission.

Consider the case of Embrace Innovations, whose CEO, Jane Chen, I interviewed in June 2011. The social enterprise was started in an attempt to save the lives of premature babies in developing countries. In India, many premature babies died after not being kept warm during a four-hour journey to the hospital.

Because of its inspiring mission, the company attracted talented employers, who developed a tiny sleeping bag of special materials able to keep infants at the right temperature. This saved many lives.

This week my class of 30 Babson College undergraduates explored how Google has applied these seven principles: The students concluded that despite some flaws, notably in its privacy policies, Google is a value leader. The students concluded that Google excels at valuing human relationships, winning through multiple means, experimenting frugally and fighting complacency.

Ready to try these principles? In my book I listed 24 specific activities that companies should perform to follow the seven principles as well as 107 more detailed tactics to accomplish these activities.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good principles to keep in mind when doing business.

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12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans

12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans | Competitive Edge |
Practical Tips for Productive Living

The result of enormous success is often pretty noisy – lots of people talking, writing and sharing stories about it.  The actual process of achieving enormous success, on the other hand, is far more discreet.  But it’s this process that happens quietly, behind-the-scenes, that makes all the difference in the world.

Marc and I are fortunate enough to know a number of enormously successful human beings.  Regardless of lifestyle, industry or profession, they all share many of the same quiet rituals.  And that’s precisely what I want to discuss with you today.

Building upon our recent video blog post on success, here are twelve things the most successful people we know do quietly and diligently:

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Via massimo facchinetti
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great tips.

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