What does it take to be an extraordinary entrepreneur? You know, an entrepreneur who has a vision for a business, rallies support to build it and then grows it into one of the most innovative companies in the world….what does it take to be an entrepreneur like that?
Belief #1: Make a decision and go!
Belief #2: Show passion, not perfection
Belief #3: Avoid the ugly baby syndrome
Belief #4: Find the sweet spot, then scale it
Belief #5: Don’t think about taking a leap, just take it
Belief #6: Entrepreneurship isn’t a war, it’s about solving problems and turning a profit
Belief #7: Hire slow, fire fast
Belief #8: Learn from your first, earn from your second, give back with your third
Before any entrepreneur became successful there was a time they did not know what to do. And then the aha moment happened. How?
About 2200 years ago Archimedes stepped into his bath and exclaimed, “Eureka!”
It was a moment of sudden discovery. The eureka effect. A moment of deep insight. It’s an epiphany which translates as “striking appearance.” In that moment a previously unsolvable problem becomes suddenly clear and obvious.
Before The Aha Moment
Life can be divided into two periods. Before you know why you are alive and after. In between there is just a single moment – the Aha! moment. One brainwave that turns a person into a person on a mission.
Here we show the moments that turned famous people onto their missions. Even though for them it was a process to get to that moment, there was a catalyst that one day made them say, “Aha!”
What Makes Us Aha
What brings the Aha moment?
Inconvenience. GoPro founder who struggled to take a picture of himself while surfing.
Limited resources. Ikea founder could not fit a table in his small car, so he thought to take off the legs.
Pain and tragedy. Samuel Morse received a letter about his wife’s illness after she was already buried. Letters took a long time back then. He raced to see her, but it was too late. Grief-stricken, he decided to forever change how people talk to each other and invented the telegraph.
The aha moment comes at different ages. Here are a few examples. Is it ever too late to have the aha moment? Some entrepreneurs had them well into their fifties. Were they thinking it was never too late?
Ever thought about why people can watch as many as three movies in one day but they're barely able to manage three books in a week (or month…)?
It's simple. Most humans (40-65%) tend to learn things visually. In other words, they process information more quickly by seeing things. The other learning modalities are auditory (hearing, 25-30% of people) and kinesthetic (touching, 5-15% of people).
The answer goes way back to our biology. Humans are wired for visualization. We can easily make sense of shapes, patterns, and colors—and therefore graphs, charts, and infographics.
Which means that if you want to turn data into digestible, bite-sized chunks, you must make use of... yes, pictures. Indeed, a picture is worth a thousand words
Data visualization can help you create better user experiences, and free or inexpensive tools are available to help you do so.
Here are three ways to use visualization for your website, blog, or reports to improve communication and gain traffic or boost understanding and performance.
Just about every tech leader in Silicon Valley says they admire Steve Jobs, but when it comes to following his lead, where’s the love
It is easy to admire and pay lip service to Steve Jobs’ rebel image, but why do so few in the valley today follow Steve’s lead, and why are his most important lessons largely ignored by the people who claim to admire him?
Lesson #1 — Creating great products requires patience
Steve was known to chasten product teams with instructions to chuck everything and start over. The cost was high to Apple, but the result was that Apple succeeded when others failed. Microsoft had tablet hardware and software years before Apple, but it took Apple’s iPad to make the category mainstream. Other companies may offer more features in their products, and release them sooner, but user satisfaction studies show that consumers often prefer Apple’s solutions.
In an era when most follow the lean doctrine of releasing a product early, and letting the market dictate product direction, Steve spent time refining the product internally until he felt it was ready to release. That requires time that most companies don’t want, or can’t afford to invest. Steve’s approach took vision—and yes, arrogance— to think he knew better than others, plus the willingness to look beyond the horizon and envision products that customers did not know they needed yet.
Lesson #2 — Think big
What would Steve think of today’s timorous innovators creating the umpteenth find-your-friends app, social sharing site, or cloud storage solution? For every Elon Musk who makes tackling three big, crazy ideas before breakfast seem easy, there are thousands of others who come to the valley to launch any project that an investor will put money into, worthwhile or not. Steve dared to shake things up, and thinking small was not part of his character.
Lesson #3 — Focus on your strengths
Many admire how successfully Steve cut projects and saved Apple when he returned as interim CEO in 1997. Steve learned a few things while he was exiled from Apple, and when he returned he focused the company on what Apple was good at and would attract customers back to the company. That required knowing his own and his company’s strengths and weaknesses, and understanding Apple’s customers. Yet, we still see companies squander energy and resources in too many directions. They should revisit 1997 and learn from Steve’s example.
Lesson #4 — Think different
When it comes to people per square mile trying to profit from others’ success, Silicon Valley rivals the heydays of the California Gold Rush. You can’t throw a USB flash drive in the Valley without hitting someone who wants to advise you, mentor you, teach you to code or pitch, or tighten up your growth hacking skills. Steve would tell you that listening to others is the route to mediocrity. You can’t “think different” when you’re taking your lead from the same people as everyone else.
Lesson #5 — Technology by itself is not enough
This is where we in Silicon Valley most fail Steve. Steve was a college dropout, but he valued learning and culture, and applied what he knew of music, calligraphy, design, and architecture to projects at Apple.
Those who build fake social media followers, YouTube views, and backlinks can't hide for long.
Modern snake-oil salesmen who want to boast exaggerated popularity on social media or e-commerce websites will happily pay freelancers to inflate their reputation. Google, Twitter, and Facebook, however, make their money based on the reliability of their websites, and so Google has now released findings on how to automatically spot these purveyors of fake reputations, or “crowdturfers.”
“Automatically detecting crowdturfing gigs is an important task because it allows us to remove the gigs before buyers can purchase them, and eventually, it will allow us to prohibit sellers from posting these gigs. To detect crowdturfing gigs, we built machine-learned models using the manually labeled 1,550 gig dataset,” wrote a team of researchers in a recently presented paper, which was partly supported by a Google Faculty Research Award. A Google Research blog post yesterday highlighted the work.
Freelancing micro-task websites, such as Odesk, Fiverr, and Freelancer have built a cottage industry out of globally distributed part-time workers. I’ve used these sites for research help and email list building. Nonprofit Samasource uses similar systems to help impoverished women and youth find work.
These sites offer great services. But fake reputations make them less trustworthy.
Their machine-learning detection system has a pretty high rate of accuracy, based on the researchers’ own dataset. “Our experimental results show that these models can effectively detect crowdturfing gigs with an accuracy rate of 97.35 percent. Using these classification models, we identified 19,904 crowdturfing gigs in Fiverr, and we found that 70.7 percent were social media targeting gigs, 27.3 percent were search engine targeting gigs, and 2 percent were user traffic targeting gigs.”
Eventually, they hope their technology will help companies such as Twitter automatically ban bots and fake followers. You can read the full paper here.
A critical aspect of my ideal board meeting is that the entire board package should be sent out several days in advance to all board members. It should be thorough, including whatever the CEO wants the board to know about what has happened since the last board meeting.
While I prefer prose to a PowerPoint deck, either is fine. Optimally it’s in a format like Google Docs where everyone on the board can comment on specific things, allowing open Q&A on the board material prior to the board meeting. I like to decouple monthly financial reporting from the board package, but including a look back of the financials, along with discussion and framing is useful. But the meat of the board package should be what’s going on now and going forward, not looking back. The looking back is for support of the discussion.
Then – the board meeting has a simple structure intended to fit in three hours. Optimally all participants are either in person or on video conference. Since I’m not traveling for business right now, almost all of my board meetings have a video conferencing component. When done correctly, it’s often just as effective as an in-person meeting, and in some cases (if you follow my video conferencing rules) even more effective.
What is not effective is when one or more people are on an audio conference.
Once everyone is settled, break the board meeting into three discrete sections. They, and their descriptions, follow:
Administration (30 minutes): Board overhead, resolutions, administration, and questions about the board package.
Discussion (up to 2 hours): Discussion on up to five topics. The five topics should fit on one slide or be written on the white board. The CEO is responsible for time boxing the discussion, or if he needs help, he should ask the lead director to do this. If you don’t have a lead director, read my book and get yourself one. This should be a discussion – you’ve got your board in the room – use it to help you go deeper on the specific topic you are trying to figure out. These topics can be on anything, but my experience is that the more precise the context is, the richer the discussion. I prefer for the full leadership team to be in the meeting for this part, although it’s entirely up to the CEO who is in the room.
Executive Session (30 minutes): CEO and board only. Here the board can give feedback specifically to the CEO or sensitive issues around personnel or other things the CEO wants to discuss separately from the management team can be covered. At the end, the CEO leaves and let’s the board have some time alone where the lead director checks in if there is any feedback the board would like to give the CEO.
Here are some tips on adapting habits, behaviors, and actions that will help you more efficiently reach your goals.
Taking one small action every day sounds much less significant than it actually is. However, according to the aforementioned study, if one consciously sets aside time to perform one small action each day, this action will eventually become second nature. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator three times one week, four times the next, and all five days of the following week. Eventually, your body will be trained to go right for the stairs without even considering hitting that elevator button.
Big goals can be scary and intimidating, especially at work. Instead of allowing yourself to be intimidated by large numbers and expectations, try to break them down into shorter time periods. This will not only result in more attainable goals, but will also allow you to climb to your desired outcome day by day in a less stressful environment. For example, instead of having to host three events this quarter with 100 attendees altogether, think about hosting one event each month with 33 attendees.
Link behaviors with events
Telling yourself that you’re going to do something is easy. Actually doing it is the hard part (sensing a theme here?). Instead of saying, “I’m going to make sure to answer 15 emails per day,” try “each morning when I get to work, I’m going to make my coffee and then answer 15 emails.” Associating an action with an event will help your brain cells trigger a memory to perform said action when this event occurs, eventually turning it into a habit – a task that’s performed without a conscious effort.
It’s every marketer’s dream: producing a company video that goes viral or gets nominated for an Emmy Award. But if we have to be realistic, it should, at the very least, engage its target audience — while getting key messaging across and incorporating branding.
There’s no lack of articles offering advice on how to do just that. Yet, many marketing professionals get it wrong.
Here, we take a look at seven common mistakes that, if avoided, might help you shape your video into a captivating, and even inspiring, advertising tool.
Every year we’re told the same things, we establish the same goals.We try to lose the same amount of weight, aspire to the same boring stuff. Forget about boring stuff. Forget about boring goals.
So here are the five simple steps to becoming a total badass in 2014.
1. Make a list of all the toxic people in your life. Then eliminate them.
Get a pen and a paper. Now write down the names of your 10 or 20 closest friends. Think about the contribution of each one of those friends to your life. Are they adding value? Are they being good friends? Are they encouraging you to pursue lofty goals? Or are they simply discouraging you from pursuing your dreams? If the former, please keep them. If the latter – which, believe you me, is the norm – eliminate them at once. Delete them from your Facebook right now. Delete them from your life. You say, “But, Pedro, you don’t understand.” You are right, I don’t. And I don’t care. Stop making excuses. They have already drained too much productive energy from you with their toxic personalities and problems. Now it’s time for you to shine. And no, you won’t be lonely. Once you cut those people from your life, you’ll make room for great people to show up. You attract what you are. Be the person you’d wish to have by your side.
2. Put yourself in a ridiculously uncomfortable situation.
In 2005, at the age of 15, I came to the United States without being able to speak a single word of English. Really, not a single word. At school, someone had the bright idea of placing me in an advanced English class. Even though I had no idea what was going on, the simple act of being there, uncomfortably there, made all the difference. I was forced to grow. If I didn’t learn English fast, I was going to flunk. So I got to work.
3. Do less of something and learn how to say no.
Have you noticed how people want to spend your time more than you do? There is always a new request, always something else to do. Something, by the way, that will contribute nothing to your well-being. If you want 2014 to be a badass year, you will have to learn how to say no to all sorts of requests. Family, friends, colleagues, whatever. Say yes to what’s important to you. I am not saying that you shouldn’t help others. Quite on the contrary, you should, but you should only do the things, and favors, that will not leave you in anger, regretting afterwards.
4. Don’t wait for someone to pick you.
Most people go through life doing exactly what’s expected of them, and waiting for people to pick them for things – for a job, for a promotion, for a good grade, for a spouse, the list goes on. If you are waiting for that, I have bad news for you. No one is going to pick you. No one is going to give you an envelope with a million dollars in it. No one is going to say, “wow, what a great office manager you are. Here, takes these keys. You deserve a new car!” No one is going to pick you. So what do you do? You pick yourself. You choose yourself. You give yourself permission to dream huge dreams and to pursue them. Great accomplishments are the result of relentless pursuit.
5. Relax, but not really.
One of the most powerful quotes I have ever read comes from the great Kafka. In Metamorphosis, he writes, “I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.”
Doesn’t it summarize our attitude towards life? We’re chained by our habits, often bad, habits, and when someone points that out to us, we immediately get defensive and angry. We say things like: “Who are you to call me lazy?” In sum, all you are saying is: “Please, don’t touch my chains, mister. I’m too busy watching TV.”
Entrepreneurs are the artists of the business world — captivated by ideas and the never ending pursuit of the potential—the what if.
If 2013 has taught entrepreneurs one thing, it’s to focus on the passion behind the art and leave the menial tasks up to technology. Here are 10 apps from 2013 that have helped lighten the load of the business minded and allowed them to focus on what really matters, the creation.
Making a sustainable business in the Web 3.0 era means incorporating feedback loops into the basic design of every product and service.
“Instrumenting” your products allows you to collect data on what your customers are doing, and enables you to quickly evolve your products to adapt to the market.
No one knows this better than one of the leading social networks, LinkedIn.
Like other social networks, LinkedIn carries a data-driven approach in its DNA. They have always been tuned in to all possible signals to ensure they continue to grow.
Metrics-hungry investors often clamor for extra visibility to a company, especially in its early days and after going public. Now an established powerhouse, LinkedIn is more committed than ever to looking at every feature through the lens of their users’ collective intelligence.
The fundamental question: Are customers using this feature or not? This question remains pertinent at full scale and applies not just to experimental features released only to beta testers, but to every single feature on the site. Because of LinkedIn’s huge user base, Baer and his teams have plenty to work with — helping executives make statistically defensible decisions.
The data gathered can produce many crucial insights, such as shifts in consumer demand, bottlenecks in processes, or unsuspected usage patterns. Analyzing this data can help uncover security threats, identify new market opportunities, and take customer segmentation to an almost personal level.
There’s no business like show business, as the saying goes, however this same expression could be applied to small businesses.
When you’re your own boss or work under a management team – or solo entrepreneur – that is considered a small business, you know all too well that it’s competitive, tough and never-ending when you work as a small business owner or employee. With so much on your to-do-list and a non-stop curiosity of what investments or efforts make the most sense, it never hurts to hear from others about their take on how to achieve small business success. In particular, experts that work directly with small businesses of all kinds – including retailers, restaurants and more – share their valuable insight.
What role can mobile phones play in distributing a survey and collecting feedback and data from respondents? In particular, how can we use mobile technology to reach out to and engage individuals in developing countries that
Here are five findings on the ways mobile phones have been leveraged for distributing the My World 2015 survey:
1. About 20% of over 2 million votes have come in via mobile phones.
2. Over 70% of the mobile phone respondents live in developing countries. These participants came from nations that score low on the Human Development Index (versus 31% in the overall survey).
3.More men have responded via mobile than women. (at a rate of 2 male respondent for every one female), and respondents via mobile tend to prioritize better job opportunities at a slightly higher rate than the majority of respondents.
4. Mobile distribution benefited heavily from local and international partnerships and, as with the web, more immediate and centralized collection of the data was possible. In implementation, the mobile phone promotion and distribution of the survey differed slightly from the pen-and-paper and web distribution of the survey.
5. A survey is only as effective as its promotion and distribution. Local and international partnerships helped distribute the survey through targeted high tech, low tech and no tech campaigns. Promotion for all three of the survey distribution methods included integrated campaigns targeting specific national and regional audiences as well as ongoing global efforts to raise awareness and foster interest in the survey.
Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1939
When did marketers start assuming that the way to stand out amidst loud and flashy advertising methods was to be even louder and flashier? We’re faced with increasing evidence, statistics, and research findings indicating that consumers are tired of being bombarded with extraneous information, which distracts rather than assists them in their buying decisions.
According to research done by CEB, the most effective way to reach consumers isn’t through elaborate and complex websites, ads or sales copy, but rather through simplifying the decision making process: in other words, presenting exactly what consumers need to know, while leaving out the rest. In fact, they found that companies who simplified and streamlined the decision making process for their customers were 86% more likely to make a sale.
Two years ago, I joined a startup. I was the first employee, actually. To be honest I had absolutely no clue what to expect and even less of a clue as to what I was doing. The truth is, joining a startup kind of feels like joining a crazed gang. You aren’t entirely sure what’s going to happen next and how you’re going to pull off the job you just pitched, but gosh darnit, there is so much excitement.
There is something really special about a startup family, but just like all families, it has its ups and downs. I’ve learned some important lessons over the last two years — a few things that I think people should know about before leaving their comfortable jobs to live the startup life, and a few things that might encourage others to take the leap.
I met up with an old friend for coffee last Saturday. Going in, I knew I would enjoy catching up with somebody I had not seen for a decade, but I did not expect I would walk away with two lessons in entrepreneurship.
The first is to never take anything for granted. If you have opposable thumbs, are in good health, and you’re living in the age where anything is just a click away, then be grateful and use your abundant resources to innovate and help others.
The second is that we must actively seek inspiration in every turn. As the CEO of a company, my job is to inspire and motivate my team. But, what most people don’t realize is that even inspirational people (aka: the cheerleaders) need to seek inspiration themselves. I lost track of that lesson when I got caught up with the hustle and bustle of growing my company.
It took just one guy to remind me of this, and I’m honored to share his story with you. My hope is that it inspires and motivates you in the same way it did me.
"Small data" helped an HR department identify a hidden problem.
Caught up in administrative activities such as managing employee records and planning company picnics, human resources departments can too easily lose sight of their primary function: Making sure the organization has the needed human capital to implement its strategy.
Not even the best company picnic in the world, with a zip line and gourmet hot dogs, can compensative for an HR department’s failure to help the company put people with the right skills into the right jobs at the right time.
But successfully managing human capital requires quantitative and analytic skills that tend to be scarce among HR professionals, especially those who continue to see themselves as essentially administrative rather than as strategic partners. Today, HR managers need to be attuned to the value of data and need to know how to use it to help them fulfill their obligations to their companies.
We’re not talking about Big Data. We’re talking about small data—ordinary, prosaic data of the type companies have been accumulating for years and that is increasingly accessible, both internally and from external sources. Nor are we talking about the typical human-resources metrics, which evaluate how efficiently the HR department is performing its administrative tasks. We’re talking about data that can show what lies ahead for the company and inform workforce planning.
Being able to build trust is regarded as a crucial element of successful leadership. Especially in today’s globalized business world with its high rate of change and its cross-cultural challenges.
What is trustworthiness?’ How can we define it?
3 ingredients Onora O’Neill uses to define trustworthiness:
Do what you say you would do. Stick to agreements. Show your commitment by your actions.
Be competent in the matters at stake. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and be open about it. Don’t overestimate your competence.
Tell the truth. Don’t lie. Distinguish fact from perception.
These three ingredients provide a powerful checklist for leaders and their teams. It can facilitate an open discussion with each other about the perceived level of trustworthiness and its effect on mutual trust. And be careful: for leaders of cross-cultural teams it is important to be sensitive to the different ways these three elements can be perceived across cultures
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Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.