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5 Essential Leadership Keys For Executives... And Life

5 Essential Leadership Keys For Executives... And Life | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

Damn, entrepreneuring is hard. And fun. And personally rewarding if you can handle the responsibility of being a leader.

For me, the most rewarding aspects of being an entrepreneur are the serious challenges that it presents and the no-safety-rope, feet-to-the-fire doing that's required. Leadership is one of those executive skills that are absolutely critical for success, but it isn't really taught in the schoolroom - most of us have to learn it through a variety of costly trials and errors, and very patient mentors. Despite little training, poor leadership is often the reason for failed businesses and stalled careers, the kind of thing we all try to avoid.

Leadership is difficult for everyone. That's why the world has so few good leaders. When you get right down to it, the difficulty with leadership is the people part of it. "People" are that magic and the complex society whose inner-workings will either make or break your machine. So that's a real place to focus on, right? Without a conscious effort and the ability to learn from your mistakes - and I've made mistakes! - it's difficult to develop the ability to effectively lead any group of people, much less a diverse group.

1. Take the First Step.

What is leadership without action? When hiking, the First Step might be literally the first step down the path. In a boardroom, the First Step might be taking responsibility when others pass, or making a difficult decision and letting others know how it affects them. Strive for action when others stall. Don't be afraid to make those difficult decisions and move forward. Use your inertia to show your team how and when to take action.

2. Come From a Positive Place.

People know... They can smell it. Bad intentions are poisonous, so be double extra sure to come from a place of good intentions, no mater what the circumstance. Pause, think and make sure that what you are saying and doing comes from that positive place, and make it obvious before you take any actions that affect people.

This doesn't mean avoiding difficult situations (welcome those) or being disagreeable (that's necessary sometimes). It means that the actions that you do take should obviously support your goals and your team's goals. Success comes easier this way.

Who wants to follow a bad apple?

3. Be Consistent.

Consistency develops organizational trust. When actions are, or even seem inconsistent, those around can become confused, losing sight of what to do or how to provide support. Confusion is not a good team building emotion, it damages workflow, and creates an uncertain atmosphere. Take note of your own personal patterns because those around you already do.

4. What Are You Being?

I resolved myself to become the kind of leader that attracts other leaders. This requires me to take actions that build trust, respect, and kinship. It also requires me to specifically think about each and every interaction that I have with recruits, my team, clients, vendors, and, well, everyone. "What are you being?" is the question that I ask myself to test whether I'm behaving in the way that supports my leadership goals. It's one of those questions that can stop you in your tracks, if you're honest about the answer.

5. Take a Step to the Side. (And Listen)

Great leaders are also great followers. How else could you know what leadership is? Be a great follower, continuously strive for improvement, and by your actions, teach everyone what that means.

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8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

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

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The Ideal Board Meeting

The Ideal Board Meeting | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

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.

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Finding the Right Market

Freddie Godfrey, co-founder of the event site Gablit, talks about the challenges of starting a company as an international founder.

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Developing Habits and Prioritizing Actions over Results

Developing Habits and Prioritizing Actions over Results | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

Here are some tips on adapting habits, behaviors, and actions that will help you more efficiently reach your goals.

Start Small

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.

Think short-term

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.

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7 Mistakes That Could Turn Your Corporate Video into a Corporate Disaster

7 Mistakes That Could Turn Your Corporate Video into a Corporate Disaster | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

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.

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How to be a badass entrepreneur in 2014

How to be a badass entrepreneur in 2014 | Startups and Entrepreneurship |
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.”

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, January 6, 5:34 PM

Good advice, a bit on the tough side, but true.

Cut out all the people who pull you down, surround yourself with the creative and positive ones. The ones who pull up their sleeves and get busy.

Don't hesitate, jump! Do what launches you forward. Don't let doubts hold you back.

Show the way. Be honest with yourself, and be open for positive, constructive advice.

Don't get angry, it's a waste of energy. It hurts yourself more than anything.

And most importantly, just do it!

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Top 10 apps of 2013 for entrepreneurs

Top 10 apps of 2013 for entrepreneurs | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

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.

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Why LinkedIn collects data on every last way members use their site

Why LinkedIn collects data on every last way members use their site | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

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.

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7 Things You Need to Be More Magnetic

7 Things You Need to Be More Magnetic | Startups and Entrepreneurship |
Want to be more engaging in conversation?

Cultivate your charm by adopting these seven habits.





Open Mindedness


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Indian promoter-CEO is answerable to nobody

Indian promoter-CEO is answerable to nobody | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

There is no shortage of businessmen in India who have run their firms into the ground, putting into jeopardy money given to them by small shareholders.

Think of Manmohan Singh as the country's CEO, a professional who was elevated to the top job because of his accomplishments and not because of family connections. Suddenly, a decision taken by him is condemned by the largest stakeholder as "nonsense" that ought to be "torn up and thrown away", not in a closed-door board meeting in which the stakeholder is present but on national television.

This causes him serious loss of face. He doesn't resign, perhaps because the job comes with a whole lot of perks, but his authority is ravaged. What if the largest stakeholder was also the CEO and was responsible for the questionable decision? Would he have received a similar rebuke?

Would anybody have dared to chastise him in public, cut his stature by 99 per cent in a matter of minutes? I am pretty certain nothing would have happened to him. The Indian tradition is to give the promoter-CEO a free hand. He cannot be dislodged and is answerable to nobody.

nrip's insight:

What an excellent article and a reminder to all of us entrepreneurs to be disciplined in our work towards operations, innovation and most importantly finances.

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Three Steps For Transforming Employees Into Brand Ambassadors

Three Steps For Transforming Employees Into Brand Ambassadors | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

Every well-managed company strives to have a strong brand. The main motivator? Sales volume, often paired with premium pricing. For most companies, the stronger the brand, the higher the premium they can charge for their products and services.

With a strong brand, a company can also increase its product lines with ease, thrive during economic downturns, gain leverage in partnerships, and attract the best talent. The benefits of a strong brand are tremendous. The best leaders realize that, despite conventional wisdom, strong brands aren’t built by the marketing department alone; everyemployee in every department has a role to play.

Many companies focus all their branding efforts on marketing activities such as advertising campaigns and packaging, yet one of the most powerful brand assets your company has is your people. Regardless of which industry you’re in, building a strong brand requires that all employees feel connected to the corporate brand and understand their role in turning brand aspirations into reality.

To build a strong corporate brand, you need brand ambassadors – employees who are thoroughly engaged, connected and committed. Scarlett Surveys International defines Employee Engagement as “a measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization that profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform at work.”

 To transform employees into brand ambassadors, follow these three steps:

1. Promote Self Discovery – Personal Branding

2. Make Brand Awareness a Priority:  Corporate Branding 101

3. Connect the Personal and the Corporate

Carlos Fosca's curator insight, October 9, 2013 5:22 PM

"..To build a strong corporate brand, you need brand ambassadors – employees who are thoroughly engaged, connected and committed. Scarlett Surveys International defines Employee Engagement as “a measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization that profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform at work.”..

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Four Lessons From the Best Bosses I Ever Had

Four Lessons From the Best Bosses I Ever Had | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

Lesson: Let Your People Go. When you find great talent, do what you need to in order to encourage and support them. Treat them justly and do what’s right for them and the organization over what’s right for you personally. Give them opportunities to excel and succeed and air cover if they fail. Be willing to take “personal” risks for the right employee.

Lesson: Light the Fire and Clear the Path. Guide your people’s passion and get out of the way: the autonomy and freedom I was given to create and do my job exponentially increased my passion, excitement and success. My manager-mentors made sure my passions aligned with organizational direction, gave me some high-level boundaries, resources, and introductions to make it happen. They removed obstacles, showed me how to handle challenges, provided opportunities, and took the blame while giving me the credit.

Lesson: Remember, They’re Human. Many companies treat their employees as employees — nicely and kindly, even generously — but not as humans. My manager-mentors made it clear that I mattered not just for what I could do, but also for who I was. It wasn’t just about the generous maternity leave or the work-from-home flexibility, although I was grateful for both. Boss #2, for instance, required that I take two consecutive weeks of vacation to fully relax. My assistant took care of everything and virtually banned me from checking email, even though we would still do the New York Times crossword puzzle every day — an important ritual for us no matter where I was in the world. While I had “official” vacation days, no one ever kept tabs on them unless the number to be carried over was too large. It was important to all my bosses that I learn from their successes, mistakes and not share their regrets.

Trust trumps everything. And everything flows from trust — learning, credibility, accountability, a sense of purpose and a mission that makes “work” bigger than oneself.
shelbylaneMD's curator insight, October 2, 2013 6:51 PM

Great lessons:

One huge lesson from the Worst office coordinator.: 

The posted Memo starts with..

"Your Mother Doesn't Live Here". ...Clean up the kitchen, the bathroom, blah blah...."Your laziness habit must change"...

Whoa, I didn't know Paula Dean had a twin.

First...My mother is dead

Second...I'm not lazy...

I speak for quiet staff...too afraid to speak up in the 21st century because of a "JOB"

How incredibly shallow and well.....don't get m started.

It's important to treat everyone with respect  "everyone"....

Even the sanitation engineers..

Insanity is rampant.

Look at the mass shootings.

People are harboring resentment and you don't know when someone will "SNAP".

Have we become so self righteous with our little "Boss" job that  you can say..   "Yo Mama"

Why  be the trigger for angst and hostility and religious wars, etc.

Just an opinion

Everybody has one


The Help  "X"

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The 10 most instrumental lessons in shaping my life and success

The 10 most instrumental lessons in shaping my life and success | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

These are lessons that come not from reading around, but straight from personal experience. I thought I’d share the current state of the list, together with some elaboration on the background for each point. 

1. My mother used to say – “Every problem has at least three solutions. Keep looking until you find all of them.” That was her usual way of setting the bar an order of magnitude harder than normal people  and it taught me the fact that any problem was surmountable, that I should always keep looking for new options, and I should always set expectations way higher than is reasonable.

2. You should spend at least as long studying the concept of learning itself, as you do on any topic that you actually learn. I read some great books like The Art of Learning, and applied all of the principles when I went back to Cambridge. It showed me that you can genuinely learn anything, and quickly, as long as you are willing to have the dedication and apply yourself to the process in the right way. I’ve since seen others around me pick up that vibe, and learn some amazing skills in ridiculously short timeframes.

3. “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want” – Zig Ziglar. You can always trust an American motivational speaker to come up with something cheesy, but I have to say this is the one main principle I live my life by. The UK is a comfortable country to live in – most of us have the luxury of spare time outside of necessary work. If we spend that time helping people get what they want, it will always come back to us. I find it very difficult to connect with people who don’t share this attitude.

4. The people around you determine who you are. My life has had a lot of ups and downs.. In 30 years I’ve lived through enough for a lifetime. As I look back now, the fluctuations can so clearly be attributed to the people I was surrounding myself by. So choose role models, and see what they do. Then do the same. Go to those places, take up those activities, meet those kinds of people, and only ever surround yourself by people who you want to be like. Create your own environment and ecosystem – don’t just fall into whatever is there.

5. Never eat alone. That was my last blog post, so I won’t rehash the point in detail. In order to create that perfect ecosystem, you have to meet the right people. The day is for working, so the only time to do this is during meal times. Get into a routine of eating with 2 or 3 new people a day and watch your social circle flourish.

Read the rest at :

nrip's insight:

this was one listicle I liked a lot...especially point 5 -> never eat alone... something I practice since I was 18 myself... hence its here :)

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10 Entrepreneurial Styles: Which One Are You? [Infographic]

10 Entrepreneurial Styles: Which One Are You? [Infographic] | Startups and Entrepreneurship |
Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires a certain drive to succeed. These 10 entrepreneurial styles have their own unique ways of harvesting success.

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Why Creativity Matters More Than Passion for Entrepreneurs

Why Creativity Matters More Than Passion for Entrepreneurs | Startups and Entrepreneurship |
What is the most important quality of an entrepreneur?

Via Kamal Bennani, massimo facchinetti, malek
CAP Brand Marketing's curator insight, January 29, 4:26 PM

Creativity is the ultimate trump card for Entrepreneurs. 

Ernest Collett's curator insight, February 4, 2:59 AM

What do you think?

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You stay classy, entrepreneurs.

You stay classy, entrepreneurs. | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

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.

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19 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful

19 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

You have to do the things that no one else is doing, that scare you. That's the difference between mediocrity and outrageous success.

You have to do the hard things.

You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.

You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.

You have to give more than you get in return right away.

You have to care more about others than they care about you.

You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.

You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.

You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.

You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.

You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.

You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.

You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.

You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”

You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.

You have to try and fail and try again.

You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.

You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.

You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.

You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.

You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

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The Psychology of Winning

The Psychology of Winning | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

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What One Entrepreneur Taught Me about Inspiration and Appreciation

What One Entrepreneur Taught Me about Inspiration and Appreciation | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

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.

read on at

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How a Bathtub-Shaped Graph Helped a Company Avoid Disaster

How a Bathtub-Shaped Graph Helped a Company Avoid Disaster | Startups and Entrepreneurship |
"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.

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What is The Essence of Building Trust

What is The Essence of Building Trust | Startups and Entrepreneurship |
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: 

1)   Reliability

Do what you say you would do. Stick to agreements. Show your commitment by your actions.

2)   Competence

Be competent in the matters at stake. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and be open about it. Don’t overestimate your competence.

3)   Honesty

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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11 Quick Quotes from Richard Branson on Business, Leadership, and Passion

11 Quick Quotes from Richard Branson on Business, Leadership, and Passion | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

“Some 80% of your life is spent working. You want to have fun at home; why shouldn’t you have fun at work?”

“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.”

“A company is people … employees want to know… am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted.”

“I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.”

“Most necessary evils are far more necessary than evil.”

“Engage your emotions at work.  Your instincts and emotions are there to help you.”

“You can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business.”

“You shouldn’t blindly accept a leader’s advice.  You’ve got to question leaders on occasion.”

“I believe that drudgery and clock-watching are a terrible betrayal of that universal, inborn entrepreneurial spirit.”

“The time to go into a new business is when it’s badly run by others.”

“There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.”

 “Screw it, let’s just do it.”

Lori Wilk's curator insight, November 22, 2013 1:41 PM

We are celebrating entrepreneurship at StartUp Weekend in Boca Raton ,Florida

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Multitasking Kills Productivity and That’s Bad for New Business

Multitasking Kills Productivity and That’s Bad for New Business | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

In some situations multitasking is deadly. I recently read of a well-known plastic surgeon who was killed when he accidentally drove his car over a cliff while sending a Twitter message about his dog. Most of us understand the dangers of multitasking while driving but many don’t realize that multitasking can be killing productivity.

The term “multitasking originated in the computer engineering industry, referring to the ability of a microprocessor to process several task at the simultaneously. Our ability to multitask is not as efficient as we might think.

Persons charged with business development for most small to mid-size ad agencies often wear multiple hats. That increases the likelihood that they do a lot of multi-tasking and are less efficient than they could be.

We are not made for multitasking and it actually hinders our productivity:

  • The time it takes to complete jobs increases significantly. People actually lose time rather than gain it. The brain has to restart and refocus. Switching attention is from one task to another, work may be faster but studies show that productivity is less.
  • Multi-taskers are prone to errors.
  • Multi-taskers are more easily distracted. The more they multitask the worse they are at it and the less they can focus on one thing.
  • Multitasking hurts relationships. Even though it isn’t intended, it makes clients, coworkers, friends and most importantly family feel unimportant.
  • Multitasking comes at a high price. It greatly increases stress,  even rage in adults and learning problems for children. You need to ask yourself, ‘is this the way I want to feel? Is this the way I really want to live my life?”

If you want to be productive it’s best not to multi-task at all. 

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Financing with Equity vs. Debt vs. Convertibles

Financing with Equity vs. Debt vs. Convertibles | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

Entrepreneurs are not always aware of the various financing structures that may be available to them when raising new capital to finance their growth.  And, even if they are, they are not always sure what fair terms look like when receiving term sheets from investors. 


Issuing stock in your company is the route most entrepreneurs pursue, especially for growth companies where cash flow is difficult to predict, hence making it tough to forecast repaying debts.  Equity is typically secured from angel investors or venture capital firms.

Advantages:  Does not have to be repaid, like debt does.  Gives certainty of valuation for your company, which can also be a disadvantage if the value is very low.

Disadvantages:  The most complex to structure (highest legal bills, longest time to close).  Usually involves giving some level of board control to investors.


For situations where you do not want to set an equity valuation (to not impede subsequent financings from other investors), or you simply want the option of potentially paying back the cash, for a period of time prior to taking in permanent equity capital, a convertible note is the way to go.  A convertible note is a hybrid, part debt and part equity, where it functions as debt, until some point in the future, when it may convert to equity at some predefined terms.  Convertible debt is typically secured from the same angel investors and venture capitalists that fund equity deals and is usually used for smaller rounds of financing at the early stages of a company’s life

Advantages:  Much quicker and cheaper than issuing equity, both for legal bills (can close in weeks, not months) and ownership dilution (deferred until down the road and you can use the note proceeds to increase the value of your company).  It leaves valuation flexible in order to meet the needs of subsequent investors.  Interest payments do not typically need to be paid in cash each month.

Disadvantages:  You have a limited time frame before it needs to be repaid, or convert into equity.


For startups with an existing product/track record or existing or future assets to secure a loan, venture debt is another option to consider.  Venture debt is a senior secured loan that sits on top of the pile, in terms of liquidation preference (repaid before all other debt or equity holders).  Venture debt is typically issued by more aggressive bank lenders, like Silicon Valley Bank and Square One.

Advantages:  The least dilutive to your ownership, allowing you to keep 100% control and economic upside.

Disadvantages:  Do not take this on if you do not have 100% visibility into repaying the loan, as the bank can force you to liquidate the company to recoup their loan, forcing the company (or yourself as guarantor) into liquidation or bankruptcy.  Interest payments need to be paid in cash each month.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, October 2, 2013 8:08 PM

Here are some basic explanations on different ways to get Venture Capital for your company.

Learn how to speak the language of Investors, their way of thinking, the best ways to communicate, making the best presentations, take a look at our Growthink page on the site:

Follow the leaders who have done it over and over again.

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10 lessons for our kids from Julia Gillard

10 lessons for our kids from Julia Gillard | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

1. Stand up for yourself, because no-one else will

2. Stepping up can be tough but it's worth it

3. Don’t let them see they’ve got to you

4. It’s hard to be first ...

5. Always retain a sense of humour

6. Anyone can be a critic - but it takes skill to be a leader

7. What other people say about you isn’t important

8. Be yourself, no matter where

9. Don’t feed the trolls

10. You say it best when you say nothing at all

nrip's insight:

entrepreneuers are like kids in many ways... they ask those questions which typical adults dont

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Notice to startups: You are doing data science wrong

Notice to startups: You are doing data science wrong | Startups and Entrepreneurship |

When we think about data science, we think of a mythical laboratory where scientists are feverishly crunching numbers to provide a clear quantitative view of the future. We’ve been sold on the idea that these transformative findings will unlock increased performance numbers.

Large companies hire teams of academics to sift through their massive repositories of data, believing in data science as it is currently described: academics doing glorified business intelligence.

Startups and small businesses must take a drastically different approach if they want to see real value.

For startups, data science should not be seen as a separate scientific initiative but as an integrated part of the product. Speed and efficiency are key factors to burgeoning companies; hiring and building out a team of data scientists, or more aptly named “data product engineers,” is paramount. Once you accept that data science is about building data products, you will see that your data engineers, contrary to popular belief, do not need PhDs. Instead, they need to be able to integrate into the core of your product and engineering organization.

How do companies build out data product teams that are nimble enough to create such products? We approach the entire data science hiring paradigm differently.

Most current (traditional) job postings are looking for individuals with Ph.D. and industrial research experience, but most startups don’t need bleeding-edge machine learning to drive substantial business success. Therefore, advanced academic credentials are not the right criteria to look for when hiring someone to build great data products for your startup. Someone who only feels comfortable writing non-production code in Hive, SQL, R and Matlab can’t build great data products. This creates a data science organization that works in a dark corner and throws algorithms over the fence hoping the engineers can implement them in the product.

What you really need is someone who understands how to take data and transform it into a product.

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