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Showing posts from 2014

World's Best, Greatest, Most, & Least

Of course it is the end of yet another year. The sun still shines in the sky, the Earth still circles it and life goes on, but would it not be nice to know some fun facts about this beautiful blue planet we live on? In any case, here are a bunch of number one's that you might not have known about.

The world's hottest place: Death Valley National Park
The highest air temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134 degrees Fahrenheit, at Death Valley National Park on July 10, 1913.


The world's coldest place: East Antarctic Plateau
On the high ridge of the East Antarctic Plateau, the temperature can drop to as low as -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit, recorded in August, 2010.


World's most populated city: Shanghai
At a whopping 24,150,000 permanent inhabitants, Shanghai is the single city that is home to the most people in the world.


World's least populated city: Vatican City
With a paltry population of 842, the city-state of Vatican City is the smallest city and state in the world.


Wo…

The Sprit of Christmas

So what is Christmas anyway? No matter what your faith, the spirit of Christmas is pretty simple, and has been echoed throughout time, by many people, from different beliefs, around the world. Be good to yourself, love others, and well, be happy in the fact that all you will do, and all you have done, is approved by the Creator, your Maker. You were all made perfect and are a gift to this World. May the Joy and Spirit of Christmas live in your hearts always..

Wisdom in Football

Considering what time of the year it is, and since I am a big fan of sports analogies, primarily due to fact that they are usually dead nuts on target in explaining what people should do to improve their companies, teams, or ourselves, I thought a post about football would be worthwhile here. In that light, here are some football quotations that I hope you find useful and enlightening...

“Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble the football” John Heisman
“I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.” Bear Bryant / Alabama
“It isn't necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it! Knute Rockne / Notre Dame
“At Georgia Southern, we don't cheat . That costs money, and we don't have any.” Erk Russell / Georgia Southern
“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” Lou Holtz / Arkansas - Norte Dame
“When you win, nothing hurts.” Joe Namath / A…

“How did you get funded?”

This is a question I have been asked dozens of times. I have been pretty fortunate and had a great deal of success as an entrepreneur in raising money, and many of my friends, colleagues, and entrepreneurs in waiting have asked me, what does it takes to get investment? Other that knowing someone or doing it once before (that is the easiest way), how can a “nobody” get somebody to invest in your bright idea? There are not a lot of things you can control when it comes to funding, but here are some tips YOU can do that seem to work for me, and hopefully for all those budding entrepreneurs out there as well!
It’s all about the sizzle…you are selling smoke and smell, not steak! OK, being in Texas for most of my life (but not a native), I have learned a lot about cattle, steak and sizzle. You want to make their mouths water. When you are “selling” your idea, you have to think more like a televangelists and an engineer, CEO, or businessman. Essentially, you are selling something intangible tha…

Business Roulette

Sometimes in business we like to think that certain tactics we developed in one industry can translate over into another, but as is often the case they do not.  Yes, you always have to look out for strategies that might move from one industry to another, but sometimes these "conversions" can end up with unintended consequences as this short story illustrates. An African ambassador visited Russia and was entertained by his opposite number, the Russian ambassador. For three days, the African ambassador was wined, dined, and generally treated to the best hospitality that Russia had to offer.

On the last day of his visit, the Russian ambassador said, "As your stay is coming to an end, it's time for you to play our traditional game, Russian roulette. One of the six chambers of this gun is loaded - you spin the cylinder, point the gun at your head, and pull the trigger."

This phased the African slightly, but he was a proud man of a warrior people, and to show fear would…

Startup Sins

During my 15 years of helping start and working for start-up companies, I have learned a few things from all the mistakes I have made and from the mentors and advisors I have met and worked with. Though there are dozens of things you may have to worry about when starting a company, I will highlight the 3 Deadly Startup Sins that will pretty much guarantee your eventual failure.
Leadership
Actually, Leadership is the number one element in the eventual success of any new endeavor. And the number one mistake made with most start-ups is assuming that the founder or inventor should be the person running the company. History has proven this is often not the best course of action for the success of a company. Henry Ford stated that even though Thomas Edison was the smartest person he had ever met, he was a horrible businessman.
I have seen far too many people, who happen to be brilliant inventors or scientist, be absolutely horrible leaders. Ever endeavor, large or small, rises and falls on lea…

Cell Phone Etiquette

Sometimes, with all the electronic conveniences we have to communicate with we forget that not everyone wants to be privy to a conversation you are having, and during a trip of any length, many of us would just like to "turn off."  Of course, sometimes people as so involved with what they are doing they do not realize what incredible bores they can be.  Here is a little story on how a gentleman handled this situation with aplomb. After a tiring day, a commuter settled down in his seat and closed his eyes.
As the train rolled out of the station, the young woman sitting next to him pulled out her mobile phone and started talking in a loud voice:
"Hi sweetheart. It's Sue. I'm on the train". "Yes, I know it's the six thirty and not four thirty, but I had a long meeting". "No, honey, not with that Kevin from the accounting office. It was with the boss". "No sweetheart, you're the only one in my life". "Yes, I'm sure, cr…

Obstacles as Opportunites

In my entrepreneurial journey, I have been fortunate enough to have met both good and bad mentors and entrepreneurs.  The one thing that make a good entrepreneur it the fact that KNOW the the journey is going to be hard and arduous, but they decide to do it anyway.  What makes a poor entrepreneur is a person who thinks there is a shortcut, or an magic wand that will make the "successful."  Yes, some successful entrepreneurs "look" like they just magically made their fortune, but that is such an illusion.  Everyone of them had to fight, and scratch, and claw and yes, a few got a little bit luckier than most, but it was NEVER easy.  And if you think creating something new is easy, stop right now.  You will never make it.
Actually, most of the successful entrepreneurs had to pivot when they ran into an unforeseen obstacle in their path. Yes, even the mighty Google did not know how it was going to make money until someone came up with the idea for AdWords. YouTube was o…

Why Politicians Lie (and Marketers too)

I thought, now that the elections are behind us, and we have been inundated with thousands of hours of hyperbolic advertising, debating, and otherwise misleading statements about such and such doing this and that, I thought I would ponder why politicians (and to a large degree marketers) can seemingly be saying two different things about the same subject. Are they just liars, or is there something completely different going on? As it is often said, there are two sides to every coin, and in debating anything you should be able to equally argue for the pro or con of an idea. I think this little testimony from a Texas legislator sums it up best. In 1952, Armon M. Sweat, Jr., a member of the Texas House of Representatives, was asked about his position on whiskey. What follows is his exact answer (taken from the Political Archives of Texas):
"If you mean whiskey, the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home,…

Focus, Focus, Focus

As many who start up a company begin with a great idea, with a laser focus; it seems as soon as you get started, you start to get distracted by other priorities, or begin adding additional features or strategies for no apparent reason other than to please as many people as possible. As Bill Cosby once said, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone."

With that in mind, there is a great Hindu epic from the 3,500-year-old Mahabharata, one of the three sacred texts of Hindu, that tells of a story about the five Pandava brothers: Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva.

These brother where the great warriors of ancient India, and one in particular, Arjuna, has a fantastic story of purpose and calling in the Bhagavad Gita. But that is another story.  In any case, this story begins with the brothers' archery teacher's instruction on aim and targeting. The master ties a wooden fish to a tree branch over a basin of water…

The Anatomy of a Startup

While starting a company has never been easier, the same facts still remain.  Most close in six months, and only about 10% will ever get to a break even state.  Still, here are some interesting facts about tech startups (hardware, software or internet based). First, most are started by 1 or 2 people; second they spend less than $1,000 per month on development, and if they make it past 9 months, have a good chance of making it a year.  I hope the infographic below adds some additional light on the subject.

Life is a Train Ride (Perspective)

We often ponder why we are here and what is our purpose.  What is it for and why certain people come and leave or lives while others become what I consider hold dear and I call “friend.” I think this story might help with how to see life as a train ride. 
Life is like a journey on a train...with its stations...changes of routes...and accidents!

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel by our side.

However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone….but not quite.

As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Some will move to a another car for awhile and come back. Others will go so unnoticed we don't realize they left their seats!

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hurts, hellos, goodbyes, and farewe…