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Showing posts from November, 2014

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,…