Month: June 2012

“There are no peacetime generals in the history books” – Tom Peters

True heroes are called in the moment.  Circumstances arrange themselves and the situation finds itself in need of a leader; one who can make a decision rather than stand there.  Usually, doing something is better than doing nothing, but regardless, a decision must be made.

Failure can happen.  Chances are it will.  Good can still come.

I never really understood baseball until I figured out this:  it’s about being in the right place in case something happens.  It’s about practicing the possible scenarios over and over so that if something happens, you are in a position to make a play and you will know what to do.  It’s about reading the signs and anticipating the next move.

I believe this is how innovation happens.

We need more leaders.  We need more heroes.


“Old Apple laptops used to have the logo upside down. It wasn’t an oversight but a user-friendliness decision.” – @OMG Facts

The story goes that Steve Jobs was adamant that the Apple logo appear right side up when the user opened the computer.  They found that customers got confused about which side of the notebook was the side that opened.  The result was that when the notebook sat open, the logo appeared upside-down to everyone else, especially when you saw an Apple computer on an episode of House.  Apparently this was a major source of contention.

This is amazing!

Not for the obvious reasons though.  (By the way, the Marketing people ultimately won the argument.)

The amazing thing is that Jobs was consumed with giving the customer the best possible experience using the product. So adamant he was that he fought what was an obvious marketing tactic.

Customer delight.  It WILL set you apart.

Here’s the post:

“Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn’t have to experience it.” – Max Frisch

I love my technology.  My smartphone, tablet, computer and all the apps.  The challenge of replacing or at least minimizing my cable company.  It’s all good.

They say now we’re never out of contact.  They say we’re bombarded with thousands of advertisements – every day.  They say that social media is making strangers of us all. Oh, and they say they know where we are and every move we make……

But all this stuff…all of it… has an “off” switch.

There is no need for a cell phone when riding a mountain bike.  There are no billboards or TV commercials on a hiking trail.  You don’t need to be online to have coffee with a friend.

Sunday’s are my “modern” sabbath.  I spend the day going to church, having a long meal with my family, reading, going for a long bike ride and playing guitar.  I turn off all the stuff.

It’s hard.  But it gets easier.

Use the “off” switch.  Nothing bad will happen.

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm Forbes

In the debate over the role of formal education in entrepreneurship, here’s the thing:

Education can never promise success.  That’s the wrong argument.  Education can only provide different perspectives and frameworks for which to solve problems.  It’s the problem solvers that provide value to the culture.

There’s a case to be made for investing $100,000 in your first business rather than a private school education. Still, you will learn more through failure in the real world.  The MBA is worth it if you walk away with frameworks to guide your thinking and reduce the amount of failure you go through.  All the case studies and  best selling authors can do talk talk about their research/experience and their conclusions.  How you apply the wisdom is completely up to you.

Failure is likely anyway.  You can’t blame your education.  Your degree, at best, can help prepare you for dealing with the failure so you learn from it.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker

I like Guy Kawasaki’s “MBA on a slide”.  He has four scenarios about startups:

  1. If you not particularly good at doing something no ones cares about, well you’re
  2. If you are really really good at something no one cares about, well then you’re just plain stupid
  3. If you are pretty good at something a lot of people want, you may have to compete on price but you can be successful
  4. If you are really really good at something everybody wants, that’s where you want to be.

Good technology and efficient processes are best applied to large problems in large and growing markets.  Drucker calls it the Defensible Value Proposition.

Talent without a market is a hobby.  Talent with a large and growing market is a phenomenal business.

“People want economy and they will pay any price to get it.” – Lee Iacocca

Customer Value is about the perception of what happens when the customer uses the product.  The handyman is not buying a drill; he is buying the ability to make holes.  The iPod was not the first nor arguably the best MP3 player but it was the coolest and it was made by Apple.

Connect your brand with the right perception and you won’t have to compete on price.

“Send handwritten notes.” – Jeffery J. Fox

In this digital age of email, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and still more means of communication, it’s hard to remember that a large part of business is still about relationships.

I remember working for a particularly tyrannical boss.  Although I did not want to be like him in any way, he did one thing that stuck with me.  He would hand out handwritten notes when you did something he was pleased with.  And he was EXTREMELY hard to please.

I hated the guy but I wanted one of those notes more than anything.

We live in a world of noise.  If you want to stand out, do something different and deeply personal.  Send a note.

Read “How to Become CEO” by Jeffery J. Fox.


“Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually…” – Jim Collins

“…Get enough sleep. Stay healthy.  Get some exercise.  Have diversions. Read. Converse with interesting people. Expose yourself to new ideas. Spend time in solitary, renewing activities.  Do whatever is necessary to keep yourself vibrant, stimulated, growing, and alive as a human being.”

The previous post left open the question about finding balance.  Dr. Collins has provided an answer.