Month: November 2013

“You Need to Give Away The Recipe For Your Secret Sauce” – Jay Baer

Check out Jay Baer’s article:

There is a link to a video from the head chef at McDonalds who shows you how to make a Big Mac at home… including the special sauce.

The thing is, publishing the recipe for the special sauce did not stop people from going to McDonalds by the millions.  That’s because McDonalds offers something in addition to the Big Mac that cannot be replicated.

Protecting your IP is important but it’s not a business model.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“Without dissent, there is no creativity” – Steve Blank

If no one ever complains, if no one ever challenges the status quo and if no one ever cries “BS”, then you will miss something.  You may miss the biggest thing.

Be open to dissent.  Encourage a culture of spirited debate.  Listen to angry customers.  It’s not comfortable but it keeps you from sitting back thinking you have all the answers.

Do all this while keeping one eye on your core ideology.



Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“If all the economists were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion” – George Bernard Shaw

One of our client companies increased their real estate business 300% in the worst real estate economy in modern times.  Another friend increased his mortgage business over 100% a year during the same time.

During rough economic times, people are still in need of a solution to their problems.  People in this case still needed to buy and sell homes at a time when values crashed and loans were hard to get.  The entrepreneur finds the pony in the pile.

Tough times define new opportunities.  The “experts” are good at explaining why things are bad.  Listen to them NOT!


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people.” – Derek Sivers

Being best in the world does’t mean everyone will love you.

For one thing, your competitors won’t love you, nor will their devoted fans.

You will be tempted to water down your value proposition in order to respond.  Or perhaps more common, add more and more features until your product is mediocre and pleases no one.

Be the best you can be at what you do and stay focused on that.  Saying, “we’re not for everybody” is a pretty powerful marketing statement.

Read “Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“What’s the use of a good quotation if you can’t change it?” – Doctor Who

Happy 50th to all the Whovians out there.

This quote nails the core ideology of Blogging Gazelle.  Sometimes a good quote inspires something completely different and fresh.  Sometimes it brings everyone together.

Quotes are to be shared and borrowed and passed along.  They help define the narrative of life.

Meanwhile, “I need a map of Florida, a pot of coffee with 12 cups and a red fez.”



Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“You’re worth nothing to me unless you’ve had three spectacular failures.” – Dan Wieden

This quote came from a talk at the 2013 SSTI conference in Portland.  Mr. Wieden was speaking about the investor’s perspective on startups.  The point he was making was that more learning comes from failure than from success.

Another way to say it is that previous success does not always predict future success.

Still another way to say it is; failure is not the end of the world.  You take those experiences with you and they inform your world view form then on.

A good friend told me the story of the conversation he had with his wife when they were contemplating starting a company.  The question was raised, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  His wife replied, “well, we’re not going to starve…”



Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt me while I’m doing it.” – Ray Danner, Founder of Shoney’s

A lot of “experts” will review your business model and tell you it doesn’t make sense or they don’t get it or more likely, just simply smile and say “that’s nice”.

Success in a startup is not measured by winning pitch competitions or even being accepted in a great accelerator program.  All these institutions have people who judge your idea by preset criteria and they bring their personal biases into it.

Success in a startup is not measured by getting venture capital.  The statistics still say that less than 10% of those seeking institutional funding will find it.  Less than 2% of them will actually provide a return.

A funny thing happens along the way…  As you start to get traction and grow your customer base, the opinion of the experts starts to improve.

Only one thing matters: solving a big problem for which people are willing to pay for the solution.  There’s only one place to find that answer; the person with the problem.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Most corporate mission statements are terrible.” – Jim Collins

I’ve been in corporate “brainstorming” sessions organized for the goal of developing a mission statement.  All too often, these exercises are about developing a marketing position or a tag line for an annual report to shareholders.  The statement usually becomes so generalized as to not tip off competitors and obscure enough as to avoid criticism.  The result is nobody knows what you do or why.

As soon as you hire your first employee, it is very important for you to communicate the purpose for your company to exist on the planet.  This purpose must be concise and memorable but it must encapsulate a vision that inspires and captures the imagination.

Simple and clear!

It’s never too early to develop your core ideology.   Your company culture starts with you. For a start, read or re-read “Good To Great.”

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson