Month: January 2014

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

If you truly have something new and different, it will cause reactions.  Those that have been waiting for your solution to their problem will sing your praises but those who stand to lose something won’t go away quietly. They will fight you because you are taking something from them; their customers, their profits, their reputation.

Expect both extremes.  In fact, if the reaction is a deafening silence, it’s really bad.  It means no one cares enough to praise or vilify your new product.

On the other hand, when you’ve won over everyone, it’s time to think about what’s next.  The copy cats will find you and you will end up competing on price.  Within two years of its introduction, the iPod took over 90 plus percent of the market share for MP3 players after a long run by Sony’s Walkman brand.  Three years after that, the iPhone showed up and nobody talks about the iPod anymore (much less the Walkman).  I believe this was not a surprise to Apple, nor was it an accident.  Shame… I really like my iPod.

When you reach the top, enjoy the accomplishment and celebrate the moment.  But remember, it’s just a moment.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson



“If I didn’t make any money after 4 years, can I still say I had a hell of a ride?” – Steve Blank

The questions was asked of Steve Blank during one of his Lean Launchpad sessions, “How do we know if we should start the company?”  Hi reply was recorded in this video:

Steve’s Video

This quote was one of the replies to the question and it’s significant because it speaks to the inherent need for passion and belief beyond just the dream of getting rich.  Making meaning is about changing the world for good, even if it’s for a season and even if it only touches the lives of a few.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Weight comes from fear” – Unknown

One of the foundations of backpacking is to eliminate weight.  Doing so helps you hike faster, farther and more pleasant.

The things that add weight come mostly from fear.  If you are afraid you will be cold, you carry more clothes and heavier sleeping gear.  If you are afraid you’ll go hungry or thirsty, you carry more food and water. If you’re afraid to spend too much money, you get cheap (heavier) gear.  Going lightweight requires much planning and a tolerance for risk and discomfort.  But the potential rewards are breathtaking.  You get to go places and have experiences that very few people can.

For the entrepreneur, we could say that “Wait comes from fear”.  If you are afraid to run out of money, you might wait to start your company.  If you are afraid to release the wrong product or perhaps of failure itself, you might wait.

Starting a company, like backpacking requires planning and a tolerance for risk and discomfort.  In each case, you know that obstacles may arise and you adapt.  You also know that if everything goes wrong, the chances of dying are extremely small.

But oh, the places you will see; the stories you will tell.

“As you get older, it’s hader to have heros, but it is sort of necessary.” – Ernest Hemingway

We need inspiration.  We tend to find it in our legends and folklore and we especially find it in our heroes.  Sometimes our heroes fail us when we find out they are, after all, only human. Other times we find out our heroes cheated to attain their success.  Our culture seems to relish in building up heroes only to be first to tear them down.  Maybe we expect too much…

Then again…

Perhaps we look in the wrong places.  There are people all around us that experience awful tribulations and defeat them on shear will and determination.  There are others who quietly plod along doing what they do until a lifetime passes and we see the profound impact they left behind.

The great thing about these people is that you don’t need to stand in line or pay a lot of money to see them.  You don’t have to travel to a conference to hear a speech.  You may only need to buy a cup of coffee or even better, go for a walk.

Goodness leaves a trail just like mayhem but it’s harder to see.  Find these people.  Get to know them.  They know things you don’t.  They won’t charge you money to talk to you.  Funny thing about these kind of heroes; they never know that they are. You be better off for it.

Pay them back by sharing with someone else.  Pass it on.  You don’t know it but you’re one too.


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“What you accomplish through your own efforts is a measure of your effectiveness…” – Shawn Carson

“…What you accomplish through the efforts of others is a measure of your leadership ability. What others do to substantiate your efforts is a measure of your success.”

The first two parts of this quote come from the leadership principles in the books of John C. Maxwell.  There is a third aspect that indicates the success of the effort and that is how others respond.  We call that a validation.

You can have a masterfully conceived plan and you may communicate it flawlessly to your team but if your customers don’t buy, your business will fail.  So along with tracking milestones, you need to identify and track validations.  They are the true measure of success.  A brief list of categories include:

  • First customers
  • Attracting key staff
  • Attracting advisors and mentors
  • Fund raising
  • Attracting key partners

The thing about all of these is that these people have to choose to be a part of your company.

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add,… ” – Antoine St. Exuprey

“…but when there is no longer anything to take away.”

To celebrate the coming of 2014, I share my favorite quote.  It speaks to everything.  It’s about simplicity in all you do.

For the entrepreneur, it’s about your Minimally Viable Product and your feature set.  It’s about managing your time.  It’s about crafting your pitch, your mission statement, your strategy.

It’s about filtering out all the noise that distracts you from accomplishing your goals; email, Twitter, Facebook and those who don’t believe in your dream.

And perhaps, blog posts…

Happy New Year!

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson