Author: blogginggazelle

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Billy Graham

Leaders have to be brave.  But it’s hard when it seems like you are alone.  But be brave still.  You’ll find you have more support than you think.

And if the leader you follow is facing a tough time, encourage her.  It helps to know your followers are there with you.

 

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“If you’re too afraid to mess up, you’re too afraid to do better.” – Coach K

A few good things happen when we try and fail.

  1. We learn what doesn’t work
  2. We learn where our boundaries are (so we can break them)
  3. We get stronger
  4. We have better stories.  (no one talks about the vacations where everything was perfect.)
  5. We go farther than we thought we could
  6. We try new things
  7. We realize there are few things in life that result in being killed and eaten (tip to Bill Bryson)

Being comfortable is good for a while but you get soft if you don’t try for more.

 

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

 

 

“Prediction requires the identification of a pattern that repeats, because a pattern is what allows you to use what has happened to infer what will happen next.” – Michael Raynor

And this is precisely the problem with startups.  By definition, a startup is new.  It’s never been done before.  There are no patterns.  There is no history. You can;t predict what comes next.

This translates to risk which scares people.  It’s why bankers won’t let you borrow money against your own house to start a new venture.  You don’t yet fit nicely in a spreadsheet.

This is why it’s so important to get to first customers and quickly as possible.  It is the single best thing you can do to mitigate risk.  Sell what you have a soon as possible, even if it is not perfect.  Once you have customers, they will lead to in the direction of perfection.

 

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

 

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure some of them are dirt.” – John Muir

Today I am backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Hiking in the woods is where I think; or not.  It’s where problems get solved in my subconscious.  It’s where the Creator reminds me that there is something more.

Our lives are so full of noise.  It’s getting worse and worse.  It’s good to get away.  From people.  From technology.

Take the time to be alone and to be quiet.

 

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“It is a curious feature of our existence that we come from a planet that is very good at promoting life but even better at extinguishing it.” ― Bill Bryson

As soon as you achieve any element of success in your business, people will notice.  You’ll have fans.  And you will have competitors.

They will cut prices.  They will say bad things about you and your products.  They will copy your ideas. They may try to defeat you with legal loopholes .  Everyone loves a winner but not for long.

Stay focused on your customers by easing their pain and delighting them in the use of your products.

 

Read “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson

 

BloggingGazelle is written daily by Shawn Carson

“Can you imagine Steve Jobs showing up for a paycheck? It’s nice to get paid. It’s essential to believe.” – Seth Godin

Sooner or later you will face a crisis of belief.  It seems to happen more often these days and it shows up everywhere.  A revered leader is dismissed over hubris and egotism.  A venerable church splits over a contemporary moral issue.  A veteran teacher struggles with a new job evaluation process.  A loyal employee is laid off due to a decision made in another city over numbers on a spreadsheet and shareholder value.

Crisis reveals hidden truth.  You learn what people really believe when their credibility is at stake and it’s surprising to learn how indifferent and selfish we tend to be.

Adjust your lifestyle to accommodate mobility and flexibility.  Save money in the good times.  When it all goes to hell, then go make your own meaning.  In fact, just go make your own meaning, period.

Read Tribes by Seth Godin

BloggingGazelle is publish daily by Shawn Carson

 

 

“The best way to build cohesiveness is to suffer,…” – Guy Kawasaki

“…and you can’t suffer if your butt is sitting in a $700 Herman Mller Chair in a beautiful building.”

It takes every penny you can muster to build your company and get your product in the hands of your customer.  The money your investors gave you is meant for that; not for supporting a nice office and a lavish lifestyle.

The best work your people will ever do for you is the work they choose to donate.  You want them thinking about your mission on the weekends and in the middle of the night and here’s the thing: You can never pay enough for that.  It only comes to you when they choose to give it. If they ever feel like their efforts are supporting your hubris, then you will get less than you pay for and the best will find someone else to donate their time to.

 

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“We’re always on the lookout for enormous boons” – Dr. Who

The GoPro action camera seems to have come out of nowhere.  But it didn’t.

Nick Woodman’s recent interview on Charlie Rose shed some light on the innovator’s process of discovery.  Mr. Woodman was on a surfing pilgrimage and wanted to capture his experiences first hand.  So he crafted a small camera and put it on a wrist band he could wear while on his surfboard.  Before long, other surfers wanted cameras and a company idea was born.  But it didn’t take off at that point.  Woodman went on to drive race cars and the same problem presented itself.  So he took his wrist camera and strapped it to the frame of the roll cage in the car.  Other drivers wanted one.

Stellar success comes from diligent hard work over time.  We tend to hear about it all at once when the media discovers a “new” idea but it usually takes years of slow but steady progress.

 

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

 

 

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, US Commisioner of Patents, 1899

There are a few more patents than there were in 1899.  I’m not sure what the sentiment was that led to this comment but there is a point to be made for the innovator and the entrepreneur.

There’s a good chance that the solution to the problem you are trying to solve has been applied in some other context.  One of the more interesting examples is an athletic shoe designer who applied an idea from a suspension bridge to solve a structure to weight problem.

Shoe Bridge Design

Innovation is not necessarily about invention.  Look around you.  Look above, below and around the problem. Get a different perspective.  Ask people outside the problem. You may find someone has probably already done the work for you.

Standing on Desk

 

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Ideas without commitment are worthless” – Adam McCall

Adam McCall is an incredible serial entrepreneur who has been involved with startups from wilderness outfitters and wakeboard boats to alternative fuels and specialty plastic resins.  He recently offered his thoughts where this quote was shared.  It’s context was a discussion about generating ideas for a business.

There is no end to good ideas but rarely do these ideas come with a level of commitment to see them through.  Starting a company is hard work.  Some of the challenges can be foreseen but most will slap you in the back of the head at random, and sometimes all at once.  It’s just the way it is.  Entrepreneurs have the kind of thick skin that overcomes these challenges, one by one, as they come along.

This same reality goes for those who you choose to be a part of your company.  A good idea can attract a lot of well intentioned people but they need to be of the sort that are able to solve a lot of problems as they come; without regard to title, position or ego.

 

BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson