Successful Entreprenuership Relies on These Two Concepts

I am amazed at how awesome it is to create something that people love, yet never existed before. As I look back upon my first entrepreneurial journey, two concepts really stand out as key to success.

First, always have in mind the whole shebang, that ultimate product that we are striving to build, in the form of a common vision. The whole shebang includes the ecosystem, the features, and the overall purpose of what you are trying to accomplish. The vision is then communicated and used by the team as guidelines for their work.

Second, flexibility in how it all comes together is required. Sure, you can writing a detailed business plan and plot every step of the way. But, flexibility along the journey lets the product evolve as the understanding of the vision evolves. As the saying goes, “there is more than one way to skin a cat,” so let your team help drive the technology, drive the UI, and let creativity, flexibility, and vision coalesce into an awesome product.

When flexibility and vision work against each other, one must stop and consider whether the deviation is worth the distraction. It could be as flexibility could introduce access to a whole new realm that compliments the vision. It could also create a totally separate vision that should be handled as a separate vision and project.

I would argue that flexibility in the implementation of a start-up is what creates a positive, fun, and creative environment where everyone is putting in their two cents. The final product will embody the souls of the team.

Once you have the whole shebang in the form of vision, you can lead your team down a flexible and highly creative path to success.

Customer Experience Is A Journey

Reflecting back on my career I can appreciate the value of a customer centric organization. Not only are customer centric organizations aligned around the customer, but they typically embolden the employee with value and the ability to make decisions.

Successful organizations are those that embrace business as an ongoing conversation that involves customers, employees and a larger ecosystem. Think of successful business as a conference room where management sits at the head of the table, customers on one side and employees on the other. The dialog must be chaperoned by all parties with listening and development of dialog constantly at the core. The ecosystem enters from time to time in the form of external speakers who discuss larger topics pertinent to the business.

Sure the conference room changes over time as do the players, but the conversation must always be ongoing and open. It is like being on a trip and exploring local establishments including restaurants, shops, and even people’s homes.  It is a journey of collaboration, communication and life.

Is your customer experience a journey?

Attitude Makes the Life

Apologies, this is going to be more of a rant than a tradition blog post.  

I had the pleasure of speaking with someone this evening that had the worst attitude of anyone I have ever met.  For the sake of brevity, let’s boil the conversation down to this simple exchange:

Person: “But who is going to pay me to travel the world and hike?” 

Me: “The people that are interested in your adventure, blog about it and tell your story.”

Person: “Everyone blogs about their adventure, no way.”

Me: “Yes everyone blogs about their adventure, but you have to speak with a unique voice and from your heart and they will follow you.”

Person: “I don’t want them to follow me.  Don’t they have better things to do than read my hiking blog?”

Me: “Let’s back up… you want to hike the world and have someone pay you for it? You have lots of options…”

Person: “Right now, I need a better job…  ” and the conversation continues.

With everyone of my explanations, this person had a negative reason why they couldn’t do it.  They already failed at their dream within two sentences.  

Dreams are goals and attitude gets you to those goals.  Are you willing to work toward your goals/dreams?   Is life half empty or half full? 

Its your life, you decide what is important when you speak.  

One Shovel Load at a Time

Successful companies don’t appear overnight.

Dreams are not reality simply by getting out of bed in the morning.

Losing weight does not happen overnight. 

One thing we need to remind ourselves of constantly is that big, hairy audacious goals (bHAG) are the fruition of many small actions (MSA).   If we focus our attention on the baby steps that lead to the bHAG, dreams are a reality. 

When I took the attached photo, I thought, “my gosh, that guy is going to be there for a long time!”  I was going to post it on Twitter with some crazy, humorous caption.  But then I realized what it represented.

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Sure the guy has a bHAG of loading the sand into the truck with just a tiny shovel.  But each shovel full tossed into that truck is an action (MSA) toward the bHAG.  Life is about taking one shovel load at a time and tossing it into the truck.  Enjoy each toss, because that goal gets closer and the pile smaller with each one; enjoy it while it lasts. 

What are your bHAGs? Are you aware of each MSA that you need to achieve them?  

The Start to Today’s Journey

Started the day off with my espresso machine.

Then moved to pushing/pulling/flipping a limp, falic looking punching bag around in my own sweat.

Then it was time to dodge stoplight/stop sign runners while retrieving my long lost phone from home.

Finally, work… where horns honk, lights flicker, and its just me and the Macbook Pro.

Yep, it is the journey that counts… perhaps more so than the end result.

Why Diets Should Be Banned in 2010

Diet: a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons – Oxford American Dictionaries

Losing weight is why most people diet.  Whether you are being influenced by marketing ads online or from the TV or not happy with how you look in the mirror, one typically turns to a “diet” to lose weight.  The very ads that encourage you to drop your funds on their magical weight loss “diet” even seems to indicate that other “diets” don’t work.

What is the reality here?  Why do people go on a “diet” and put the weight back on?  It is because diets are magical temporary solutions that are misrepresented and fail to change people’s habits… which is the key to permanent weight loss. 

I will also argue that diets are a tool to acheive a short-term goal such as fitting into a slightly smaller sized pants or evening gown.   The intention is not to change habits, just get a quick weight fix to look good for one evening.  Diets are used to obtain temporary goals until your next temporary goal comes up on the horizon.

Because diets are a means to achieve short-term goals and don’t change habits, they should be banned.  Why so drastic?  America is facing an obesity epidemic, more so than AIDS, h1n1, chicken pox or any other disease.   We must change HABITS, not blind short-term goals.

Take my story.  Two years ago I was 260 pounds and couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without breathing heavy and getting my heart rate up way too high.  I then started working out, but discovered that true success was a full LIFESTYLE change of becoming more active and eating right.  Sure I started with a “diet” but realized that true success was not something temporary.  I had to give up the processed foods, including sugar and flour.

You know, the change is amazing.  I can do so much more, feel fabulous, and don’t miss the fast food, sweets, or emotional eating at all!  The health food I now eat is awesome.  You all would be amazed at how sweet plain yogurt tastes naturally, how wonderful natural grains taste, and how many different kinds of salads one can come up with.

For this reason, diets are out in 2010.  Let’s get serious America… let’s impress the world with our ability to change our lifestyles, eat right (without dieting) and be active.  Before you know it, we can all enjoy the world so much more and we won’t have to listen to those diet ads.

Ten Rules for Being Human by Cherie Carter-Scott

Ten Rules for Being Human

by Cherie Carter-Scott

1.

You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s

yours to keep for the entire period.

2.

You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time

informal school called, “life.”

3.

There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of

trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much

a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”

4.

Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be

presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you

have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.

5.

Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that

doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are

still lessons to be learned.

6.

“There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has

become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again

look better than “here.”

7.

Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate

something about another person unless it reflects to you something you

love or hate about yourself.

8.

What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools

and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice

is yours.

9.

Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions

lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10.

You will forget all this.

These are so true! Number 8 is especially powerful.