Tagged: Economy

Selling to Startups

As a market, they don’t respond to a well-thought out strategy. No amount of research will reveal any hot buttons. And tactics that seem to be working at any point in time are really simply a matter of luck.

They’re like fingerprints, every one a unique identity. No matter their age, capitalization, ownership structure, industry, revenue, or profitability, there’s no way to build typical customer profiles. Executive titles and experience levels often don’t matter. And sometimes they do. Continue reading

Mom and Pop Startups

The ambitions may have changed but reality hasn’t.

More first-time entrepreneurs have grander plans than those of the past. Gone is the desire to simply create a job for themselves or a small business that employs a few people. Today’s first-timers believe they can build the next Facebook, Starbucks, or Subway, and that’s good. Entrepreneurs need vision, ambition, and BHAGs. There’s nothing we can do – or should do – to temper their energy and enthusiasm. Continue reading

Back to School, Again and Again

Part of the problem with our education system is that it has an end. Culturally, it’s high school or college. Personally and economically, it’s often graduate school. No matter where the finish line, the point is that there is one.

Yet most adults agree that our learning goes on forever, not only with life but also our chosen profession. Most of us want to get better and smarter at what we do but we’re left to our own to figure out how to do that. It’s why we fall into the default phrase that “learning by doing” is the best option. It’s not necessarily the best option; we call it that because it’s really the only option.

Sure, there are books, seminars, blogs, and courses through which we can learn. But they’re all episodic in scope. We finish one and then move on to the next. We’re not held accountable for our learning, we rarely learn with others, and we seldom take the time to reflect on what we learned.

We need a better way of learning for adults, an actual system that has no end. We need a way that acknowledges that learning is infinite and not tied to a milestone like a degree or continuing education credits. We need a way that is based on wisdom not knowledge. And we need a way for learning to emphasize interdependency and connectedness over self.

Imagine how much smarter and better we could all be.

Entrepreneurship Is a Craft

We’ve been fooled by the startup frenzy.

The giant sucking sound left by the great recession built cynicism towards corporate executives and Wall Street gazillionaires, turning entrepreneurs into heroes. Millions became inspired by those like Zuckerberg, Brin, Williams, and Pincus, thinking they could build a business with lines of code and checks from investors. Continue reading

The Collision of Networking, Ethics, Morals and Money

What is your network worth?

It’s an intriguing question, isn’t it? In the past few years, I’ve pondered it myself. I’ve had numerous conversations with friends about how they could “monetize” theirs. At speaking engagements and in the classroom, I talk about how one’s network becomes a valuable asset over time. It takes years to build, can produce tremendous value if leveraged well, and yet can disintegrate overnight with a single bad move.

So it’s one thing when you think about the question and talk about it. It’s entirely different when you do something about it. Continue reading

College Education Should Start with Entrepreneurship

In yesterday’s New York Times, op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman had a piece entitled, “Need a Job? Invent It“. It was a spot-on assertion that in a world where virtually any fact or piece of information is available online, “the capacity to innovate…and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge.” Continue reading