Whatever you can do, or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness has Genius, Power, and Magic in it. Begin it Now! (Goethe)

June 25, 2015

Ben Franklin; Four Rules for Living


Franklin’s Four Rules for Living

1. It is necessary for me to be extremely frugal for some time, till I have paid what I owe.

2. To endeavor to speak truth in every instance; to give nobody expectations that are not likely to be answered, but aim at sincerity in every word and action – the most amicable excellence in a rational being.

3. To apply myself industriously to whatever business I take in hand, and not divert my mind from my business by any foolish project of growing suddenly rich; for industry and patience are the surest means of plenty.

4. I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of every body.

May 23, 2015

✅10 Ways to Boost Productivity ✅

There are tons of ways to boost your productivity, and here are ten of them.  But one of my favorites is missing from the list: UNSUBSCRIBE from a lot of those emails you get but never read! Open up your bandwidth for real work. Also UNFOLLOW and UNFRIEND until the chatter gets close to zero. Twitter? Forget it. Email only on focused time slots during the day.  Never answer the phone unless it's a pre-arranged meeting. Let it go to voicemail. You'll be surprised how many phone calls you don't need to take...  Excuse the rant, here are the ten:


May 20, 2015

✅ The Success Indicator - What Successful People Do ✅

What are the differences in what people DO 
that will indicate if they are going to be successful?

Check the infographic below,
and then think about what You Do.

Time to change some of your Actions?


May 10, 2015

Apple Watch: productivity Plus.


After several days of using the Apple watch, I am moved to write that it is totally excellent, and beyond my expectations. I thought that it would be a "nice to have" but have found that it is an absolute "must have".

I am a minimalist, so body jewelry is something I avoid. Although I own a Breitling Navitimer, a necessary but never used backup chronometer I wore during my flying days, now it just sits in a drawer.  It's great to look at, but it just tells the time, and I can get that on my smartphone. And I never did like the strap; it was truly uncomfortable to wear.

For the last 15 years, I think I might have worn a watch maybe 10 days, max.

So how come I'm such a fan of the Apple watch?

1. I just really got tired of pulling my tablet sized iPhone 6+ out of my pants just to check the time.

2. And, for anything more than checking the time, I had to go through the extra steps of thumbprint ID or entering the 4-digit code. This is a significant irritant, but you really need to have it secure.

3. I can honestly say that I have reduced the number of times I handle my iPhone by at least 95% because the watch does what I need from the phone, and it does it better and faster.  For example, on day one, I used Apple Pay to get lunch at Whole Foods, with the watch!

4. It's Fun! And I'm sure you'll agree the first time you answer your phone on your watch. Serious Dick Tracy stuff here. Text messages and email too. And Siri is right there to tell you everything she knows. However, I do find it weird that she knows sunrise/sunset times, but not high/low tides. I'm sure she will study up on that for the next version.

5. It's really well designed. Out of the box, I just naturally set it up to wear on my left wrist (like most right handed people do) and with the controls on the right side of the watch. But just today I turned it around with the controls on the left, and prefer that arrangement. Breitling's watches, at 10x the price at least, will never do that. The display is dazzlingly clear and bright, and customizable beyond imagining. I set up mine to show sunrise/sunset, time/date, moon phase, temperature, and battery reserve all on the main screen. Nice.

6.  First class support. Fedex delivered the watch, I signed for it, and by the time I got back to my computer, there was an email from Apple congratulating me for my new watch, and inviting me to a free 1-on-1 web chat with Kathryn, a very attractive Apple genius (see photo above).  How can I, how could anyone, refuse such an offer. She was very engaging, and there was no time limit at all. Take as much time as you need, no question too intricate or stupid. Yes, I do prefer redheads, but I prefer smart most of all, and she was absolutely on her game. Apple does customer service right.

7.  More customer service!  I got the 38mm watch size, the smaller of the two, because I thought the 42mm might be too big for my wrist. After a few days of wearing it, I suspected that the larger size might be OK for me, and stopped by the local Apple store to try one on.  It was a total madhouse, packed with Saturday afternoon crowds checking out the new toy.  I was expecting a long wait for service, but as soon as I flashed my watch, I went to the top of the list. Customers first!  Best of all, free exchanges!  I ordered the bigger one, which is expected to ship in July. Two months wait! They must be selling a bazillion of these things. Pay when I get it, bring in the old one for credit card refund, no problem.

8.  There are apps galore, and features I don't want to bore you with in print, but you'll love when you discover them on your own.

9.  And did I mention that I almost never take my phone out of my pocket any more?  In fact, when I'm home, I don't even carry the phone with me because the bluetooth connectivity from watch to phone is excellent. I have found battery life on the watch is certainly adequate to last all day, with a charge at night.

This watch will sell a lot more iPhones, and vice versa. You gotta get one!


May 3, 2015

Startup Reading 5.3.15

Always be Recruiting!

Elon Musk's ex-wife on what it takes to be a mogul - NY Times
How to run better team meetings - Results.com

Make yourself redundant as CEO - Founders Institute
What you don't understand about Growth Hacking - Founder Dating


Be alone.
That is the secret of invention.
Be alone.
That is when ideas are born.

I do not think you can name many great inventions
that have been made by married men.

Nicola Tesla






April 22, 2015

Doing a Startup? Step 1: Learn to Fly!


If you're thinking of doing your first startup,
and want to know what it's going to be like,
learn how to fly...

I was fascinated with flying at a very early age.
At 23, about 50 years ago,
I finally made it happen, and took a lesson at the local airport.

I had no idea that what I learned that day would apply to my career in starting and building successful businesses.

Without even introducing himself, the flight instructor walked me out to a small airplane (not the one in the photo) and soon we were taxiing toward the runway...

I was completely dumbfounded with the bewildering array of instruments on the dashboard, and the buttons, levers, and lights that were seemingly everywhere. I was impressed with his ability to deal with all those mystical controls while simultaneously talking on the radio and constantly looking around for something, but I had no idea what it was...

All of a sudden the engine roared and we began rolling down the runway, and by god, we were flying! The dream of a lifetime and it was happening all too fast for me to appreciate.

The instructor must have noticed the dazed look on my face and asks if I'm ok, do I feel sick? I hadn't been thinking about that, but no, I didn't feel like I was going to puke, thankfully.

He looks me in the eye and asks: So, you want to learn how to fly, kid?
Yes, Yes! Of course I do...
Ok, then, the lesson begins!

Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

His questions spilled out at great speed, each one like a droplet of water in a full-force fire hose:

What's your airspeed?  He points to the indicator.
What's your heading?  He points to the compass.
What's your altitude?  He points to the altimeter.
Look out the window! You see any traffic?
What is the engine speed? He points to the tachometer.
Are your wings level with the horizon?
Which way is the wind blowing?
Are you climbing or descending or flying level?
Are you flying straight or turning?
What's your oil temperature? He points to the gauge.
Oil pressure? Another gauge.
Where's the airport?
Can you make it back if there's a fire?
Fire?  Holy shit! Airplanes burst into flames?
Where would you land if the engine quit?
And then, I swear, he turns off the engine, and the once-spinning propeller is stopped.
The silence is like Death, and now I know I have a madman for an instructor.
Where?  Where would you land?  Look out the window, point to a place you can land.
I point to a place that looks like a field. He says No, too far away.
I point to a highway. He says, again, too far away.
The ground is getting closer all the time, and I'm convinced that this is the day I die...
Then he turns the engine back on and starts to climb to safety.

I'm totally confused. It's overwhelming.
He's a sadist, I'm sure of it. Insane!
Nobody can learn all this, let alone master it.

I thought this was going to be fun, but this is pure pain.
And I haven't even touched the steering wheel, but he doesn't call it that.
Everything has a special name, nothing is familiar.

Maybe this flying stuff isn't for me after all...

Welcome to learning to fly.
Doing a startup is the same.

So much to learn, so many things that can go wrong, so many ways to fail.

I stuck with it, and earned my solo permit after only 8 hours of instruction,
and then I quit flying for the next 28 years, while I focused on business.

I applied those flying lessons to the several businesses I started over the years,
and one of them (TeleMagic) was so successful that I finally bought my own airplane
(the one in the photo, a newly manufactured but 1935 design, Waco YMF-5, built by Waco Classic)
and flew it for the next 7 years, all over the USA and Europe.

Of course,
I did eventually learn about all those buttons and knobs and dials and gauges.
I did learn how to navigate, and communicate on the radio.
About the hazards of weather and how even innocent clouds can kill.
I did learn the federal regulations governing all things in the air.

I even learned how to have Fun while flying.
Aerobatics! Loops and rolls, and spins, and more.
Different airplanes: Open cockpit biplanes, The P-51 Mustang, the Spitfire, floatplanes, gliders, multi-engine airplanes, the B-17 bomber, more...
It was wonderful, better than I could have imagined.

But it took time, lots of time.
And practice.
There were mistakes.

Even the simplest mistake in an airplane can kill you.
As with business, not paying attention can have the most severe consequences.

When you learn to fly, you learn from an instructor who has lots of experience.
And you fly with them until one magical day they certify you to fly solo.
But that is just an illusion, you may be able to fly without your instructor, just not with passengers.
No way are you allowed to risk other lives with your inexperience.

Only after many hours of book learning, and tests to be sure you know the material,
and many more hours of flying with an instructor to check you out on the finer points of flying... only then are you certified to be a pilot in the eyes of god and man.

Even then, it's really just the beginning; a license to learn more.
You'll never stop learning.

And so it is in Business.

The big lesson keeps playing out:
Either you are IN control, or you are OUT OF CONTROL.

As pilot-in-command, and as CEO,
you MUST be in control at all times,
in a constantly changing environment.

You must always be checking your current situation with your flight PLAN, and know what you are going to do if/when things conspire against you, as they most certainly will.

Pay attention. To everything. All the time.
Focus on the most important things.
What is the PLAN?

And, in the middle of all the chaos, you want to have Fun, right?

:)

(more later)







April 18, 2015

Startup Reading 4.19.15

Prototyping is always worth it
Prototyping is always worth it - Futurice.com
Smoke Tests: Comprehension vs. Commitment - GrasshopperHerder.com

The Innovators Dilemma for SaaS Startups - Tom Tunguz
Management Myths vs. Facts - Results.com

10 Experiments to test your startup hypothesis - Founder Institute
Reward Success and Failure, punish only inaction - Berkus

Your Product Demo Sucks because you're focused on your product - First Round
The 5 Ps of Productive Meetings - Results.com


CFO to CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people, 
and then they leave us?
CEO: What if we don't, and they stay?
From Garry Ridge, CEO WD-40

You don't build a business.
You build people and then people build the business.
Zig Ziglar

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
Peter Drucker

April 12, 2015

Startup reading 4.12.15


The unexamined life is not worth living.
Socrates


Uncommon Ways to work Smarter not Harder - Quora
The Few Sentences You Need to Dominate Your Market - KissMetrics

How to Have Your Customer Build Your Product For You - Founder Institute
Onboarding New Hires to Maximize Engagement - Results.com

Set Yourself Up to Succeed - Results.com
Kanban Flow for Project Management - Kanban Flow

3 Ways to get your time back - Results.com




The two most important days of your life are the
 day you are born and the day you find out why.
Mark Twain

None of the market leaders in technology
were the First Movers.
Steve Blank


April 3, 2015

Startup reading 4.5.15

source: http://fi.co/posts/14191




The tragedy of life
is not that it ends so soon,
but that we wait so long to begin it.
W.M. Lewis

I live in that solitude which is painful in youth,
but delicious in the years of maturity.
Albert Einstein

Save a little money each month and at the end of the year
you'll be surprised at how little you have.
Ernest Haskins

Only the curious will learn, and
only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning.
The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient.
Eugene S. Wilson

Reading well 
is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.
Harold Bloom

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
H.L. Mencken

The best way to have a good idea
is to have a lot of ideas.
Linus Carl Pauling

Look wise, say nothing, and grunt.
Speech was given to conceal thought.
Sir William Osler

You've achieved success in your field
when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play.
Warren Beatty


March 29, 2015

Startup reading 3.29.15



How hard is it to be CEO? - Quora
The Terrible Technical Interview - TechCrunch

Onboarding and the cost of Team Debt (not Technical Debt) - Kate Heddleston
Managers must weed the garden - Results.com

The One Thing that all Venture Capitalists Want - Founders Institute, Mike Maples (video)
Employee engagement requires difficult conversations, sometimes - Results.com



The only ones among you who will be really happy are 
those who will have sought and found how to serve.
Albert Schweitzer


I have only made this letter longer because 
I have not had the time to make it shorter.
Blaise Pascal

The predicament that you are in is probably all your fault.  
You hired the people.  You made the decisions.  
But you knew the job was dangerous when you took it.
Ben Horowitz


What you get by reaching your destination
is not nearly as important as
what you become by reaching your destination.
Zig Ziglar

It has been my philosophy of life that 
difficulties vanish when faced boldly.
Isaac Asimov

The greatest challenge to any thinker is
stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
Bertrand Russell

You are today where your thoughts have brought you;
you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.
James Allen

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Genius begins great works;
labor alone finishes them.
Joseph Joubert

The first wealth is health.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everyone who got where they are
had to begin where they were.
Richard Paul Evans

I get up every morning determined to both change the world
and have one hell of a good time.
Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.
E. B. White

March 24, 2015

Of the two ways to become a billionaire, one is very easy!

There seems to be only 2 ways to be a young billionaire: inherit it, or do a tech startup.

Not much you can do about inheriting it. For inspiration and education on the second way, check out the people on Forbes' list:


And when you get through reading the list, you'll probably want to check out the Billionaire Shop where the ultra rich can get their stuff online.

Go for it. But before you go to all that effort to become a billionaire, here's what the richest man in the world has to say about big money:



And then, there's this:


(because, most likely, you already have more than you need)

Be. Do. Have.

:)

March 23, 2015

Startup Reading 3.22.15

Y Combinator stats for Winter '15 class
Y Combinator stats - Y Combinator

Effectuation Theory of Entrepreneurship - Necrophone
Fire yourself. Rehire a new you - Berkonomics

In Praise of Checklists - Results.com, Stephen Lynch
Are You a Smart Leader? - Results.com

The Importance of Images - RevTap.net


People who tell the stories rule the world.
Plato

When you are through changing, you're through.
Bruce Barton

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.
James Joyce


They can conquer who believe they can.
Virgil

The universe is full of magical things 
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

No one can go back and start a new beginning, 
but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
Maria Robinson

It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.
Margaret Bonnano

March 20, 2015

The Importance of Images




Sure, you know that images are more important than words, right?  But just HOW much more important? Here's a little test for you.  Read the next few lines of facts about why Images are so important.

We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text
70% of all sensory receptors we have are inside the eye
93% of communication is nonverbal
90% of info transmitted to the brain is visual
50% of your brain is involved in visual processing
Today the average person is hit with 54,000 words/day
Visuals have been found to improve learning by up to 400%
The brain can see images that last for just 13 milliseconds
Our eyes can register 36,000 visual messages per hour
We can get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second
Hear a piece of information, and 3 days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%

Got all that?

OK, now click here, and decide for yourself which is the better way to present those facts.

Why are your communications still so heavily text-based? When are you going to get around to doing that explainer video that you know will make a huge difference in your response rates?


Source: RevTap.net

March 15, 2015

Startup Reading 3.15.15

20 Great Books for Young Entrepreneurs - Medium
How Much Should You Pay Your Engineers? - Compass.co survey (see infographic below)

The Magic of Regular Feedback - Results.com




Action always generates inspiration.  
Inspiration seldom generates action.
Frank Tibolt

Conduct yourself in Life as at a Feast.
Epictetus

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself,
but talent instantly recognizes genius.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Only two ways to get enough.
Accumulate more and more, or desire less.
G.K. Chesterton

I have found adventure in flying,
in world travel, in business, and even close at hand...
Adventure is a state of mind - and spirit.
Jacqueline Cochran

We first make our habits,
and then our habits make us.
John Dryden

There's no such thing as a small act of kindness. 
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
Scott Adams

It is what you read when you don’t have to 
that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.  
Oscar Wilde

Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens. 
Jimi Hendrix


March 10, 2015

Startup Reading 3.8.15


Finding a Problem Worth Solving - Lean Startup Circle
How to run an effective daily standup meeting - Results.com, Stephen Lynch

What's all this nonsense about Transparency in Business? - Results.com, Joseph Cole
The Striking Similarities between Teachers and CEOs - Medium, Aaron Schildkrout



A CEO’s first priority would be reservations of much time 
for quiet reading and thinking 
particularly that which might advance his determined learning 
no matter how old he becomes.
Warren Buffett, 


To Achieve great things
two things are needed:
A Plan,
and not quite enough time.
Leonard Bernstein


The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern.
Every class is unfit to govern.
Lord Acton

March 4, 2015

Shark Tank


I have watched enough episodes to avoid watching any more of it.

I avoid negativity, and Kevin is a bummer.  There is never a reason to put people down.


March 2, 2015

Warren Buffett's 6 Investment Criteria for Berkshire




From the Berkshire annual shareholders' letter, 2014:

Berkshire’s Six Investment Criteria
Berkshire makes a plea to hear directly from principals, as opposed to investment bankers, for new acquisitions. Berkshire mandates the following six criteria: 
1) $75mm of pre-tax earnings unless it is a bolt-on transaction; 
2) Demonstrated consistent earnings (no turnarounds or startups); 
3) A track record of a superior return on equity with little or no debt; 
4) Quality management; 
5) Simple businesses; and, 
6) A clear offering price (this needs to be stated upfront).
What is interesting to me is that nowhere in the criteria does it say what sort of products he is interested in. Could be anything! What is important to him is the business case. Period.

Another aspect of his acquisition strategy is that he prefers to pay Cash, not stock.  The value of cash depreciates over time, the value of his stock appreciates.