I do not think there is any thrill that can
go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor
as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success . . .
Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.

Nikola Tesla

A girl in a convertible is worth 5 in the phone book

You gotta love Warren Buffett.  His latest letter to shareholders of Berkshire has been published.  Among many of the great lines he has written in his 46 years of stewardship, one of his best appeared in this latest letter:  "A girl in a convertible is worth five in the phone book."

Here are a couple of other clever bits:
"We would rather be approximately right than precisely wrong."

"John Kenneth Galbraith once slyly observed that economists were most economical with ideas: They made the ones learned in graduate school last a lifetime."

"The fundamental principle of auto racing is that to finish first, you must first finish."

"Unquestionably, some people have become very rich through the use of borrowed money. However, that’s also been a way to get very poor. When leverage works, it magnifies your gains. Your spouse thinks you’re clever, and your neighbors get envious. But leverage is addictive. Once having profited from its wonders, very few people retreat to more conservative practices. And as we all learned in third grade – and some relearned in 2008 – any series of positive numbers, however impressive the numbers may be, evaporates when multiplied by a single zero. History tells us that leverage all too often produces zeroes, even when it is employed by very smart people. Leverage, of course, can be lethal to businesses as well."


"We agree with investment writer Ray DeVoe’s observation, 'More money has been lost reaching for yield than at the point of a gun'.”


"Anyone who says money can’t buy happiness simply hasn’t learned where to shop."

And, finally, he thanks his corporate office crew of only 20 people ("and we intend to keep it that way"), who among many other tasks "files a 14,097-page Federal income tax return".

Yikes!





Reading the full report is something most smart investors look forward to all year.  Me too.

And if you haven't visited it yet, check out the Berkshire Hathaway website home page.  It's a masterpiece of understatement!

Hockey Sticks in the Real World


Published in the Wall Street Journal Venture Capital Dispatch.  Inspiration for all...
But, as the article says, the big question is: "Is it sustainable?"

Fast


Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.

Wyatt Earp

Tax notes


Tax evasion is a federal offense. 
Tax avoidance is not. 

Competent counsel is needed to stay out of jail 
and yet optimize savings. 

Choose your counsel carefully. 
Personal freedom hangs in the balance.


Holy S#!t, My Idea Sucks!

This just in from San Diego StartupDigest:

Founder's Note: We have partnered up with the Founder Institute to get you free access to their "Startup and Go" program.

The program is a 6-part course on ideation, startup research, and co-founders taught by Aaron Patzer (Mint), Jonathan Abrams (Friendster), Phil Libin (Evernote), and Adeo Ressi.

This content has never before been available to anyone outside of Founder Institute, but every StartupDigest member can now access it for free. Just use the secret code "StartupDigest" here.



Salty language, but the facts are right on.

What is the role of the CEO?

In one of the better posts ever posted, it is revealed that the role of the CEO is as follows:


A CEO does only four things:


1.  Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. 
2.  Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. 
3.  Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
4.  Delegates all other tasks to his or her team.


Here is the link to the full post: 
http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2010/08/what-a-ceo-does.html

Balance, anyone?

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. At TEDxSydney, Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity -- and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.  http://www.ted.com/talks/nigel_marsh_how_to_make_work_life_balance_work.html


What do people want? (Entrepreneurs as Leaders)

To get your week started off well, consider this age-old question:

What do people want?

In this case, "people" refers to "employees" or the even more objectionable terms "subordinates" or "followers".  (I prefer "team members" or "associates" when referring to the people in the entrepreneurial organization.)

Without further delay, the answer to the question:

Dr Ludi Beukman, HR development specialist at Softline VIP which is part of Sage Group plc, says that managers simply cannot ignore the importance of effective leadership in facing the challenges of a fast and ever-changing business environment. 

  1. People want to feel good about themselves and the work they do. This means that they have a need for finding meaning in their work through deriving a sense of personal identity from doing what they do and doing it well.
  2. People want to be successful. They do their best when they have the experience of making a valuable contribution to the organisation. They want to enjoy a sense of control over their work. This is gained through the incorporation of their ideas and feelings into the design and procedures governing the work they do and when they feel responsible for accomplishing the objectives of the organisation.
  3. People do their best when they are allowed to collaborate. They are willing to show extra effort when their own needs and objectives are met by achieving those of the organisation and when it is done through problem-solving processes where all contribute to and participate in generating solutions.
  4. People do not want to make mistakes. Yet, they do make mistakes. These should always be regarded as part of the developmental and learning process.
  5. People can and want to do what needs to be done… IF their leaders create the organisational conditions for them to do so. Subordinates inherently have both the willingness and potential to be empowered to do their work with competence and pride.
  6. All people have the inherent potential to be creative. The leader’s role in improving performance is to eliminate the unnecessary interferences so that followers’ potential can be optimally unleashed.
The link to the entire article is here.