Ideas Have No Value!! Get Over It!!

3 October 2009

So I have been around the block a few times. I have been involved with big well funded, well organized companies and I have been involved with just a few guys and an idea type companies. More often than I would like I run into people that have an idea, sometimes even a good idea. So many times all they have is an idea. No money or resources to execute the idea. I would like to make it very clear, IDEAS HAVE NO VALUE!!!
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What I Admire In A Good CEO

18 November 2009


I Am A CEO Stalker

I have to admit, I am a CEO stalker. Not in the creepy sit outside their house kinda of way. However, I must admin I did drive by Warren Buffet's office and house a few time. When I say I am a stalker I am more of an admirer. I am someone that loves getting inside the mind of a great CEO (or CEO type person). I read as much as I can about them, I watch all the interviews, I track the performance of their companies and more. Some CEO's are very hard to follow and some are very easy to follow. Some are more out spoken and some value their privacy. Some of the CEO's I love to follow are Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon, Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson, T Boone Pickens, Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson, Jim Cramer, Jack Welch, Tony Hsieh, Gary Vaynerchuk, George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and many more. I mention all of these guys because they are all over the board. Not one of these guys are the same in any one way. Some are really successful and fame found them, some have become famous just telling you they are successful (and clearly they are but we might not have known had they not told us), some of these guys have been very successful using themselves as marketing objects to push their wares. Every one of these guys and many more are worth studying and understanding. They are wired in a very special way.

The Know-It-All CEO

Today, I found myself day dreaming about how do I personally filter these guys. When any person speaks you have to filter what they say. How can I tell who is pumping their wares and who is speaking from the heart? How can I tell who is really an expert on the topic or just had a few lucky turns in life? Nowadays everyone is some sort of expert, thanks to the Internet. One things keeps standing out when I watch, read, and listen to these guys talk. Some of these guys will outright tell you what you should be doing in sort of a know-it-all fashion. Sometimes when you are so entrenched in a topic you do become a know-it-all because you very likely might be. Years of experience does make you a know-it-all in certain topics. I do not mean that as a put down, but I feel so many CEO types just stop after they got their first break. I believe that is a mistake. If a CEO made a few correct choices, and was successful their no dummy but I would not add them to my list of truly great CEO's.

The Long Time Great CEO

I feel the truly great CEO's are not know-it-all's, they a great processors of information. They truly believe they can not know it all. There is always more information to process. The less know-it-all CEO's will not answer questions directly. They might give you some big picture guiding principal, but they will also explain the factors that contribute to the question you are asking. A great CEO in my view, might not know the correct answer but knows all the possible inputs and knows all the possible outputs. A great CEO is a sponge of knowledge. I believe a great CEO can take all the soaked up knowledge and process it in a case study type fashion and make a decision. So many CEO's got lucky and made a few great decisions that got them where they are today. The great ones just use that first few lucky decisions as another input stream and continue to seek out other input streams as well.
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Take The Bull By Its Horn

17 January 2010

take-the-bull-by-the-hornsSomething that has been frustrating me more than anything in the last year. With the slower economy I have been able to spend more time just talking to people; strangers, family, friends, and just about anyone else that has something to say. Being a business person the conversation often heads down the path of success and how to achieve it, but so many people I talk to don't want it bad enough. They would rather talk about it then do it. I am not just talking about building a business. I am talking about getting a job if they are unemployed, upgrading your current job, or starting a business.
When the economy tanked in 2008 I more or less lost my job. Every project I was working on dried up and went away. I like 10% of America right now I did not have the ability to collect unemployment, so I had to make a big shift in how I as going to support my self almost over night. Luckily, I was ready and the shift was something I was able to make quickly. I will get to what helped me in my shift in a second, but first a little rant. I have talked to so many people that are on unemployment and they are doing nothing with their lives. They talk about how they want to use this time to better themselves. They talk about the businesses they are going to build during this time. They talk about the personal brand building they are going to do to help them upgrade their employment when they go back to work, but they spend a great deal of time sitting on their ass playing video games or something.

Just Get Off Your Butt And Start Building

The key to bettering yourself in this context is to just get working on you goal and never quit, and more importantly never discount anything. Every little aspect about what you are doing maters. For example; I tell a lot of people looking for a job or looking to upgrade there job to start building their Internet personal brand. Start a blog, upgrade your Facebook page, start a Linkedin page, heck start tweeting. I hear over and over again; "That stuff does not matter in my industry", "The people looking at my resume don't know what a computer is", "Yeah that would be nice but there are better things for me to do". I am officially calling each one of you out on this. You got 90 year old grandmas on facebook, you are living in a cave if you have never Googled someone, and lastly how does it hurt? This is one little example of something you should be working on late at night to help in your building process. This a way better use of your time then trying to get to the next level on what ever your video game of the week is.
Most importantly, how does it hurt (I will say it again)? If you build an amazing web life and your future employer, investor, customer never reads it how does it hurt? You got a few less hours a week playing video games? Our lives are moving to the web. I promise you in a few years you will be giving urls to future employers instead of paper resumes or emailed pdf copies. Why would I review a one page bulleted list of how cool you are when I can go to your personal sites and find out who you really are; can you write, do you spend more time talking about how drunk you were last night or do you really reflect on the issues of your industry?
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Elevation Fitness In Private Beta

6 March 2010

I can not express how excited I am about Elevation Fitness. A product designed for personal trainers to keep track of their clients. I have been working on this project with an amazing team of people for over 2 years, and I am happy to say we went into private beta this week. Elevation attempts to do away with paper and pencil for personal trainers and move their client management to the Cloud, where all software should be. If you are interested please signup for the private beta and let me know what you think.
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The New Age Business Man / Woman

9 June 2010

Something that has been on my mind for a while now is; What does the new age business person looks like? As more and more consumer dollars are being spend online and less and less spent in person on the streets, how does this affect the first time entrepreneur? Really great companies have been built by people with simple resumes. I see in many ways it is becoming harder and harder for a first time entrepreneur to break ground on their dream because they have to do business on the web. It use to just take someone that was willing to work long hard hours and maybe some start up capital to build a truly profitable business. Whatever business the entrepreneur was going to go into they did not have to have 20 years of experience working in the industry, however in many cases that helped. I have a close friend who went to college and graduated with a business degree. Other than odd college jobs this friend did not have much of a resume. He knew one thing; he did not want to work for "the man", and he was willing to work his butt of to make it happen. After much research he raised a small amount of capital and went into the fast food business. Today he has grown the business rather successfully. All this friend had was a passion and a good head on his shoulders.

The New Skill Set Needed

The above example is getting harder and harder with the move to the web. To launch even a basic business you often have to surround yourself with domain experts in all sorts of different niches. If you want to compete on the web. You need to hire a designer, web programmer, mobile programmer, sysadmin, web marketer, experts on understanding your market, and more. You can not just sit on a busy street count the people going by to understand your market. You can not just lease a space and open your doors. You have to surround yourself with domain experts that often are not cheap. So a good head on your shoulders and some start up capital turns into a bunch of people with good heads on their shoulders and tons of capital.

How Do We Solve The Problem?

The problem I want to solve; Is how do we move the world to the web but keep the "all you need is a dollar and a dream" way of business alive? I know there is not a simple answer and as the Facebook generation morphs into business people they will already be hitting the streets with a leg up on my generation and older generations, but I would like to find better ways to bridge the gap.
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Why Don't People Think In Terms Of ROI?

2 December 2011

Something that bugs me is entrepreneurs who are starting a company or making an investment but do not think in terms of return on investment, or ROI. Simply put, ROI is an estimate: if you invest a dollar how much will that dollar grow to? Typically you calculate your ROI as a percentage. Lets say I invest a dollar today and 5 years from now that dollar is worth $1.20. That means you got a 20% return over 5 years (or 3.71% per year). roi image Also, for the record this rant is not in relationship to the Mark Zuckerbergs, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs of the world. These guys all started companies when they had no financial worries. The only risk was failing and going back to college. I am speaking the commoners, those who already have jobs. Those who already have a family. Those who already have a mortgage and a car payment. I am speaking to the people who buy rental properties, start web companies at night, or quit their job to go all in on a ice cream shop -not kids in dorm rooms (many of us missed that boat)
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Bootstrap Companies Make Better Products

12 April 2012

I am always looking for product inspiration. I have a little rule that whenever I discover a new web product, regardless of the product, I create an account and take a look around. On average this turns out to be about 1 new product a day. I tend to take a binary approach to products when I review them. They are either good or bad. You can always find issues but often it is very clear if the team behind the product is the real deal or not. If a product is good I often make a note of it and come back and spend more time with the product to see what I can learn from it in terms of new product development ideas. I on a hunch I reviewed my list of products and compared my binary rating of good or bad vs if they raised early stage funding or not. Also, I reviewed only products that charge a fee to use them. No advertising based products. It turns out with this screen 5 of every 6 companies I reviewed as good were bootstrapped or took money after already having tons of revenue. If it is not yet clear, what I am saying is that there seems to be a relationship between great product design and being bootstrapped.
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