We The People…

Once the words of our founding forefathers, today, “We the People” has taken on a completely different meaning in my life.  In lieu of the recent “Occupy” activities that have been occurring, it really begins to showcase how powerful people, when united around a collective effort, can actually be.

While some of these activities were much before my time, including the Berkeley “sit ins” and equal rights marches for African Americans, it laid the foundation for what we are witnessing today – not just in America, but also all over the world.  Ironically, it never surprises me how history has a way of repeating itself!

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Sustainable Competitive Advantange

Recently, I was attending a session at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where I am a class mentor, and we were talking about new venture opportunities. Specially, after you have gone through the screening process of identifying your next venture, you have to identify your sustainable competitive advantage and how that will map to your grand strategy.

Unfortunately, what I find is that many (inexperienced) entrepreneurs’ don’t place enough emphasis on this – partially because they believe, given what they are doing, it may not be that important and, in many cases, don’t really comprehend what a competitive advantage really is and what it can do for a company.

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Why Do Good People Fire Good Companies?

This is a question that I have given thought to repeatedly over the years. You have good, hard working people who join a good company and, over time, the relationship between the two changes. That doesn’t necessarily imply things are bad, but just different. The result, unfortunately in many cases, is that the real loss is felt by the company losing the talent and not by the individual losing the company because that prominent individual is very capable to securing a new position elsewhere.

This is clearly evident by the lack of good talent available in the market today and why, in many cases, there are bidding wars on the limited talent pool. If you are in Silicon Valley – I’d like to see you find a great software programmer – go on… find one that is just sitting idle waiting for your call!

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The Value of Facetime!

FacetimeCommunication, in itself, is a form of expression… communication between two people – well, that is an art!  I think people tend to underestimate how important effective communication is, regardless of the topic, in ensuring understanding between all those involved.

At times, speaking to people can be challenging for a myriad of reasons. Layer on a topic sensitive in nature or frame the conversation around a tense situation, and suddenly your intent of that straightforward talk doesn’t play out as you originally thought.

So, what’s the best way to have this “type” conversation?

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Know Thy Customer!

Of the many, many, many questions entrepreneurs must ask themselves, one of the most critical is “Who is my customer?”  Without understanding who your customer is, you cannot begin to perform other important tasks such as market research, building a value chain, conducting user experience studies, buyer behavior analysis, cost of acquisition information, etc.  Heck – if you haven’t determined who your customer really is – why are you even getting into business?

So…who is your customer?

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The Law of “The Process”

I was introduced to the “Law of the Process” by John Maxwell – respected management and leadership guru through his book (which I highly recommend for anyone interested in this subject matter), the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  Of the many valuable lessons contained within the book, one of the most important in my opinion is, in fact, the Law of the Process.

With reference to the book, it places the law strictly in the context of leadership.  However, to extrapolate the meaning behind the law – you’ll understand that it’s widely applicable to many facets of life.

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The Law of the “Hole”

it is inevitable that throughout the course of our lives, we will find ourselves in situations that potentially started out small, but through poor decision making, ends up becoming a much bigger issue.  In essence – we basically dig ourselves into a hole. 

So, the next time you find yourself in a hole – STOP DIGGING!

Six Steps to Screening Your Next (ad)Venture!

So you are finally ready to take that leap of faith and make the surest best you can – on yourself, by starting your own new venture!  Congratulations, because for many, this is a huge step and making the decision itself, often, is the biggest hurdle to overcome!  It takes courage, determination, and most importantly, reconditioning your vocabulary and altering your definition of success.

So, with all the ideas that you have, or are presented to you, what process will you go through to filter what you believe is the right next (ad)venture for you?

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