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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Integrity Expert Al Watts On Penn State, BP & More

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I recently met Al Watts, author of Navigating Integrity: Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best.

Al was kind enough to do a quick Q&A (between sailing trips) with me on the topic of business integrity.

Captain Al on his sloop LOON on Lake Superior

Q: Hi Al. Would you give a quick definition of each of your “4 Pillars Of Integrity”

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Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Which Bands & Songs Steve Jobs Kept On His Own Personal iPod

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Steve Jobs favorite Grateful Dead song was Uncle John’s Band; and his favorite band was Bob Dylan, followed by the Beatles and then the Stones, according to Isaacson’s Steve Jobs book.

Isaacson outlines the below songs/bands that were on Steve Jobs’s own personal iPod.

Bono's U2 made the cut on Steve Jobs's personal iPod.

Here they are, roughly in order of which artist he had the most albums of:

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Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The Cool Secret Steve Jobs Asked My Friend Gary To Keep

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I’m sad today like millions of others, that the top inventor of our time, Steve Jobs, has died.

I feel very lucky that I got to interview Steve Jobs for an article I wrote early in my career (I can remember how excited I got when he called me directly to chat!). I more recently got to ask Steve and Bill Gates a question about entrepreneurship (see Bill Gates, Steve Jobs & Me).

But, I have a cooler Steve Jobs item to tell you about.

I want to share a story that Steve Jobs asked my friend Gary Brickman to keep secret years ago.

This is my old buddy Gary Brickman at CMP's/TechWeb's China Basin, San Francisco offices circa 1997 -- Steve Jobs asked him to keep a cool secret.

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Friday, July 1st, 2011

The 5 Core Skills Every CEO Should Have

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I’ve met with about 75 CEOs since Halloween when I left my CEO role at Hot Topic Media to pursue new ventures.

I’ve begun to notice a pattern of what makes for the best CEO. There are five general CEO skills I believe are most important to being an excellent CEO:

1) Vision…A Clear One

A good CEO must be able to provide a clear vision of what it is the organization is doing.

What makes a good vision statement? As I wrote in 3 Tips On How To Write A Good Vision Statement, it needs to be concise, specific and answer this question for the team:

“Are we working on the right thing?”

Examples of good vision statements include:

“Making the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way” (Ben & Jerry’s)

“To provide access to the world’s information in one click.” (Google)

“To provide freedom and independence to people with limited mobility.” (The Scooter Store)

Check out this List Of 50 Awesome Vision Statements I compiled.

2) Mastery Of The Business Model

A good CEO masters the business model of an organization.

A good CEO knows the answers to the 9 questions in the different sections of this "Canvas."

The above image is of a “Canvas” used to master a business model (in this case, Gillette’s) from the book Business Model Generation.

The Canvas pushes you to answer 9 questions that are imperative to mastering how a business should work.

The 9 questions to answer are represented above by a two letter acronym…such as KP for “Who are your Key Partnerships?”).

If found it most effective to answer the 9 questions in this order:

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Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The 10 Reasons Mark Zuckerberg Has A Tougher Job Than Lebron James

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I love basketball.

I shoot hoops a few times a week; play in a fantasy basketball league and watch local NBA game on any night of the 8 month season.

As I watched the NBA playoffs this season, I realized that as tough as it is to be a pro in the NBA, it’s tougher to be a pro in business.

Mark Zuckerberg (at G8 Summit 2011) has it tougher than Lebron James (pictured dunking the ball below)

Top 10 Reasons Why Business Is Harder Than A Pro Sport Like Basketball

1) It’s Way Harder To Keep Score (In Business)

In basketball (and most sports), there’s a score that everyone can look at it…you know exactly where you stand versus your opponent.

In business, the score is much tougher. It may be a revenue goal (which most businesses don’t keep in real-time).

And in terms of how you compare to your opponent (i.e. competitor), you have to figure out how to determine your competitor’s score (which is very difficult in many businesses).

Tip: Chunk down your goals to smaller increments so that you know where you stand without waiting too long (like I illustrate in The 10 Maniacal Steps I Take For Setting Goals.

2) Business Has Many Clocks To Look At; Sports Has Just One

In basketball, there’s always a clock ticking. You know that there’s 10:05 left in the half or 1:07 left in the game.

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Sunday, May 1st, 2011

7 Signs That Your Boss Is A “Charisma-Based Narcissistic Leader”

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Few things irk me more than hearing from friends who have to work with “narcissistic leaders.”

Why would my friends work with someone who’s “narcissistic?” Because they are charismatic — they are able to mobilize resources (i.e. you and others!) through their charisma.

I call such leaders  ”Charisma-Based Narcissistic Leaders.”

Gordon Gekko is an excellent example of a "Charisma-Based Narcissistic Leader"

The scary part is that these charismatic leaders usually meet 2 of the 3 requirements that Warren Buffett demands in a good business person (high intelligence and high energy) — it’s the third one (high integrity) they have a problem with (see Warren Buffett’s 3 Simple Steps On Who To Hire for more on that).

Ok, so on with it — here are 7 signs that you work with one of these jackasses:

7 Signs Of A Charisma-Based Narcissistic Leader

1) They’re Big On Titles (Especially They’re Own)

Narcissistic leaders typically love big titles…and even more than one!

For example, you might find them using:

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Monday, March 14th, 2011

Barry Diller’s Thoughts On The Internet

2 Comments On the iPad — “I have a truly emotional thing about the…

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Barry Diller was interviewed by Poppy Harlow of CNN here at South by Southwest. A few nuggets from the Q&A are below:

 

On the Internet in general — “The Internet is a miracle…you put stuff together w spit…you push a button & publish to the world.”

Internet valuations are”mathematically insane” but can work if there is a “willing dumb buyer.”

On the iPad — “I have a truly emotional thing about the ipad.”

Charging for Internet usage — 30% of traffic on cable systems is Netflix. There will be charges for Internet usage (like electricity).

On Internet television

“Thirty million households are connected to the Internet but noone knows how to navigate them.”

In 3 years, you’ll have Internet Television be out there and navigated by everyone.

Google TV wasn’t good…not a consumer product really…but they’ll figure it out. They may be run over by the Playstation or xBox or any PVR machine (which are ready today).

Advice for Internet entrepreneurs

“Get as much money as you need to get started. Give away as little as possible. Keep your head down. Don’t listen to anyone. And keep going on your path. It’ll either work fabously or fail miserably, in which case you can do it all over again.”

“And think in longer forms of video (than just short (3 or 4 minutes). ”

“The cable companies want Netflix to succeed as much as they want destruction. They’re going to try to kill Netflix.”

Which is more important: content, context or conversation?

“Sumner Redstone invented ‘Content is King’ because he had content and wanted to be king.”

They are all important.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

How Good Is Your Team’s Vision/Mission Statement?

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Does your organization have an effective Vision/Mission Statement?

If you’re involved in starting any team endeavor, the very first thing I recommend you figure out is your Vision Statement. (note: I consider “Vision” and “Mission” Statement interchangeable for this post).

What is a Vision/Mission Statement?

A vision statement is a single sentence that explains clearly and specifically what it is you or your business are trying to create in the future.

I have three tips for you:

1) A Vision/Mission Statement Is Concise

When Sergey Brin and Larry Page walked into Sequoia Capital’s offices to ask for an investment into their new startup Google, they explained their vision in these words:

“To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”

Those 10 words were so key to Sequoia’s investment in Google, that Sequoia now requires all of its entrepreneurs to have a Vision Statement of 10 or fewer words before they even get a meeting with Sequoia.

Note: While I don’t recommend you get hung up on your vision statement being 10 words or less

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