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Sunday, June 26th, 2011

If You’re Building A Startup, Leverage The Data From 650+ Startups Who Went Before You

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I just finished reading the 68-page Startup Genome Report (thanks to David Hassell for telling me about it).

The report is based on data collected from 650+ Web startups and is a must-read for anyone working on starting an Internet business.

Here are some highlights to give you a taste:

The six key stages Internet startups typically go through are:

  1. Discovery
  2. Validation
  3. Efficiency
  4. Scale
  5. Profit Maximization
  6. Renewal

The Startup Genome Report has a bunch of useful data to help you prepare starting a new business.

Internet startups that don’t move through the stages above show less progress.

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Saturday, June 25th, 2011

5 Tips On How I’ve Doubled My Income Every 5 Years

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I can’t help but feel cheesy writing the above headline — it feels like something a shuckster — trying to sell you something — would write.

But I’m not selling you anything…other than some free advice!

I know a lot of you want to increase your income over time (I do) and I recently had an “uh-huh” moment about my own personal income path.

The below graph is my income plotted over the last 20 years (you’ll notice that I don’t volunteer my actual income in the graph — that’s because it’s none of your business!).

I took my personal income and plotted it by year since I began my career; this helped me understand what causes my income to grow

Tips On Increasing Your Income

1) Plot Your Historical Income Onto A Spreadsheet

The first tip I have is that you need to plot out your past income onto a spreadsheet and chart it out (like the graph above).

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Saturday, June 4th, 2011

4 Simple Tips To Help You Make Tough (“50-50″) Decisions

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I wrote about the Win-Win Exercise earlier today and it reminded me that I have three other decision-making tips I use on a regular basis.

These are techniques I use when there’s a real close call (“50-50″ so to speak) to make; they are often the most important decisions you’ll make.

So I’m putting all four decision-making tips here for easy access…plus I also remembered that I have this really cool illustration (below) that my nephew did for the topic!

My nephew drew this awesome image of a person having a tough time making a decision. I think it might be a combination of me and my dad!

4 Tips To Help You Make Tough Decisions

1) Decide Based On The Tougher Choice

If it’s a really tough decision on whether to take action or not take action, it is often the tougher decision that turns out to be the right one.

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Saturday, June 4th, 2011

How To Get A “Win-Win” Result From A Tough “50/50″ Decision

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A family friend asked for career advice the other day — he was trying to make a decision between finding a new job or staying put at his current job.

He was torn — almost manic — about which way to go…so I busted out the “Win-Win” exercise inspired by Yogi/Life Coach Terry.

I like using the “Win-Win Exercise” for making tough decisions — when the choice seems to be close to 50/50 —  because you can literally get the best of both worlds…a true “win-win.”

Here we go!

The 5 Steps Of The “50-50″/”Win-Win” Exercise

This Decision-Making exercise is easy: list off the pros and cons of your two choices (e.g. my friend is deciding between leaving his job or staying at his job.). And then there's a cool twist below!

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Saturday, May 28th, 2011

The 3 Ways To Self-Publish Or Sell A Book On Amazon

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I self-published a book for family and friends and have been wondering how to get it on Amazon – for wider distribution and so that folks can give feedback through Amazon’s reviews.

I Self-Published This Book And Am Considering Selling It On Amazon

So I asked San Francisco freelance writer Angela Privin (Wall Street Journal, Yoga Business Times) to research self-publishing/selling on Amazon and write an article on it. Here’s her summary:

Amazon has three programs for self-publishers to choose from:

  1. Create Space
  2. Kindle Direct Publishing and
  3. Advantage.

1) “Create Space:” Create Your Print- Or E-Book On Amazon

Amazon’s first option is Create Space. This online subsidiary company and self-publishing arm of Amazon.com allows the user to create and format a book for either print or digital distribution on demand.

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Thursday, May 5th, 2011

A Fun Way To Start Any Meeting: The “Awesomeness Report”

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I’ve written a couple of articles on how to run a meeting (see the effective Daily Huddle approach that the Ritz Carlton and others use or an easy 3-step framework in my G.A.P. Approach To Running Meetings article).

Over the last year I’ve added a fun way to start a meeting: “The Awesomeness Report.”

My friend's son Clarke and his friend really got a kick out of watching silly adults (some were naked) in the Bay To Breakers Race.

It’s real simple, I just ask the person I’m meeting with:

“What’s something really awesome that’s happened with you lately…in any part of your life.”

I’ve found this to be a super-effective way to start a meeting because it virtually guarantees that you start off on a positive note  (and “positive things happen to positive thinkers” as a wise man once said).

Some Awesome Things People Have Shared With Me In Recent Meetings

“When I sneezed last week, my 22-month-old son said his version of ‘bless you.’”

“My 18-year old son was chosen by his soccer teammates as one of the two most inspirational players on the team…and a good friend of mine’s son was the other one chosen.”

“My son just starred in the school play…and he killed it!”

“I just got back from Bogota, Columbia — a University there invited me to do 12 speeches (3 or 4 per day) and I got to travel around with a bodyguard and a translator!”

“I taught my two twin grand-daughters how to ride a bicycle…it was even more fun than teaching my son!”

“I’m going to a personal trainer the last 5 weeks…and I’ve lost 15 pounds.”

“We were named Dell’s agency of record.”

“I just helped my Mom move out of our family home that she resided in for the last 37 years… a very cathartic experience…Mom is estatic!”

“I just jumped out of an airplane with my godson to celebrate his high school graduation last Saturday.”

“My wife just got her law degree…and so we’re both finally done with school!”

“My daughter just got back from spending her Junior year abroad in Rome!”

“We (Crowdstar) just announced $23 million in funding!”

“I had my 20 year wedding anniversary and got remarried again (to the same husband) in a church wedding this time!”

“I went to Mexico for 5 days with a gorgeous Mexican woman…her parents

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Monday, April 25th, 2011

The 10 [Maniacal] Steps I Take For Setting Goals

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It took me 40 years to figure out that the key to life is feeling like I had a fulfilling day — I accomplish that through setting goals…and I’m maniacal about them.

I believe that without goals your progress comes to a screeching halt. As Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator once said:

“Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality.”

One thing I learned in my goal setting was that these 9 topics matter most...I now keep them nearby

Here’s how I set my goals:

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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

“Minimum Viable Product:” What It Is & How To Build One

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If you’re gonna build a hot dog stand, what are the few key things you need to focus on?

I grew up in New York City where the hot dog guys had to have a minimum of a good wiener, fresh bun and mustard

The weiner will probably be first…then the bun…then some mustard and then a stand or cart, right?

If those four items weren’t satisfactory, your hot dog stand would be in big trouble.

Surprisingly, most businesses don’t take that same sensible approach.

Note: thanks to the 37Signals guys who wrote the entrepreneurial-focused Rework book for that hot dog stand analogy!

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