A bubble of epic proportions

March 31, 2014

“[F]rom where I sit, the startup industry is in a bubble of epic 1999 proportions.”

— Bob Dorf, writing at LinkedIn

Not you

March 31, 2014

“Your failures are not you. … They are simply data points that help guide the next experiment.”

— James Clear, writing at Entrepreneur online

Lucky fool

March 31, 2014

By  via http://www.nytimes.com/   Article

Avoiding ‘Lucky Fool Syndrome’

Troublemaking, disorderly, disturbing, unsettling, upsetting

March 31, 2014

By Daniel Isenberg  via http://blogs.hbr.org/   Article

Entrepreneurship Always Leads to Inequality

“Inequality, in the broadest sense, is precisely, and perhaps paradoxically, what entrepreneurship is all about: entrepreneurs use their wit and grit to burst into new markets and generate extraordinary wealth, sometimes very quickly, more often over decades.Along the way, entrepreneurship rewards smart and risk-tolerant investors (who helped build the success) with wildly above-market (read: unequal) financial returns.

The most successful entrepreneurship is disruptive — a term entrepreneurs these days have donned as a magic mantle: “We have a disruptive business model, a disruptive technology, and will disrupt the market” goes the startup pitch. Amazon has disrupted book stores and other retail chains, Zipcar disrupted car rentals, Netflix is disrupting cinemas and cable companies, Airbnb disrupts hotels, and Bitcoin may disrupt the payment industry.

But the meaning of ‘disruptive’ was never meant to be pure and all-positive: its synonyms include ‘troublemaking,’ ‘disorderly,’ ‘disturbing,’ ‘unsettling,’ and ‘upsetting.’ With all the buzz around disruptive innovation as a driver of business success in recent years, it’s important not to forget this original meaning.

Entrepreneurial success is intrinsically lopsided, a natural outcome of creating extraordinary value for customers. Entrepreneurship — if it succeeds — will always be, by definition, about the top one or two percent. It is about being the best of the best, about jumping over hurdle after hurdle on the way to the gold medal in the Olympics of enterprise, and leaving competitors in the dust.

Entrepreneurship, per se, can create many social goods. It can push innovation, can create dignified employment, can improve quality of life, can contribute to fiscal health through taxes, and does (at least in a few countries, including the US) dramatically boost philanthropy.”

So rare

March 31, 2014

By Randall Beck and James Harter via http://blogs.hbr.org/   Article (free registration required)

Why Good Managers Are So Rare

“Gallup has found that one of the most important decisions companies make is simply whom they name manager. Yet Gallup finds that companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time. …

Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores across business units, Gallup estimates. … Gallup reported in two large-scale studies in 2012 that only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work  … Gallup has discovered links between employee engagement at the business-unit level and vital performance indicators, including higher profitability, productivity, and quality (fewer defects) When a company raises employee engagement levels everything gets better.

companies should systematically demand that every team within their workforce have a great manager. After all, the root of performance variability lies within human nature itself. Teams are composed of individuals with diverging needs related to morale, motivation, and clarity — all of which lead to varying degrees of performance. Nothing less than great managers can maximize them. … Gallup finds that great managers have the following talents:

  • They motivate every single employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • They create a culture of clear accountability.
  • They build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency.
  • They make decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.

Gallup’s research reveals that about one in ten people possess all these necessary traits. … Combined, they contribute about 48% higher profit to their companies than average managers.”

Why soccer = real life

March 31, 2014

By David Sneed via http://www.cobizmag.com/   Article

But do you know why soccer is the world’s most popular game? It’s because it represents human aspirations, and the original American ideal of working together; the understanding that a whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

Soccer requires hard work and complete same-pagedness by all of the players, all the time. The guys who score goals in a game are always the ones who work the hardest and run the farthest with the greatest team-cohesion supporting them. …

Soccer has superstars for sure, but every one of them has been benched for not following the rules. Each of them has been punished for failing to fit the team ethos. And they learned. They are superstars, but they only play on Sunday if they embrace the team culture. …

The words used by sportscasters tell the real tale of success in soccer. Players are lauded for their work rate; and even if he doesn’t score, a player’s industry is remarked upon. His fitness is praised. So is his attitude.  Creativity; Initiative; Determination: All the traits of a good work ethic are discussed more than a player’s skill or individual talent.

And unless you get hurt you’re playing the entire game. No breaks, no resting, no time to regain your composure: you run for 90 minutes.

American sports aren’t even close to that level of work rate. NFL wide receivers know when they won’t be getting the ball so they run three-quarter speed and play only half the game. NBA centers can be on a winning team even if they never make it past half court. When they get tired they come out for a spell. …

In real life, only the rare person succeeds without a good work ethic. Only the lucky man gets to the top without running full speed. And no matter how good you are, no matter how hard you work, you might well reach the end of the game without scoring at all. Real life is scary like that.”

Getting your boss to love you

March 31, 2014

By Eric Barker via http://theweek.com/   Article

The art and science of getting your boss to love you

“If your boss is happy with you, everybody will be happy. If your boss isn’t happy with you, I don’t care what else you’re doing, you’re going to have trouble. … Here’s how to become great in your boss’s eyes:

1) Take 100 percent responsibility for the relationship

… If there’s a problem between you two, you need to fix it. Always. …

2) Have regular interaction

You can’t impress people who don’t know what you do all day. …

3) Find out what your boss cares about — and do that

Don’t do what you think is important, do what they think is important. …

4) Make your accomplishments known

5) Make your boss look good

6) Make your boss’s life easier

This is your real job description. …

7) Manage expectations

8) Have things in common with your boss

This is just human nature: We all like people who are similar to us. …

9) No surprises

Not knowing what is going on is lethal to a person in a position of power. …

10) Complain… twice a year

… If you’ve done all the other things on this list for 6 months to a year, a good boss will be eager to help you with problems.”