frank's blog

Richard Branson Is Asking You …

Posted in Animation, blog, ideas, inspiration, quality by aldorf on January 18, 2012

What do you think about this video? “Incentivising senior employees very differently. Saw this incredibly interesting video recently. Was impressed not only by its surprising conclusions, but by its original way of presenting information. It’s certainly intriguing. I suspect that my senior people at Virgin will hope I don’t watch this video too often! What do you think about it? (via his blog)

It is a pretty cool video on management. And I agree that this original way of presenting information by RSA is very convincing. There are many more animated videos on their website or youtube channel. Great content and intriguing to watch. Thanks Richard for posting and thanks RSA for being a powerful and inspiring platform.

 

 

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How To Build A $500M Company In 500 Days – Mike Cassidy

Posted in conference, ideas, internet by aldorf on December 1, 2011

Last week, Cassidy traveled to Turkey for a start-up event, and he talked about how he does it. To be sure, Cassidy’s is not the recipe used by folks like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison and Bill Gates, who think especially long-term while building their companies. It’s the recipe for the extremely quick exit. It’s the second of two dominant strands in company-building. (via venturebeat)

Cassidy’s slide presentation below.

Sink or Swim School of Engineering Talk by Instagram Founders

Posted in conference, inspiration, Media, web by aldorf on October 15, 2011

Co-Founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were able to launch Instagram without being computer science graduates. Krieger is proud of this fact, as it shows students from other disciplines can start companies in the technology space. He recalls his most valuable Stanford courses as the ones that taught him to define questions and then allowed him the freedom to seek the answers. In this clip, fellow Co-Founder Kevin Systrom also talks about the importance of connecting with other members of the entrepreneurial community. (via ecorner)

Ideas don’t Matter by Adeo Ressi [Video]

Posted in conference, ideas by aldorf on August 10, 2011

Many people don’t realize that more than half of Founder Institute companies start the process without their final idea – and in many cases, without an idea at all. In fact, the first 1/3 of the program is devoted to identifying and refining a meaningful, enduring and defensible startup idea.

In the video below from the very beggining of the program, Adeo Ressi outlines a simple, 5-step method to forming and beggining to evaluate startup ideas. Adeo is a serial entrepreneur, founder of the Founder Institute and TheFunded.com, and is on the board of the X PRIZE Foundation. He also runs the Silicon Valley Founder Institute, and has a second child due any day now congrats Adeo!). (via Founder Institute)

Adeo Ressi on Coming up with Startup Ideas (06/08/10) from Founder Institute on Vimeo.

10 Lessons Learned On When To Change Your Game by Jason Goldberg

Posted in inspiration, internet, web by aldorf on August 2, 2011

by Jason Goldberg, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Fab.com (via venturebeat)

 

All of the steps that lay behind our decision to transform Fab were rooted in the lessons learned over seven years in the startup world. Here, based on our experience, are the top 10 reasons to alter course.

  1. If you can’t get traction after one year, switch gears and work on something different. Particularly if you’re building a consumer e-business, you can tell pretty quickly if it’s going to fly or flunk.
  2. Don’t get bogged down in something just because you’ve been doing it. There are plenty of other fish in the entrepreneurial sea. Go catch the one that looks like it’s swimming faster than the turtle you’ve been riding.
  3. Be willing to go in a completely different direction. Remember, YouTube started as a video dating site. No one is going to shoot you for abandoning an idea that didn’t work.
  4. Consider your options well before you’re down to your last dollar. That will give you the time and resources to make a mid-course correction if necessary. It’s better to change when you’ve still got over $1million in the bank like we do.
  5. Do the math at least once a month. You can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken.
  6. Don’t get seduced by your own ‘brilliant’ idea. It may have sounded good on paper, but you need to be objective in evaluating the results.
  7. Change courses because you want to, not because you have to. If you’ve done your homework in a timely manner and you see the writing on the wall (see #5), you’ll have time to figure out where to go next.
  8. Get your board on board. They invested in you. They’ll want you to do whatever you’re convinced can give them the greatest return.
  9. Think like an investor. What can you do that has the greatest chance of delivering 10 times the investment you (or they) make in your business?
  10. Ask yourself the following six questions to determine whether to regroup:
  • If we could do anything for the next year, what would it be?
  • What are we most passionate about?
  • What are our customers telling us?
  • What can we (realistically) be the best at?
  • If we were to use our limited resources for anything, what would we spend them on?
  • What will create the most value for our shareholders?

Some people say great entrepreneurs just make it happen. I can tell you from experience with my own companies and in serving as an advisor to other startups: that is rarely true. Good businesses need inspiration as well as perspiration. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. The next time, you might get it right.

The Startup Genome Report – Patterns Of Successful Internet Startups

Posted in innovation, internet, pioneers, quality by aldorf on May 30, 2011
The Startup Genome Project team came together 3 months ago to attempt to crack the “innovation code” of Silicon Valley and share it with the rest of the world. They just released the first Startup Genome Report— a 67 page in depth analysis on what makes Silicon Valley startups successful based on profiling over 650 startups.
The report was co-authored by Berkeley & Stanford faculty members along with other contributors including Steve Blank, the Sandbox Network team & the blackbox team.

Few findings:

1. The value-add that investors claim to offer in an operational capacity has little to no effect.

2. Startups that pivot once or twice have 3.6 times better user growth than startups who pivot three times or more. Startups that never pivot under-perform startups that pivot once or twice.
3. Startups without a technical cofounder are 80% more likely to scale prematurely, have 152% less user growth and need 45% longer to reach product market fit than startups with 1 technical cofounder.
4. Founders generally underestimate how long it will take to validate a market by 100 to 200 percent.
Read more at startupgenome.cc
Or benchmark your own start-up here»

Entrepreneurship – Do You Have What It Takes?

Posted in blog, inspiration, quality, your take on... by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Well put Chris Dixon (Co-founder of hunch.com, and other venture)

There Are Two Kinds Of People In The World

You’ve either started a company or you haven’t.  ”Started” doesn’t mean joining as an early employee, or investing or advising or helping out.  It means starting with no money, no help, no one who believes in you (except perhaps your closest friends and family), and building an organization from a borrowed cubicle with credit card debt and nowhere to sleep except the office. It almost invariably means being dismissed by arrogant investors who show up a half hour late, totally unprepared and then instead of saying “no” give you non-committal rejections like “we invest at later stage companies.” It means looking prospective employees in the eyes and convincing them to leave safe jobs, quit everything and throw their lot in with you.  It means having pundits in the press and blogs who’ve never built anything criticize you and armchair quarterback your every mistake. It means lying awake at night worrying about running out of cash and having a constant knot in your stomach during the day fearing you’ll disappoint the few people who believed in you and validate your smug doubters.

I don’t care if you succeed or fail, if you are Bill Gates or an unknown entrepreneur who gave everything to make it work but didn’t manage to pull through. The important distinction is whether you risked everything, put your life on the line, made commitments to investors, employees, customers and friends, and tried – against all the forces in the world that try to keep new ideas down – to make something new.

20 Blogs Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Posted in blog, ideas, innovation, inspiration, quality by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Starting your own company is one of the hardest things you can do in business — so it’s invaluable to get advice from other people who have done it, too. Fortunately, the blogosphere is packed with entrepreneurs, investors, and business gurus dying to share their knowledge. Unfortunately, it can be a real pain trying to figure out which ones are worth your time.

Here’s the complete list:

via businessinsider.com

How To Build Great Teams – Tine Thygesen

Posted in conference, ideas, quality by aldorf on April 6, 2011

Tine Thygesen is the founder of Everplaces, and previously lead for example 23 and Venture Cup Denmark. She is also the co-founder of Founders House in Copenhagen.

Tine Thygesen’s talk at Build 0.5 focused on the three things entrepreneurs must do right in order to build great teams. Tine notes that entrepreneurs tend to have a couple of bad habits that can be mitigated by building great teams effectively. First, especially in building your team you must focus on the long haul. Teams that are committed and dedicated for the long term consist of great people. Great people might not be easy to get, but taking shortcuts here is not a good idea. While you might get average people easily into the team this is a poor long term solution. You need to attract great people from the beginning, because great people want to work with other great people.

A startup CEO is always hiring, and not necessarily for a role, Tine says. If you find absolutely great people, get them in, even if you don’t know exactly what they should be doing. On the flipside, this means that you must also fire people quickly if they are not contributing and not making the team greater than it was without them.

Second, you must make people come to you. While you are always hiring you cannot possibly do this all of your time. The war for talent means that this will continue to be your biggest challenge in growing a company. Tine suggests you must make yourself the talk of the town and the most attractive place to work in. Having great people already there helps, but you can also do more and reach out to the community, throw parties and enable co-working, for example.

Third, once you have the great people you must work hard not to lose them. People join companies but they quit bosses, Tine says, and suggests you must be conscious of this by leading from the front and involving the whole team. By doing the most boring, unappealing tasks, leaders can free their teams to do the exciting stuff that will further feed their enthusiasm for the team, and also gets them to pitch in with the boring things. “If you don’t take the trash out, don’t expect anyone else to take the trash out”, Tine notes. And by making sure that as a team grows transparency and communication get special attention, the team members sitting in the same room do not feel excluded from the leadership and from the decisions. If your team is disintegrating, you can’t do anything, Tine says. In a startup, keeping your team happy is even more important than keeping your customers happy. (via hackfwd.com)

Great Leaders Are Great Storytellers

Posted in inspiration, quality by aldorf on March 15, 2011
Hollywood Sign

Image via Wikipedia

“The ability to weave a tale is among the most powerful elements in any leader’s repertoire.” Hollywood producer and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber (“The Kids Are All Right“, Oscar nominee ‘Best Picture‘). Here are four that stand out.

Former President Bill Clinton

Though not technically a business leader, Clinton’s leadership skills are formidable. “He is able to glean whats in it for his listener get their attention and then their intention,” Guber says. “His authenticity of purpose enters the room before he speaks the first word. He charms them and disarms them and then rearms them with his narratives.”

Apple Founder Steve Jobs

“Jobs’ Job One is story,” Guber says. ” he knows his devotees can’t just be customers—he needs apostles for his products who tell his story as their own and move it forward. Look at the lines in front of his stores when he opens new products. After he tells his story, the reaction reminds me of folks waiting for a big movie opening.”

POM Founder Lynda Resnick

“Story is Lynda’s mantra,” Guber says. “If she can’t find the story she can tell in the product, she simply doesn’t sell the product. Whether it is POM Wonderful, the pomegranate juice, Get Crackin’ pistachios, or replicas of Jackie O’s pearls, her narrative wins the day and hearts of her audience.”

Under Armour Founder Kevin Plank

“Kevin uses stories to create the impression among athletes that wearing Under Armour beneath your game shirt is a way to drive and fulfill your aspirations as a competitor,” Guber says. “He takes a story about perspiration and brings it to the level of inspiration.”

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