Jargon is for fakers

“Own the stack.” “Find synergy.” “Put it in the cloud.” Beware. When you hear someone using jargon , steer clear. He is most likely a faker. He is trying to impress you into thinking he knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t. People who know what they’re talking about can explain in plain English. Jargon is for fakers.

Read More

Don’t be subtle

If you’re selling hotdogs, don’t say you’re selling a “roll with a sausage in it.”Say you’re selling hotdogs.Don’t beat around the bush. People are too busy to interpret and translate your subtle messages.Say what you’re selling.

Read More

Whatever your dream is, dream bigger

Jorge Lehmann, chairman of 3G Capital, and his partners have built the world’s biggest brewery, AB Inbev SABMiller, and yet he’s on the record as saying his greatest regret is not dreaming bigger. Can you imagine that? You build the world’s biggest beer company, and yet you feel you didn’t shoot high enough. There’s a lesson…

Read More

Only listen to entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur may not have the necessary detachment to effectively share advice for other entrepreneurs. An outsider may have the necessary detachment, but is too far removed from entrepreneurial reality to make statements of any real value. Only an entrepreneur can provide advice. At worst, her advice may not be objective, but it at least comes from real life experience. When…

Read More

If a tree falls over without a witness, it makes no sound

If your customer doesn’t hear your excuse, he’ll leave you. If your investor doesn’t get your pitch, he won’t invest in you. If your star employee doesn’t know you’ve included him on your share option allocations, he’ll take an offer from a competitor. If a tree falls over and there is no witness, it didn’t make a…

Read More

Success cannot be pursued. It ensues.

Phil Knight of Nike fame didn’t get rich by chasing money. He got rich by trying to make the best running shoes in the world. His financial success was not pursued, it ensued. Most times, financial success is accidental. You can’t directly chase it. Rather, it ensues from you chasing something else. That doesn’t mean…

Read More

If you truly want something, you must fight for it

The best prizes are contested. You can’t wait for what you want. You must go and get it. Maybe your startup finds itself in greenfields for a time. No competition, lots of opportunity. Eventually someone will try take what you have. Maybe you’re sitting in corporate, looking out the window and dreaming of financial freedom. Eventually you will…

Read More

An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour

If something crazy happens in your business, don’t turn to your rule book. Abnormal situations require abnormal actions. Your reaction can’t be predictable. You can’t follow the rules. When something completely out of the ordinary strikes, you must strike back fast with whatever is at hand. Throw away the rule book. An abnormal reaction to an…

Read More

Dress neatly

Why wear a suit when you prefer wearing a torn t-shirt and jeans? “It’s just being dishonest. I am who I am, why put lipstick on the pig?” That’s just arrogance. Don’t be that guy. Dressing smart is not being dishonest. It simply shows respect. If you don’t show your customer respect, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t…

Read More

Work more than you hope

By all means, hope. Pray. Hold thumbs. It’s all a form of mental manifestation. It helps. Just make sure you work more than you hope. Sometimes your success (or failure) is dependent on a lucky break. Sometimes all you can do is hope for the best. That’s just startup life, you’ll get used to accepting…

Read More

Demand sacrifice from your team

Your average corporate lifer is not suited to joining your startup. Why? Because he (or she) is not prepared to make the sacrifices needed to achieve success. Family time sacrifices. Financial sacrifices. Health sacrifices. Startups steal from every part of life. Its not for everyone. Definitely not for corporate lifers. When you have a startup you must…

Read More

Stare into the void

Every now and then its a good idea to stop moving. To do nothing at all except stare into the void. Make yourself bored. Let your mind run out of things to spin. Sit still and stare into the void like a zombie. That’s when some of the best ideas pop into your head. Ideas…

Read More