A review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

"Embrace the struggle... Embrace your weirdness. Your background. Your instincts. If the keys are not in there, they do not exist."

- Ben Horowitz, entrepreneur, investor, and author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Those are some of the closing words in Ben’s best seller, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. As I read them and closed the book, I thought, why in the fuck don’t we replace the terrible business school curriculum that currently exists (like this) with books like The Hard Things?   

While I’m not the first to express it, I fully embrace the notion that Ben's book should be required reading for business builders of all types, including students that aspire to build businesses or lead people.  

Ben tells his story, from joining Netscape through the founding of Andreessen Horowitz, as a battle tested executive, founder, CEO, and investor. And he does so in a way that you don't want to put the book down. The war stories are riveting and experienced entrepreneurs will be able to relate to many of them in some way or another. Other stories, however, are at a scale most people are unlikely to experience and read more like a fiction book. There aren't many CEOs that have faced being delisted from the NASDAQ if they didn't triple their stock price in a few short months. Even fewer have succeeded in doing so. It may make me a business nerd, but reading about this and other experiences of his was captivating.   

Entertainment value aside, this book is packed with more advice and experience to learn from than any I’ve recently read. And I read a lot. Here are just some of my favorite highlights:

Ben’s financial controller at Loudcloud once remarked, “If you’re going to eat shit, don’t nibble,” when giving Ben advice on breaking bad news to shareholders and employees.

"Conventional wisdom has nothing to do with truth. Markets weren't efficient at finding the truth. They were just very efficient at converging on a conclusion. Often the wrong conclusion."

"A great reason for failing won't preserve one dollar for investors, save one employee's, job or get you one new customer."

"All the mental energy you use to elaborate your misery would be far better used trying to find the one seemingly impossible way out of your current mess."

"Take care of people, product, and profits. In that order."

"Being too busy to train is the equivalent of being too hungry to eat."

"Managing by the numbers is like painting by numbers, it's strictly for amateurs."

"By managing the organization as though it were a black box, some divisions at HP optimized the present at the expense of their downstream competitiveness. The company rewarded managers for achieving short term objectives in a manner that was bad for the company. It would have been better to take into account the white box. The white box goes beyond the numbers and gets into how an organization produced those numbers. It penalizes managers that sacrifice the future for the short term. And it rewards those who invest in the future, even if that investment cannot be easily measured."

"The difference between managing executives and managing more junior employees can be thought of as the difference between being in a fight with someone with no training and being in a ring with a professional boxer."

"There's no such thing as a great executive. There is only a great executive for a specific company for a specific point in time."

"If CEOs were graded on a curve, the mean on the test would be 22 out of 100."

"Peacetime and Wartime require dramatically different styles... Mastering both wartime and peacetime skill sets means understanding the many rules of management and knowing when to follow them and when to violate them."

"In well run organizations people can focus on their work, as opposed to politics and bureaucratic procedures, and have confidence that if they get their work done, good things will happen both for the company, and for them personally. By contrast, in a poorly run organization people spend much of their time fighting organizational boundaries and broken processes."

Ben does a fine job of framing the real challenges founders and CEOs face on day-to-day basis as well as offering a framework for how to approach some of those challenges. That said, he acknowledges that the only way to really learn to be CEO is to be a CEO.  

What’s more, the book had a great personal impact on me. As I finished, I felt more inspired than I have in quite some time to get back to my roots of creation and founding; to embrace the struggle so to speak. More on that journey as it evolves. 

I obviously can’t guarantee The Hard Thing About Hard Things will have as dramatic an impact on you, but take it from someone that reads a lot of business books, if you currently manage people, run a business, or aspire to do either: Read this. Please. Your employees and shareholders will thank you. 


Narrators of audio books don’t make a lasting impression on me unless they suck. Kevin Kenerly’s narration of this book changed that. He helped make a great book even easier to listen to.

The boring part of startups

As entrepreneurs, building businesses is our adrenaline rush. The same thrill you get racing cars and hunting, we get turning a vision into a reality. It’s hard to understand unless you’ve done it, been part of it, or even watched it first hand. But trust me when I tel you, we really love this shit. 

As entrepreneurs, we move fast, take incredible risks, and operate in environments with almost no certainty when we make decisions. Few days pass without a crisis or some form of chaos ensuing. Within seconds, an entrepreneur’s mood and entire outlook on his or her future can change for the better, or the worse. 

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. It’s a very high risk, and oftentimes, very high reward situation. Those of us that do it understand this. And more often than not, we do it because of this, not despite it. We thrive on the energy, the speed, and the ambiguity. 

The characteristics and traits that we have as entrepreneurs allow us to endure in situations that would break others. But those same characteristics and traits we consider to be strengths can also be our weaknesses, as I experienced this past week. 

A business that I’m currently building had it’s first paying customer this past week. Hooray! Yes, it was a big, frame-worthy moment for those of us working on this business. This was one of those aforementioned, instant moments that changed the outlook for the future of this business in seconds.  

The customer came from a series of experiments we’ve been running for several months. Incorporating the basic tenants of Eric Ries’ popular book, The Lean Startup, we incorporated an MVP and launched a series of experiments. We incorporated the data from the experiments to run new experiments. Each experiment built on the prior experiments. Within several months we’d run dozens of them and, lo and behold, we got an actual paying customer. 

Up to this point, I thought I’d done everything right. I’d learned so much along the way that I iterated to success. All signs pointed to doubling and tripling down on the strategy. We are on our way to exponential growth. 

I could see it all so clearly in my head. 

The problem is, from the outside looking in, it’s not as easy to see. In fact, it’s pretty easy for people that aren’t involved in the rapid movement of the day-to-day in a startup to have the perception that I just spent several months and thousands of dollars to get a single customer to give me $125. Those of us with the broader vision know otherwise, but by a lot of (very fair) standards, that’s a failure. 

So, as entrepreneurs, our job is not only to turn our vision into a reality, but to ensure that important stakeholders - like investors - understand the vision. It is our responsibility to keep them engaged and informed along the way. This goes against what many of are wired to do, which is, to do. We like to do shit, not talk about it. We like productivity, not activity. We like story making, not story telling. 

And that is where our strengths are also our weaknesses. 

As entrepreneurs, it is important to remember that even if stakeholders understand our vision, they may not share the same degree of passion that we have for achieving it. If they did, they’d be doing what we are doing. Generally, they are investing a great deal of trust (and oftentimes, a lot of money) into us to execute. And in return, we owe it to them to provide honest and candid assessments on progress, and we owe it to them to do so in a way they’ll understand with absolute clarity. 

If progress reports and presentations to document what you’ve been doing sound like torture tactics, I’m with you. This is not what drives us. But it must be done. So, it’s incumbent upon us to make it as easy and efficient as possible. We have businesses to build after all. So, here are a few tips I’ve come up with to make this boring part of entrepreneurship a little bit easier and a hell of a lot faster: 

  1. Track your activity and automate it. I use Workflowy, which is essentially an incredibly dynamic to-do list that allows you to create multiple layers on multiple tasks and organize them. Here is a video of it in use and you can get it yourself here. The use of hashtags and ampersat symbols allow me to filter activity any way I want and I’ve found this to be the most effective way for me to organize my brain, which is no easy task.

    Workflowy also serves another important function: It tracks what I’ve done and sends me a daily email summarizing what I did the day before. These emails and reports serve as an activity diary on autopilot. I save the emails to a folder and when I need to recall details of experiments we ran several weeks ago, which can feel like years ago in a fast pace environment, it’s all there for me. This is helpful when you need to summarize what you’ve done over the past few weeks or months for other stakeholders.

  2. Document learning. The product development process I’m using relies heavily on experiments and iterative improvement. Since we are in the digital space, we can run experiments and measure them at rapid speed. It's not uncommon to run multiple experiments simultaneously. This is all well and good, but the data and learning can pile up quickly and when it’s time to demonstrate to stakeholders what I’ve done and what I’ve learned, it’s overwhelming. So, we have a simple form to use with every experiment that contains four sections: Date, Build, Measure, Learn. The basis of measurement is borrowed from the Lean Startup and I like it for its simplicity.

    For “Build,” I summarize what the experiment is. What are we testing? Who is our audience? What is our hypothesis? How are we testing it?

    For “Measure,” I write what we intend on measuring. When we execute on the experiment, I complete it with the actual data.

    For “Learn,” I write what we learned from each experiment, what surprised us, and how we think we’ll use the findings.

    This process creates a sense of order out of what looks like chaos and it makes it incredibly easy to put together summaries of what we’ve learned when metrics (like revenue and users) don’t tell the story yet.

  3. Be proactive in communication. Investors, employees, and other stakeholders rely on me to give them critical information about the business and thus, peace of mind. If I wait until they are concerned and asking questions, I’ve waited too long. As a rule of thumb, I simply ask stakeholders how frequently they want to hear from me with updates and progress reports. Then I communicate slightly more frequently than that. As I do with other activities, I block time on my calendar to do it in advance of when I need to do it. I don’t wait for a “good time” because there never seems to be one to write progress reports. I put it on my calendar and stick to it.

These a few things I do to provide a bit of structure to our intentionally chaotic environment. My experience has been that the processes we have in place to help us provide clarity to stakeholders also help provide clarity within the team. That ensures our tactics are helping advance the strategy to turn our vision into a reality. So, we all win. 

Have you found tools or built processes that provide some clarity and efficiency in communicating with stakeholders? I’d love to hear them if you have.

The top 5 things I learned in business school this week

Note before reading: I have withdrawn from the program that offered the examples I provide below. Time is the most important asset and I couldn't waste any more of it in a program that provided more "WTF" content for my blog than it did my education. After a great deal of consideration I elected to enroll in a highly ranked Executive MBA program at a different school.  

Don’t judge me, but I’m working on getting my MBA. I have some reservations about the effort, some of which Gary Vaynerchuk bluntly expresses here:

Solid points. I'd add that nearly every business skillI I have, I've learned from experience, not a professor. 

Nevertheless, I’m enrolled and making progress on getting a piece of paper that qualifies me as a "master" of business. Why? Well, for starters, it's an employment benefit and I’m not paying for it. Plus, I’m a nerd and find learning pretty fun, so why the hell not?  

As someone enrolled in MBA classes thinking I can actually apply what I am learning to my businesses, these past couple weeks have been a massive fucking disappointment.

To enlighten you as to just what I mean, I’ve taken the liberty to list the top 5 things I’ve learned in the past week from my MBA classes. Before you read, please, I beg you, check the date of this post. It’s not a typo. And this is legitimately what my required reading is at the moment.  

Without further ado, here’s what I’m “learning” about consumer behavior in my MBA program:

5. Google is rapidly taking over as the internet’s top search engine, recently overtaking Yahoo as the leader. 

From the textbook:

"Yahoo lost the top spot by 2003, with the gap between Google and Yahoo becoming even greater with the following year."

Thanks for the breaking news, business school. Looks like I better stop sending MSN my search advertising budget. 

4. Longaberger is a great example of how to successfully execute direct selling.

From the textbook:

“Longaberger is the premier maker of American-made handcrafted baskets and other quality home and lifestyle products. Annual sales of 8 million baskets and a total of 30 million pottery, dinnerware, wrought-iron, and other home products are accomplished by nearly 70,000 independent home consultants nationwide who sell Longaberger products directly to customers. Led by CEO Tami Longaberger, the company was ranked the eighteenth largest woman-owned U.S. company by Working Woman in 2001.”

Who the hell is Longaberger? Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. As it turns out, so was their most recent President, Michael Somoroff when he was offered the job, which he took for 6 months before departing. Somoroff is just one of 7 presidents Longaberger has had in the past 10 years and since 2000, the company has seen revenues fall from $1 billion to about $100 million. If I’m going to learn anything from this company, it might be what not to do.

3. Catalog sales are growing dramatically. 

From the textbook:

“Catalog buying has experienced dramatic growth in recent years, averaging about 7 percent per year growth in sales (at least twice as high as location-based retailers).”

Well shit, here I’ve been working to integrate an effective inbound marketing strategy using valuable and relevant content for one of my businesses and I didn’t even stop to consider printing out expensive magazines and mass mailing them across the planet. I have to alert my sales team of this innovative approach. 

2. Newspaper and yellow page ads are really important. But the real growth opportunity is in television home shopping. A great example of this is when Kodak used QVC to introduce its new Cameo zoom lens.

From the textbook:

“About 20 percent of in-home purchases are stimulated each year by newspaper magazine, and yellow pages ads that call for a direct response such as the return of an order form. But big growth in this category is occurring in television home shopping both in the United States and abroad. The on-screen sell seems to work well with a variety of products, especially when there is a need for demonstration. When Kodak introduced its new Cameo zoom lens camera on the QVC shopping network, 9,700 were sold in just seventy minutes. Kodak also benefited from pitching its related products at the same time.”

Want a surefire way to train our future business leaders for success? Teach business students about newspaper ads, yellow page ads, selling shit on QVC, and Kodak’s cutting edge ways of doing business. Seriously, fucking Kodak?    

But I have saved the best, most informative, most important thing I’ve learned for last…

1. The internet is really best for sharing information, not for selling things.

From the textbook: 

"It's probably correct to conclude that the Internet is still best for providing information rather than selling."

You read that correctly. 

What I'm wondering here is, if I'm asked on a test whether the internet is a great tool to sell products, do I answer correctly, or do I answer with what is in the book? 

This must be a business history class, right? Sadly, no. This is what they are teaching about consumer behavior at one of the top 50 business schools in the country.

I’m not even paying for my MBA and it’s enough to make me reconsider whether it's worth the investment I'm making, which is largely in time. 


Hubspot's Inbound 2015: My 1.5 Day Review and Recap

One and a half days into Hubspot’s Inbound, and my initial reaction is:

Holy shit. How much information can you cram in your brain in a day and a half?

So, this is my first trip to Inbound and I was told up front that this is a movement, not a conference. So far, I can see why it's explained that way. The last time I saw 14,000 people act as collaboratively as this and be accepting of different messages and personalities, they were talking about PLUR and sporting candy on their wrists. The place has an incredibly welcoming feel to it and everyone, including the venue staff, are exceptionally friendly. Club Inbound, where you go to get massages, free coffee from Dunkin Donuts, swag form sponsors, and demos of Hubspot's products, looks like it was designed by Virgin America. Not too shabby. And there's beer and wine to cap the day off. 

A day and a half in, my wife asked if there was anything I didn't like. I thought about it. And, no. Granted, things Hubspot can't control are working in favor here. The weather is perfect, Boston is an incredible city, and the food is fantastic. The things Hubspot can control, though, are going perfectly, too. They are on schedule, the content is relevant (irony not lost), and the app works rather well. (For me. I received an email about troubleshooting the app, but I've had no issues.)  

As for cramming as much information as I can into my brain, the sessions have been relevant and inspiring. Below I've offered up compact versions of my notes to the sessions I've been able to attend. Every session was different. Every one of them was relevant. 

Some of the notes may require context if you weren’t in attendance. I will delve deeper when I have time to let the information digest. Until then, I’m publishing notes to help me retain the information and share bits and pieces of what I’ve picked up. Pardon any typos or mistakes. Getting 2,500 words up and formatted in couple hours is compressing the schedule I usually have quite a bit. 

Seth Godin

Author of: The Icarus Deception: how High Will You Fly?


Be your authentic self. Stop looking for reassurance from everyone.

Success follows standing out, which, by definition, can’t be pleasing to everyone.

In the Wizard of Oz, the wizard didn’t need a broomstick. He sent Dorothy on a mission he didn’t expert her to return from. This happens all the time in business with requests for more data, more research, and more approval.

Giving credit away and taking responsibility works a lot better than the other way around.

You don’t need authority to take responsibility.

No one will give you the authority to be you, except you

There’s no such thing as writer’s block because there’s no such thing as talker’s block.

The fear of not being accepted or standing out is paralyzing and, ultimately, limits the amount of success you can have. Nothing exceptional was designed to be universal.


Brene Brown

Author of: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead


Shame is what happens when we try to be vulnerable and we are denied.

Vulnerability is what happens when we show up and have no control of the outcome.

Women experience the shame of body image. Men experience the shame of having weakness.

As men, our status and how we feel about ourselves does not need to come from the feeling of being Oz, capable of fixing all.

Vulnerability is not weakness, it is the greatest form of courage.

The only people that don’t know shame are people incapable of empathy and compassion. So, you’ve either experienced shame or you’re a sociopath.

Fear of vulnerability led Brown to engineer her career at one point to be just small enough to fly under the radar.

Teddy Roosevelt: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

If you have courage and lead or innovate, you will fail. Not might, but will. It doesn’t feel good, but it’s going to happen. The lack of courage, though, is comfort. Are you choosing courage or are you choosing comfort?

We are not thinking people that occasionally feel. We are feeling people that occasionally think.

If you are brave enough, often enough, you will fail.

Be curious about your emotions. Don’t ignore them or discard them. Accept them and explore them.

Conspiracies and confabulations are what happen when people use fear to fill in limited data points.

We are better at inflicting pain than we are feeling it.

There’s always a shitty first draft. Not just in writing. In ideas, business, and how we address conflict in relationships. 75% of people that experienced being knocked down and getting back up were aware of their shitty first draft, acknowledged it, and took actions to improve it.  When you write down your shitty first draft, everything you need to be brave is in there if you are honest with yourself.


Darren Rowse

Founder of: Problogger.net

Serendipitous Success: 7 Habits of Lucky People

  1. Avid learners: Not limited to formal education. Lucky entrepreneurs are avid consumers of information and knowledge. They question things and gather information. That knowledge allows them to connect dots other people wouldn’t and make “lucky” decisions.

  2. Fascinated with problems: Optimistic about problems and see problems as opportunities.

  3. Practice curiosity: Succeed by playing with the problem, or teasing it. Then hypothesize on it.

  4. Experiment prolifically: Getting ideas to tests and look for answers.

  5. Watch for sparks: Identify areas that present sparks for further exploration. Don’t get too busy to see opportunities and make time to think, or meditate. Specifically, at the end of the day ask, “What gave me energy today?”

  6. Create, initiate, and construct: Most people spend their days responding to the agendas, demands, and expectations of other people. Most successful entrepreneurs spend time building and being proactive.

  7. Quick to pivot: Success is not a straight line.


Brian Clark

Serial Entrepreneur, found and CEO of Rainmaker Digital

What motivates us? 

-Sense of purpose in multiple aspects of life

-Level up until attaining mastery

-Autonomy and control in our pursuits

3 things to think about

  1. Personal projects: What you choose to do is who you become. Choose wisely.

  2. Process over results: Chasing goals without focusing on the process creates the environment for cheating, lying, etc.

  3. Who is writing your script? What we really are is a narrative that our brain creates. We can write our own story.

In life we follow an actor, agent, author process. As actors we are children and simply playing. As we mature we become the agent and responsive to others. As adults, we are the author and write our own story.

Who is writing your story? If you find yourself saying, “I should,” change the script to, “I want.” You won’t be happy with the ending if you let someone else write your story.

Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside. 

Happiness is a way of travel. Not a destination. 


Larry Kim

Founder and CTO, Wordstream

The Top Ten Social Media Advertising Hacks of All Time

Marketing is a suicide mission with its 1, 2, and 3% response rates.

“I want you to be a unicorn among a sea of donkeys.”

It’s a myth that you write a blog that organically leads to visitors which naturally leads to sales (or action).

The advantage of paid social advertising is that it’s scalable in turning visitors into leads and customers

10: Focus on the quality score in Facebook and Twitter ads: This is called the “relevancy score” on Facebook and “quality adjusted bid" on Twitter. The higher your score, the more views you’ll get and the cheaper it’ll be. To do this, tweet more often and promote only your best posts (unicorns!).

9. Turn low engagement to high engagement by targeting with hashtags.

8. Increase commercial intent (chance of people buying your stuff) using behavioral and interest indicators. Don’t track web-marketing success with H.I.T.S. (How Idiots Track Success). Target people that may be interested in your products or have purchased products that pair well with yours, which you can get from Facebook and Twitter.   

7. Further increase commercial intent using demographic targeting.

6. Incorporate social media remarketing by incorporating “custom website audience” on Facebook or “tailored website” on Twitter. This can lead to three times the engagement rate and two times the conversion rate. In these, push “hard” offers because of the relevance to the audience.

5. Incorporate “super remarketing” combining remarketing and demographic behavior and high engagement content tailored to the audience.

4. Address material to custom audiences with people based marketing, which is like email marketing but better because you don’t have unsubscribes, laws, regulations, etc. One tip is to use custom built lists of categories like “influencers,” which allow you to target a small and relevant group at low cost.

3. Leverage insanely powerful new ad formats, which make the marketing funnel – a concept in which you push visitors to landing pages to capture them – a ridiculously dated concept. These efforts push people to obstacles and using the “call now” or “subscribe” buttons in social media skip entire steps. This also takes into account the fact that five hundred million Facebook users are mobile and 80% of Twitter users are mobile.

2. Incorporate the snowball effect of social media marketing, meaning the more you do social advertising the better it gets. It also results in paid social ads generating fans.

1. Get free clicks when paid engagements create organic engagement. You can buy one retweet and get three for free.


Julian Aldridge

VP, Brand Evangelism and Activation at Charles Schwab

Leaving Fear Behind: How Corporation of All Sizes Build the Courage Necessary to Win in Today’s Marketplace

The thing separating land of action from land of theory is fear

Book recommendation: A Beautiful Constraint

Develop a sense of venture marketing, which allows you to treat marketing the way venture capitalists treat investing in startups. Recognize that most will fail. The objective is to put a lot of tests out there, identify those with purpose, and invest more in winners.

70% of behaviors are focused on not losing things.

30% of behaviors are focused on gaining things.

Two great videos shared:

Ship My Pants:


Ideas are ugly: 

Dharmesh Shah

Author of: Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online


Inbound marketing is about reversing the old mentality of sales and providing value first.

The difference between direct mail and junk mail is that direct mail is what it is called in the design phase; junk mail is what it is called when it is received. Developing a direct mail campaign is no different than developing a junk mail campaign. 

Market unto others as you would have others market unto you

This change in sales and marketing is a movement, as indicated by an attendance at Inbound of 10,000 last year and 14,000 this year.

Inbound.org is the place inbounders connect the other 51 weeks of the year and find the world’s best marketing content and create life-long connections.

Your website should be your star employee and your start marketer.  

A great resource is websitegrader.com

Brian Halligan

Author of: Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs


Inbound marketing is about “unsucking” the sales industry, which has not had best practices change in 20 years.

People avoid calls because, well, they don’t want to talk to salespeople.

People are changing the way they buy products; we need to change the way we sell them.  The old sales book is dead.

Today, selling is about a partnership, not a power struggle.

Today, selling is about being helpful, not hostile.

Today, selling is inbound, not outbound.

Sell unto others as you would have them sell unto you.

Hubspot aims to be a sales transformation software, not just sales automation.

Jeffrey Hayzlett

Author of: Think Big, Act Bigger

Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless

Kodak didn’t go bankrupt a few years ago. Kodak went bankrupt decades ago when it shunned digital technology.

At one point, Kodak had the only product people would run into a burning fire to save

Adapt, change or die: Be relentless

Change is not bad. Changing for change’s sake is bad.  

To test employees, Hayzlett changed the clock in the office twenty minutes ahead. The objective was to see how the team reacted. The team discussed the change, complained about the change, and started to set up a task force to determine who was responsible for the change. Eventually Hayzlett said one person stood up on a desk and changed the clock herself. She was promoted to Chief of Staff immediately.

When you’re in a high growth company, you need leaders. Leaders are Big Dogs. Big Dogs move fast and they’re loud.

Employees can ask twenty-one questions. The questions can be whatever they want, but there are only twenty-one. The reasoning is that if a leader has to answer small questions on a regular basis, what does he need the person asking them for?

Leaders need to be irrational. While leaders are bringing organizations from point A to point B, they need to tell everyone they are moving to point C in order to get everyone on board. And the road in between is not linear.

Characteristics of successful people on a team:

Be valuable. No one needs a TYCO (Thank You Captain Obvious).

Be a problem solver, not a problem seeker.

Be a change agent for the process.

Be a cheerleader who reinforces goals.

Companies fail because of fear. Don’t fear the unknown. It’s ok to be a beginner.

We are marketers. What’s the worst thing that can happen, a paper cut?

Companies fail with a lack of tension.

Companies fail with a lack of radical transparency. Dominos cared more at one point about delivering the box than what was in the box. With transparency, they told the public their pizza tasted like shit and they were going to focus on what was in the box.

Companies fail with a lack of risk taking. No one is going to die. Take some risks. And take responsibility with you mess up.

People talk about the price of oil. They should be talking about the price of ink. It would cost $462,000 to fill your gas tank with “ink"

What it comes down to is asking:

Why are you in this game?

Who are you?

What is your 118? 118 is an elevator pitch that allows you eight seconds to get attention and 110 seconds to close.

Be the biggest, baddest, boldest version of yourself