How to Change the World
There is a myth that successful companies begin with grandiose ambitions. The implication is that entrepreneurs should start with megalomaniac goals in order to succeed. To the contrary, my observation is that great companies began by wondering about simple things, and this leads to asking simple questions that beget companies:
This is a guest post by Ben Parr, the author of Captivology.
You probably deal with attention issues every day. How do I get the attention of new customers? How do I retain the attention of existing clients? How do I captivate my boss or my upcoming date? It’s a hard problem to solve, especially since very few people understand how attention fundamentally works.
When I was a venture capitalist, I noticed that entrepreneurs whose primary goal was to make money usually failed. This is because this kind of entrepreneur attracts other people who want to make money, and then when the company doesn’t pay out big bucks immediately (and no startup does), these folks look for greener pastures.
To combat the problem of ill-suited people pursuing entrepreneurship, experts often recommend rigorous self-examination before starting a company. However, most people ask themselves the wrong questions:
A good business model forces you to answer two simple questions: “Who has your money in their pockets?” And “How are you going to get it into your pocket?”
These questions may lack subtlety, but making money isn’t a subtle process. More elegantly stated, the first question involves identifying your customer and the need that she feels. The second question creates a sales mechanism to ensure that your revenues exceed your costs.
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Interesting story of how Alicia Shaffer sells $1 million of fashion items via her Etsy shop. It’s fantastic that Etsy has created a market like this–democratizing commerce and crafts!
There is some controversy about whether her products are handcrafted “enough,” but there are marketing lessons to learn from her success, nonetheless.
As I write this, I’m three months short of the big 6O. Here’s some advice based on thirty-eight more years of living than you have.
Challenge the known and embrace the unknown. Accepting the known and resisting the unknown is a mistake. You should do exactly the opposite: challenge the known and embrace the unknown. Now is the time to take this kind of risk because you have less to lose and everything to gain. Great things happen to people who question the status quo.
There are two components to getting off to a great start on a new job: what to avoid and what to accomplish. This post explains both components. First, there are four ways to blow it. They form the acronym LAST:
People love the notion of the sole innovator, but this notion is wrong. Successful companies are usually started, and become successful, with the contributions of at least two people. Yin and yang, maker and seller, dreamer and pragmatist — call it what you will. After the fact, people may recognize one founder as the innovator, but it takes a team to make a new venture work.
Derek Sivers, the co-founder of CD Baby, said it best: “The first follower is what transforms the lone nut into a leader.”
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