How to Win at the Sport of Business Summary

How to Win at the Sport of Business SummaryIf I Can Do It, You Can Do It

If you are not a person who likes playing by the rules, then you are in the right place.

In our summary of “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” we give you an overview of the unconventional advice on surviving and thriving in the business world that Marc Cuban offers.

So, read on.

Who Should Read “How to Win at the Sport of Business”? and Why?

Have you ever heard of Mark Cuban?

Even if you have not, you have surely heard about MicroSolutions and, two companies to which he is the founder of.

Mark Cuban started small, and turned both businesses into multi-million dollar enterprises, after which he became the owner of an NBA team.

Sounds unattainable?

It is not!

In his book “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” which is a collection of posts from the author’s blog, Cuban gives you his formula for success. He writes about winning, and why it is a good thing, about the need to develop the skills, and the ways you can get ahead of your rivals.

We recommend this read to all aspiring entrepreneurs, passionate people who want to capitalize on their passion, and business people who never liked playing by the rules.

About Marc Cuban

Marc CubanMark Cuban is the founder of MicroSolutions, which he later sold, and to He later became the owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise and climbed his way toward becoming one of the wealthiest business people in history.

“How to Win at the Sport of Business Summary”

At the age of 24, Mark Cuban decided to move to Dallas.

Then, he was looking for three things: women, sunshine, and job opportunities.

He did not have much: a few polyester suits and a broken down car. He began sleeping on the floor of the tiny apartment of one of his acquaintances.

He worked in several different places, which he considered as opportunities to learn.

That was what Cuban did right from the start – he had the right mindset.

Many people are eager to find the right job at the very beginning of their career, right after college, but that is not necessarily the best way to begin.

In fact, it might be smarter to work different temporary jobs which will allow you to develop a variety of skills.

Working a range of jobs teaches you another thing as well: the methods you see other people using, may not be suitable for you. Additionally, you learn things about yourself, your ambitions and capabilities, and you can see all the mistakes businesses can make before starting your own company.

When Cuban realized that his bosses were not open to listening to the ideas of their workers, he decided that that not be the place where he could work any longer.

So, he left and soon founded MicroSolutions, his own company which sold configured computers and PC software.

Of course, his company was not without its share of problems, but Cuban succeeded to grow it into a stable company that he eventually sold for $6 million.

When you are just starting out in the world of business, you may sometimes feel that your business will be small forever.

In those moments, do not give up.

Just as Cuban showed, all businesses can end up becoming big.

Also, if you succeed, do not stop at your first success.

Instead, reinvest the money into a new business which you are even more passionate about.

If you show an interest in something and have enough money, then what keeps you from investing in it?

Key Lessons from “How to Win at the Sport of Business”

1.      Never Stop Learning
2.      Work Hard and Pick the Right Opportunities
3.      Hire the Right People

Never Stop Learning

There is no end to learning, so never stop educating yourself.

You can do this by reading books and articles on the topics you are interested in. Stay up to date with the trends, and take advantage of the vast amount of reading material you have access to.

Work Hard and Pick the Right Opportunities

If you want to control every aspect of your business, let us just break it to you-you will fail at it.

There are so many unpredictable variables in business, and there is just no way to control everything.

What you can do is to work hard.

In fact, if you want your business to succeed, you have to work hard, day and night, toward achieving your objectives. Work with your team and your customers during the day, and prepare for days to come at night.

A good work schedule and ethics is not everything you need for success. You also have to take the right opportunities.

Know that you cannot take each opportunity that comes your way since the dispersed focus will take your attention off your core goals.

Hire the Right People

It is not enough just to be passionate about your business; you also have to surround yourself with people who trust your vision as well.

If your team does not love what you all do, they will have a hard time doing all the hard work that is awaiting them.

So, make sure you hire people who are as motivated and ambitious as you are.

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“How to Win at the Sport of Business” Quotes

What makes a good salesperson? Let me be clear that it’s not the person who can talk someone into anything. It’s not the hustler who is a smooth talker. The best salespeople are the ones who put themselves in their customer’s shoes… Click To Tweet Success is about making your life a special version of unique that fits who you are—not what other people want you to be. Click To Tweet Rule #1: Sweat equity is the best startup capital. Click To Tweet Relaxing is for the other guy. I may be sitting in front of the TV, but I’m not watching it unless I think there is something I can learn from it. I’m thinking about things I can use in my business and the TV is just there. Click To Tweet Effort is measured by setting goals and getting results. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In his book “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” Marc Cuban gives his knowledge from the business world on a silver platter. He serves his advice connecting it to his personal experiences, which makes the recommendations very credible. So, be sure to take into account all of his valuable tips on making your business a great success.

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The Wealthy Freelancer Summary

The Wealthy Freelancer Summary

12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle

If one could choose, choosing to be your own boss is probably something of a no-brainer. You can decide who to work with and when, and even how much you’ll earn.

Then, why isn’t everybody a freelancer?

There are many possible answers to this question. Two immediately spring to mind.

One: because being a freelancer is not as reliable and you wouldn’t want to risk the comfort of a regular paying job for something so unexplored.

And two: because you don’t know how to do it right.

The Wealthy Freelancer” is a book-length directory of strategies and techniques, and a list of tips and tricks to help you get it right.

And we are summarizing it so you can get it right as soon as possible.

Who Should Read “The Wealthy Freelancer”? And Why?

There are two types of people in the world: many who are prepared to take a risk and see where this will get them, and many more who would not leave their comfort zone even if a perfect chance comes out of nowhere and hits them in the head.

This book is probably more suited for the second kind of people. But, it’s a worthwhile read for the first group as well. The risk-takers can pick up a technique or two and learn how to earn more while working less. And the comfort-zoners can be inspired by it to take the plunge/

Current solo-professionals and wannabe/would-be freelancers are, of course, the main target group of “The Wealthy Freelancer”.

About Steve Slaunwhite, Ed Gandia, and Pete Savage

Steve SlaunwhiteSteve Slaunwhite is a popular copywriter and award-winning marketing consultant. He is the author of many books in the niches, such as “Start & Run a Copywriting Business,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Web-Based Business,” and “The Everything Guide To Writing Copy.” You can reach him via his website.

Ed GandiaEd Gandia is a thriving copywriter, coach, and author, whose focus is mainly freelancing. He is the host of a popular podcast, “High-Income Business Writing.” In addition to “The Wealthy Freelancer,” he has authored one more book on a similar topic, “Warm Email Prospecting.”

Pete SavagePete Savage is a freelancer with a portfolio which includes companies in the range of AT&T Wireless and AOL, Motorola, HP, and Siemens. He is a sought-after motivational speaker and business coach. This is the only book he has worked on so far.

The Wealthy Freelancer Summary

“The Wealthy Freelancer” consists of twelve chapters, each an insight into a separate idea of how to become wealthy and lead an enviable lifestyle.

Let’s look at all twelve, paragraph by paragraph.

Secret 1: Master the Mental Game

Freelancing is more difficult than having a job, because you are under constant pressure of finding work – which is usually your boss’s concern.

However, you can overcome this by accepting it. And you can do this by memorizing a simple acronym: IDEA. It stands for:

  • Invest. Buy books, go to seminars, visit conferences. In short: learn everything you can about what you’re doing.
  • Develop confidence. Belief in yourself.
  • Expect that your self-belief will be tested. But, don’t forget that it’s only temporary.
  • Absorb the success. If things go well – enjoy it.

OK, that was a long and an obviously important secret!

Moving on to number 2!

Secret 2: Simplify the Process of Getting Clients

It’s easy – because the authors provide you with a 5-step equation for success, the Master Marketing formula. It goes like this:

  • Make a list of your Top 200 dream clients. Be specific and exhaustive.
  • Start contacting them one by one with your portfolio.
  • When a company is interested, turn it into a client.
  • Give it a competitive and reasonable, but non-negotiable quota.
  • If it fails – move on to the next client.

You already knew this?

But what about our secrets 3-5? They are all marketing-related:

Secret 3: Create Your Amazing Buzz Piece

Your buzz piece is your ticket to success. It has to be both original and appealing. But it also has to be targeted at the right audience. And it has to have a brilliant title.

For example, if you are a designer, try something along the lines of “A Five-Step Strategy for Selecting the Perfect Logo Design.”

Secret 4: Employ High-Impact Prospecting Tactics

As great a buzz piece usually is, your marketing tactics must be more efficient than it.

So, smartly use the Marketing Effectiveness Matrix (MEM), join boards and committees that may be useful, and volunteer wherever possible.

Secret 5: Cultivate Repeat and Referral Business

Don’t sever contacts with former employers: there might be new projects in the future, so you’d want them to think of you when those come.

Also, always ask for referrals. You’ll need them to grow even when successful.

And now it’s all about the money: secrets 6 &7!

Secret 6: Nurture Prospects Perpetually

Most freelancers sometimes have loads of work, and sometimes no work at all. Solve this problem by using the DIP technique. First, discover your passion, then identify the market, and, finally, position yourself within it. Afterwards, clients will

Secret 7: Price Your Services for Success

And this means few things, but the most important is probably project pricing. Hourly rates are not so great – since there’s a lot you won’t get paid for (marketing, bookkeeping, etc.) and since you can’t really improve.

With project pricing – you can! Because, once you become better, you’ll finish your job faster and get the same – if not more – money!

Finally, it’s about organization: secrets 8-12!

Secret 8: Bring Focus to Your Freelance Business

We’ve already talked about focusing. And you’re probably already aware of a thing called the Pomodoro technique (you can read some more here). Well, that’s how you become a wealthy freelancer: when working – you work.

In this case, in chunks of 50 minutes. With no distractions whatsoever!

Secret 9: Boost Your Productivity – Without Perspiration!

Studies have shown that if you find your optimal working hours and stick to them, you’ll get a lot more done in a lot less time.

So, what’s stopping you?

Secret 10: Construct Your Own Work-Life Reality

As jobs start to pour in, start organizing them better. Outsource the things you hate, and work only as much as necessary on those you like.

Balance is not a quest. It’s your right.

Secret 11: Create Alternative Streams of Income

A serious problem every freelancer faces down the line is the problem of having a normal life. Namely, the more a freelancer works the more he or she earns – but the less he or she lives. To overcome this problem, find a way to earn money passively.

Create ready-made products, author books and podcasts, sell seminars. That way, even when you’re not actively working, you’ll be still earning. In other words, less doing and more living!

Secret 12: Live and Work in the Wealthy Triangle

The three points of the Wealthy Triangle are a) great income, b) freedom to choose your jobs, and 3) having flexible working hours.

Follow these steps and you’ll achieve this.


Key Lessons from “The Wealthy Freelancer”

1.      Freelancing Is Great!
2.      You Can Be a Wealthy Freelancer
3.      It’s a 12-Step Program

Freelancing Is Great!

It may be difficult in the beginning, but, after a while, it is as good as it gets. You’re your own boss, with a healthy income, and flexible working hours.

That’s right: it’s the life you’ve always dreamed about!

You Can Be a Wealthy Freelancer

Many of the wealthy freelancers you’ve heard about – including the authors of this book – are just normal people. The only difference is – they’ve obtained healthier habits.

Here’s your chance to do the same.

It’s a 12-Step Program

Look at the Amazon reviews. Most of the people say the book works like a charm.

We’ve uncovered for you each secret in the summary. Your move.

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“The Wealthy Freelancer” Quotes

A wealthy freelancer is someone who consistently gets the projects, clients, income, and lifestyle he or she wants. Click To Tweet Wealthy freelancers don’t just make a living. They design a fulfilling and meaningful life. Click To Tweet It’s crucial for every aspiring wealthy freelancer to get comfortable with the idea – and the feeling – of being in control. Most freelancers are completely out of control. Click To Tweet Research continues to tell us that most people simply do not take the time to set goals and put them in writing. Click To Tweet You have to believe you will succeed. I know, this sounds cliché, but recognize that this alone is the number-one determining factor in whether or not you will achieve your goals and realize your true potential. Click To Tweet


Our Critical Review

“The Wealthy Freelancer” may have a glitzy title and an even flashier subtitle, but don’t mistake the book for a fluff: it has some serious substance too. The twelve chapter may not amount to twelve secrets per se, and the secrets are not really in the same range of importance.

However, the central among them – how to master your mental game, how to write a buzz piece that will get you the right job, etc. – can be inspiring to every freelancer, whether a beginner or someone already knee-deep in the ocean.

Speaking of oceans, there are not many useful self-help books. This one, fortunately, is not one of them. It’s not a magic stick for everybody, but it’s certainly a Good Fairy if you are or want to become a freelancer.

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The Lean Startup Summary


“Lean Startup: the application of lean thinking to the process of innovation.”

This is where Eric Ries‘s The Lean Startup: comes in. The underlying message of this books is clear: failures can be prevented!

If you want to find out how you’ll have to read the book. The Lean Startup was written for all kinds of entrepreneurs and offers meaningful clues about how you should constantly improve and test your vision. It also offers meaningful ways to adapt and adjust yourself to changes before it’s too late.

Until you start reading the book, you should check out some of our favorite nuggets from it below. These first visual steps will definitely help you understand more about Eric Ries’ approach.

How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

The Importance of Vision

Every startup has a true north, a direction where it would like to go, which is directly associated with its vision.

You need to have a clear strategy that involves a business model, product plan, and a clear market understanding, including partners, competitors, and customers. The product sold by a startup is the end-result of this strategy and can – and should – always change to achieve the predetermined vision.

Eric refers to the great strategic turns of a startup as pivots. The vision almost never changes, but most companies fail because they are unable to execute and put this vision into practice. A startup is a human organization designed to create a new product or service in an environment of extreme uncertainty. Therefore it is necessary to experiment and learn quickly.

“The Lean Startup Summary”

The Importance of Validated Learning

It is natural for people to say they learned a lot during a project, or while starting something new, but for Eric, it takes more than just learning. It is necessary to constantly validate the learnings and check if it still remains true.

Your true goal is not the learning itself, but the validation of it. Validation comes through simplifying and proving that you are solving a problem that people have. You need to focus on what customers really need and eliminate everything else.

In IMVU, his startup, Eric worked developing a 3D virtual world and plugins for chat tools in 2004. During the company’s initial testing phase, in conversations with users and observing their behaviors, he found that consumers did not want – nor did they know – how to install the plugins in their chat software.

On the other hand, he also learned that people did not mind having to install new chat software, or even use more than one software. This learning was validated by consumers, and he realized that he had wasted a lot of time and resources creating something that people did not want or knew how to use.

After this realization, Eric and his team realized that the important thing was to launch experiments quickly, learn from them and understand what works and what doesn’t.

Validation came from the numbers and analysis of users’ behaviors. If a change occurred and brought good results, it was validated and maintained. Otherwise, it was removed.

The Lean Startup Summary

The Importance of Early Monetization

In the life of a startup, one of its goals is to find a business model, and this comes through revenue generation. If people pay for something, that is minimally validated.

Eric’s startup started charging its customers early, unlike many startups, and that also helped his team. It is better to have some income as soon as possible, even if it is low, than to spend a lot of time trying to figure out something that people will pay for one day.

Many entrepreneurs get caught up in product development for a long time without charging their potential customers and dreaming of the day when people will simply want to pay for their products and services.

The great truth is that most of the time postponing invoicing leads to the development of products for which people do not want to pay. Starting to charge early is important and will help you to really understand how much value you are generating for users with your product or service.

To discover a business model, you need to interact with potential customers and capture value. Therefore, you need to start with a prototype, albeit incomplete and constantly validate it with your potential customers. Create revenue targets, although low, but grow steadily from the start.

The Importance of Experimentation

The founders of Zappos had a vision in which he believed that people would want to buy shoes online.

But how do you test if this really works, without having to buy thousands of pairs of shoes, building a website and build a stock? Rather than starting with a large structure, they did an experiment to validate if there was enough demand to achieve the vision of selling shoes online.

They started by taking pictures of shoes in various physical stores and advertising them on the internet. If a customer placed an order, they would go to the store, buy the shoe, and send it to the customer. This minimal product allowed them to test many critical factors for business success.

With this experiment, they validated that there was demand, they learned the optimal pricing for their products, became aware of complaints and the logistical challenges of the business with a minimum of expenses. This validation allowed them to really start the company and it was such a success that it was eventually acquired by the giant Amazon for more than one billion dollars.

Eric Ries

Build, Mesure, Learn

To experiment in the right way and to generate validated learning, you must follow the scientific method. Just as in science, in the business world, every experiment must begin with a hypothesis.

A price hypothesis, for example, tests whether the product generates value to users. A marketing hypothesis, on the other hand, tests whether the company can reach out to consumers at a cost to generate profit. To test the value of your product to the customer, find potential customers to run the experiment. To conduct an effective test, you need to follow 3 main steps:

  • Build;
  • Measure;
  • Learn;

In a startup, this cycle must be running all the time. Find people who would be the ideal customers for that imaginable product and build a minimum viable product (MVP), having you as a concierge. Yes, the product will not be mature enough, but for the initial users, if the problem you solve is large enough to generate value for them, they will forgive you for its shortcomings and bugs.

Participate actively in product validation with customers and monitor all experimental results. Track new revenue, adoption of features, the frequency of use, etc. Always analyze whether the measurement corroborates your initial hypothesis.

For example, if a customer asks for a feature that does not yet exist but you plan to do one day, that means you’re on the right track. On the other hand, if there are features in the product plan that are not ordered by customers, remove them from the plan to avoid waste. These close interactions with customers will help you to constantly validate your hypotheses.

The build-measure-learn model is the main pillar of the lean startup, and once an MVP is built, its purpose is to quickly learn and iterate through it, always starting from new assumptions and user feedbacks.

The Leap of Faith

Every startup also needs to have their own beliefs about its product and its ability to truly cater to the cravings of customers. Steve Jobs, for example, when launching the iPod, had 2 primordial beliefs, which were considered true. The first of these is that users wanted to listen to music anywhere, on their headphones.

The second is that they were willing to pay for music on the internet, unlike how they formerly consumed music, through digital piracy. The first had already been validated by Sony, with the Walkman, but the second was much more uncertain and risky. You need to be able to choose the risks you are going to take and reduce them to the maximum through validation.

The Lean Startup PDF

Intuit is a company that was founded on the belief that someday companies would use computers to pay bills and to track their expenses and their financial and accounting status. To test the concept, the founders phoned random people to understand how this vision applied in practice.

Toyota, which is one of the forerunners of the lean movement, had a validation method called “See for yourself,” whose premise encouraged employees to experience situations in which it was necessary to learn before creating new products. Its director of the SUV segment, to learn more about the potential customer, traveled through the United States in an SUV understanding how the minivan worked in practice.

He quickly discovered that on long trips, families with children (the target audience of the SUV) comfort matters a lot and is a differential for the whole family. When the vehicle was launched, it had full focus on comfort and a cozy internal space for long family trips. This made the vehicle a great success.

One of the biggest challenges to avoid is getting paralyzed to analyze market information. A startup is only able to learn by talking comprehensively and putting themselves in the shoes of the consumers. Many strategy mistakes can be avoided by just talking to the customer all the time.

How to Test Your Product

When it began, Andrew Mason’s vision, founder of Groupon, was to create a platform for digital activism, where people related to their causes. That was the leap of faith, and it failed for Groupon.

To overcome this defeat, the Groupon team began experimenting with different ideas, through a blog and a mailing list, to which it sent discount coupons. At first, it was all manual, and there was no proprietary software to validate that idea. Only the company team interacting with customers.

Very quickly, they felt that the idea was well accepted by the users and they began an effort to automate it and build the software that would run Groupon months later. It is important to show the product, albeit immature to customers, as soon as possible to use certainty and not just faith to validate a market.

This may sound counterintuitive for entrepreneurs who always want to get the best possible product, but the best possible product is an uncertain future, and you are only able to reach it if you are effectively testing ideas and validating them.

Another story of a product that benefited from the early launch and learn approach was Dropbox. The cloud storage solution was looking for investments, and all investors said that it was a saturated market. No one wanted to invest.

Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox had a different vision. He thought the market was bad because cloud storage products were bad and difficult to use, so he moved quickly to validate his idea. He created a video demonstrating the vision of what the software would look like and drew people’s attention to a new approach to file storage. This allowed him to validate that there was demand for the product he wanted to build and then actually build the software.

Many entrepreneurs are afraid to launch an MVP, out of fear of competition from larger companies. However, this perception is flawed, since product managers at large companies are often bogged down with projects at all times, having great ideas but no speed. They know that if they want to copy something, they can copy something later, so you shouldn’t worry about it to delay your MVP tests.

In experimentation, it is very important to understand that what users perceive as product quality is quite different from what the company perceives. Users care if the product works for them and not if it has been invested a lot of time to create it. In some cases, you can accidentally create things that users love and have not been designed for, so you need to test new things and monitor them all the time.

How to Measure Your MVP

Once you build your MVP and have the first users, test the riskiest assumptions first, so you maximize your chances of getting hit and also reduce the risks of testing something too bold that will alienate your customers later on.

Define the fundamental metric you want to affect (revenue, adoption, acquisition) and create a set of experiments to attack it. If the results are positive, continue in that direction and if they are negative, consider changing the direction. It is important to be careful not to follow vanity metrics, metrics that are expressive in volume, but do not capture the real value of your product to the customer.

Forget metrics as registered users and focus on using your product, ability to acquire new customers and grow your revenue. For Eric Ries, the good metrics are:

  • Actionable: You know what to do to change it;
  • Accessible: It is easy to follow;
  • Auditable:  It is trustworthy;

Create a template to prioritize your assumptions with 3 parts: saved tests, in-progress tests, and validated tests. Prioritize your experiments in these columns and after evaluating the metrics, keep the successful experiments and discard those that failed.

Continue or Pivot?

How much money your company has in the bank and how much you spend each month tells you how much you can try. Track this closely, to always know if it’s time to continue in the current direction or take a turn in your business. If things are going well and your product keeps growing, with great prospects, you’ve probably found your fit or the Product Market Fit, a term created by Eric.

When your company can’t make progress with the assumptions and the existing MVP, and the numbers do not keep improving, it may be time to pivot. A pivot is a new product direction, with new validations and potentially new customer profiles.

Many entrepreneurs regret not having “pivoted” earlier, or made it too late and the company did not survive. Several companies go through pivots and it is extremely common to have these turns. Wealthfront, for example, pivoted from an equity management service for investors to an investment management company for consumers on the internet.

Know the Different Types of Pivots

If it’s time to change direction, you need to understand that there are many different types of paths that your company can follow.

  • Internal Pivot: Occurs when an MVP functionality becomes the new product and it focuses on improving only the part of the system that already works;
  • External pivot: When the current MVP becomes a feature of a new product;
  • Customer Segment Pivot: Occurs when the product is the same, but marketed to other customers;
  • Customer need pivot: When the customer is the same, but the value proposition for it changes;
  • Platform Pivot: When the product ceases to be a single product and becomes a platform for other products;
  • Business Architecture Pivot: When the company dramatically changes its business model in pursuit of capturing more value;
  • Value pivot: When the way the company charges for its services changes;
  • Growth Pivot: Occurs when the way the company acquires new customers changes.
  • Channel Pivot: When the distribution channels change;
  • Technology Pivot: When the technology used to build the product changes;

You need to consider all kinds of pivots before making a change. Ask yourself what would have the most impact:

  • Change my target client?
  • Change the billing model?
  • Change your distribution channels?
  • Change the way you acquire customers?

Document these possible directions and create experiments before you make the pivot itself.

The Market Fit

If your company has market fit, it’s important to know that new customers come to it based on the success of previous customers, as they are constantly talking about your product to other companies, using it and recommending it.

If you are in doubt whether your company has hit the market fit, it probably has not yet. But if you already know that the demand for your product only grows, there is no more doubt, and it is time to step on the accelerator.

The important thing is that as the company grows, it is able to adapt to its customer profile, which has also evolved over time. You need to be able to adapt, find new channels of acquisition and constantly improve the product.

Do Not Get Stagnated

Large companies may be able to innovate but to achieve this goal they need to be able to form small, independent teams with the resources they need. At Toyota, every time a new product comes on the market, a small team is created, and the team is free to experiment.

These teams need to be politically shielded from the other groups of the organization. According to Eric, creating secret teams ends up generating more internal policies, which is detrimental to the project. The team must be the owner of the project and have the autonomy to put it into practice.

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“The Lean Startup” Quotes

The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.; Click To Tweet Reading is good, action is better. Click To Tweet We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want. Click To Tweet As you consider building your own minimum viable product, let this simple rule suffice: remove any feature, process, or effort that does not contribute directly to the learning you seek. Click To Tweet Innovation is a bottoms-up, decentralized, and unpredictable thing, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be managed. Click To Tweet

Final Notes:

Startups should take a scientific approach to test their main assumptions and then build a sustainable business model from a validated hypothesis. They should develop product prototypes quickly and then continually refine them by collecting consumer feedback and BML(Build, Measure, Learn) cycles.

Every startup must define its core metrics and analyze them appropriately.

12min tip: Did you like Lean Startup? Read the work that most influenced Eric Ries, “The Four Steps to Epiphany”, by Professor Steve Blank.

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SHOE DOG Book Summary

Everyone has heard of Nike. Of course, you may have one in your closet. Do you know this iconic brand and creator’s history?

In this work, Phil Knight, better known as Buck, tells his story about setting up the company and how it achieved success and over $ 30 billion in annual sales. Buck left college and decided to risk everything and start his own business with the help of his father. He started small and managed to establish himself and compete with the giant Adidas. Want to find out how Phil Knight built a billion dollar venture out of nowhere? Come with the 12min team to learn this story!

Life In Oregon

The story began in 1962. Oregon was the kind of place where nothing significant happened, but it was still a good place to call home, Buck said. He was not sure what he wanted to be but knew he wanted to be successful. His central fantasy was to become a successful athlete, but, unable to reach it, began to think about how he could make his work feel like an athlete’s. He was convinced that this was possible and decided to pursue that goal, no matter how crazy it might seem to other people.

An Unusual Idea

Buck decided to tell his father about his crazy idea one morning. He had written a text about importing sneakers from Japan. He planned to travel to Japan to investigate the viability of his idea and experiment with other cultures. However, he needed his father’s approval and financial aid to cover the costs. To his surprise, his father agreed, though it seemed more open to the tourist part of the journey than to the business idea.

The rest of the family did not support Buck. His grandmother argued that the Japanese were still nervous about the war and that he would risk arrest. His younger sisters did not seem to care much about their trip. The following weeks were spent planning the trip, and he spent most of his time reading and gathering information about Japan. When he was not reading, he was running, his greatest hobby. Also, he also decided to call his classmate, Carter, to be his partner in the business.

In September 1962, the two went to San Francisco. They slept at friends’ homes for many days and bought a ticket to Honolulu. Arriving at the first destination of the trip, Hawaii, they were charmed. Life there was much better than they thought, which is why they decided to stay longer than planned. They got jobs selling encyclopedias and delayed going to Japan a little bit. They decided to rent an apartment, which cost $ 100 a month. Buck’s shyness made it very difficult to sell the encyclopedias, and he decided to leave for Japan.

Business In Japan

On Thanksgiving, Buck left Carter in Hawaii and continued his trip to Japan. There he stayed in a terrible hotel, and luckily his father knew some people who helped him find a better place. After listening to his business ideas, his new friends directed him to some people who could teach him how to do business in Japan.

Buck talked to the owners of a Tokyo company who shared their experiences in international business. He told them about his idea, and the Japanese company became interested. Buck then met with Onitsuka, a tennis shoe company.

The First Sale

Upon arriving at the offices of Onitsuka, he went to the conference room. He opened the meeting saying, “Dear all, I represent Blue Ribbons Sports of Portland, Oregon. The American tennis market is huge and has great potential. If Onitsuka enters this market with lower prices than Adidas, which is the brand most used by American athletes today, we can create a very lucrative business. ” Buck could see that the executives were impressed. They started talking to each other and Buck explained why he wanted his company to sell Onitsuka sneakers in the US. With that, executives proposed Buck and his company Blue Ribbons, to represent the Onitsuka Tiger sneakers in the USA.

Buck still spent some time traveling around Asia, and on his birthday, he returned home.

Near Christmas, some samples of sneakers from Japan arrived. Very happy, Buck sent two of the five pairs of sneakers to his coach at the university, Mr. Bowerman. They met later, and Bowerman showed interest in being Buck’s partner in the sneakers business.

The coach did not want to be a controlling partner, so Buck held 51% of the company and the coach with 49%. After that, Buck asked for 300 pairs for Onitsuka and asked to be the distributor in the West. This time, the sneakers arrived immediately, and Buck quit his job and started selling sneakers.

By 1964, the first 300 pairs Buck had requested had sold out. He asked for another 900 pairs and loaned the money to pay for the shoes. Business was going well, and Buck was expanding his business to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Buck was granted permission to be Onitsuka’s distributor in the West. Later, he signed some contracts and made an even bigger order of $ 3,500.

The First Full-Time Employee

With this growth, Buck received a letter from a man named Jeff Johnson, saying that he had liked the tennis a lot and that some people wanted to know where they could buy similar pairs. Buck offered him a job as a salesman and Johnson resigned from his job to devote himself full-time to Blue Ribbon. At that time, running was not a very popular sport, and Johnson wanted to make a living selling sneakers, which was not easy. However, he believed he could do that with Blue Ribbon.

By this time, Buck’s bank was having problems with Blue Ribbon’s accelerated growth. The bank argued that Buck’s business was expanding rapidly and could no longer be sustained with so little capital. Buck was determined to expand his business and assured Onitsuka that he would be the best tennis distributor in the West.

Buck did not want to depend on the bank, and Onitsuka’s delays in his deliveries were not helping. He had little time to sell the orders and at the same time paid his loan, so he started looking for another job if Blue Ribbon failed.

Buck got a job at Price Waterhouse and invested a large part of his paycheck into the Blue Ribbon, so the company kept growing. Being an accountant, he studied the operation of other companies and thus learned about their successes and failures. He learned that the biggest cause of business failure was lack of capital.

Johnson had clients in 37 states. The company kept growing and soon needed a bigger office. Johnson was apprehensive, wondering what Buck’s prospects were for Blue Ribbon.

Buck said Blue Ribbon would likely become a sporting goods company with offices on the West Coast and even Japan. Buck also gave Johnson a sales target of 3250 pairs of shoes and, if he sold that number, would be allowed to open a new store. Johnson hit his target and Buck allowed him to open a Blue Ribbon store in Santa Monica. Buck traveled to Japan and renewed his three-year contract with the Japanese and placed an order for 5,000 pairs of sneakers at a price of $ 20,000.

Trying To Capture Resources

As time went on, growing sales of the Blue Ribbon allowed Buck to earn a salary. As he had to sign a new agreement with Onitsuka, he traveled back to Japan and renewed the contract for another three years. This three-year deal was short and inconsistent, and Buck thought about hiring a lawyer to take a look, but since time was short, he signed the contract.

He was focused on expanding his company despite little capital, and so he needed more money. Buck asked the bank to lend him $ 1.2 million, which it declined. With that, Buck began looking for other sources of capital, and all he could do was get a friend to lend him $ 80,000.

The Rise Of Nike

The Japanese company was not impressed with the growth of Blue Ribbon, but a bank offered them a small line of credit.

Buck was unhappy with his supplier and knew that his company needed a long-term solution for the manufacture of sneakers. He was advised to look for other tennis makers, and so he did.

He soon found a replacement for Onitsuka, a Mexican factory called Canada. He signed a new contract with Canada and then asked them for three thousand pairs of sneakers. The new tennis company had developed a new design and a new name, Nike. As Blue Ribbon needed to increase its capital, then came the idea of ​​making an IPO and sell shares of the company to the general public. However, Buck thought early for an IPO and preferred to seek more loans, which could be converted into shares by creditors. Undaunted, he worried even more, as Canada’s sneakers were not very good, which caused sales to drop quickly, leaving Buck looking for a better supplier.

Buck then met Nippon Rubber, and his employees agreed to do some samples before Buck made a bigger order. The samples were of acceptable quality, and Buck ordered thousands of sneakers.

In 1972, the National Association of Chicago Sports Goods exhibition was born, and Buck’s new tennis line needed to do very well. At the show, the new Nike sneaker line manufactured by Nippon Rubber launched, but regarding quality, they were inferior to the competitors and only sold thanks to Blue Ribbon’s reputation.

Already in the running tests for the 1972 Olympics, Blue Ribbon made Nike jerseys and donated sneakers to the athletes as a way to introduce the new brand. The hope was that athletes would continue to wear their Nike sneakers.

First Sponsorships And The Onitsuka Problems

One of the most famous athletes of the American running team, Steve Prefontaine, or “Pre” for the intimates, wore the Nike sneakers. Athletes at the time did not receive incentives from the government and Pre was running out of money. So Buck offered him a job, a house and Pre was sponsored by Blue Ribbon.

Meanwhile, Buck discovered that Onitsuka had sued the company in Japan because they had broken their partnership that was supposed to last for three years. Buck now had a new supplier, and Onitsuka did not like it. To counteract the lawsuit, Blue Ribbon sued Onitsuka in the US, claiming delays and problems. Onitsuka refused to agree, and the process followed. In the end, Blue Ribbon won the rights to keep the names of the shoes and Onitsuka had to pay a fine of $ 400,000 to the company.

However, even before they could celebrate victory against Onitsuka, another problem arose. The rising cost of labor in Japan had made the production of sneakers too expensive. That caused Buck to start looking for other factories outside of Japan. He then bought an old factory that would cost $ 250,000 to be renovated. Buck summoned Giampietro, a local laborer, to work. Blue Ribbon continued its expansion, seeking to reach $ 8 million in sales and continued signing sponsorships with new athletes.

The Restart: A New Name

Buck’s plan was always to pay the bank first. The bank was the first source of capital and paying them first secured a good relationship. However, a recent explosion of assets was making repayment of loans more difficult. In 1975, Blue Ribbon owed the bank $ 1 million. To pay for this, they would need to empty all company accounts for a few days. Buck went to the bank to explain the situation and ask for more money for the deal. The bank asked to check the Blue Ribbon cash books before lending more money and noted that the company was at serious risk of bankruptcy. Later, Buck was notified that the Bank of California had informed the FBI of the situation and Buck could go to jail if he did not resolve the situation and his company would have to declare bankruptcy.

After avoiding arrest, Buck discussed the business goals with his partners. They needed more money to reach them, and although the bank was willing to help, they still needed to increase the company’s capital. They had the idea of ​​borrowing $ 1 million from another bank and went down this road.

The dollar began to lose value against the yen, and this, combined with rising production costs in Japan, made the manufacturing of sneakers expensive. Although Blue Ribbon had other manufacturing companies, most of the products were in Japan.

On the other hand, the demand continued to grow, especially because of the sponsored athletes. With the increasing popularity of Nikes, they decided that the company would change its name to Nike Inc.

Reducing inventory began to get in the way, and Buck knew that if the problem was not resolved quickly, the company would break. To keep growing in popularity and sales of Nike, Buck sought out manufacturing companies in Taiwan. At the 1976 Olympics, Nike received a lot of exposure as three Olympic athletes were wearing their sneakers and they won gold medals, which made Nike sell $ 14 million. However, the company was still low on cash. The executives then thought again about a possible IPO, but quickly discarded the idea.

Consolidating The Brand Entering The Chinese Market

Still, in 1976, Buck received the visit of Frank Rudy and Bob Bogert, who brought a new design of running shoes, with an air bubble in the sole. Buck was skeptical at first, but as soon as he heard that Adidas had turned down the two inventors, he decided to hire them and started using that design in some Nike sneakers.

That year, Buck sent employees to various college basketball and football teams in the country to sign sponsorship deals. Nike continued to sign contracts with athletes and players, investing heavily in advertising and thus increasing demand for their sneakers.

In the middle of 1977, Nike’s lenders wanted money, so they pushed the directors to make the IPO, the company’s public offering. As he thought about it, Buck received a letter from the federal government stating that Nike owed $ 25 million to the government, a situation that was resolved because of his connections to the government. That year, Nike sales reached $ 70 million.

It was then that Buck met Chang, a man known for bringing American companies to the Chinese market. He advised Buck to write to the Chinese government since being invited was the only way to get a business to China. The Chinese government then sent his invitation to Buck. In China, Buck and his team met the old factories in the country. Before returning to the US, Nike signed agreements with two other Chinese factories, and this made it the first US company to be allowed to do business in China in 25 years. When they returned, the idea of ​​the IPO resurfaced and was soon accepted. On December 2, 1980, Nike made its public offering of shares. The stock price was $ 22 on the first day.

Buck And Nike Today

Forty years later, Phil Knight became one of the largest billionaires in the United States and is no longer the CEO of Nike. Nike sales are more than tens of billions. Nike clothes and sneakers are all over the world, and the brand has thousands of sponsored athletes.

Over the years, Nike has received some negative reviews about working conditions in its factories but made major changes to adapt and provide better work environments. Nike opened factories in Saigon in Vietnam to help rebuild the country after the war.

In his memoirs, Phil learned that luck has a role in success, but hard work, good team, and determination are invaluable.

Final Notes:

Phil Knight’s journey shows you where you can arrive with focus, dedication, sacrifice, and perseverance. From when he was young and just wanted to succeed until the moment he achieved success, he faced many difficulties. This story is an example for anyone who dreams of doing something great. A little luck can help, but commitment is essential.


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THE E-MYTH Book Summary

The E-Myth is Michael Gerber’s bestseller that explains why some companies fail to thrive and grow because of the boss’ mentality. Bosses who believe they understand the technical aspects and therefore do not need to understand the strategic issues of the business will not succeed. Gerber explains what skills are needed to have a successful business and how you should work each of them. Gerber also addresses the different phases of a company, from its infancy to maturity, giving positioning tips for each of these phases. If you want to learn how to efficiently develop and grow your business, while being predictable and productive, do not miss this microbook!

Revealing The E-Myth

Many believe that the entrepreneur is a noble person on a journey to make the world a better place, but that is a myth.

Most businesses are started by technical professionals – those who have skills in what they enjoy doing and who find that they prefer to work for themselves rather than someone else. They are very good professionals in their area, who have had an inspiration and decided to start their own business instead of letting others profit from their work.

However, almost all new business owners assume that because they understand the technical side, they also understand how a business should work. In fact, these are two different issues and failing to make that distinction is a fatal error.

The truth is that in new businesses, being able to do the technical work in person is more a liability, not an asset. Why?

  • Business skills are much more important to any new business than technical knowledge.
  • The technical entrepreneur ends up discovering that the work he loves has become a mandatory task, much less exciting and rewarding than the technical aspect of the business.
  • Sooner or later, the owner of a company will realize that the technical work can be performed by someone else. The true value is created by business-building tasks, and for the technical professional, they are much less interesting and more difficult.

With this, many new business owners are deluded and discouraged because building a business requires three sets of unique profiles:

The entrepreneur who is responsible for providing business insight; the manager, who provides the systems and organizes the company; and the technician, who provides the expected results. Although all three types of people want to be ‘the boss,’ none of them wants to have a boss. Even so, all three of these skill sets are needed.

The entrepreneur turns every trivial question into a great business opportunity. They are the dreamers who focus on the future. Managers are the pragmatists who bring order and put the systems in place. They focus on the past and cling to the status quo. Finally, technicians like to do things and live in the present. They are hardworking individuals who like results and hate interruptions.

The typical personality of a new entrepreneur is 10% entrepreneurial, 20% manager, 70% technical. However, a businessperson should have 33% entrepreneurial profile, 33% managerial and 33% technical. Knowing how to combine these three skills is crucial for entrepreneurs looking to be successful in business.

Understanding The Company Phases

Most companies go through three growth phases: Childhood, which occurs when the technical profile is in the foreground; expansion, when better management skills are needed; and maturity that comes when the prospect of a visionary entrepreneur to guide the company toward a bright future becomes necessary.

Many problems arise when the business is managed according to what the owner wants and not what the business needs. In reality, business’ needs will vary at different stages of development.

For a company in its infancy, the technician is the principal. That means if you take the technician off, the deal is over since he does it all. Childhood ends when the technician gets tired of doing everything and realizes that something needs to be changed in the company if he wants to make progress. If he is not willing to make these changes, the shop will close. Otherwise, the company will enter into adolescence or expansion.

In expansion phase, the business owner gets in the comfort zone performing a collection of responsibilities to which he is accustomed. The technician profile is comfortable with the amount of work he can do, the manager is comfortable with his subordinates, and the entrepreneurial profile is happy at ease with the number of individuals who share the vision. However, when a business grows beyond this comfort zone, there are four possible paths:

  • Going back to being small: Effectively turn back the business to its childhood when things were easier. That is the natural inclination of most technical bosses.
  • Going hard: Trying to grow the business fast enough to generate money to hire the resources you need to manage it yourself.
  • Holding on: hoping that order will appear in the midst of chaos.
  • Get the business to the Maturity Stage: If the owner is willing to learn new skills and take on different priorities.

Finally, the maturity phase comes when the business has a clear understanding of what it needs to do to achieve the intended future.

The best businesses in the world exemplify a mature approach to building a business and are led by people who have the right perspective and balance. They understand what makes a great business and are shaped by businesses that work and last.

A good business model is not only concerned with results. The business model is composed of the following elements:

  • How the business works: instead of: what work needs to be done by the business.
  • How the business will generate profit: instead of: how the business will generate sales revenue.
  • Where the business is headed in the future: instead of: how the present can be replicated countless times.
  • How the business operates as a whole: instead of: what each part of the business does.
  • The businesses’ future vision: instead of: focusing on the model that is working in the present.

The business model comes to the fore during the maturity stage. The focus then becomes on meeting customer needs in specific demographic categories. At this stage, the business needs to be structured to fit the customers’ needs and requires time and attention. Operational rules and corporate principles need to emerge for the company to work seamlessly and for the current customer to begin to be seen as an opportunity to generate more and more future revenue.

Business reaches maturity when the customer takes center stage of the company’s strategy rather than the product or service. In this new perspective, the way business is done becomes much more important than the type of business that is done. If the business model used is balanced, it will provide equal opportunities for the entrepreneur, manager, and technician to contribute to building a large enterprise.

Start Your Business Like A Franchise

The best model to build a successful business is to see its operation as the prototype that will be duplicated by a large number of franchises. The challenge is to maximize the amount of time you spend working on your business model, rather than on the business itself.

To build a chain of successful franchises in your company, you must obey two rules:

  • Your model should deliver value that consistently exceeds the expectations of customers, employees, suppliers, and creditors. Unless you pay close attention to creating value-added, exceeding expectations, any long-term business is unlikely to succeed.
  • Your model should be operable by individuals with low skill levels. Systems need to be in place so that people without technical skills get involved with the model, and it can be replicated. If each franchise needed a clone of yours to function, you would have a major limitation.

This approach requires you to build a franchise model that is system dependent, not personalities or experts. You need to build a system where ordinary people can produce extraordinary results. Your model must be fully in order – with a system for everything, so customers, employees, managers, and owners know what’s going on. All systems need to be documented in a formal and written Operations Manual. With documentation, each work step can be articulated, and performance standards can be specified. The manual should show how to deliver a service that is uniform and predictable. Good business is consistent with the delivery experience for customers.

Focusing on your efforts to work on your business model, you will begin to address some key issues that most people ignore:

  • How can the business be organized to work productively and efficiently when I’m not there?
  • How can employees be motivated to work without direct supervision?
  • How can systems be organized to serve a large number of customers efficiently and consistently?
  • How can I be the owner of the business without having to be there every hour and every day?
  • How can I maximize time spent doing things I enjoy?
  • How can I minimize the time spent doing things I hate, but that need to be done?

In other words, by treating your business as a blueprint for a system of future franchises, you are forced to focus on the right problems and not the most common problems. By doing so, you increase your chance of success – either by opening franchises or by adopting other different models of scale later on.

The 3 Essential Activities

The process of business development is a dynamic and flexible process because the world never stands still. Everything in the business world is changing daily, and the company needs to be flexible and responsive enough to move with these changes if it wants to generate added value.

However, the process of business development must also be involved in the communication that takes place between the people working in the company. It is not only a way of acting but also a way of thinking and communicating efficiently.

There are three basic activities that empower you to make changes and move forward. In essence, they are the engine for the entire business development process and will be used to take the seven business development steps you will learn below:

Basic activity 1 – Innovation: Creativity is thinking about new ideas, while innovation occurs whenever good ideas are put into practice. An innovative business constantly finds new answers to these questions:

What prevents customers from getting more value added from interactions with the business? What is the best way to ensure that customer needs are met? Innovation creates a high level of energy and differentiates the business by being bold, progressive and advanced. It also includes the ability to simplify the business on its critical elements.

Basic Activity 2 – Quantification: These are the numbers that show how much impact the innovation has generated. Good business record and quantify everything, and later do their best to improve those numbers every week. Once you have quantified everything, you can build a database to track your business’ health and progress. Filled with specific details, your business planning will have new urgency and relevance.

Basic Activity 3 – Orchestration: it is similar to optimization. It is the process of removing the operational complexities to produce the best results. Orchestration begins with innovation, is validated by quantification, and incorporates best practices into business operating procedures. Once you have orchestrated something, the results become predictable and consistent. You then have a franchise – the unique way your business delivers value to customers whenever they interact with you.

In short, innovation, qualification, and orchestration form the foundation of the business development process because they are the processes by which business can anticipate and respond to changing market conditions. They are the essence of continuous quality, the secret to any company that wishes to make a business successful in the long run.

The 7 Steps Of Business Development

When analyzing the business development process, your goal should be to create a predictable and structured franchise prototype to achieve repeatable results. After mastering the three core activities, it’s time to complete the seven steps of the business development process:

Step 1 – Main Purpose: Although your business is not your life, it plays an important role in it. So the first step in developing a company is to answer questions like: What do you value most in your life? What kind of life do you want to have? How do you want your life to be to feel complete? Who do you want to be? In short, great people have a vision of how they want their lives to play out. Until you take the time to think about it, your business cannot grow properly. The critical difference between successful people and those who are not is that the former do not let fate take over their lives; they actively create their lives rather than wait for things to happen. In other words, successful people work out their lives; they do not simply exist.

Step 2 – Strategic Objectives: Your strategic goals are metrics or standards by which you specify how you will measure success. They declare what deals you need to make to reach your main goal. There are no “right” or “wrong” standards, but some of the most commonly used patterns are:

  1. Financial: Gross revenue, profitability, market value. How big is your vision? What do you want? What is your exit strategy and what do you need to show to get to that point?
  2. A Value Opportunity: Is the concept of your business broad enough that you reach your main and strategic goals? If not, what will change? You do not want to fail. Will you be able to attract qualified customers?
  3. Geographic reach: Will your business be local, regional, national or international?
  4. Deadline: How long will it take for you to complete your business prototype? Two years? Three? Five? A career?
  5. Business Positioning: Will your business serve customers directly, serve other businesses, or which demographic markets are being targeted?

Step 3: Organizational Strategy: Many small businesses fail to develop a formal organizational map because they believe everyone in the business knows what they should. However, if the business should work as a prototype franchise, an organizational map will be important. So a description of each function in the company needs to be prepared for each position, specifying the results to be achieved by that professional and the standards that will measure those results. Each descriptive should be created by the person filling out the paper and by his superior. In doing so, the business development process forces the creation of a template for the business to grow. Some people can fill multiple positions initially, but as more are hired, they can specialize and leave responsibilities clearer. Technicians do technical work while managers focus on strategy. By developing an organizational map that grows with the company, more members will do specific tasks, allowing more time to be spent developing business strategies. Also, the organizational map provides a template for developing manuals and other written materials. Codes and systems can also be organized through it.

Step 4 – Management Strategy: A strategy for managing a franchise prototype does not require highly skilled managers because you as a beginner entrepreneur will not know how to choose and lead them. Instead, systems need to be created, to allow ordinary people to produce great results. The simpler and more direct the management system, the better. Most first-class management systems developed by franchises are checklists that form an operations manual. Each checklist details the specific steps that employees must take to create a satisfied customer. In this way, new employees can be trained to work with the same level of competence as experienced ones. All they need to do is to be responsible for the tasks in their checklists.

Step 5 – People Strategy: The primary emphasis on staff strategy should be on creating an environment, so that meeting responsibility is more important than avoiding them. To do this, take your employees seriously and make sure they understand why they should do something. They need to understand that customers should always feel they are right, that they should act as if they are the best in their area and that their growth should come from the development of new skills. Ideally, a good people strategy will convince employees that serving customers is worth it. This knowledge and guidance should generate a sense of purpose in employees. Your business will become a place where integrity, commitment, vision, and excellence represent practical concepts rather than abstract words. Humans can achieve incredible things when they are motivated. An effective people strategy works hard to create an environment where excellence is attainable. The systems are organized so that each one receives an equal opportunity to be part of the solutions offered to the clients.

Step 6 – Marketing Strategy: Marketing requires you to forget your vision and focus exclusively on the customer – and often what you think they want is different than what they want. That is because most purchasing decisions are not made consciously. Making decisions is always irrational or emotionally based. Therefore, most business decisions are made instantly and without any effort on the part of the customer. To have effective marketing, you need to know who your customer is and what your needs are. That is done by compiling a demographic profile of your current customers. With this kind of information, you can focus on a type of marketing message that has already delivered a favorable response in the past. By sending marketing messages of similar structure and type, you can begin to attract potential customers with the right mix of demographic conditions and psychographic preferences. Marketing then focuses on a key problem – how to access the list of people who are in your buying zone and who have the right mix of demographic and psychographic factors. Everything a business does must be integrated into the marketing process, to generate repeatable business opportunities, and to satisfy customers by delivering a guarantee that no industry competitor can copy.

Step 7 – Systems Strategy: businesses need to have three types of systems to be successful:

  1. Physical systems: inanimate objects such as computers, offices, work materials, etc.
  2. Malleable systems: People, ideas, documents, procedures, etc.
  3. Information Systems: Provide data on interactions between physical and malleable systems.

Each system integrates into your company’s overall program to create internal synergy. The best businesses systems are so integrated that it is impossible to separate them. Your franchise prototype should demonstrate the efficiency and productivity of your systems.

Final Notes:

If you understand what skills are required for your business to grow and how to work with each of them, you have already taken the first step in getting there.

By following the correct and orderly process of business development, structuring your strategies, defining your primary goals, your business will move out of the childhood phase and follow the natural process until it reaches maturity.

If you want to develop a franchise prototype, it’s essential that your employees also get the idea; they must be able to work independently, without you dictating orders and teaching how to do everything all the time.

By following these steps, you will see your business grow and reach the long-awaited success!

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It is the first time in history that it is possible to set up a startup, and using information available on blogs and books it is possible to learn virtually everything about selling your product, hiring the right people, retaining your customers. But the market and investors continue to search for unicorns, companies valued at more than $ 1 billion. With this excellent pressure for growth and speed, the need for hyper-growth arises.

If you needed to dramatically increase your income over the next few years, would you know how to do it? Expanding your business does not depend on luck and does not come overnight. Growing and growing companies use formulas and follow standards to achieve and sustain accelerated growth.

Hence, ‘From Impossible to Inevitable’ is a masterpiece by authors Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross. Jason is an investor and founder of SaaStr, having already built large companies. Already, Aaron Ross is the author of the classic ‘Predictable Revenue’ and lived the explosive growth of Salesforce.

The book presents the details of how great and renowned companies have managed to achieve hyper-growth. Learn to face the difficulties, make the right decisions and increase your sales. Find out what are the ingredients of hyper-growth and follow the right steps to implement them in your company. This is an essential book for any entrepreneur, and we strongly recommend reading the book in its entirety.

Dominate A Market Niche

If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are excited about your product and eager to grow quickly. But how to do that? Well, the first step is to understand that lead generation is crucial to selling more.

When your sales lead generation systems are not repeatable and scalable, it is difficult to achieve explosive growth. That can also happen when you are good at many things and are trying to do everything for everyone. As an entrepreneur, especially at the beginning of the journey, you can not do this – you will end up feeling that you are paddling against the tide most of the time.

The road to progress is to “conquer a niche” – to become very good at solving a specific problem for a particular type of customer until people start looking for you and not the other way around. You need to be recognized as the best solution to that particular problem.

It seems counterintuitive, but in reality, accelerated growth is never achieved when selling many things to many markets. When you do this, you divide your energies, resources and you get nowhere. Instead, hyper-growth comes from focusing on what is your best chance at winning customers. Make your customers happy, understand them thoroughly, and build a solid reputation for tangible results. Grow from this solid foundation while your current customers tell your friends and business partners about you.

So what is the niche market? Niche in this context means “focus” and not “small size.” It means focusing on a particular target customer who has a specific pain, for which you offer a workable solution. Rather than thinking of a wider market of people you could potentially serve, you focus on solving only the problems of your target customers.

If you focus on solving a simple problem exceptionally well, you can then develop repeatable, reliable ways to find and generate interest in others who have the same problem. You start a cause and effect relationship that can lead your business to hyper-growth. So you can master one niche at a time.

Some examples of companies that have had hyper-growth, starting with niches:

  • began with the automation of the sales force and then added more niches;
  • Facebook started with Ivy League Universities, the best and largest in the United States, before releasing access to everyone;
  • Paypal started with eBay users;
  • Amazon started selling only books;
  • And Zappos only sold shoes.

So how do you do that? Mastering a niche is in practical terms, an exercise in finding out where you can be a ‘big fish in a small aquarium.’ Ideally, you want to choose a niche:

  • That has many people suffering from the same specific problem that you will solve;
  • Where you can show concrete and definitive results for your clients;
  • Where you have confidence because you can present detailed case studies;
  • Where you can build a list of identifiable targets for your marketing;
  • Where you will be perceived as different from all your competitors – and then you can avoid massing your products.

Mastering a niche follows a five-step process:

  1. List five to ten niches where you could excel. For that, take your current client base as reference.
  2. Classify your potential niches using these criteria:
    • How urgent are their pains?
    • What tangible results can you generate?
    • What can you do differently?
    • Can you identify the people from this niche?
  3. What is unique in your solution?
  4. Validate that you are trying to solve a major problem for people by selling your solution and then interviewing your clients and measuring your results
  5. Start a lead generation program in that chosen niche and learn what potential customers are thinking. Run some tests and make adjustments. Understand that the more tests you take, the faster you’ll learn.

When you master your niche, you can develop a pitch that focuses on what’s most important to people in that niche. You can highlight the one thing that people want in which you are the best in the market. You will be able to customize your message and simplify it. All these things only become possible when it is clear in your mind which niche you want to dominate.

Invest InDifferent Types Of Leads

You will go through some difficulties until you create predictable ways to develop your sales funnel. Learn how to generate continuous leads, and you can create hyper-growth. That requires more than marketing campaigns, giving free stuff or buying spaces on billboards. You need a solid strategy and marketing vehicles to attract the attention of the right people on an ongoing basis for success. For this, you need to dedicate time and attention. The best way to triple your sales is not to triple the number of sellers you have. Instead, you need to generate more qualified leads for your sales team to work. There are three types of leads you must continually generate:

  • Seeds: Satisfied customers who tell other customers via word of mouth;
  • Network or Nets: Leads generated through content and inbound marketing;
  • Spears: Leads outbound, from active prospecting generated through targeted marketing.

Seeds are generated using word-of-mouth or relationship marketing. You deliver seeds using many-to-many campaigns. Companies like Hotmail, Dropbox, Box, and Slack have grown dramatically by creating viral products where existing customers tell their friends. Most seed companies come from systematizing how to keep their customers happy and then provide their customers with the opportunity to generate referrals for you.

Seed-style leads can be highly profitable because they do not generate advertising costs. The bad side of seeds is that you have little control over your growth. To grow your seeds methodically, you need to track and then manage the satisfaction levels of your customers. If they are happy, they will be willing to promote the business to their friends, and you will have lower cancellation fees. Detailed case studies of satisfied customers may be the best advertisement you will use.

The keys to greater customer satisfaction (and then more seeds) are:

  1. View customer satisfaction as your primary driver of growth – and you should invest in it;
  2. Rate customer satisfaction as 5x more important than sales – so focus your attention on your current customers;
  3. Start early, hire early – hire a Customer Success Manager. Hire another person on this team for every $ 2 million in your company’s annual revenue
  4. Visit customers in person – meet in person with at least five customers a month and get to know at least two of them a year.
  5. Use good metrics – measure retention rates
  6. Engage your customer satisfaction goals in your growth – get off the traction generation to encourage adoption of products seeking retention and optimization as your business grows.

Networks are one of the many types of marketing campaigns. You do things to attract people’s attention, such as events, or advertisements online. Companies like EchoSign, Hubspot, Marketo, and others have grown up to $ 100 million in revenue, primarily through the creation of nets that have been able to attract thousands of customers.

With networks, you work with quantity rather than quality. You generate a high volume of leads doing things like publishing articles online and e-books on your company’s blog. There are fixed costs involved in generating your materials, but these marketing assets continue to generate leads indefinitely. On the other hand, less than 3% of these leads will be converted into sales, so you need to generate many of them.

Inbound marketing can involve direct mail, email campaigns, paid-for-click ads, partners, content marketing, etc. Ideally, you create marketing that customers love, and you learn from them, and then these leads will buy your products.

The better the person knows you and knows your product, the more comprehensive your net becomes and people will start trusting you, and then they will buy from you.

Spears are individual marketing campaigns. You proactively try to meet someone who is not coming to you with the goal of selling something.

Interestingly, outbound prospecting has gone out of style for many years while everyone was working with inbound marketing campaigns, but the spears have resurfaced in recent years. Companies believe spears can feed their growth in predictable ways, especially when they try to reach large customers. And also, there is far less competition in outbound prospecting.

Using spears in the marketplace has a lot more to do with reaching the people and companies that need what you have in friendly, engaging ways. Outbound prospecting works best when you sell large contracts that are profitable quickly when you have a value proposition that is easy to understand and when you are highly differentiated. And they tend to be less effective when you are trying to persuade the customer to replace the current product used by yours.

Increase Your Sales Systems

Growth is always good. However, sometimes speeding things up creates more problems than it solves. Growth problems are usually more fun to deal with than the opposite, but they have a treacherous way of generating more problems quickly. Sometimes, the more customers you have, the more problems you have.

Software-as-a-service companies, also known as SaaS, use a rule that says that when you reach $ 10 to $ 15 million in recurring revenue, your problems stabilize. At this stage your company has some characteristics:

  • Your customer base will be diverse, and you will not be dependent on one or two whales that can mess things up.
  • You will have enough references to demonstrate your credibility.
  • You will have a reasonable amount of sales, and the teams of successful customers will be taking care of everything, so you will not be dependent on one or two good employees.
  • You will have a strong brand that will serve as a gateway to continuous sales.
  • If a large company enters your market, your revenues can be harmed but not eliminated.
  • You will have a product that may not be perfect, but at least it has enough features to keep most customers satisfied.
  • You will know the market well enough to see what will be needed in two years so you can start by developing the next generation of products and building the necessary sales team.

In general, it will not eliminate your problems by magic, but it will make them easier to solve. You may have new types of problems to solve as you grow. To make your sales scalable, think of three ideas:

Specialization: The best way to increase your company’s revenue is to let your sales team focus on selling. If you do not specialize, you’ll struggle even with incredible products, great customer support, and skilled salespeople.

Specialization is a standard in Silicon Valley, but anywhere else, salespeople are expected to generate leads, respond to those leads, close sales, and manage accounts continuously. That is crazy – some studies have shown that when sellers are multitasking, they work inefficiently.

To make your sales team spend most of their time doing what they do best – closing deals – you need to set up your own time for different people to be responsible for four typical roles: inbound lead qualification, active or outbound prospecting, new business closure, and after-sales support. Specialization is always a sales multiplier.

Sales Leader: The most important member of your sales team will be your sales director or vice president of sales. It will define how your sales team will work and will also handle a variety of issues such as recruiting, training salespeople, developing sales tactics, sales strategies, etc. The sales leader you will need will also change and evolve with Time:

  1. Early-stage companies will need an evangelist who is smart and passionate
  2. When you have enough traction, you will need a sales VP that generates repeatable systems
  3. Midsize companies will need a sales VP who chases big contracts
  4. Large companies typically need a sales VP that uses dashboards to make adjustments. The authors call this profile Mister Dashboards. Cool, right?

Increase your sales team: The main challenge to grow your sales team is to reduce the rotation. If more than 10% of your sales team leaves the company each year, you will need to modify your systems. Hiring new sellers continually is a major lag in productivity.

To increase your sales force, you need to have it managed as a system. You need to optimize each component progressively. To increase your sales team, make sure that people are not going out and are selling more and more. Turn everything into a system, make adjustments and improvements.

Sell More To Your Current Customers

When you are trying to increase your revenue, increasing the number of purchases per customer makes a lot of sense. If you can have each customer buy two more times from you, you multiply your earnings 4x.

If you combine this initiative with doubling the number of leads you generate, then you quadruple your revenue. The reality is that most of the time small businesses will be your first customers that will get your company started, but to grow, you will need of large companies as well. To generate millions of a single customer, most of the time, you do not have to have a product that grows within the customer. Large companies typically have a mix of many low paying customers, few paying customers, and very few highly valued customers who sign their largest contracts.

If you can work by doubling your average sales volume while also working on finding and closing double the business, will create the momentum in the right direction. Start with the question: What do I need to do to close deals that are 10x larger than the ones I’m currently closing?

So how do you outperform your current sales capacity? The authors bring us some suggestions:

  • Find out what you need to do to get further – you may need to add account management features or enter into reseller agreements with great partners. You may need to involve consultants. Identify which companies need this so much that they are willing to pay large sums a year;
  • Add another product at a more high price – perhaps a corporate version with full reviews or something else that adds value and allows you to charge more;
  • Make it easy and cheap for people to get to know you – perhaps an e-book that is so cheap that it does not require effort to buy. Offering this can triple your customer base and make it easier to sell other products;
  • Learn what is involved in going after companies with hundreds and thousands of employees – there is a skill involved in selling them, and it can take you some time to identify the pros and cons;
  • Remind your vendors that their true role is always to create value for customers – and teach them how to do it. Make sure they understand they are there to help customers and that they should always explore new and better ways to do this.

Be Prepared To Face Difficulties

It can take you years to become a success. Be prepared to put up with everything and keep your time, even when you have the inevitable and difficult “infernal year” that is extremely common in startups. It is a year where everything seems to go wrong, and you have to survive it. Every week, you will read news about a company that has come out of nowhere for $ 100 million in revenue suddenly. That can generate some anxiety or even depression because you are taking more time to get there. Those articles about other companies will forget to mention the years of development, trial, and error that preceded ‘sudden success.’

It helps if you think a little more before trying to build a company with hyper-growth.

The questions you need to answer are:

  • Am I ready for this?

As a basic principle, you will probably take around a decade of hard work to get to the point where you will make money and have a solid team. So you need to ask yourself: “Am I ready to commit two years to gain traction?” It will take about a year for the product to be ready and then another year to make the sales. Can you commit this long?

Second, ask yourself, “Am I willing to commit 8,760 hours a year?” That represents 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You will worry, think, and stress yourself all the time. That is what is needed, and if you do not have that mental and emotional energy, you should give up. Third, ask yourself, “Am I going to risk this?” If you go into this thinking “I’ll try for a while and then see what happens” or “I’ll do some consulting while I see how it works” you’ll probably fail. You need to understand the risks and decide to take risks. If you are going to ask your family and friends for capital, to begin with, you need to be 100% committed.

  • Can I take one hellish year?

Anyone who has already founded a company that**eventually raised their revenue to $ 30 million or more, will be able to tell you in detail about the infernal year they faced on the way. That never happens in the first year, but the infernal year always appears at some point. It’s that year when things get harder, and you get attacked in different areas and just keep fighting. The only good thing is that this hellish year will force you to rethink many things, rediscover your passion and redesign your systems. Almost everyone who goes through a hellish year redefines many issues and grows back even faster. The infernal year is incredibly difficult. Accept it if you can and then use it to adapt what you should be doing differently, you can come out of that year even stronger, energized and with more predictable and scalable systems.

  • Can I understand that success is not an easy way?

There has never been an easier time to start a business. Businesses that started under $ 100 are growing rapidly, reaching millions of dollars in revenue and being bought for huge amounts. The fact is that this trend will continue as markets and consumers connect. With this, it is also true that growing a business today is much more frustrating and challenging than it ever was. Why? There are many different market paths today, and it is difficult to know which one to work on. The way you communicate with potential customers have multiplied and using all these channels can be exhausting. And there are now numerous options. Following a straight line is not always the shortest path to success. Even if you are trying to do something noble, you cannot expect the world to respond to your good intentions and support you. Instead, you need first to learn how to make money and then apply it to the cause you believe.

To work on any frustration, you may feel as you achieve success today, keep these ideas in mind:

  • Understand the need to go through difficulties – difficulties will not go away. Everyone goes through this. Use your difficulties to get motivated. Use this to your advantage;
  • Stop following what other people are doing – you do not know what is happening to them. Do not let your well-meaning friends or the actions of your competitors keep you from doing what’s important to you. Deliver value to your customers;
  • Do not use clichés in your media – send honest information that is simple to understand and easy to do. If you are direct when you talk to your customers, it will be engaging. Go straight to the point and do not be wordy.

Hire Employees Who Act As Owners

You are committed and passionate, but to achieve a hyper-growth in your startup, you need to have employees who go beyond their duties and who have an attitude. In other words, you need people who think and act as owners, rather than employees who are just wasting your time.

Owners think and execute ideas that grow and expand marketing initiatives, improve the productivity of the sales team, improve customer retention, and so on. They do this without feeling forced or directed. This attitude is more than a delegation of functions – the owners encourage themselves, refuse to give up, and find ways to move forward, no matter how.

The obvious way to make your employees behave as owners is to give them a percentage of the company. But sometimes when you do this in the form of capital, commissions, and bonuses, you may not create a sense of functional ownership or emotional commitment to the employee, which happens when he/she feels that “it’s up to me to figure out how to move forward.” 100% sense of responsibility that will inspire them to go beyond their tasks and this is done by sharing the company with key people.

People tend to support what they have created, and they feel responsible for it. To develop a sense of functional property:

  1. Start with an assessment – survey your employees and find out how they behave today;
  2. Get that feedback and choose one or two things to focus on – and start making some progress in those areas. Do not try to fix it all at once, but show that you are taking this seriously and that you want to continue working on it;
  3. Be committed to transparency – not to surprise your employees with changes they do not know. Find out how you can eliminate surprises for everyone. Start by being honest about everything. Train your employees on how to understand the information, especially the financial part. Have complete transparency in everything including sales;
  4. Make a list – of every function in your company that needs an owner. This list should include major functions and minor processes, such as who cleans the employee room refrigerator. You should also include in the list items that employees would like others to do. List all.
  5. Go through each item on the list and decide who should do what – employees should be allowed to volunteer, be assigned, or be selected by group consensus. Make explicit the functions of each one and the fact that each one should be responsible for all decisions of their specific function;
  6. Create obligations for each function – what should be delivered and in what term. By specifying the results that are mandatory, you force the role owner to make decisions. It will also generate more learning.

If people are reluctant to accept this process, try to set a date for everyone to find some function. You can also make it clear that you expect them to announce a week later what they intend to do to improve this particular function.

The difficult part comes after deciding the owners of each role. You need to step back a bit and let your employees practice, learn, and improve their decision-making skills.

The more you encourage decision-making, the fewer bottlenecks you’ll have at the top. Your people will learn to deliver results rather than looking for excuses. They will understand much better how their systems and processes come together to serve customers.

Take The Initiative And Expand Your Opportunities At Work

If you work at a startup looking for hyper-growth, you need to differentiate yourself. It’s so easy to let frustrations keep you from going on rather than letting you motivate yourself to achieve better things. If you have problems with this, you will always find someone or something to blame for your lack of success. The reality is that you can not blame anyone for things that are not in their control. Nor should he wait for perfect opportunity to fall on his lap. If you are smart, you will use your frustrations to motivate yourself and set your destiny.

To expand your opportunities at work, you need to master a niche on a personal level. That involves three steps:

  1. Do your homework first – start with a list of your interests and then highlight three ideas that would generate more revenue for your company. See if you can identify a way to get paid to learn what you need to do to make these ideas come true
  2. Find a mentor – interview people within your company, your suppliers, your partners, your customers, and even your future customers. Ask for advice from people. Find people who have skills and are successful in the niche you want to master and have them help you understand what you need to improve;
  3. Develop a key function for the company – something that is tangible and that you need to deliver. The possibilities here are unlimited – develop a prototype, do a written analysis, prepare a formal presentation, write a quality blog post, etc. The idea here is that you choose a date when you will do something specific and tell others what you are doing.

If you keep repeating these three steps, your company executives will notice that you have initiative and are taking advantage of the opportunities. Talk to them to find a direction. If you can develop ideas that make their work easier, they will support you.

Remember that it takes time. Observe what frustrates you in your work and make it a positive thing. If you develop things that are important to your business, you can reach the top. If not, at least you’re not sitting thinking about how miserable your life is at work.

Final Notes:

Once you learn to face difficulties and make the right decisions, you will increase your sales! Follow the correct steps to implement them in your company.

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Creativity is the force that drives humanity to innovate, design and create new things, never seen before. But how can we develop it and extract the best from it? Creativity Inc. presents the ideas behind the author, Ed Catmull, owner of one of the most creative film studios in the world: Pixar. The author tells of his success trajectory within Pixar and shows what are the essential ingredients to achieve it.

Creativity Inc. is a book for anyone who wants to reach new heights, a manual to develop creativity and originality and an access to the mind of the creator of Pixar Studios. A book on how to build and develop a culture of creativity and also a collection of ideas on how to awaken and maintain your and your team’s creativity and overcome the problems arising from the lack of it.

Getting to Know Pixar’s Story

As a child, Catmull had great admiration for Walt Disney and for those who worked creating handmade animations. He watched the Wonderful World of Disney to see the ideas behind the scenes and how Disney created its innovative animation productions. Fascinated by that universe, he began to think: if these things are possible using analog methods, what would be possible with the help of a computer? So the unprecedented idea of computer animation was planted in the mind of young Ed Catmull and remained with him during his time at the University.

Catmull’s abilities helped him get several job offers after university, but he finally settled into a job at the New York Institute of Technology where he would work on developing the types of graphics and animations that computers were able to do. His work caused him to be noticed by Lucasfilm’s film director George Lucas, who hired Catmull in 1979 to lead Lucasfilm’s new computer division.

At Lucasfilm, Catmull worked on new special effects such as blue screens, powerful graphics rendering programs, and a special computer known as ‘Pixar Image Computer’ that allows filmmakers to combine live-action footage with computer-generated special effects. His team thrived, and in 1983 a former Disney animator named John Lasseter joined them.

Over time, Ed began to feel that his dream of creating a fully computer-animated film was not shared by George Lucas. That made him and his team look for investors who could help them separate from Lucasfilm and start their own business. In 1985, Steve Jobs, owner of Apple Computers, wanted to invest in them. But the process was delayed, as Jobs was removed from the Apple board for a while. Finally, in early 1986, Jobs bought the Catmull team and his work, and Pixar was born as an independent company.

Learning With Ed Catmull and With Pixar

Ed Catmull learned many important lessons about how to develop a culture of creativity in his company. The Pixar culture has its roots in the University of Utah, where author Ed Catmull studied physics and computer science. There, he learned that in a right environment, freedom creates creativity.

The work environment there promoted self-expression and autonomy, allowing people to work at their own pace as long as things were completed. That allowed people to create and design whatever they want, and many collaborations grew reaching far more than other forced partnerships.

This freedom was great at the university, but it did not fit the Lucasfilm environment, where specific effects had to be created within a tight deadline. There, too much freedom meant that the team had no focus and the pace should be enough to meet the deadlines

Catmull also learned that it is important to identify problems and that it was even more critical to fix them. From his days in Lucasfilm onwards, he learned to direct efforts to locate and remove his team’s creativity obstacles. In these experiments, it was sometimes discovered that the problem came from management and the best thing to do, then, was simply to get management out of the creative process.

Catmull’s experience also taught him the importance of having a purpose. For a creative person, a clear purpose may inspire them to move toward innovations and new solutions to achieve their goals – but without it, creativity disappears. Catmull discovered this in 1995, early in the life of Pixar. That year, the company launched Toy Story, a fully computer-animated feature-length film starring famous actors and screened in theaters across the United States. The film was a great success but left Catmull feeling empty. Now that he had achieved his goal, what was left to do?

With all these lessons to consider, Catmull has found a new goal: to make Pixar a pillar of creative art, finding and removing any problem on the road to greatness.

Expanding Your Vision to Deal With Hidden Problems

The first step in dealing with a problem is to find it – a task that is easier said than done. Our minds perceive how we think things should be, but it makes it difficult for us to detect any problem that does not directly challenge our ideas.

So it’s hard to recognize new, more efficient processes. Additionally, as we become more rigid about what we believe about our environment, our mind becomes less flexible, disrupting our ability to consider alternatives. There are eight techniques that can help you expand your vision by finding problems that you would not normally be able to see.

  • Collaborating with problems causes everyone on your team to work together, allowing them to share perspectives they normally would not have. Pixar has daily meetings where employees show their work to others and receive feedback.
  • Research trips are excellent for inspiration and even better for keeping one original. They allow people to generate new information and prevent things from being simply derived from other ideas. They can be as simple as a tour of the city to get inspiration for a new character or a distant trip to India to meditate.
  • Set boundaries to know when to stop working on a project and complete it. Setting a threshold will help prevent overwork or unnecessary work, as projects can never be perfect. It will also help make better use of limited time features and give you a better chance of meeting deadlines.
  • It’s no surprise that Pixar has the value of integrating art and technology, and that value can help in any creative medium. Using all the tools available will help you to produce the best possible work and also to create new tools.
  • Small experiments work as a training ground for new techniques, allowing you to try them safely and resolve any issues before using them in real work.
  • Learning to see things as they are, will help you ignore what you perceive about an object or situation and focus on what you really are. That helps you identify issues quickly.
  • Questioning yourself after finishing a project allows you to reflect on what went right and what went wrong. It allows a hindsight and shows what can be done differently and what you should continue doing.

Lastly, you will experience problems much more easily if you always commit to continue learning. Never become complacent with what you already know keeps you flexible and helps you advance.

Encountering Sincerity to Find Problems

To maintain a healthy creative environment, you need to discuss the issues that are keeping you from moving forward. What sets Pixar apart from other creative studios is their ability to do it regularly. They find obstacles hidden in their daily operations and work to correct or remove them, preserving the perfect environment for what they do.

A problem can be defined as anything that prevents you or prevents your team from being functional or anything that hinders good ideas from flowing. Pixar always looks for trouble, encouraging employees to be sincere and separating the sincerity (whose values are truth and frankness) from honesty (which only values truth). Being open about their feelings about projects, meetings, or even daily operations, Pixar leaders can have a better sense of how the company is, what works, and what doesn’t.

Perhaps, Pixar’s most influential way of promoting sincerity is through a monthly meeting known as ‘Braintrust’. Braintrust is a select group of Pixar leaders who meet regularly to provide honest feedback to end mediocrity. At these meetings, sincerity is constantly encouraged, as people often want to avoid offending someone or looking stupid. In a good creative environment, ideas must flow freely to generate new projects as well as keep current projects on track. Sincerity also prevents bad ideas from moving forward, since someone is more likely to speak or suggest that these ideas will be not be implemented.

By encouraging sincerity and staying alert, you will be able to find obstacles that are on the way to your success. Once you’ve dealt with them, then your creative environment will develop will once again.

Dealing With Common Problems

Every individual and every company is different, but there are some common problems that afflict the creative minds and block their natural process. Learning how Pixar handled these common problems can be very helpful in solving them.

First, be aware that the human being is resistant to change. For every piece of advice found in this book, you (or your teammates) must be absolutely willing to change as the situations around you demand it. Changes are in the very nature of growth, so to move forward, you need to accept the challenges imposed on the current status quo.

Another common problem occurs when a team has their focus on doing something quickly instead of doing something well. While efficient work is good, working only to meet deadlines can have several disadvantages. First, to satisfy the demand, there is a temptation to complete projects long before they are truly completed. Few creative projects seem perfect in the beginning; they need time, reflection and feedback to fully develop.

Launching projects as if they were ready before they really are, can not only hurt you but also ruin what could have been a great success. Secondly, when deadlines are the main motivation in your job, it means that creating a product with quality is not. This kind of demotivation depletes a person’s creative energy, leading to poor and incomplete work.

This time-focused thinking has links to another problem: the fear of failure. Anyone who is in a creative business will experience some failures in their career. Rather than being terrified by this, it is helpful to be ready to use failure as a learning experience, absorbing valuable lessons to find where the problems are and to remove them. Working simply to avoid failures is a dangerous motivator that can become a priority in your work and make you forget why you started the project in the first place. Accepting failure as an inevitable step in development will help you use it as a part of the creative process.

Getting to Know The Mental Models

It is already difficult to find and confront the current problems in your creative process, but what about those that do not exist yet? As we previously discussed, changes will come, be it both good and bad, for everyone. Since it is an unavoidable situation, the best thing to do is to prepare for them. At Pixar, they don’t try to predict future changes; they simply make sure that they can deal with them as they arise. To do this, they use “mental models” or imaginary views of work situations, creating a clear picture of how they will deal with things.

These types of models are best explained through examples, and one of the best examples comes from Pixar’s producer, John Walker. Walker feels that his work is best explained by the image of a pyramid upside down in his hand, balancing his small top in the palm of his hand. As a producer, his job is to manage artists and costs (which he imagines being at the top of the pyramid), but the artists with whom he works and the financial funds he influences depend on people who are in a hierarchy superior to his in Pixar. This model helps Walker focus on keeping the base balanced – managing what he can control – leaving all the rest to the people above him. It helps him stay focused on his work and prevents him from wasting his energy worrying about things outside his influence.

Pixar’s director, Pete Docter, uses a dark tunnel model to describe his creative process. He believes there is light at the beginning of the tunnel (the beginning of the process), but as it progresses, the tunnel can become quite dark. It may seem that there is no more light, but when you reach the end of the tunnel, the light will return. Docter uses this model to remember that the best thing to do when you’re out of creativity is to keep working.

Walker’s and Docter’s mental models may be very different, but both have the same purpose: to help them react to future changes. If John Walker’s team of artists undergo a drastic change, he knows what is under his control and what is out of his hands. When Pete Docter can’t conceive a vision for a scene, he knows he should not give up, because he will resolve it if he keeps trying. Creating mental models may seem useless at first, but when done right, it works like an armor that can be used to protect you from anything that comes your way.

Applying These Principles Anywhere

A creative culture is more than simply having fun in the workplace or decorating a table. These things can contribute, but the true power to restore the creative process is in mind. It’s a matter of changing how you think, and work to remove obstacles that are in the way of your natural creativity. For a person, this is laborious, and if you work in a group or a company with several other creative people, it can be even more difficult. Mentalities are difficult to change, and it is difficult to get rid of habits, but with time, positive changes can happen.

Ed Catmull faced the challenge of trying these methods in new environments in 2005, just weeks after co-founder Steve Jobs revealed that he was considering a merger of Pixar and the Disney Animation Studios, which at that time was experiencing difficulties. Disney and Pixar worked together for years, but now Disney was in decline and needed help. When the merger happened, Catmull and John Lasseter were in a leading position. Pixar’s unique leadership style would soon become part of Disney.

Pixar’s work culture was built gradually, created especially to help the animators at every stage of the company’s growth. At Disney, Catmull and Lasseter did not try to replicate exactly what had worked at Pixar. Instead, they used the basic principles they had learned as a guide. They fired executives who were causing problems and who refused to be flexible, gave Disney employees more freedom to experiment and work together, and encouraged honest communication between leadership and employees. The changes were great, but they did not change the identity of Disney.

The principles in this book are just principles. If you try to simply copy the success of Pixar step by step, it will fail. But if you use the principles found in this book as a guide, you will find success in your creative process.

Final Notes:

Like time and money, your creativity is a precious resource that needs to be stimulated. Like any other feature, that means you can not just let it go and hope it does not end. It takes careful cultivation and the right environment to keep it flowing, as well as a concentrated effort to make sure nothing gets in the way of your creative process. If you do not, you risk leaving your creativity to the vagaries of chance – a troubling situation for any creative professional. Be successful, and you will find that your imagination has no limits.

Pixar’s story is more than just an inspiring tale of innovative people who wanted to create things the world has never seen. It’s a journey of discovery, error, and success spanning more than 25 years and involving some of the most creative minds movies have ever seen – with lessons, many lessons.

Pixar’s culture is known for being open and entertaining, but what makes them successful is not dance classes or lunch spaces, nor the toys at the tables. It is a commitment to protect the creativity of every employee who sits at a desk to work. What makes them different is the dedication to finding and ending the problems as well as preparing for future problems by helping their employees impress everyone in the cinema countless times.

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INSPIRED Book Summary

Marty Cagan is one of the most influential guys in the world when it comes to product management. In Inspired, he shares his learning about delivering the high-quality products that people love. Cagan actively participated in product development in companies such as eBay and AOL and helped hundreds of companies launch products through the Silicon Valley Product Group. In Inspired, he addresses the principles that make some products stand out and be a great success in the marketplace and brings the best practices of the largest technology companies in Silicon Valley. Are you an entrepreneur, designer, or dream of launching a technology product? Do not miss this microbook!

Technology And Business Intersection

Nive out of every ten products launched fail because they did not achieve their sales goals and in many cases, this happens because of the lack of a proper product management process and a professional to manage it. When seeking a product manager, executives often don’t know which attributes to look. In fact, it is not a simple profile, so it is important to understand what the product manager does. In essence, the product manager has a mission to solve the problems of consumers and therefore, they need to know who the target audience of the product is, what their problems and challenges are, and be smart enough to propose real solutions. Also, they need to be born communicators because they have many interlocutors in their day-to-day lives.

They have to communicate with executives, customers, engineers and so they need to be bilingual both on the technical side and on the commercial aspect of a product. They also have the responsibility of delivering the products according to the expectations of the company and on time. In this regard, knowing how to manage time and deadlines is essential. To hire a good product manager, a good place to start the hunt can be within the company itself. Your future product manager can be in any department, be it an engineer, service, and support or even marketing. If he’s the right candidate, he’s probably already shown some interest in getting more involved in creating the product. Once you’ve found your product manager, now it’s time to train them and make sure they succeed.

Product Teams Need The Right Resources

The product manager has two primary responsibilities: Assess opportunities for product development and define the products that will be built to fit these occasions. To enable you to be focused on these tasks, the product manager needs a productive team around them. This team understands clear roles:

  • Designers and Users Experience Professionals should focus on creating the product interface for the ultimate consumer.
  • Software engineers must develop the product that the manager has defined.
  • Another person in charge of product marketing is needed to promote the product to the world. Of course, this person and the product manager must support each other to formulate marketing messages about the product together.

These professionals are peer groups of the product manager and not their subordinates. To help engineers and other team members understand what the product needs to do, the manager must engage them early in the process and have them observe real users. Finally, every product team can benefit by finding experienced people in the company, regardless of their position, and transforming them into “unofficial” product managers. Having extra official helpers can help the product manager to collect better feedback based on the experiences of other team members.

User Experience Must Come First

A good user experience (UX – or User Experience) is essential for a successful product. Apple products like the iPod, for example, owe much of their success to UX research. To create a winning experience, the product manager must work intensively with a design team of user experience:

The interaction designer works to understand the requirements and way of thinking of the target audience, and creates a prototype, also called a wireframe, based on this understanding. The visual designer contributes the visual interface, applied on the skeleton. Essentially, these two roles create the entire user experience, making them key components of the product team. They should be involved in the whole process, participating from product strategy decision up to on-site visits and customer interviews.

In some companies, the importance of visual designers is underestimated, but companies that create great products know how to value them. Apple shows us how vital this role is because they enable the company to create products that elicit real consumer emotions. After the prototype and visual design, it’s time to create a navigable prototype, which tests the product with users without the need to build functional codes. Finally, it is necessary to find users to test the product on through usability tests, as well as generate ideas for more iterations of the design process.

Product Manager Must Incessantly Look For New Opportunities

New product opportunities arise every day in every market, and it is the role of the product manager to be aware of them and decide which one to pursue. To understand how best to exploit these opportunities, you need to use a list of questions proposed by Cagan. The key issues are:

  • What problem will this opportunity solve?
  • Who is affected by the problem and how big is this market?
  • What alternatives do competitors offer?
  • Why can we succeed in this?
  • What factors are critical to success?
  • What metrics will we use to measure our success?
  • Why is this the right time to enter the market?
  • What is our entry strategy?

Based on the answers to the above questions, it is easy to know if this is an opportunity worth exploring. This questionnaire helps in analyzing and communicating product opportunities without having to resort to bureaucratic research methods. Their results can be discussed with company executives and thus define whether an opportunity should be prioritized or not. Only after finding a product opportunity to pursue is that a product manager should initiate product discovery. The perfect product comes from the opportunity itself.

Discovering A Product

To create a good product, engineers need to build it, consumers must use it, and the product must be valuable for consumers to buy. These three factors must be validated before beginning the construction of the product itself. To prove the points, the product manager must use a navigable prototype that offers a minimally the realistic user experience so that users can test it. Involving engineers in defining the minimum product is also essential for the product manager to decide which elements to cut and which to leave in that version of the tests, as well as to know if the product is technically executable. Since the minimal product is defined and developed, it needs to be tested with real users to validate if it is usable and valuable.

Once you have verified the product and delivered the specifications to the development team, your mindset should go out of the discovery process to get into execution. There should be no changes to the product specifications after this step. If the executive team requests changes to the product after validation, do not stop the execution. Start a discovery process for version 2.0 of your product, running in parallel to version 1.0.

High Fidelity Prototypes Are A Fantastic Tool

A product manager needs to deliver clear product specifications to the development and engineering team. The most practical way to do this is to build high-fidelity prototypes with a real user experience. The goal is to create a prototype in which anyone can interact with to understand the product without necessarily having to look at its specifications. To prepare for a prototype test, first of all, you will need volunteers. Bring them together from every source you can: friends, family, classifieds ads. Define which tasks you want users to complete. When you run the test, the less you talk, the better, so you do not get in the way of users’ experiences with your own opinions. Your goal is to observe and understand whether your model might be inconsistent with how the user thinks. Can they complete tasks quickly? Did you find what you were looking? If you identify problems after the first round of testing, fix them immediately.

Create A Client Relationship Program And Collect Testimonials For Launch

Understanding customers is a critical part of your job. It is so important that you should be present in every client interview and usability test. Beware, customers cannot specify what they expect from a product. Keep your focus on identifying customer needs and find out for yourself how to meet those needs. An excellent way to gain customer insight is through the user relationship program focused on solving a particular problem. You then work with these clients as collaborators to develop and test a product to address this issue. You need to develop a product that works for your entire target market, do not fall into the trap of making a specialized product for only one or two of your users. Using a relationship program is suitable for participating customers because they gain access to your solution before other users. Also, you gain access to a group of users in your market that allows you to test prototypes. At product launch, use participants as referrals from satisfied customers!

Use Personas And Principles To Make Decisions

Effective product management means always making choices, and that ‘s hard to do. To help resolve these cognitive conflicts, you need to create a set of product principles. This document explains what is truly important to the product line and enterprise strategy. Principles should be specific enough to help guide decisions about functionality, target audience, etc. Another great tool to use in product management is the use of personas: fictional user profiles of typical clients. The product manager creates personas based on what he or she knows about customer prospects. Such simple archetypes help align the entire product team according to what the customer wants and what is important to them. Warning, personas never replace the conversation with real users!

Manage And Change Gradually

By improving existing products, bad product managers can go into the just-fix-bugs mode and add functionality. However, adapting features indiscriminately to please specific customers, ends up making the product less attractive to the market and hampering its long-term success. Product improvement should begin with an understanding of what your goals are. You should understand the most important product business metrics and guide all improvements to these metrics. An exceptionally valuable time to make changes to a product comes after its release. During this time, go into “quick response” mode, approaching ideas and customer requests quickly. Be sure to deploy changes smoothly, always informing customers about them in advance. Also consider running old and new versions of your product in parallel initially, allowing users to opt for the change when they prefer.

Final Notes:

A good product manager needs to be able to evaluate new product opportunities and set the right products to capture these opportunities. For this, you need to have communication and organizational skills as well as an excellent understanding of the target customer. To have an effective product management process, it is necessary to work with constant prototyping and testing with users with each new designed functionality. This development makes products executable, usable and valuable and ensures that customers love them.

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In this book, author Deepak Chopra points out seven principles for achieving success, also showing daily applications for each of them. According to the author, success is not the result only of an accumulation of material goods or ambition. Success is related to personal fulfillment and well-being. If you want to understand a little about how the invisible forces of the universe will lead you to achieve your desires, then come read with us!

Finding Your True Self

There is a silent field, called the ‘pure potentiality’ in which all things flow, and that which is not manifest becomes revealed. We are speaking of a pure state of consciousness, with pure knowledge, pure balance, invincibility, and ecstasy.

When you access this field, you can experience your true self, and you can see the futility and waste of life through your ego.

When you feel connected with your environment and with the people in it, you realize that it is not a separate entity that is disconnected from the rest of the world. You can feel that the world is a connected energy field that connects all people and all beings on the planet.

This energy field is an unlimited source of power for the whole universe. Once you feel this connection and realize that you are not a solitary human being, but an integral part of the complex wave of nature, you discover that your true self has no limitations.

By using energy within your true self, you can achieve anything you desire, be it wealth and success or spiritual development.

Your ego is based on fear and a need for security: it is immune to criticism, does not like challenges, and feels superior to all.

To connect with your true self, you need to learn to nullify your ego. As you identify with it, you will continue to think that you are separated from the rest of the universe – a mere brain within a confined and limited physical body. Thanks to this narrow point of view, you will continue to be afraid, to be obsessed with survival, and to focus on external things like social status and what others think of you.

We can access the field of potentiality through meditation, silence, and spending time in nature. Once you know the field, you can always connect with it and feel independent of situations, feelings, people and things. There is a constant flow of creativity and abundance out of the field.

Pure consciousness is the source of all creation. Commit to separate a time every day to be silent, just existing. Practice silent meditation at least twice a day for about 30 minutes in the morning and evening.

Separate also a time to relate to nature and to witness the intelligence within each created being. Watch the sunset or listen to the sound of the ocean, smell the scent of a flower.

And finally, practice nonjudging others and situations. Begin your day by stating “I will not judge any situation today. “And seek to pass the day without judgments.

Giving And Receiving Helps You Keep The Universe’s Natural Flow

Have you noticed the more you give, the more you get? Funny, right?

Our minds and bodies are in a constant state of giving and receiving from the universe.

Creating, loving, and growing to keep the flow steady; When you stop giving, the flow also stops. So the more we give, the more we get involved with the energy flow of the universe, and the more we will receive back in the form of love, material things, or earthly experiences.

It’s true that money makes the world go round, but that only happens when we give as much as we get!

If you want to be blessed, bless someone silently sending positive thoughts. If you do not have money, provide a service. We are not limited, we can give many things because the human being is abundant!

Nature gives us everything we need and the field of potentiality frees us from intelligence and creativity to produce more and more!

Rather than saving, a better path to success is to let your money circulate the world. Do not interrupt the natural flow of the give and take universe.

In fact, the root of the word “currency” in Latin means “to circulate or to flow.” That shows that even the ancient Greeks and Roman civilizations understood that money owes to society and to people to thrive. And that’s why investments are more profitable than savings.

For example, let’s say you spend your life earning a minimum wage and put away most of your salary into a bank. Although your account balance will increase, you will not get rich. But if you invest your money in a continuing education and do the right classes, you can eventually become the CEO of your own business. By investing wisely in your studies, much more money will circulate back to you, making you earn more money than saving could.

Obviously, we’re not just talking about money. But also of love, friendship, support and all the things that involve social exchanges.

If you use this social currency to give others what you expect to receive, you can be greatly rewarded for it. The more love people give to society, the more love will be shared with others, and that love will continue to grow.

The universe operates through a dynamic exchange; giving and receiving are aspects of the energy flow in the universe. When you are willing to give, you ensure that the abundance of the universe continues to circulate in your life.

So wherever you go, try to give someone a gift. It could be a compliment, a flower or a prayer. Give something to everyone you have contact with; this way you will start to circulate the joy, wealth, and love in your life and the lives of other people.

Accept Life And Stop Defending

The reality is that people spend a lot of time and energy worrying about their circumstances. And even when things change, concerns do not end; they just change as well.

The first step in improving this situation is acceptance. We can not expect the universe to use its infinite power if we are fighting everything. In every difficult situation, try to think ‘this situation is exactly as it should.’

For example, imagine that you work with a complicated colleague; he steals your ideas and makes decisions without asking for your opinion. That is a complicated situation, and some people may even think about giving up work. But this will cost your time and money, so what is the best way to solve this problem?

The answer: do not struggle with the problem. Instead, face it and accept it. You can always learn a lesson from complicated situations, and the people who make your life harder are there to teach you something.

In that case, you can learn how to position yourself or how to be less affected by other people’s attitudes. If you accept the situation, you can begin to learn from it and grow.

The second step, which will help you to take and save your energy, is to stop defending yourself. To stop defending means to get rid of the need and the desire to convince other people that your opinion is correct and not theirs.

For example, you have probably witnessed or even participated in some political discussion about right and left in your country. These debates are a waste of energy, and neither side is likely to be convinced of anything.

If you stop defending yourself, you erase the need to convince others of your point of view. Thus allowing a real exchange of ideas on a topic, without nervousness or dogmatism along the way.

In the above example, stopping defending would mean that both parties could share their ideas openly, explaining their opinions without the feeling that they are being judged, and without anyone being defensive or hostile.

To Achieve Your Objectives, Learn to Detach

You may have positive intentions, but if you do not let go, nothing will happen. When we cling to a particular result, we are afraid and insecure about the possibility that it will not occur. A person attuned to his true self, despite having desires and intentions, is not allowed to be carried away by the possible results.

Let’s say you’ve always dreamed of having a mansion. You imagine that once you have saved and bought the dream house, your life will be happy and fulfilled. However, it may be that this burning connection with the home leaves you extremely distressed. That is because when you attach yourself to material things, you are disconnecting yourself from the universe – and this leads to anxiety.

After all, a life spent accumulating wealth and material goods in search of security will end in a sad realization: material possessions cannot provide safety and protection. For example, no matter how much money you spare, everything can be lost in an economic crisis. Think of people who lost their wealth after the 2008 financial crisis.

Real security can be achieved by recognizing your true self. As you see your true nature, you will find that even the fear of death can disappear. Body and mind dissolve, and your true self will remain in the energy field that is the source of all new life in the universe. While it may seem counterintuitive, you will also find that your desires can only come true when you disconnect from them.

Commit yourself today to detachment. Understand that uncertainty is an essential ingredient in your life experience. Find your security in this uncertainty, for it is your path to freedom. Embrace all possibilities and remember that there are infinite ways.

So practice acceptance. Try to accept people and circumstances today. Do not fight the universe at this time and achieve full acceptance. Accept that things are as they are, not as you would have them be. Also, take responsibility for the situation or problem. Do not blame anyone for what is happening and see each problem as an opportunity.

Also, receive with gratitude the gifts that life offers you. Receive the gifts of nature: the light of the sun, the sound of birds singing and the flowers of spring. And be open also to receive from others, be it gifts, praise, or a prayer.

Your Choices Influence Your Success

Every action you perform generates a force of energy that is returned to you. When we choose to have attitudes that bring happiness and success to others, we will receive success and happiness back as well.

So for you to enjoy your life to the fullest (rather than just doing something), it is important to consider which is the most advantageous choice when making a decision. And this will help you make more conscious decisions. After all, we make decisions the whole time; sometimes we do not even know we’re making decisions. In fact, most of our choices are unconscious.

For example, when you are shopping, you can buy bags full of unhealthy foods, without considering the impact on your health or the environment. Unfortunately, this unconscious behavior is natural to us, as our survival instinct tells us to stock large quantities of cheap food.

So, to make right decisions, stop for a moment and consider the impact of your attitudes, for yourself and others. For example, how could you avoid the habit of buying foods that are unhealthy? First, consider your budget, so within your constraints choose products that are beneficial to your health and have not harmed animals, people, and the environment.

To continue making right decisions in your daily life, choose the attitudes that will bring more enjoyment and well-being to others. In some cases, the choice may seem obvious. For example, if you were invited to a birthday party but decided to be absent, you should realize that you are only considering your needs. So acknowledge that the birthday boy can be happy to be surrounded by his friends on a special day.

In other cases, the choice may be a little more complicated. If someone insults you, you have two options: you can be offended and seek revenge or may refuse to let it affect you. By choosing the second option, you avoid subjecting yourself to unpleasant emotions and treat your offender as you would like to be treated.

Think about the choices you make every day, and whenever you make a decision ask yourself: What are the consequences of this? Will this decision bring satisfaction and happiness to all those affected?

Positive Intentions And Focus

Intelligence allows us to model our mind so that we can reach our desires freely. And this happens through a process of attention and intention.

You can improve your quality of life by introducing positive intentions into your thoughts. The positivity that arises from these ideas is part of the infinite field of potential energy that governs the universe. So by introducing an intention or desire into this area of energy, you affect the universe around you.

Let’s say you want a new job, but always think about it in negative terms because your emotions are tied to your current job – you do not like it. And you think you’ll never get the job of your dreams. When you think about it, it gives negative energy to the universe; and of course, the universe will not give you positive energy back.

So accept and be grateful for the job you have, and visualize the changes that could make your life even better. The universe will capture these positive thoughts and make them come true.

If you are dissatisfied with your job, you may have negative thoughts about how incompetent you are and how you feel worthless. That requires constant attention during the day so that these negative patterns are replaced by positive patterns.

If you can see when your thinking is moving in the wrong direction, stop for a moment and think consciously about your accomplishments; discover at least one constructive feature about you. Even if it’s as simple as ‘writing an efficient and careful email’, you can focus on that thinking and stay positive.

Try to make a list with your wishes and upload that list with you. Before performing your silent meditation and before bed or waking up, take a look at the list. And finally, do not let obstacles get your full attention.

Find Your Purpose And Serve Your Neighbors

Everyone has a purpose in life. A unique gift or a special talent to contribute to the world. And when we unite that unique talent with the possibility of serving others, we can experience joy in our spirit. So do not ask what the universe can do for you, but rather what you can do for the universe.

You may have the dream of becoming a famous singer. After all, it is a very beautiful profession, and you admire the special talent needed to create art that inspires people and makes them happier and wiser. But the truth is, not all people have musical talents for this, and if that is your case, you may end up sad or depressed, feeling that you can not contribute anything of value to society.

But do not despair! Instead, be honest and discover the truth within you. It is never too late to recognize the purpose of your life and to connect with the unlimited force of energy that the universe provides.

You may be wondering if your current job is the best way to contribute to the well-being of humanity and the planet. There is a simple way to get that answer. When you find the right job, you find you have an infinite source of energy to complete your work.

That is the feeling you have when you are aligned with the cosmic plane, which was your destiny from the beginning. The universe begins to support you and give you the energy you need. And that explains how some people can work without much effort and joy for long hours, while others feel exhausted after a few hours in an office.

Make a list of your unique talents; everyone has something to contribute. And after that, make a list of the things you love to do to express those talents. And finally, ask yourself daily how you can serve people and the universe.

Final Notes:

All things in the universe are intertwined, and when you open yourself to it, you receive unlimited power that leads you to success. By practicing each of these laws, you will be able to relate better to yourself and others, on your way to receiving the success you desire.

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TED TALKS Book Summary

In this New York Times bestseller, Chris Anderson, founder of TED, one of the biggest trends and technology events in the world, explains how to become a better presenter and more effectively sell your idea. It is a must-read if you want to learn how to speak in public and win the audience. The author shares five techniques for making a successful presentation: connection, narration, explanation, persuasion, and revelation. He also explains issues related to clothing, visual effects and how to deal with nervousness and anxiety.

If you want to learn how to give presentations, give lectures or successful speeches, 12min  will teach you!

Be Yourself

The first step in becoming a better presenter is relatively obvious: be yourself. If you are a scientist, be a scientist. If you are a doctor, be a doctor. You can not stop being who you are if you want to communicate authentically. Sincere performances work just as well as lectures by great audience entertainers. For most, a presentation that looks more like a frank conversation is a lot better. If you know how to talk to a group of friends, then you know enough to speak in public.

Oratory skills allow you to give compelling public speeches. It is a skill that can be learned and developed, and, according to Anderson, is one of the most valuable skills for the near future. However, for many, the mere idea of public speaking causes chills. Many prefer to do something else than speaking in front of a crowd, but the opportunities created by talking in public make it worthwhile. Eleanor Roosevelt and Warren Buffett are examples of people who have overcome their fears of public speaking to share their ideas with the world. Many executives and leaders have used the opportunity to speak in public to grow their business and inspire new generations with innovation and progress. These people were themselves and used their voices and words to talk about the things they love. Eventually, the messages reached the mass.

The most important thing about a talk is to have a clear message and to get your listeners to understand it. That message is your idea. If you have an idea, you have something useful to talk about. An idea can be anything that can change the way people view the world. Remember that you are a unique person and that your life experiences are unique. So only you can share your idea with others.

Having an idea is enough, to begin. Your knowledge can expand as you prepare. Strive to use language your audience understands. Start by talking about things that you have in common and evolve from there.

You should keep in mind some key issues. Never use your lectures as a sales pitch. Build a reputation as a generous person and not as one who seeks only self-promotion. You are there to give something to your audience and not to receive. Having the attention of an audience for any duration is a gift, and in the case of TED, your idea has just 18 minutes. Get ready for every word you use to have meaning for your audience. Remember that your business details are more important to you than to other people. Focus only on the information that people want to hear. It is also important to be careful not to imitate other famous speakers, this almost never works. Be yourself and avoid tricks in your speech. Your passion and knowledge will inspire the public. Avoid clichés, overly charismatic speeches and remember: be yourself!

Your Timeline

There is a useful expression used to analyze plays, films, and novels that also apply to lectures or speeches. It is the timeline, the theme that unites each element of a narrative. Each speech should have one.

The timeline is an essential part of a good talk. It is the connection of all your speech and will unite each spoken part. To get started, try verbalizing your timeline in 15 words or less. This summary will guide you in your talk and ensure cohesion between each aspect. To keep your talk interesting, work to make your timeline interesting.

When creating your timeline, make sure you know your audience. With just 18 minutes to speak, you’ll want to make sure that what you’re talking about is connected to your listeners. At this point, you need to show your audience why your timeline is important, illustrate each point with real examples, stories, and facts. Everything you want to show needs to be related to your timeline. In the end, speaking little, but meaningfully leaves much more impact.

Once you have developed your timeline, you’re ready to create the structure of your talk. There are many options for structures. A simple method is to follow with an introduction, context, main concepts, main implications, and conclusion. Another style you can follow is to answer a series of questions like “what? And now? So what? “Avoid thinking about your talk as if it were a problem, but think about it as a solution. It is much easier to catch the attention of the audience by focusing on the talk in an attempt to solve an intriguing problem rather than asking them to solve the problem.

Practice your talk with listeners whose profiles resemble your audience. Always speak as if there is only one person listening.

Start By Connecting

Your first job as a speaker is to build a bond of trust with people, so they are willing to give you full access to their minds for a few minutes.

From the beginning, you need to connect with your audience. The best way to start is by making eye contact followed by a sincere smile. Be warm, be realistic, be yourself. While every member of the public has a distraction tool in their hands – the cell phone – their ability to connect with the audience will help you keep their attention. Before you begin your talk, focus on how excited you are to share your passion.

The vulnerability is also a great connection tool. Admitting your mistakes and insecurities can engage your audience on a personal level. Anderson warns that vulnerability should not exceed acceptable limits. Be honest and know when to stop.

Laughter can unite a room full of people. The audience that laughs with you will quickly like you. And if they like you, they’re much more likely to take everything you have to say seriously. However, if humor is not your strong point, it may be best to just stick to what you know how to do.

Your ego may interfere with your ability to connect with your listeners. Leave your ego aside. Use self-deprecation carefully, to attract your audience. If you are not sure your ego is interfering with your speech, try introducing yourself to someone you trust and ask for honest feedback.

Storytelling is also a great tool to connect with your audience. Make sure you are telling an authentic story – avoid copying the style or story of other people. Finally, avoid talking about politics at any cost. Politics generates divisions, and you want your audience to be united and attentive.

Involve With a Narrative

Not surprisingly, the best speakers tell stories. Unlike challenging explanations and complex arguments, everyone identifies with stories. They have a simple linear structure, making it easy for anyone to accompany it. You let the speaker take you on a journey, step by step.

Storytelling is an ancient art with contemporary values. To tell a good story, create a character who empathizes with your audience. Build a tension using challenges or conflicts. Be careful not to get lost in detail, but give enough details to make the story interesting. Finish your story with a real conclusion. Be careful not to tell personal stories that represent nothing to your audience. The story needs to connect to your timeline and needs to be true. A parable is another version of history with valuable lessons. In that case, it does not have to be a real story. Its great value lies in explaining or clarifying the concept of the parable to its audience.

Clarify With a Good Explanation

If the heart of your talk is to explain a powerful new idea, it is helpful to ask yourself: What do you believe your audience already knows? What will be your theme? What concepts do you need to develop your explanation? And what metaphors and examples will you use to reveal these thoughts?

Explaining a complicated question easily for your audience to understand is an important skill. There are a few key elements to achieving this. Make your audience curious and introduce one concept at a time, starting from the most basic. Use metaphors as a tool to facilitate understanding. Examples are also an excellent way to explain difficult concepts.

The process is always the same: start with what the audience already knows and build the rest, piece by piece. Remember the feeling of not understanding something. That may be how your audience feels. Get as much feedback as you can from friends and other people nearby. Ask them specific questions: does this make sense? Was it confusing? Each sentence must be linked to the previous one. Thus, you will lead the listener on a journey of knowledge. Make sure you are not using complicated words that your audience does not understand. Once you have mastered the process, improve the enthusiasm of your talk. Your audience will be thrilled with you.

Convince Through Persuasion

Persuasion means convincing your audience that the way they see the world is not ideal. And that means explaining the parts that are not working and developing something better. When that works, it’s exciting for both the speaker and the audience.

Persuasion is the ability to show someone a new point of view, a new idea or a new belief. It is a powerful tool, and a successful speaker needs to master it. Often persuasion involves logical steps to arrive at the desired conclusion. Another approach is to show that following the opposite path is not logical. TED Talks also work as ‘detective stories.’ They begin with a great mystery, and then each solution is analyzed step by step until the answer is clear.

You can include many strategies in your persuasive speech. Humor is an excellent tool to engage the public. You can also add an anecdote or a personal story showing why the story is so important to you. Giving lively examples can support your conclusions, and the validation of others indicates that experts also support your point of view.

Reasoning is the best way to build wisdom in the long run. A robust argument, even if not immediately accepted by all, will gradually be accepted by other people until it is impossible to prevent them from disagreeing with you. When you use persuasion effectively, you help your audience accept a new, better worldview, and it creates a lasting impact.

Conclude With a Revelation

Revelation is an action that presents the public with a new idea. A presentation can be based on the disclosure of a succession of images and moments. These images should amaze the public. As always, you should use your timeline with all your pictures; it is the timeline which unites the figures. Be careful not to use images or complicated languages for public understanding.

Give your audience a place on your journey, to understand what was inspiring to you in your images. Part of a winning presentation is to explain how the process was to get the images.

Your talk may also be presented as a demonstration. Some of the most memorable TED Talks involve magnificent demonstrations. That’s where you can enjoy the show a bit. Build a climax in which your demonstration is revealed with glory at the end. Most demonstrations can follow a structure that begins with a small sample and then give the information the audience will need to understand it. Finally, the presenter concludes by explaining how that demonstration can impact the life of the audience.

Sharing a dream is a great example of revelation. Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech continues to inspire many listeners to this day. Using your passion and language to develop a vision of your dream can lead the public to take action and sympathize with your cause. These speakers share an image of the world as it could be, and this is an exciting opportunity to reveal a better future.

When sharing your dream, be sure to paint a daring figure of the alternate future you want, doing it in a way that will lead other people to desire that future. Be clear as to why your dream is valuable. Share thoughts that focus on human values and not just innovative technologies. If you are invited on a journey with an inspired dreamer, this invitation cannot be refused.

Use Visual Effects With Caution

Holding your audience’s attention is crucial and cannot be overlooked. Follow a careful preparation process to ensure that you enjoy every opportunity to draw attention to your speech.

Visual effects are not necessary and should be used with caution. Many great lectures were given without any visual effect. During these lectures, the connection between the speaker and the audience is enough to get the message across, and slides can sometimes disrupt that relationship. Remember: it is better not to have slides than to have bad slides.

However, good visual elements are often able to reveal and explain your idea. Good visuals are great tools for your talk when done right. Sometimes the visual elements show things that can be difficult to explain. A great speaker will prepare the audience and then allow the slide to make a significant breakthrough. If there are many concepts, you can link them using a slide for each idea. That can be much more effective than just a complex slide that needs long explanations. Test your slides and examples to make sure they are connected and that they do not disturb the audience’s attention.

Choose the slides carefully. A slide that repeats what you are saying or predicts what you are going to say next generates a messy lecture. The purpose of any visual effect is to show what you can not share with words. Also, remember that you do not need to add dialogues to keep track of each visual effect. Many slides do not need narratives or explanations.

When using presentation software, avoid ready-made templates. Use black photo backgrounds and fill the entire screen. Maximize the resolution and test each slide from a distance. Use only one font and use a minimum size of 24 points. You can emphasize some information by varying the font size. Maintain simplicity and use contrast to enhance the slide. Avoid points, dashes, underscores, and italics. Allow time between each click for the audience to absorb what you are showing. Keep photo credits as simple as possible, and if all photos have only one source, you can put them at the end of the slides.

Keep videos short – ideally less than 30 seconds. The clips are useful for explaining things that cannot be explained with pictures.

Avoid using transition effects between slides, unless they are instant cut. Make sure that you load a backup of your presentation on a thumb drive and a separate backup of your video. Submit your presentation with everything labeled. Use only pictures, videos, and music with your copyright licenses checked.

Practice your presentation. Show people outside your field of expertise to make sure your presentation is accessible to your target audience. Take a technical test to ensure that every aspect of your talk is working at the right time and with no flaw. Also, check if you can give your speech within the time limit.

It may be appropriate to hire specialists to assist you in preparing the presentation. Find a reputable graphic designer and work with him. Listen to advice, but trust your instincts to make final decisions. You can find the perfect help at a reasonable cost. When editing your talk, name each version, starting with the version number and its initials. Name the latest version as ‘FINAL’ to avoid any confusion.

With experience, you will find out which method of script preparation is most appropriate. Remember, it is important for the speaker to be comfortable and confident, to give the talk in the best possible way, allowing you to focus on your passions. You can write the whole speech, word for word, or you may prefer to develop a structure that lets you speak what you want on time. Regardless of your choice, make sure your method optimizes your available time.

If you choose to memorize your script, practice enough to be able to speak in an authentic and not decorated way. You can upload notes to remember parts, but keep as much eye contact as possible with the audience. If you practice a lot, you will be able to deliver your speech efficiently. You can try recording your conversation and listening to it later. See yourself while you give the lecture every time you practice.

Some people can give lectures without a script. It is not a lecture without preparation. Intense training should be done. The structure and timeline are planned, and the lecture is practiced countless times. To not get lost in the way, you can use indexes and guide cards by leaving them next to the water bottle.

The most successful TED Talks were the result of endless trials. Your goal should be to practice in many places, often, and take feedback from a wide variety of people. If you rehearse long enough, you can simply learn the best way to speak. One of the best things about intensive practice is that the lecture starts to develop naturally.

After rehearsing, make sure you get the attention of your audience, maintain eye contact, create a new idea, feel satisfied, give enough examples, use a pleasant voice, have a good mood, show useful visual effects, avoid distractions or irritating attitudes, ended in time and kept the talk interesting. If you record these essays, you can have valuable feedbacks while watching. And always finish within the time allowed.

Starting and ending your presentation memorably can be challenging. Anderson recommends that you skip all the praise and thanks. Instead, lock your audience in the second you step onto the stage with an astounding statement, an intriguing question, a short story, an incredible picture. There are four ways to get the audience’s attention right away: use a dramatic statement, arouse public curiosity, show a compelling picture, or give them a taste of your talk without giving it all away. These things will make your audience wait for your next words. In each case, make sure you offer a clear timeline that can be followed through your talk.

When you finish your presentation, avoid closing without impact, doing things like complaining that time was short or even asking for donations for a campaign. Instead, you can call your audience to take action, make a personal commitment to next steps, inhale with your vision, or try to connect your closure with the beginning of your talk.

What to Wear And Dealing With Anxiety

TED recommends that you wear casual clothes, a little more formal than your audience. Intense colors look great on camera but avoid anything shiny, as they can generate reflections. Set your waist with a belt, to put the microphone battery in it. Rehearse using your clothing, so you know you are comfortable and confident in it.

In addition to clothing, anxiety is a challenge for many speakers. Keep your focus on the purpose of your speech as you prepare to take the stage. Practice as much as you can to create courage. Take a deep breath, stay hydrated, eat some protein and remember that it’s okay to feel vulnerable – your audience will understand. When you’re on the stage, look for familiar faces. Have a plan in case you forget your speech and focus on the importance of sharing your knowledge with the audience.

Most TED Talks avoid using the pulpit. If you need, you can use a small and discreet. Keep notes as little as possible. A backup of your speech can be placed in a chair with a glass of water. Your slides may be your clues to progress in your talk. If you use note cards, hold them with a paper clip, so they do not fall. Some speakers use monitors to assist in their talk, but they should not replace excellent preparation and eye contact with the audience. It’s important to define your way of speaking, getting ready in advance, and practicing as much as you can, using the same tools you will use on stage.

A good speech gives voice to the human perspective. You want to hold and inspire your audience, speak with meaning, emphasize important words and phrases. There is a TED Talk about talking to people so they can listen. Your tone of voice is an important tool to use. Maintain a confident pose and allow your hands and arms to emphasize your words when appropriate. Find out what works for you and practice it countless times.

Your speech can also use features other than words, slides, or videos. You can use dramatic props, panoramic displays, live podcasts, illustrated interviews, music soundtracks, new discussion formats, and more. No matter what you use, practice it first!

The Evolution of TED

Chris Anderson says the following: “I want to convince you of one thing: Whatever the importance of the ability to speak in public today, it will be even more valuable in the future.”

Public speaking is becoming more and more important. It is a skill that allows you to present your ideas and passions to others. The origins of TED covered topics such as convergence between technology, entertainment, and design. The format was developed to include short lectures, a wide variety of subjects and create a general excitement about the opportunity to learn from a group, reflecting the reality that all knowledge is connected to a vast web. TED offered something to the world, and it grew. Now TED provides information sharing in almost every area of human experience, learning, and innovation. It gives each member of the public an informational advantage that leads to a greater understanding of the modern world.

The next great age is the age of knowledge. You will have opportunities to develop your thoughts better as machines increase your participation in the world. You will have access to great innovations, creativity and a greater connection with other people. Having more knowledge of how the world works, what human beings are capable of, and how much we can learn from each other brings benefit to all. Listening and talking are part of this growth and learning. What you need to know is how your work connects to everything else. If you can understand this, it will expand your worldview.

TED has evolved from a conference to a community that shares, identifies and spreads ideas. Online streaming led to an exponential growth in TED and made it possible for the global audience to reach. The lectures are evolving more and more as the speakers listen and learn from each other. The motivation to become a viral video inspired a higher level of preparation and innovation in the presentations. TEDx events are now occurring in several cities around the world. TED-Ed clubs can be accessed by teachers to give the student audience the skills to prepare for their own TED Talks. You can also use OpenTED to upload your own TED-style talk in a special session of the site.

Your goal of sharing your ideas with the public will lead you to greater happiness and the satisfaction of knowing that you have something important to share with the world. As you share, you are contributing to an environment in which information and collaboration generate great innovations, great ideas, and more personal connections. As human beings, we need to talk to each other and share our experiences.

Final Notes:

Public speaking is an essential skill that can be mastered, leading to numerous opportunities to share your passions and ideas with others. Carefully develop your idea so that your talk follows a timeline, keeping everything you share connected. Use tools to connect, engage, and persuade your audience. Plan the details of each part of your presentation so that it happens naturally and lightly, and expose your timeline using your appearance, voice, images, and demonstrations appropriately.

Practice with diverse people and incorporate the feedback you receive from them into a memorable presentation.

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