Monthly Archives: April 2014

Creating Enchantment

Title: Creating Enchantment
Date: 2011-03-02
Speaker: Guy Kawasaki (Author)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Stay in school as long as you can.
The first pillar of enchantment is likability.
You need to be likable.
You have to improve your smile.
You should dress for a tie (with your audience).
The third component of likability is to have a great handshake.
First impressions are important.
You need to go from likability to trustworthy.
Trustworthiness occurs from when you trust others.
Trustworthy people are bakers not eaters. They see the world as a non zero-sum game.
Your branding has to be short, sweet, and swallowable.You need to default to yes.
When you meet people you need to be thinking how can I help that person.
Most people are completely reasonable about what they ask.
Great products have a great interface.
Your branding has to be short, sweet, and swallowable.
Do not use acronyms.
You should be able to describe your product in two or three words.
Think mantra not mission statements.
Do a premortem. Before you ship pretend your product/company failed. What are all of the possible reasons you could have failed? In an unemotional way talk about how you can eliminate each of those reasons.
Conduct a premortem so you never conduct a postmortem.
Launch the sucker.
You need to tell a story.
Most people, particularly in technology, are horrible at telling stories.
To have a perfect market you need to eliminate geography.
You need to plant many seeds.
Use salient points. Talk about number of songs rather than gigabytes.
To enchant people you will have to overcome resistance.
Social proof is when you see other people doing it so it must be okay.
Social proof is a very powerful factor.
You need to find a bright spot when you introduce a product or service.
You need to enchant the influencers.
Make something endure.
Money introduces a whole level of complexity.
Invoke reciprocation.
The optimal thing to say when somebody thanks you for doing something is, “I know you would do the same for me.”
You need to learn to present. You need to be able to speak.
Customize the introduction.
There is also negative reciprocation.
When pitching use 10 slides. 20 minutes. 30 point fonts.
If your boss asks you to do something do it.
A prototype significantly increases the probability you will do the right thing.
You should always deliver bad news early.
You have to be willing to suck it up.
You should never ask people who work for you to do something that you yourself would not do.

A Devotion to New Ideas

Title: A Devotion to New Ideas
Date: 2011-02-23
Speaker: Bill Gross (eSolar & Idealab)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Now (with the Internet) you can be in contact with all of your customers.
Focus is always better unless you pick the wrong focus.
Bill Gross - You have to be crazy in loveEquity is a great driver of performance.
If you want to do breakthrough things you can’t have someone worrying about their job.
Follow your passion.
You absolutely have to be so crazy in love with what you’re doing.
Every startup is going to have hard times. Deep, dark days.
A team working together can turn a not-so-decent idea into a decent idea.
It takes a lot of luck and timing to make everything work out.
Failure is almost always team issues or running out of money.

Live for the Future and Survive Success

Title: Live for the Future and Survive Success
Date: 2011-02-16
Speaker: Mark Forchette (OptiMedica)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Book: What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig
Product development done right is a symbiotic relationship that is incredibly rewarding.
Know what you want. Set your objectives. I promise you will achieve them.
You must have passion.
Absolutely, no matter what you do, you must learn how to sell.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.Everybody sells.
Everybody you have contact with in your lifetime you’re going to have to sell in some way.
Book: How to Master the Art of Selling
There is no failure you can’t recover from.
Strategy and tactical implementation equals success.
If you can’t execute the plan it is not worth the paper it is printed on.
The most dangerous thing in the world is a past success you’re still in love with.
Your best day is always in front of you.
Keep moving.
Surviving success is one of the hardest things to do.
Do it for something other than money.
Money is the by product of really good work.
People do business with people they like.
Business is a contact sport.
Treasure the relationships you build. They are really meaningful to your success.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
Nothing takes the place of preparation.
Put the right people in the right seats.
Weapons don’t win battles. People do.
You need to make the right decisions in your personal life.
Everyday when you wake up you get to make a choice. A choice to have a good day. A choice to have a positive outlook. To stare things in the face.
Success is a choice you make. (Also a title of a great book.)
Leverage everything you have and go out and do something great with it.
When a product is in the hands of a friend you feel intensely responsible to make sure they’re having a good experience.
Always find the positive in stuff.
The only way to motivate people to stand behind something is if they believe in it.
You can’t have everything perfect.

The Power of Curiosity and Inspiration

Title: The Power of Curiosity and Inspiration
Date: 2011-02-09
Speaker: Jack Dorsey (Square)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
The thing that really inspires people is a working product.
When you’re pitching someone the best thing you can do is show them something that works.
Expect the unexpected and whenever possible be the unexpected.Payment is another form of communication.
You have to instrument all usage.
Log everything. Measure everything. Test everything.
The data is a product.
94% of commerce is still offline.
If you want to build a product that is relevant to folks you need to put yourself in their shoes.
Write user narratives.
Choose the one or two (things) that are going to drive and sustain the network, service, and products.
You have to make every single detail perfect and you have to limit the number of details.
Expect the unexpected and whenever possible be the unexpected.
If the product is built in a beautiful way it just, hopefully, inspires people to take action.
The larger merchants are very stubborn. They have a lot invested in their systems.
Get (your idea) out of your head.
Apple is run like a theater company. It has a great sense of pacing. It has a great sense of story. It has a great sense of execution. It is all stage driven. It all has a very cohesive end-to-end story.
It is not what we can build it is what we can take away.

Relentless Pursuit of Innovation

Title: Relentless Pursuit of Innovation
Date: 2011-02-02
Speaker: Susan Desmond-Hellmann (UCSF)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Don’t be afraid to take risks and try something even if everyone is skeptical.
Be unafraid to be embarrasedLife sciences don’t have an experimental system. We have a human being.
Life doesn’t come in binary.
Luck is actually really helpful.
Whenever you can get it–be lucky.
Don’t accept a problem is unsolvable.
Have relentlessness with optimism.
Be unafraid to be embarrassed.
Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.

Acceleration Through Community

Title: Acceleration Through Community

Date: 2014-03-05

Speaker: Cameron Teitelman, Joseph Huang, Milt McColl, Smita Saxena, Tina Seelig (StartX)

Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders


When you’re building a company you need to learn a lot of practical things.

By mentoring you learn so much.StartX is a really good filter for the kinds of people you want to be working with and that can help elevate your business down the line.

Motivation and passion are the number one criteria.

The code is to help out your fellow co-founders.

By mentoring you learn so much.

Take the time to get to know the other founders in your session.

The most successful leverage a group around them to be even more successful.

Startup companies are roller coasters and you’re going to spend a lot more time on the downside of that roller coaster.

There has to be perseverance.

As a founder you have to be okay with taking risks and thinking of failing as learning.

Have humble confidence.

Following Your Startup Vision

Title: Following Your Startup Vision
Date: 2011-01-26
Speaker: Brent Constantz (Calera)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Some avalanches fizzle out and don’t go anywhere. Some avalanches are out of control.
The largest health care expenditure is bone fractures.
Being cross-disciplinary and being able to talk across fields is extremely important.
When you come up with crazy ideas you have to gain credibility no matter how good the crazy idea is.Ignorance is bliss.
It is not always easy to start a company.
When you start a company you have a big, initial vision. In almost every case that is the right vision.
When you come up with crazy ideas you have to gain credibility no matter how good the crazy idea is.
Assemble fantastic advisory boards.
Learn how to create an operating plan for your company.
The plan should contain goals. Under each goal should be three or four milestones to accomplish every quarter.
Everything about a company changes when you try to take it to a public offering.
Most of us are never going to see a coral reef.
When you take venture capital money you have to understand that the game is setup for the venture capitalists and not for the entrepreneurs.
Board of directors debilitate companies. It is not intentional.
If there is no competition generate your own.
The only people that read (business plans) are your competitors.
(Business plans) are the only thing that is never going to happen.
Our future, whether we want it or not, involves coal.
Mark Twain said, “People pay money for whiskey but they go to war over water.”
Get the very best people you can get.
You need management that can sell snow to eskimos.
You’ve got to have people drinking the kool-aid.
There is the real world and then there is Silicon Valley.
A board can be valuable or a board can be disastrous. It depends on how it works.

Delivering Innovation for the Enterprise

Title: Delivering Innovation for the Enterprise
Date: 2011-01-19
Speaker: Aaron Levie (
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Enterprise technology today sucks. People need better solutions for their businesses.
Don’t start companies that don’t make sense to what you’re interested in.
People want to be able to work from anywhere.
Learn from organizations where there is a constant drumbeat of innovation.Book: Crossing the Chasm
We are in a period where a lot of people are adopting the cloud.
Borrow from everyone.
Take marketing ideas from Hollywood.
Take support ideas from Zappos.
It is hard to find the exact people you want to work with.
Life is too short to build an organization you don’t want to work at.
Do something that wasn’t possible three years ago.
Look for new technologies that are enabling your solution.
Do something you’re extremely passionate about.
Startups are very hard.
Don’t compromise.
If you feel comfortable you’re probably not doing it right.
You’re going to have to go well beyond your comfort zone.
Don’t write your obituary too early.
Make sure you’re optimizing on the right dimensions.
A benefit of starting companies with people you do know is there is a much higher degree of trust.
Positioning yourself in the market is extremely important.
It is important to think about how people are going to be competing with you and what factors they’re going to be competing with you on.
Pay attention to everything.
Learn from organizations where there is a constant drumbeat of innovation.

Social Entrepreneurship Changing Education

Title: Social Entrepreneurship Changing Education
Date: 2011-01-12
Speaker: Wendy Kopp (Teach for America)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Where you are born really determines your education prospects and, in turn, your life prospects.
Embrace your inexperience. Don't be held back by it. It can be an asset.Growth brings many new challenges but it also brings many advantages.
There are no silver bullets.
We need to build the systems that make it possible to teach successfully.
We need as many superheroes as we can get.
Embrace your inexperience. Don’t be held back by it. It can be an asset.
You don’t need everyone. You need a few true allies.
It is important to remember the magnitude of the crisis.
In light of the challenge we need out-of-the-box solutions.

How Ideas Take Flight

Title: How Ideas Take Flight
Date: 2010-11-17
Speaker: Jennifer Aaker (Stanford GSB)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
The dragonfly effect is the idea that small acts can create big change.
Happiness, meaning, and stories (are why some ideas build momentum and other don’t).
You need to be aware of the things that are deeply meaningful versus what is short-term meaningful.There are two types of happiness.
The first type is “excited happiness”.
The second type is “peaceful happiness”.
For teenagers happiness means excited. For forty and fifty year-olds happiness means peaceful.
You need a mix of the two types of happiness.
You need to be aware of the things that are deeply meaningful versus what is short-term meaningful.
The power of stories is what makes people act.
You have to grab attention.
Engagement is the third wing.
Humans are not setup to understand logic. They are setup to understand stories.
One person’s happiness can affect another’s for as long as one year.
Ideas build momentum when you share a story.
Influencers are domain specific.
Companies that experiment are going to be so far ahead of companies that don’t allow experimentation.