If You Are Going To Fail, Fail Forward

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On 23 May 2009, he was declined by Twitter;

On 03 August 2009, he was turned down by Facebook;

After being rejected by both Twitter and Facebook in 2009, he then decided to start his own company.

Four years later, on 19 February 2014 Brian Acton sold his company, WhatsApp Messenger to the same company that rejected him, Facebook for US$19 billion, in what is Facebook’s largest acquisition to date.

When one door closes, move on to the next door. Failure is a stepping stone to success.

Persuade vs. convince

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An anonymous copyeditor working on my new book unilaterally changed each usage of “persuade” to “convince.”

I had to change them all back.

Entrepreneurs don’t convince. Engineers convince. Entrepreneurs persuade. Persuasion appeals to the emotions and to fear and to the imagination. Convincing requires a spreadsheet or some other rational device.

It’s much easier to persuade someone if they’re already convinced, if they already know the facts. But it’s impossible to change someone’s mind merely by convincing them of your point.

If you’re spending a lot of your time trying to convince people, it’s no wonder its difficult to make sales.

We are convinced by evidence or arguments made to the intellect

We are persuaded by appeals made to the will, moral sense or emotions.

I’d also add a further subtle distinction that we are convinced to think something; persuaded to think & do something.

When Family Hurts You

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“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” – Mario Puzo

Ever felt hurt or betrayed by family? Or maybe someone you love or held in high esteem suddenly became untrustworthy or strangely deceitful in behavior?

At some point, we all experience it. Disappointment in family choices and behaviors can cut deep to the heart like nothing else. When you feel like you truly know someone–his or her heart or intentions–and then witness disloyal or secretive behaviors from them, it can leave you feeling abandoned, confused, and ultimately bitter. In the end, it’s the legacy of family who’ve gone before us that gets tarnished when one or more remaining family members are disloyal.

As I’ve wrestled with this topic in my own life recently, I was reminded of God’s picture of family loyalty and good stewardship throughout His Word. The Bible is clear that loyalty to God demands that we be loyal to others. Here are just a few Scripture passages on loyalty and responsibility:

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

“He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise”
(Proverbs 11:29).

“A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live” (Proverbs 15:27).

“Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

“And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more” (Luke 12:48).

“It is expected of managers that each one of them be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).

“If people say, ‘I love God,’ but hate their brothers or sisters, they are liars. Those who do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have never seen” (1 John 4:20).

It’s obvious that God desires for us to be loyal. It’s also obvious that He desires us to be good stewards of what we’ve been entrusted. When family is involved, these principles should take great priority over any of our (intentional or innocent) selfish desires. As decent, moral human character seems to be a lost concept in our world today, we must fight all the harder at staying true to who our Creator designed us to be.

Lord, may I never be disloyal to family, but rather an example of godly, upright character and selfless love. May I always put the feelings and needs of others before myself. When entrusted with much, may I honor You in my management and leadership. And ultimately, God, may you receive the glory for it all!

Long-term manipulation is extremely difficult

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In the short run, it is easy.

It is easy to fool someone or lie to them or give them what they think they want.

It is easy to write a great block of copy, to sell on credit, to grab the attention of the crowd.

Not so easy: to build mutually profitable long-term relationships that lead to satisfaction, trust and work worth doing.

Lincoln was right about fooling people, but along the way we often forget that while trickery is easy, the longer path of keeping your promises is far more satisfying and stable.

Showing Up is not Enough

Showing Up
You have probably got that part nailed. Butt in seat, smile on your face. We often run into people who understand their job to be showing up on time to do the work that’s assigned to them. They are competent and present at their workstations and at meetings.

In the Start-up revolution, showing up is no longer enough. We have moved way beyond that now.

Showing up and taking notes is not your job. Your job is to surprise and delight and to change the agenda. Your job is to escalate, reset expectations and make us delighted that you are part of the team.

Thank you for showing up, now delight and escalate us.

Showing up is overrated. Necessary but not nearly sufficient.

Empathy takes effort

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When we step out of comfort zones and put ourselves in their shoes.

When we extend our heart, our soul and our feelings to another, when we imagine what it must be like to be them, we expose ourselves to risk.

The risk of feeling bruised, or of losing our ability to see the world from just one crisp and certain point of view.

It is easier to walk on by, to compartmentalise and to isolate ourselves. Easier, but not worth it.

Waiting for all the facts

Facts
“I’m just going to wait until all the facts are in, until I have all the facts, its all about the facts…”

All the facts are never in. We don’t have all the facts on the sinking of the Titanic, on the efficacy of social media or on whether dogs make good house pets. We don’t have all the facts on genetically modified food, global warming or the demise of the industrial age, either.

The real question isn’t whether you have all the facts. The real question is, “do I know enough to make a useful decision?” (and no decision is still a decision).

If you don’t, then the follow up question is, “What would I need to know, what fact would I need to see, before I take action?”

If you can’t answer that, then you’re not actually waiting for all the facts to come in.