For The Love of Creativity and Art: Creativity is a Drug

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Reading books and recently writing a book is my profession but it’s more than a profession, It’s also my great lifelong love and fascination.

I blog everyday, blogging a drug I have learned to embrace. After each blog post, its as if I have released some form of weight off my shoulders and now I can move on to the next blog, or drug.

And I don’t expect that this is ever going to change. But, that said, a very interesting question that always arises, this is the question which has caused me to have to recalibrate my whole relationship with this work. And the peculiar question is if your creative work succeeds “Are you not afraid that you are never going to be able to top your best work? Are not you afraid you are going to keep writing for your whole life and you are never again going to create a book, a sculpture, your art and innovation that anybody in the world cares about at all, ever again?”

When Steve Jobs passed on, the question that was quietly asked is will Apple be able to as innovative as it was when Jobs was alive.

But the other side of this is the question I encountered before I released The Startup Revolution, and that question is “Are you not afraid you are never going to have any success? Are you not afraid that your book will fail and the humiliation of rejection will kill you? Are you not afraid that you are going to work your whole life at this craft and nothing’s ever going to come of it and you are going to die on a scrap heap of broken dreams with your mouth filled with bitter ash of failure?.”

The short answer to all those questions is, “Yes.” Yes, I’m afraid of all those things. And I always have been. Creating something new is scary, its scary before you release your creative work, but its also scary after you released it and succeeds. But I’m afraid of many, many more things besides that people can’t even guess, like I’m afraid of heights, snakes and other things that are scary.

But, when it comes to writing, the thing that I have been thinking about lately, and wondering about lately, is why? Is it rational to be scared? Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do. And what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems to make us really nervous about each other’s mental health in a way that other careers kind of don’t do?

My father, for example, was a management training consultant and I don’t recall once in his 40 years of training anybody asking him if he was afraid to be a trainer? “That management training mental block, Peter, how’s it going?”

It just didn’t come up like that. But to be fair, trainers, accountants, chemical engineers as a group have not really earned a reputation over the centuries for being alcoholic manic-depressives. There professions have not earned the reputation of people who smoke weed to be efficient.

Writers kind of have that reputation, and not just writers, but creative people across all genres. It seems, this group has this reputation for being enormously mentally unstable or of being self-destructive. And all you have to do is look at the very grim death count in the 20th century alone, of really magnificent creative minds who died young and often at their own hands. And even the ones who didn’t literally commit suicide seem to be really undone by their gifts.

Norman Mailer, just before he died, last interview, he said: “Every one of my books has killed me a little more.” An extraordinary statement to make about your life’s work. Steve Jobs even spoke about “the crazy ones.” Jobs even refused to take treatment for his illness until it was too late. There is a universal acceptance that creative people are crazy, that creative people needs to be high to be highly creative.

We don’t even blink when we hear somebody say this, because we have heard that kind of stuff for so long and somehow we have completely internalised and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish.

I’m not at all comfortable with this assumption. I think it’s odious. And I also think it’s dangerous, and I don’t want to see it perpetuated into the next century.

I think it’s better if we encourage our great creative minds to live, our creative minds to be seen to be normal people who just love what they do.

I don’t thing creative people are crazy, I think creativity and innovation are God’s ways of saying He is around. I think I have a right to collaborate with creativity, because I myself am a product and consequence of creation.

Everyone is creative, and its normal. When what you love, loves you back, you become the most creative person in the world. Its a gift not some craziness.

If your happiness is based on always getting a little more than you have got now…

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…. then you have handed control of your happiness to the gatekeepers, built a system that does not scale and prevented yourself from the brave work that leads to a quantum leap.

The industrial system (and its marketing machine) love the mindset of ‘a little bit more, please’, because it furthers their power. A slightly higher pay increase, a slightly more famous university, an incrementally better car, a bit bigger house, more shoes, more expensive clothes, it’s easy to be seduced by this safe, step-wise supposedly progress, and if marketers and bosses can make you feel dissatisfied at every step along the way, even better for them.

The more you want, the better for industrialists.

Their rules, their increments, and you are always on a treadmill, unhappy today, imagining that the answer lies just over the next hill, when you get to that hill, you realise that there is another hill you want to get to… and so on and so forth…

All the data shows us that the people on that other hill are just as frustrated as the people on your hill. It demonstrates that the people at that university are just as envious as the people at this university. The never ending cycle (no surprise) never ends.

You happiness is short lived because once you achieve it, instead of enjoying it you are off to another little more.

An alternative is:

Be happy wherever you are, with whatever you have got, but always hungry for the thrill of creating innovation, of creating art, of being significant, influential, impactful, of being missed if you are gone and most of all, doing important work, work that matters.

Don’t put your happiness in the hands of industrialists. Its yours, enjoy it, share it with others.

Stay hungry, stay foolish. Stay eager, be ready to try new things, be ready to step out of your comfort zone to move the world forward.

Survival Mode Entrepreneurs: Quit or Stick It Out

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Quit

Don’t quit the things where you can become the best in the world at something. The “world” is however nichey you want it to be. But be the best at it.

Count the cost.

Decide early if something is worth doing because you have to be prepared for the struggle. The struggle is inevitable if the thing is worth doing. Just make sure your ready for it. Expecting it can help get through it.

Additionally, make sure you decide up-front when you are going to quit. And don’t be afraid to quit. Don’t let being in the moment decide whether you should quit or not.

Zig Ziglar says, “Failure is not a person, it’s only an event.”

As an entrepreneur, I can tell you this is very, very hard. The inclination to quit comes and goes at various intervals. The worst part is not knowing how to address that emotion.

Winners understand that taking that pain now prevents a lot more pain later but at the same time quitting is better than coping because it frees you up to excel at something else.

Stick It Out

Zig Ziglar also says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you are good at it.”

The harder anything is, the fewer people will do it. This means that the ones who do will have more value to add to the world. Don’t be afraid of adversity. Embrace it. Get through it. Just don’t give up in the middle of it. Give up sooner if you are going to give up.

If you know you are not going to finish school, then drop out earlier and save yourself time and rather invest that time elsewhere. Why waste time and drop out in grade 11 or 12. Who quiets comrades marathon at the 86 km (Comrades marathon is about 90km).

If you are going all the way, go all the way. The survival mode is a filter. It is that barrier that separates the well-meaning amateurs from the professionals, the dividing line between average and best-in-the-world. When you start a business, it’s fun and you get a lot of support.

When you break through the survival mode, you are seen as the one, the only, the go-to person. In between starting and success is the survival mode.

I believe all business challenges are good news. That’s because you know there is light at the end of the tunnel. When an entrepreneur breaks through the challenges, they end up generating hundreds of millions in revenue and profits because they are seen as unique.

Don’t find the biggest challenge. Find the biggest challenge YOU can make it through. And then do it again. Entrepreneurship success is a series of challenges, navigated.

I have a lot of entrepreneurs on survival mode for a prolonged period, its always better to decide if you are going to get out of survival mode and grow and just quit… Either way, there is no shame in their game.

Smart people don’t think others are stupid

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She could have said Pretorians, Cape Townians, Politicians, Democrats, Indians, or South Africans. It doesn’t matter. She had just proven that she was not being smart.

There are no smart people or stupid people, just people being smart or being stupid.

(And things are often not as they seem, so people who seem to be doing something smart or stupid, may not be. There’s always more information, more context, and more to the story.)

Being smart means thinking things through – trying to find the real answer, not the first answer.

Being stupid means avoiding thinking by jumping to conclusions. Jumping to a conclusion is like quitting a game : you lose by default.

That’s why saying “I don’t know” is usually smart, because it’s refusing to jump to a conclusion.

So when someone says “They are so stupid!” – it means they have stopped thinking. They say it to feel finished with that subject, because there is nothing they can do about that. It’s appealing and satisfying to jump to that conclusion.

So if you decide someone is stupid, it means you are not thinking, which is not being smart.

Therefore: smart people don’t think others are stupid.

Survival Mode Entrepreneurs: A Concrete Rose vs A Dream Deferred

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So, the questions are simple: Are you in a dip? Are you going through a rough survival phase and thinking of giving up?

Everyone knows when they are going through a dip, they are in pain, struggling to pay expenses, struggling to get the market to embrace and pay for your services, not having enough money for petrol to move around, going through pain to pay staff salaries let alone your own salary, you are going through pain, but is it the pain that comes from being in a dead end — a cul-de-sac — situation that might very well get worse but probably won’t get better?

Or is it a difficult phase, where sufficient effort can push you through and get you out the other side…You better know the answer.

If you are not ready for the difficult phase, the dip, it’s a lot harder to stick through it and see it through.

Are you at a cul-de-sac or are you in phase where more hard work and effort will (in time) get you through the dip. Knowing the answer to these questions, is the difference between giving up or keep pushing.

Will you survive and grow like the rose that grew from the concrete:

“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to by keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.” — Tupac Amaru Shakur

or

Will your dream be deferred?
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

— Langston Hughes

Better still, know how your difficult phase will look like before you start your business.

Survival Mode Entrepreneurs: Taking a Detailed Snapshot of Your Survival Mentality

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The essential thing to know about going through a dip in your business is that your business will at some point sooner or later go through a dip, a dip in business is there. Knowing that you are facing a dip is the first step in getting through it.

Before you can focus on coming up with turnaround and growth strategies, you need to understand the exact state of your business right now. Why? Because there will be areas of your business that you have not paid attention to in as much detail as you should have (you know what they are!).

We are all guilty of that to some degree. Either because it’s not our area of expertise, or we don’t think it’s that important, or we just really don’t like doing it. Whatever the reason, you have got to get a clear picture of exactly what’s been going on to see whether there is anything internally that’s been contributing to the state of your business being on survival mode.

Here is how you can get started. First, you will want to look internally at what’s been happening and why. Start by asking yourself a few probing questions:

  • What is the vision I have for my business in the next 1-3 years?
  • Is my staff performing at its best and are they happy?
  • Do I have enough people to support any future growth?
  • Is customer service as excellent as it could be, and if not, why not?
  • Etc.

You will also want to figure out what the biggest contributing external factors have been to you getting where you are.

  • Did the market needs change substantially?
  • Is the economy going through a recession?
  • Do you now have more competition in the industry?
  • Do you know how your business compares to other small businesses in your industry?
  • Are you charging what you are worth?

These are the difficult questions that needs honest assessment. People who skip the hard questions are in the majority, but they are not in demand.

The people who are the best in the world specialise at getting really good at the questions they don’t know.

Be sure to invest the time into this work and get as clear of a picture as possible. This is your base, the platform for your jump out of survival mode and into growth and profitability.

This assessment needs to be solid. And it needs to be honest. Work with your mentor or coach to make sure you are not overlooking any areas. Once you complete this process, you will be surprised how much insight you will get from it. You will see it much clearer and you will feel much better about it.

To be a superstar, you must do something exceptional. Not just survive the dip and come out of survival mentality, but use the dip as an opportunity to create something so extraordinary that people can’t help but talk about it, recommend it, and, yes, choose it.

Survival Mode Entrepreneurs: Sleep | Wake Up | Survive | Repeat

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“I am so sick and tired of dealing with this. I work so hard, sacrifice my family time, pay myself almost nothing – and just barely making my margins… I keep watching the bottom line like a hawk but I am no closer to where I want to be… I think I am ready to just walk away from this business… It’s causing me so much stress that I don’t know how much longer I can put up with it… ”

This were the comments of an entrepreneur I mentor, when I started mentoring her, talking about her business, which she built and ran for over 10 years now.

The truth about Laura’s business is that it has been very successful for the first 6 years. But after the 2008 recession things never quite got back to where they have been. However, Laura’s business did survive, while so many had to close their doors. And this she was very proud of.

What Laura didn’t realise is that even after the economy improved, she continued to run her business in survival mode, getting enough results not to fail completely, yet not growing or moving forward.

Most entrepreneurs start their businesses with so much passion and vision within the first few years of operation. They are eager to wake and push their vision. At this time, the vision is crystal clear, they know what they want, how they will achieve it and when the project to achieve it.

Do you find yourself buried in the daily grind of running your business and spend almost no time on strategising for growth? Do you keep throwing band-aid solutions on problems without investing the time and resources to figure out what’s really going on? If so, you may be stuck in survival mode too.

Business is not a straight line and over time challenges such as lack of cash flow, problematic clients or lack of clients etc, starts to slowly erode the vision you had. The stresses that entrepreneurs go through fighting fires makes them keep their head down and focus on working IN the business and not ON the business.

Working in the business over a long period of time makes that crystal clear vision to become ambiguous. Lose the vision, lose the direction. Where there is no vision, people perish, the same applies in business.

An entrepreneur who has been on survival mode for years when asked what she wants will say I want enough sales to pay salaries at the end of the month, I want enough cash not for my car to be repossessed by the bank. The same entrepreneur when asked what she wants in the first year of opening of her business will say I want to build an empire, I want to revolutionise the industry, I want to be best in the industry. I want to be the most innovative company in the industry.

Entrepreneurship is not easy, but if it were, everyone would be doing it.

Over time, survival mode steals the vision of a business. Working so hard to put out fires every month, working so hard to collect scrap clients so that you can make it to the next month makes you a scrap collector, not a builder of an empire. 

Vision of the business is at the centre of what drives an entrepreneur. If you lose sight of that, your will float and be on survival.

The danger about being a survival mode entrepreneur is that this can be your new normal and a habit that will last for a long time.

A lot of business don’t transition to growth stage because they are stuck on survival. When you are in survival mode, you make survival mode decisions, you doubt your capabilities, you doubt your worth, you doubt your products, your pricing is so low because you don’t want to lose that client, you need that money so bad. If you are building a legacy business, you know what you want and you are not going to take short cuts to get there.

While survival mode is an essential skill to master during tough financial times, it also leads to instability and an uncertain business future. Getting out of survival mode and transitioning into a ready-to-grow state is a challenge many small business owners and entrepreneurs face.

Escaping survival mode means transitioning your business to a better place with more clients, better service, and more profits.

When you are on survival mode, go back to that original vision, ignite that vision, ask yourself why did you want to be an entrepreneur. Live that vision passionately.

Be driven by passion not survival.

Don’t make survival mode a habit. This is true for entrepreneurs and also for working people. You were not born to work and pay bills.

When the vision is permanent the challenges that come may injure but can never destroy you. – Lucas Moloi

Book Review: Zero To One – Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

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My approach and philosophy about books and read are the following:

– Read as much as you can;
– Read broadly, read what a lot of people don’t usually read. If you read what everybody else is reading, you don’t have a competitive advantage; and
– Read books that challenge you. The tendency is to read authors who say things that we tend to agree with. Growth comes from reading books that you don’t agree with but you learn from.

My management accountant lecture once said that accountants should have a view, we should not sit on the fence, whether we are right or wrong doesn’t matter, what matters is that we take a view. One thing is certain Peter Thiel took a view with this book, whether he is right or not is not the issue, he took a view, actually a lot of views expressed in this book.

I reading and reviewing this book, I had to write down some of my contrarian views to that of Peter Thiel’s views.

Zero to One really challenged me. I thoroughly enjoyed the book even if I have found myself in violent disagreement with many of its thoughts. The book opens up with these words.

  • “Every moment in business happens only once.
  • The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.
  • It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.”
  • “Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1. The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.”

Thiel spends a great deal of the preface and first chapter putting into perspective the difference between going from “1 to n” (doing more of what’s already been done) vs. going from “0 to 1” (doing something that’s never been done before).

Bottom line? Challenge the status quo. Really and truly do your best to “think differently” and go from “0 to 1” rather than “1 to n”.

Initially, I kind of liked these above quotes. It is indeed hard to imagine a new business to threaten the dominance of Google Search or Facebook’s social network. But the fact that Google search dominates is not really a Zero to One effect, but a decisive improvement over previously existing internet search engines.

Facebook was not originally conceived of as a dominant social platform; it so happened that it turned out to be well liked by millions of people beyond the original community of Harvard students. In operating systems we already have Linux and Android (using Linux) which have way more deployments than Windows. So it is not the case that “every moment in business” happens only once, unless in a very literal sense.

According to Thiel the great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we are too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

Peter discusses “copying” with disdain, but I think not all “copying” is just copying, a lot of progress happens via semi-continuous improvements. This civilization does not only progress by one-off disruptive inventions. A lot of it is steady improvements. And these improvements occasionally lead to enabling Zero to One (or dominating) developments.

His most provocative thesis declares that “competition is for losers” and entrepreneurs should embrace monopolies. This is an ingenious framing device, just controversial enough to arouse debate, but commonsense enough to make an incrementalist acknowledge its virtue.

Thiel is not suggesting that capitalism is bad. He’s saying that, precisely because capitalism is wonderful for consumers, it’s hell for companies. Truly competitive industries, like restaurants, see their profits eroded by competitors and fickle eaters.

Every start-up must begin small before getting big. Entrepreneurs should at first seek to dominate a small market. In other words: They should try to build a mini-monopoly.

Peter asks “What company is nobody building?” this question has some charm, but I think it too is misleading. Well, maybe nobody is building this “company X” yet, because it is not yet fully enabled. eg. voice over internet existed in the lab (IBM?) since mid 70’s, but Skype made sense only much later when lots of people got access to personal computers and these computers started being connected to the Net all the time.

Bottom line: it is not all “zero to one”, nor it can be or should be.

Rating:

8/10

This book fluctuates between brilliance and madness. When it focuses on the mechanics of start-ups, it’s brilliant. When it focuses on Thiel’s philosophies and contrarians, it’s a bit whacky. Thiel enjoys being a contrarian too much.

Doing something new and valuable may require being a contrarian, but just being contrarian doesn’t mean your ideas are new and valuable.

It is worth reading but be prepared to skim and shake your head.

I still give the book 8/10 as I enjoyed its thought provoking character; it was an engaging reading: disagreeing, agreeing, learning new perspectives.

That being said, he is a bit self-indulgent in certain parts of the book, perhaps his choice as a self-made billionaire (I don’t know) and more importantly he spends a lot of time focusing on all the great achievements of his inner circle. There is in fact more life beyond Silicon Valley. Read it, but don’t glorify it.

Highly recommended but please don’t treat it as Gospel 🙂

Some of the quotes from the book:

  • “Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.”
  • “The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself.”
  • “All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.”
  • “Monopoly is the condition of every successful business.”
  • “Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way. And if you can’t monopolise a unique solution for a small market, you will be stuck with vicious competition.”
  • “Today’s “best practices” lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.”
  • “The perfect target market for a start-up is a small group of particular people concentrated in a group but served by few or no competitors,”
  • “Nerds are skeptical of advertising, marketing, and sales, because they seem superficial. They know their own jobs are hard, so when they look at salespeople laughing on the phone with a customer or going to two-hour lunches, they suspect that no real work is being done. If anything, people overestimate the relative difficulty of science and engineering, because the challenges of those fields are obvious. What nerds don’t realise is that it also takes hard work to make sales look easy… If you have invented something new but you haven’t invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business, no matter how good the product.”

Marketing Has Shifted: Permission Marketing, not Interruption Marketing

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If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they would punch you in the face – Hugh MacLeod

Hugh is not for the tame of heart or those who prefer more politically correct opinions; however, he is someone you absolutely must read to gain insight into how to market your business.

My question to a lot of entrepreneurs is: how are you talking to your customers? You would not go to a party and scream “BUY FROM ME NOW,” but that’s exactly how most entrepreneurs advertise their businesses. Why have iPods, DVR’s, Digital Radio and the like taken over by advertisers sending you adverts all the time? People don’t like commercials and the endless shouting that entrepreneurs and advertisers and marketers do on a daily basis.

People don’t like being tagged on posts on social media, what makes you think they will like being interrupted by adverts. People don’t like spam emails, they have even set their inboxes to filter out what its suspects is spam advertising. People avoid cold calls, they make excuses that they are busy or something just to get rid of the sales agent.

Social media has changed the rules of marketing forever. You can no longer scream the loudest and hope to drive traffic to your showrooms. Its time to get creative.

Its time to look outside the traditional marketing channels and really CONNECT with your customers.

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

It recognises the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realises that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

Pay attention is a key phrase here, because permission marketers understand that when someone chooses to pay attention they are actually paying you with something precious. And there is no way they can get their attention back if they change their mind. Attention becomes an important asset, something to be valued, not wasted.

Real permission is different from presumed or legalistic permission. Just because you somehow get my email address doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because I don’t complain doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because it’s in the fine print of your privacy policy doesn’t mean it’s permission either.

Real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

Never cross the lines you were not given permission to cross.

To get a willing opt-in customer, offer them things of value. Allow them to download e-books, attend webinars etc. and then you would have the right context to start a conversation.

And the conversation that you start has to be really relevant to your recipients.

Know what it is that they want, and serve just that.

Even if you are trying to make a cold-call or cold-reach attempt, tell the recipients why you are in their inbox or calling them. Research them before you reach out, and try solving their problems when you are allowed in.

That’s how you would catch their attention.

Permission is like dating. You don’t start by asking for the sale at first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit.

Marketing Has Shifted: Be a part of a Community, instead of Running Solo

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Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a community, some form of group, a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people.

Invest in gaining a community of loyal subscribers, who are interested in what you have to say.

After all, people who would go ahead and buy what you sell are the ones who like what you have to offer in the first place.

These community members would also become the distributors of your ideas. They can be anywhere, your newsletter subscribers, your social followers and so on, the social club you belong to.

Create or join a niche group of like-minded people, a group of elites. Go ahead and make something for the elites. Not the elites of class or wealth, but the elites of curiosity, passion and taste. Every great thing ever created was created by and for this group.

Don’t aim to sell to anyone and everyone, aim for an elite group.

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family, whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

All Stars Entrepreneurs From The Vaal

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Go ahead and make something for the elites. Not the elites of class or wealth, but the elites of curiosity, passion and taste. Every great thing ever created was created by and for this group.

I’m honored to be one of the guest speakers at this elite event of All Stars Entrepreneurs From the Vaal event. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and trends with entrepreneurs wearing my All Stars sneakers 🙂

There will be 12 inspiring entrepreneurs speaking on various aspects of business, passion and excellence principle.

Date: Saturday, 19 September 2015

Time: 17:30 for 18:00

Venue: StoneHaven On The Vaal

Dress Code: Black Tie, (strictly black and white) with All Stars sneakers (compulsory)

Tickets: R150 (admission and refreshments)  Exhibition Stand (R250)

2 Thought Leaders Grinding the Heart Of Business and Being an Entrepreneur:

  • Bonnke Shipallane
  • Roche Mamabolo

12 Entrepreneurs Speaking about Their Business, Passion and Excellence Principles:

  • Molefi Letsiki
  • Keagile Ramasodi
  • Solly Seoke
  • Nhlanhla Mngadi
  • Maseapehi Mofokeng
  • Jessica Tims
  • Pule Mpeke
  • Kebone Ramasimong
  • Koketso Molaolwe
  • Sambuti Sekgonyane
  • Preu Mphapang
  • Tebogo Mphohle

1 Stage

To RSVP:

Please Contact : Tebogo Mphohle on 081 2063 801
email @ : allstarsentrepreneurs@hotmail.com

Marketing Has Shifted: Listen to your customers, instead of popular opinions

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The media wants overnight successes (so they have someone to tear down). Ignore them. Ignore the early adopter critics that never have enough to play with. Listen instead to your real customers, to your vision and make something for the long haul. Because that’s how long it’s going to take.

Seemingly overnight successes need years of hard-work in shadows. 

Instead of listening to everyone who has something to say (and everyone has something to say), try listening to people who would actually pay for your product – your customers.Eventually, you would be able to build a great value fit for them.

More often entrepreneurs adopt the parachute approach where they come from high up going down telling customers what they need. Its a dangerous slippery slope to assume that we think we know what the customer wants, without first listening, studying and analysing the customer.

Seth Godin said it very well: “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”

It starts with know what customers want, and then finding products for them, not selling what you have hoping that your customers want it.

Listen to your customers before they listen to your competitor.

Listen to your customers, not your competitors. To know what your customers want, you have to listen to them.

Listen, understand and act.