StartUp Tip #98: Be awkward

My new favorite word is "awkward." It is awkward to talk to your boss (who has way more experience than you do) about teaching her agile innovation. It is awkward to call a religious or political leader on their intolerant comments. It is awkward to bring up pre-need burial services with an older person. (What…

StartUp Tip #97: Why ask why?

The secret to creativity is curiosity. We often forget to teach kids to be curious. A student who has no perceived math ability, or can't write properly or the inability to sit still for five minutes gets immediate and escalating attention. We call these kids, problem kids, we even invented medical terms with medication that…

StartUp Tip #96: Push through tired

By the time winter ends [in South Africa], and the festive season is approaching, a lot of entrepreneurs are tired. If 2017 is a race, whether it is a race against yourself, the competition or your teammates, do not you think everyone is going to be tired halfway through? The most successful entrepreneurs will not…

StartUp Tip #95: Win the fight, lose the customer

Does it really matter if you are right? Given the choice between: Acknowledging that your customer is upset; or Proving to her that she is wrong, Which will you choose? You can be right or you can have empathy. You can't do both. It is not the nature of capitalism to need to teach people…

StartUp Tip #94: Insatiable

When is enough, enough? One question that is not easy to answer. For some people there is never enough. For others, they will say X will be enough and when they reach X, they want Y and more. Some people's thirst is insatiable, it is impossible to satisfy. Some people are just insatiable. They are…

Startup Tip #93: Rare honesty

Not sure how often communication like this actually occurs: Note From Boss To Employees. I am sometimes under enormous pressure from upper management; pressure that you seldom see. Anything that you can do to make my job easier will be greatly appreciated. Your interests are important, but please remember that I also have to juggle…

StartUp Tip #92: Class and good manners

If war has an opposite, it's not peace, it's civilization. (inspired by Ursula LeGuin writing in 1969) Civilization is the foundation of every successful culture. It permits us to live in safety, without being crippled by fear. Civilization is the willingness to discuss our differences, not to fight over them. Civilization is efficient, in that it…

StartUp Tip #91: Genchi Genbutsu

The importance of basing decisions on firsthand understanding of customers is one of the core principles that underlies Toyota Production System. At Toyota, this goes by the Japanese term genchi genbutsu. In english, it is usually translated as a directive to “go and see for yourself” so that your decisions can be based on deep…

StartUp Tip #90: When you are in a hole…

..... the best thing to do is stop digging Ever felt yourself losing the crowd? During a sales pitch, during a date, during a public speech. Ever felt that your situation is getting worse and worse each day? Where are you continuing to dig yourself into a deep hole? Perhaps you continue to overspend creating…

StartUp Tip #88: Focus on what matters

I read many books as I set about trying to become a better, more effective entrepreneur and manager. Some books are life-changing while others seemed more harmful than helpful. One of the more harmful advices I always come across is that of "focus, focus, focus." When people hear it, they nod their heads in agreement.…

StartUp Tip #87: Are you hiring?

Here are the qualifications you will surely require in your team: The people you choose must - Make you think smarter; and - Put lots of solutions on the table in a short amount of time. It does not matter who it is, the lady who prepares tea, the receptionist, the intern or one of…