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Showing posts from October, 2017

Where We Stand In Free Agent Nation

I heard the term “free agent nation” recently that I hadn’t heard before. The speaker described free agent nation as the population of folks who detached themselves from large corporations and more or less worked for themselves. Years ago, “lifers” were common place. Then, employees felt their security in corporations dwindle. Companies saw employees as expendable resources. Employees reacted by regarding companies as expendable as well – loyalty was rare for either side.
Googling “free agent nation”, I found an article published on December 31, 1997 titled “Free Agent Nation” by Daniel Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human. Daniel interviewed a number of folks who left the corporate world to be independents/ contractors. This was all fascinating given my foray into independent consulting and entrepreneurship coupled with known colleagues striking out on their own.
Daniel pointed out driving free agents were ideals in value alignment and flexibility. For many independents Danie…

What You Want vs. What You Choose

Want vs. choose. Sounds simple, right? Take a second, though, and think about what you want. What about what you choose. How different are they? Why? This question came about after hearing this concept from the book I am currently reading. I wanted a Tesla earlier this year. Instead, I chose a Toyota 4Runner. Of course, I also wanted a 4Runner, but due to the Tesla X’s $100+K price tag, I chose the vehicle that was a fraction of the cost.I could have also chosen a very simple 4Runner let alone a little Toyota Corolla. Instead, I chose the Limited set-up with 4x4. I wanted this more than the base SR5 package.If I was to step back further, my previous vehicle (2007 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4x4 with 115K miles) was still working great. It was all paid off. Yet, I chose to increase my personal burn rate by several hundreds of dollars because of want. This, despite wanting to return to startup and entrepreneurship after my time at SalesWise – a life change which would likely provide meager f…

Task Prioritization – Could, Should, and Must

Sharing a new to-do list and task strategy I learned the other day – Could Do, Should Do, and Must Do. It’s a very simple framework to help folks stack prioritization and think about timing. Really, each description (i.e. “could do”, “should do”, and “must do”) is a list of tasks where moving from left to right represents the need.
Some things to consider when prioritizing tasks: Time it takes to complete.Explicit benefits upon completion.Implicit benefits upon completion.Cost to complete. (Weigh this against both explicit and implicit benefits for value.)Blockers that prevent completion. I’ve seen a lot of folks recently build task lists. Indeed, I have one (many) including my task list in Salesforce. However, not all should be weighted the same. The Could-Should-Must framework categorizes tasks into three simple buckets. Simplicity is key.

Any to-do list or task completion methods you recommend? Do you use one?

Key Take-Aways from Howard Schultz: Turning Starbucks Around

I listened to the “How I Built This” podcast with Guy Raz interviewing Starbucks two-time (and now former) CEO Howard Schultz (from September 28).
They discussed how Schultz really took the brand which was a local coffee bean shop into a massive, global brand that we all now know. Then, he talked about his return to Starbucks as CEO when the company started heading into its lowest point – in 2008. This part of the podcast really intrigued me.
Below are some notes I took from his interview starting at 37:40.

Schultz refers to Starbucks difficult years (2008, mainly, like most other companies during that time) as the “years of hubris”. He mentioned how “growth and success began to cover up a lot of mistakes.”Two chief mistakes Schultz realizes that contributed to Starbucks nadir: 1) “too many stores cannibalizing other stores”; and 2) “financial controls and discipline that were in place were not being leveraged – Wall Street and the stock price became an albatross on the company’s neck.…

Taking Gretchen Ruben’s Four Tendencies Test

As I mentioned in my post last week in asking the question, “who do you envy?”, I was listening to a Rich Roll podcast with Gretchen Ruben, author of The Happiness Project (podcast link here). She spoke with Rich about her latest project and book regarding the “Four Tendencies”.
The Four Tendencies help identify how people respond to expectations – both outer and inner (extrinsic vs. intrinsic). She wanted to understand why people were able to sustain motivation or stick to goals. In effect, she created another personality test to help people connect and navigate relationships.
The Four Tendencies: Upholder: “I do what others expect of me—and what I expect from myself.”Questioner: “I do what I think is best, according to my judgment. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it.”Obliger: “I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.”Rebel: “I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something—even if I try to make myself do something—I’…

Changing the Established Norm

There’s a story that goes – A group of scientists placed five monkeys in a cage, and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on top. Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water.  After a while, every time a monkey would start up the ladder, the others would pull it down and beat it up.  After a time, no monkey would dare try climbing the ladder, no matter how great the temptation.  The scientists then decided to replace one of the monkeys. The first thing this new monkey did was start to climb the ladder. Immediately, the others pulled him down and beat him up.  After several beatings, the new monkey learned never to go up the ladder, even though there was no evident reason not to, aside from the beatings.  The second monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The first monkey participated in the beating of the second monkey. A third monkey was changed and the same was repeated. The fourth monkey was changed, resulting in the …

Who Do You Envy?

I recently listened to the Rich Roll podcast featuring Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project (link to podcast).
Early in the interview she posed a question that really piqued my interest – “Who do you envy?”
The question proposed by Gretchen points to what the person who is envied is, does, or has over the person envying. Oftentimes, we ask questions about regrets or what we want only for folks (myself included) to say we have no regrets or we don’t really want anything more than what we have (beyond the usual dreams). Personally, I can say there are a fair number of things I want. However, the thought of who I envy really draws out a deeper perspective. I ask why.
Thinking about this, I envy: Elon Musk, James Dyson, JK Rowling, David Beckham, Jack Ma. I envy them for their remarkable success. Success that was achieved by overcoming incredible failures and adversity. They stayed true to their beliefs and emerged victorious.My older brother and my best bud for raising beautif…

Money Buys Anything

I’ve been thinking of how powerful money can be, and how businesses capture consumer surplus.
According to Investopedia: Consumer surplus is an economic measure of consumer benefit, which is calculated by analyzing the difference between what consumers are willing and able to pay for a good or service relative to its market price, or what they actually do spend on the good or service. A consumer surplus occurs when the consumer is willing to pay more for a given product than the current market price. However, maybe it’s also this notion of consumer surplus that drives how businesses, government, etc. enable those who “have” versus those who “have not”. Consider for a moment how advantageous technologies and tools can be for startups, for example. Some tools enable these companies to flat out survive and build something meaningful. However, due to lack of resources (normally cash), startups are unable to leverage them (think legal, marketing automation, etc.).
Or, think how fliers today…

New Launch! Mmm Donut

Check it out – I’ve started a new site called Mmm Donut ( With my interest in donuts, I’ve decided to start Mmm Donut to write donut reviews.
Unlike my previous blogs and sites such as 100 Strangers, 100 Days or even this Entrepreneurial Ninja blog, I will not have a set rhythm and cadence for Mmm Donut. Instead, I will try out different donuts and simply write about them – grading each on 7 Donutal Dimensions. SDQ – sprinkle density quotientD2 – dough densityFro – frosting factorFru – fruitinessCho – chocoholicismUni – uniqueness In addition, I’ll have special tags for donuts including:
Gluten-freeVeganFilling I hope to maintain this site for fun without too much burden with regular cadences of posting. Check it out. It’s just for fun.