Tagged by: Achievement

No Excuses. The Ball is in Your Court.

During a leadership meeting at Rackspace this week, Jo Dockery, one of the smartest Rackers, was presenting. She had a slide with a great quote:

Never Gets Easier You Get Better

I loved the quote. What made it special is that it puts the ball on your court. Stop complaining about external circumstances. It encourages you to stop blaming external factors. They are just excuses. Life is hard, deal with it.  

You might have heard Have you hear a story about the guy who gets shot. As he is lying in the ambulance, he is smiling. The paramedics are puzzled as to why someone who has been shot might appear happy and ask him about it. He said “I have been shot, there is nothing I can do about it. I can choose to be happy or sad. I choose happy.  ” You don’t control the circumstances but you control how you will deal with them. 

The grass always seems greener o the other side.  If feels like other people had it easy: They are lucky,  they inherited money, are liked by the CEO, were at the right place at the right time, etc. – and you didn’t.  Maybe that’s why you are not successful. I have thought about this myself, maybe even more than once. Let’s call bull. Life is hard, maybe even unfair. Work is hard. Everyone has problems.

Stop blaming the environment. Stop blaming others. Stop blaming your situation.  You won’t change the world around you, You won’t change your boss. But you can change you.  The ball is on your court. You can do something about you. You can change your attitude, your behavior and your skills.

The alternative is to sit tight, delay success, and wait, hoping things will improve and everything will be easier. It never happens. Life is now.  

You just get better. 

You become clearer on your goals. You figure out how to win. You acknowledge your limitations. You ask for help. You learn. You plan. You study.  You spend time and effort to improve.  You get more resilient. You work harder. You get smarter. You practice.  You ask for help (yes, again). You keep trying. You keep getting better, and better, and better.

How are you getting better today? 

People say I am lucky. But a funny thing happens: the harder I work, the luckier I get” – unknown

Picture courtesy Brian Hindle via Flickr under Creative Commons – http://www.flickr.com/people/dryrot/

During a leadership meeting at Rackspace this week, Jo Dockery, one of the smartest Rackers, was presenting. She had a s...

Read More »

The Best Career Advice is to Follow Your Passion

Do what you loveMentoring others gives me deep satisfaction. One of the most common mentoring topics is the question of how to be successful: how to orient one’s career, what is the right job to take, what to do with your professional life.

The Secrets to Success According to Richard St. John’s

One of the top Ted talks (4.6 million views as of today), Richard St Johns talks about the 8 secrets of success, which he developed after 500 interviews of highly successful people. I have to completely agree with these 8 “secrets”.

The second, third and fourth are hard work, focus and practicing until you get good. Simple words, sure – yet working hard, being focused and practicing are difficult to do on a daily basis. Focus is tricky, because there are always distractions and other interests that pull you aside from the road. This is why focus is best defined in terms of what you will not do anymore.

Focusing tirelessly, practicing every day and working hard should drive your life. Many consume more than one self-help books and try to build the discipline to get them done. But they come naturally, almost effortlessly, if you have the first one of Richard St. John’s secrets: Passion. You will need to watch the Ted talk for the other four. (it’s worth it, it is only three minutes).

Developing Passion

You can’t just decide to get passionate about something. Passion is not commanded intellectually. Passion comes from the heart.

Or maybe passion comes from DNA: Marcus Buckingham leads a philosophy that suggests every one of us is ‘strong’ in certain areas or activities that we enjoy: activities that give us satisfaction and make us feel better when we perform tem. His philosophy is that the people that pursue their strengths are happier and that companies that focus on aligning their people with the activities that leverage their strengths are most successful.

What are you Passionate about?

Because you can’t decide to become passionate about something , you must find what you are passionate about and then focus your work on that.

One of the things I am most grateful to my dad is that he exposed me to many things allowing me to discover my passions. He made it possible for me to try many things that I did not like – or that I liked but was not good at, like musical instruments. One day, when I was in middle school, my dad showed up with a  book ‘Positioning. The Battle for your Mind’ . I devoured the book. Right then I knew I wanted to be a marketer. That’s my calling. What’s yours?

My point is that you can’t find your passion unless you spend some time exploring. A few months ago I blogged about my story of passion for Coffee and how knowledge is a requirement for love . You can’t love what you don'[t know. I probably would not be a marketer today if my dad had not exposed me to that book.

Be The Best You Can

You should aspire to be the best you can in whatever area you are passionate about. Note that being the best you can is about your performance relative to your potential. It is different to being the best in the world, which measures your ability relative to others (more ego driven).  but even while you should measure your success in terms of your own capabilities, it is important to understand your level of ability or competency relative to the rest of the world.

In his book Quitter, Jon Acuff tells a story of when he really wanted to be a copy writer at a large agency. One day, an exec at a prominent agency receives him and gifts him the experience to read all the portfolios that had been submitted for consideration by copy writing candidates. The experience allowed Jon to understand where the bar for good and great was, and in his case, to realize that he was not made to be a copy writer.

Passion Makes You Work Hard and Become Great

When you are truly passionate about something you focus, you aspire to learn and get better every day. You work hard and practice until you become good. You try to be the best.

When Mark Cuban got his first job as a software sales person, he read all the software manuals he could get a hold on. He read a manual every single day after getting home no matter how late, and he enjoyed it. “I could not put them down“. Mark quickly became an expert, and a valuable resource for is clients. He pulled away from the rest of the salespeople in software Dallas and found success. The rest is history.

Just Do it

A few months ago, a friend asked me for career advice. He told me he really wanted to be a writer and he was looking for a break. I asked him to show me examples of his work. He did not have any. If you are passionate about writing, you surely have a blog, or a manuscript for a book in a drawer, or poems in napkins, right? I asked. He did not.

How come? He really wanted to be a writer. But he did not spend time on his passion. Maybe he was afraid of not being good. Maybe he was busy. Maybe he never took the time to think about a path to become a great writer and where to get started. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario.

You have to follow your passion. You have to spend the time to explore the world and find what you are passionate about and then you must make time to practice and get better. ‘I don’t have time’ is not an excuse if you spend an hour every day watching TV. Get up 30 minutes earlier. Eliminate distractions. Unsubscribe from 10 email newsletters and a few RSS feeds. Cut back on Facebook. Otherwise, you will be in the same place 10 years from now.

Applying the Hedgehog Strategy to Your Career

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins describes a “hedgehog strategy” for organizations that can be very slightly modified to become a very simple but powerful tool for career planning. The concept is based on a VIN diagram with three intersecting circles:

  • One circle defines what you can be really good at. Your strengths and natural skills.
  • One circle defines the activities that you enjoy doing, your passions.
  • One circle defines the activities that fulfill your financial needs. Where you can make enough money.

The area where the circles intersect are the most interesting:

  • I enjoy and am good at things like photography that won’t make me enough money to provide for my family, so they are hobbies.
  • I am also good at things that I don’t necessarily like, I could perform these activities and even make enough money but I will not be happy and probably won’t be very successful. I am a very good salesman, and I know I could make a ton of money in this career – but I would be miserable because I don’t like working on a quota and probably could not deal with the pressure.
  • There are also things that I like,  such as playing the piano, but I am not good at and I won’t get good at. I am delusional is I think I will be a professional piano player, I simply don’t have the coordination not I would be able to develop it.

The place where these circles overlap is the ideal spot for your career: an area you are passionate about, you are good at it, and you can make money. Again, it may sound like a simplistic concept, but I have seen it used as a tool by people in all stages of their career to make smart decisions.

Skills and Passion VIN diagram

 “Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.” — Ray Bradbury

 “You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing.” — Dale Carnegie

Mentoring others gives me deep satisfaction. One of the most common mentoring topics is the question of how to be succes...

Read More »

How can CMOs Build an Effective Social Media Strategy

This post was first published in the American Marketing Association blog.

Bazaarvoice and the CMO club recently published a report about how CMOs think about social media and how they are finding ROI (or not).  You will find a number of stats and details in the report itself. I want to share my own perspective on what I think are the implications made evident by the research.Crossroads

Social is Important. Every marketer knows it. Customers have shifted the way they buy. Social is here to stay, there is no question about it. Every CMO knows they need to have a social marketing plan. This should not be a surprise to anyone, the report simply confirms it.

Measuring results is harder than expected. The report shows social media is harder to measure than what CMOs expected. By looking at last year’s report, it is clear most of them thought by now their social marketing efforts would have matured enough to have a good measurement framework. Today, most marketers are measuring engagement, not actual business impact. Many are still chasing shiny objects. Consider how many companies are trying to grow their Facebook fan pages without a clear reason why they are doing it or a strategy to convert fans into business value.

Social Marketing is too tactical. Without an indication of results, CMOs can’t make investment decisions on social media. As a result, most companies are still in experimentation mode. Only two years ago, social marketing meant blogs and wikis. Last year it has been about Facebook and Twitter. Now GroupOn (which is not even social, IMHO) and Foursquare join the category of shiny objects. Small and large businesses are jumping on the GroupOn mania, getting 25 cents on the dollar, often without thinking through a strategy.

Sadly, without a framework for results, CMOs have a hard time deciding how much to invest in social. According to research by Altimeter, the average large company is investing only $830K per year in social marketing. This budget can cover salaries for a team of three people, maybe a community platform to run support forums and a listening platform.  The amount of resources, budget and results in social marketing is insignificant relative to overall marketing efforts. The danger is that a CMO hires a social strategist, two people to “man their Facebook and Twitter pages”, start a blog and ‘check’ – they have a social strategy, they can move on to more important stuff. 

CMOs know they need to shift their investments from traditional advertising to social and digital efforts, but they can’t do it blindly. Even if a CMO wanted to shift $20 million dollars to social, they would have a very hard time finding where to spend it.

Reading the results from the research can be heartbreaking. The obvious question is: How to build an effective social strategy? There is no easy answer, however, I want to offer four ideas to help you build social into your marketing strategy:

  1. Social is not a Strategy. Eventually, the word social will go away. Humans are inherently social, most human activity is social. We don’t talk about digital computers or electronic calculators, it is assumed. Companies are in business to make money. According to management guru Peter Drucker, the only valid business purpose is to create a customer. That is a paying customer. Social is not a goal, it is a means to an end. Should you experiment with social? Sure. What I am suggesting is to always think about how each social marketing activity will support your business goals.
  2. Social as a marketing tool. Social tools can help marketing, innovation, customer support and other functions. But this is a blog for marketers. Yesterday I was having lunch with a friend who asked me if he should hire a social media strategist. To his surprise, I said ‘No’. I suggested he should hire a marketer that understands how social media can support the organization’s marketing goals. A marketer that understands how social marketing efforts can work together with ‘traditional’ marketing efforts to create more customers. To make money.
  3. Smart social metrics. In any business functions leading indicators are important. For years, online marketers have measured page views as a leading indicator for customer engagement that then can be converted into paying customers. In the same way that email newsletter subscribers are an engagement metric that companies can leverage to do permission marketing to drive sales, the number of Facebook fans are also an interesting metric that enables permission marketing to drive sales. But you have to think through the experience: from leading indicator to business impact. Build a model that uses social media tools, to drive engagement and activity that then impacts business goals. Take a look at the model in this slideshare from two years ago, and at a more evolved model in Jeremiah Owyang’s Social Media ROI Pyramid
  4. Social drives Advocacy. Social Marketing can be used by marketers in many ways: to build confidence in customers, to learn from customers and monitor your brand to make your organization more customer centric, etc. If you are looking for a quick win, I suggest consider using social media to drive advocacy: tap into Facebook , customer reviews and other forms of social media to empower your customers to sell for you. Word of Mouth is nothing new, it has been around forever. Social Media online makes it easy for happy to customers to drive advocacy and makes it scalable – and often measurable – for marketers.

Good luck with your social marketing efforts. Have fun. Be authentic. Experiment. And learn.

This post was first published in the American Marketing Association blog. Bazaarvoice and the CMO club recently publishe...

Read More »

Joining Bazaarvoice

BV Logo

It’s been almost three months since I joined Bazaarvoice as Sr. Director for Product Marketing. It has been a very rewarding and fun experience. But let me start from the beginning:

I worked for Vignette in a similar role for about a year and a half. Then the company was acquired by Open Text and I was offered a position to run strategic communications, which I did for a few months. My team included PR, AR, social media and a new CXO/executive relationship program.

This was a very exciting position from the perspective that it was all about influencer marketing. However, I had significant differences of opinion with the senior management team in terms of strategy, company culture and marketing position. Once I started working on that position I felt like I was an evangelist for a religion I did not believe in. Almost at the same time, Bazaarvoice presented me with a unique opportunity.

My Social Media background

For the last almost 10 years I have been working with social media and online communities. At Motorola we created the first mobile developer communities back in 2001 for the earliest smart phones. Developers have relied on peer-based online and offline communities for learning and support. Then I had the unique opportunity to lead Microsoft’s community strategy starting in the developer division and as the driver for the Broad Customer Connection initiative company-wide. Looking back, we did some pretty amazing stuff back then that would still be considered leading edge today.

During my time at Vignette, I helped the company transition from Enterprise-content management to a vendor that uniquely understood how to manage both enterprise content and social media content. The Vignette social media strategy was looking good until the acquisition.

Four Areas of Social Media

I see four discrete aspects of social media as they relate to how companies interact with it.

  1. First there is the Social Web made mainly of social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Flickr, eVite, eBay, Slideshare – etc. There are many case studies about how companies are using these tools to connect, listen, respond, interact with customers. I have a pretty cool story I will share in a future blog post.
  2. Peer support communities proved their value many years ago. This includes developer communities, support forums, NIkeID and others that are mainly knowledge based or break-fix.
  3. Social media in the enterprise, better known as Enterprise 2.0 took the concepts of social media and Web 2.0 into employee Facebook-like applications converging with collaboration and knowledge management. SharePoint and Salesforce Chatter have a good chance of dominating this market.
  4. Standalone marketing community sites. Often times these appear as complements to brand sites, as promotional micro sites or as standalone sites that aim to capture a conversation, increase engagement and somehow magically produce business results. I feel like this is the least mature aspect of social media. This is the space where I will focus the rest of this post.

Build it and They Will Come

The initial idea was great. Essentially marketers love the idea of being the center of attention, of hosting the conversations around their brand and their market. If your business is selling guitars online it would be very compelling to be the Facebook of musicians and host the space where they would gather and chat about stuff, giving you “permission” (in Seth Godin’s terms) to market to them and turn them into buyers.

The problem: Facebook won. Music aficionados are on Facebook. They are probably also fans of organic food, classic rock, the Gap, etc. But they don’t think about these brands when they want to discuss topics related to these markets (food, music, clothing) because their conversation is happening on the social web, where their friends are today. In Jeremiah Owyang’s words “fish where the fish are”. 

Think about it from your perspective: how many things are you passionate about, how many brands you like. Do you maintain a profile in each of these brand’s communities? Are you active there? Or do you do all your social webbing on Facebook and twitter?

The idea sounds great but it’s a myriad. I recently blogged about this in what I think is a controversial post that includes some informal research about the failure of online marketing communities.

Where’s the beef?

For the last two years companies have been hiring social media experts. Many of them are good communicators, experts in the use of social media tools but lack the track record of driving real business results. Companies realized they needed to do something in social media and given their lack of experience CMOs had to trust social media experts and give them free reign to do whatever they wanted. They wanted a social media strategy.

Last year companies started asking themselves, after doing this for a few months, Where is the ROI? How much should we invest next year in social media? How do we know what tools to use? Facebook fans don’t make payroll. Business week published an article “Beware of Social Media Snake Oil” based on ideas from David Armano. A year ago, my presentation at Web 2.0 focused on the lack of measurement and idea that you don’t need a social media strategy because social media is a tool that should support business objectives.

Some stats: (about a year old) . eMarketer found 84% of marketers don’t measure social media ROI at all. A survey I did with the Marketing Leadership Roundtable shows only 12% of Web 2.0 initiatives are rated as effective. The Marketing Sherpa Social Media benchmark shows social media has been most effective at influencing brand reputation and awareness, improving search engine rankings and increasing traffic. 

Social Media has produced soft benefits: awareness, participation, customer feedback. There is no question Social Media is a great tool to interact with customers, listen, broadcast and solicit feedback. What about making real money?

Enter Social Commerce

Social commerce is the practice of leveraging customer interactions to drive real business value. It started by taking customer’s opinions to help other customers make decisions on what to buy: ratings & reviews. Today, ratings and reviews are one of the primary drivers of eCommerce sales. Think about the last time you bought something on Amazon. As soon as I land on a product page I scroll down past all the traditional marketing content to land directly on ratings and reviews.

Now social commerce leverages not only opinions – also knowledge (questions and answers), experiences (stories), the Social Web, mobile shopping and a number of innovative tools. The direct correlation to business results is proven: higher sales, lower costs, reduced returns. For more stats see www.bazaarvoice.com/stats . Furthermore, social commerce can help companies breathe customer oxygen to understand the voice of the customer and derive insights that transform every aspect of the organization.

The secret is in what I call contextually relevant community. It is about using social media in a way that is relevant to the user based on their intent (what they are trying to accomplish) and their desired experience (i.e. the websites where they go to accomplish this). Social Commerce makes relevant, trusted advice, opinions, knowledge and experiences available to people as they look for products, decide what to buy, or learn how to use a product.

The conversation is not about what you had for lunch last week or the pictures of your dog: it is about the relationship that exists between you and the brand: the products you like, the people that enjoy products like you , your knowledge about these products, experiences you have had with them. It is contextually relevant to the brand as well.

Why Bazaarvoice

Leaving a global, public company with hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, in a job where I was innovating how to work with influencers and had three directors reporting to me to a small startup in Austin was a difficult decision. There were tradeoffs and risks.

Today I am 100% confident I made the right decision. There is energy and passion at this company. I work with really bright people. Our executives are smart. Brett, CEO inspires me. I enjoy every day at work. My wife told me after two weeks I am a different person at home. She loves Bazaarvoice too.

It’s good to be part of a successful company. Today, Bazaarvoice serves over 600 of the leading brands globally, including over 50 of the top 100 retailers in the U.S. We are hiring as fast as we can. There are probably 80 open positions on our website today. We have close to 10 full-time recruiters. Our ability to grow is only limited by our ability to hire top-notch people.

If you have heard about Bazaarvoice you probably heard about the culture. Our CEO has made it a priority. Proof? The vacation policy is entirely based on trust: “take as much as you need”. Many employees enjoy the weekly massages, guitar hero in the game room, free snacks, etc. Others enjoy the wacky sense of humor. Austin Business Journal named Bazaarvoice the number one place to work in Austin. All the pampering reminds me of the dot com days, except that this company is a real business that is growing on solid footing based on delivering real value to our clients.

Steve Joined Bazaarvoice a few days after I did. We have similar views.

At Bazaarvoice I can employ my experience in product marketing, my passion for customer centricity  my background in web technologies and  e-commerce and my 9+ years of experience working with social media. It’s a pretty good fit.

In these first three months, my team has delivered tremendous value for the organization. We are making a difference. I feel very proud of what we have done. I feel super excited about where we are going. Fasten your seatbelts. It will be a fun ride.

Hey, if you have read so far – thank you. This is a long post. I owe you one. Leave a comment. Say Hi. My promise is to blog more often. Here and on bazaarblog.com

Gerardo.

It’s been almost three months since I joined Bazaarvoice as Sr. Director for Product Marketing. It has been a very rewar...

Read More »

The question no one is asking

Can you Build a Community?

I have had the privilege of working with online communities for over 10 years. In the technology world, online communities -mainly forums- are a fundamental part of how people learn, share and help each other with technical questions.

As companies evolve their thinking about how how to leverage social media, CMOs are realizing social media is not a strategy, but a tool to support a strategy. This was one of the central points for my Web 2.0 presentation almost a year ago. The freedom that social media strategists enjoyed to experiment (and spend) without any ROI measurment is coming to an end. As Mike Svatel told me yesterday, pageviews don’t make payroll.

I have had the privilege of working with online communities for over 10 years. In the technology world, online communiti...

Read More »

Is SaaS reaching critical mass in 2009?

I just read this blog post which starts with a very bold statement “SaaS adoption will move beyond the “Tipping Point” in 2009”.  .  Countless analysts’ reports have prophesized about the explosive growth of applications delivered under a SaaS model for some time now. The reality is that adoption of software via this on-demand model has been quite limited (outside of CRM, thanks to Salesforce.com).

Sometimes it seems like the IT industry is looking for the next big acronym that will revolutionize the way we look at technology. In reality, customers and IT departments are much more cautious than what most vendors and analysts would like them to.

While not exactly the same, there are very few differences between SaaS and the ASP model that was the vogue in the late 90’s. Where is the money? The Forrester slide in the aforementioned blog shows 24% of companies are “interested in SaaS’.  There is a difference between being “interested” and signing a check.

First, I think it is important to understand SaaS is a delivery model that can be broken down into multiple components: hosted offering (off premise), monthly billing based on use, small or non-existent upfront cost and quick deployment. This in contrast with the “traditional” software deployment licensed as a perpetual license, deployed on-premise by the IT department and variable deployment times.

Most SaaS offerings are available to purchase online via a credit card with self provisioning. To enable these self-provisioning and instant-on capabilities, SaaS offerings are usually templetized with limited options. Integration with other systems is not as flexible as with a traditional on-premise solution. I say mostly because there is a wide range of vendors with different models. To support many customers from each server, SaaS vendors usually require multi-tenancy.

In my humble opinion, the SaaS model is not nearly as important as the evolution in the market towards managed services. What is the difference? Managed services are also hosted off-premise by a vendor that also provides software deployment, management and maintenance.  In other words, a managed services vendor takes the pain from IT hosting and managing a discrete piece of infrastructure. If you look at Salesforce.com in terms of implementation costs and resources it probably looks more like a managed service than a true SaaS model.

Let’s look at email as an ideal candidate to move off on-premise IT. Most It departments see e-mail as a business critical service from It but also as a solution that is pretty standard in terms of the ability for It to add value.  Microsoft Exchange Server has a very large and growing market share (70-80%) and is used everywhere from small companies (licensed as part of Microsoft Small Business Server for organizations with 5 users or more) to the largest enterprises.

There are two markets for off-premise Exchange services: Hosted Exchange (SaaS) and Managed Exchange.

Given the advantages of hosted Exchange in terms of cost, availability and security most in the industry (myself included) expected droves of small and medium businesses to go to Hosted Exchange. Microsoft had hundreds of Hosted Exchange partners – from companies like 4smartphone.net  to USA.Net to Microsoft’s own Exchange Online offer. Yet, despite effort from Microsoft and all these partners, adoption had been very limited.

Managed Exchange is a different story. Vendors like HP, EDS and AT&T hosts millions of email inboxes for the world’s largest companies but not in a SaaS model. They manage their Exchange servers on their behalf, with a team of certified Microsoft Exchange IT experts in a datacenter. There is no multi-tenancy, each customer is likely to have a cluster of dedicated Exchange servers. There is no online self-procurement: these are multi-million services deals done in person.

What is my point? Analyzing this data, one can come to a couple conclusions:

  • The SaaS model is especially attractive for the SMB space.
  • Yet it has failed to gain the traction that the industry expected .
  • There are very few success stories outside of CRM. I can’t think of many successful and profitable SaaS vendors. Omniture, Salesforce.com, who else? Wordpress?
  • The SaaS model still has many challenges ahead:
  • The Managed Services model, on the other hand, is very successful and gaining momentum.
  • Many large IT organizations are offloading core low-value IT services like email to managed services vendors.
  • In other words, while SaaS is not being adopted as fast as everyone though, Managed Services have reached critical mass and are already a significant business.

 

Mid 2015 Update

Today I found this old post. How much changes in six years. My first thought was that maybe I should delete the post. Then I thought I should just add this comment to acknowledge my prediction was wrong. SaaS has hit a tipping point and is the future of software – for the most part.

Then I saw the date and read the post and realized maybe I was not so wrong, that many of the challenges have been solved in the past 6 years. The SaaS model itself has matured, and in some cases a hybrid between SaaS and managed services has emerged as the winning combination. The signs that SaaS had hit a tipping point were clear as early as 2010. At the end of that year I joined a SaaS company. But I have to recognize back in 2009 I was wrong in being so skeptical of the speed at which SaaS would mature. Which is OK I guess, ad my track record with predictions has been pretty good so far.

 

I just read this blog post which starts with a very bold statement “SaaS adoption will move beyond the "Tipping Point" i...

Read More »

The Key to Success in 8 Words

This is the holy grail for entrepreneurs and employees. How to be successful.

I have thought long about the key to success and I have been asked often about what makes people successful. I have my own credo (maybe for another post) but I found this video to be pretty close to what I believe the keys to succes are. A video well worth spending 4 minutes watching.

Seth Godin blogged about the same topic this week . malcom Gladwell wrote about 10,000 hours of effort being the magic number for being successful. Seth disagrees.

“You win when you become the best in the world, however ‘best’ and ‘world’ are defined by your market. In many mature markets, it takes 10,000 hours of preparation to win because most people give up after 5,000 hours. That’s the only magic thing about 10k… it’s a hard number to reach, so most people bail.

Yo Yo Ma isn’t perfect… he’s just better than everyone else. He pushed through the Dip that others chose not to. I’m guessing that there are endeavors (like being CEO of a Fortune 500 company or partner at a big law firm) where the rewards are so huge that the number is closer to 20,000 hours or more to get through the Dip.

But, ready for this? The Dip is much closer in niche areas, new areas, unexplored areas. You can get through the Dip in an online network or with a new kind of music because being seen as the best in that area is easier (at least for now). You can get through the Dip as a real estate broker in a new, growing town a lot quicker than someone in midtown Manhattan. The competition is thinner and probably less motivated. “

It’s been a couple years since I posted this and I thought I should update with three words that I really like.

Fire, Focus and Faith

Fire is passion and drive. You either have it or you don’t. It’s what pushes you to work hard and to persist.

Focus is the wisdom to know what you want and to eliminate distractions. It’s especially hard in today’s world.

Faith is ethics, principles, the need to transcend, to help others, to do something meaningful.

 

– Time is our most precious resource. Use it wisely. Live each day to its fullest.

– The most important thing is that the most important thing remains the most important thing.

– Most people think money will make them happy, waste their life trying to get more money then they find it is not.

– Vices give you instant pleasure, meaning all the goodness is gone after it.

– Doing things for others gives you perpetual happiness that remains in you forever.

This is the holy grail for entrepreneurs and employees. How to be successful. I have thought long about the key to succe...

Read More »