7 Lessons Every Young Entrepreneur Can Learn From ‘SharkTank’
It’s simple. Follow these 7 rules. I like to refer back to this article from time to time because who in America doesn’t love watching wannabe Entrepreneurs make it or break it on SharkTank?
When ABC’s SharkTank debuted three years ago, I was instantly hooked. But, of course, I wasn’t the only one. It quickly became a favorite among millions across the country and helped garner attention for entrepreneurs and business owners who are tasked with finding the funding to make their dreams a reality every day.
While the TV show SharkTank gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a panel of five very successful (and often intimidating) investors, off camera many newbie treps are taking notes. And though dozens of entrepreneurs have landed an investment, even the misses offer a learning experience to young entrepreneurs who may one day pitch their big ideas to a room full of sharks.
Below are some of the lessons I believe every entrepreneur — young and old — can take away from SharkTank:
1. Be passionate. Whether you are pitching to investors, talking to customers or riding the elevator with some moneyed stranger, the passion for your company should be evident. To become successful you better love what you’re doing. Otherwise, it won’t keep you going when times get tough — and you can forget landing funding too.
2. Have hustle. A consistent characteristic in every entrepreneur is the ability to execute. Whether you’re building a product or going after new customers, prove that you can get things done. Don’t approach investors or enter any shark tank until you have shown a knack for creating value and the willingness to go the extra mile.
3. Create a strong team. I’m not saying that solo-founder companies can’t be successful, but I guarantee investors will always prefer a cohesive team consisting of hard-working individuals with complementary skills. If you simply can’t find the right co-founder, then surround yourself with mentors and create an advisory board of knowledgeable and reliable business professionals.
4. Know your pitch. No matter if you’re on SharkTank, at a cocktail party or sitting in the airport, you never know who you might run into and whether they might become an asset to your business. Always be able to explain what your company does in less than three minutes and confidently answer any questions. For an optimal and memorable pitch, explain the problems you want to solve, how you’re going to solve them, why your team is the best option for solving them and the value you’re bringing to the market.
5. Make your product a must have. If you think about the most successful companies, many of them created products and services that people “needed to have.” Every entrepreneur should aim for this. On SharkTank, it’s a frequent sticking point because unless you’re Apple, it’s extremely hard to build a big business based on something that’s only “nice to have.”
6. Have many plans. I’ve never been a huge advocate for creating massive business plans because once you get started, things will inevitably change — rendering your fancy 50-page business plan a useless stack of papers. However, I do recommend crafting an executive summary, business outline, market analysis, financial projections, investor presentation and a marketing plan. On SharkTank, I’ve never seen an entrepreneur whip out a business plan, but you can usually tell who came prepared.
7. Think big. One reason why internet companies have exploded in the last few years is, they have easier models to scale than other businesses. Leveraging the internet and mobile devices not only requires less capital, but also the ability to reach billions of potential customers in an instant. If you’re building a more traditional business, be mindful of the additional fixed and variable expenses, how your cost structure will manage scaling up and the ability to keep operating margins strong and profitable.
“Everyone wants to build a billion-dollar company, and they think they need to go out and find angel funding. Not everyone starts with that ability. … Do what you can within your means, and just work hard. If I could go back and do it again, I totally would. It’s cliche, but money’s overrated.”—Mike Chang (via brycedotvc)
Ari Emanuel. What more do you need to say? I was buying the book before this post, but for those of you who don’t know the Co-CEO of WME. Here’s a great post Ari wrote on Loyalty in Business earlier this week:
I always believe in getting to the point. And the point of this is to get you to buy Brothers Emanuel. Is LinkedIn the right platform to do a plug for my brother’s book? Probably not. But fuck it, I’m doing it anyway.
There’s a running theme through Brothers Emanuel, which Zeke, Rahm and I have integrated into our personal and professional lives. And that is, to always look out for each other. It’s a lesson our parents instilled in us and it’s what we preach to our kids.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love taking risks. And my biggest risks would have easily failed had it not been for the support from my family and friends. Loyalty was a huge component in the success of Endeavor. When I broke away from the comforts of an established agency to start my own venture, I got a real sense of who had my back. A handful of agents took the leap of faith, leaving steady paychecks and 401k’s for the great unknown. The same goes for my clients, who took a huge gamble following me (often against the advice of their managers). But they all knew that I would do the same for them in a heartbeat.
Four years ago, loyalty came into play again when Endeavor merged with William Morris. But this time, hundreds of staffers were asked to put their trust into WME. And you know what? Every one of them rose to the occasion and had faith that our new company would thrive. Loyalty is what makes businesses strong and I have no doubt that it’s been responsible for the continued success of WME.
Flip through the pages of Brothers Emanuel and you’ll see how important loyalty is to our family. Each of us has an amazing support system in place. Whether it’s Zeke and his medical colleagues, Rahm and his political staff or myself and the agents of WME. Always surround yourself with people you can trust and people you’re willing to go into battle with.
Ten South By Southwest 2013 Lessons To Apply In Business
Started writing my own recap to SXSW 2013 - but Diana Kander pretty much summed it up.
Here are 10 SXSW Lessons to live by:
SXSW Interactive just wrapped up, and it’s been an intense five days. It was inspiring, exhausting and thought provoking. Not long into my first day I began to notice parallels between surviving SXSW and succeeding as a business owner, so I put together this list of lessons learned:
1. The plan is just a roadmap. You can plan and plan for what you think your SXSW experience will look like and what events you are going to attend, but most of what you’ll end up doing will be impromptu and off the schedule. You have to understand that the plan is just a roadmap; as long as you have a good idea of where you are going, you’ll really benefit from and enjoy all the detours you’ll inevitably encounter along the way.
2. People are much more likely to listen or help if you don’t try to sell them. I saw a lot of people try to push their ideas like street peddlers.SXSW attendees are tired of being repeatedly accosted, so street peddlers get ignored. Focus on helping others first. Listen to their ideas and passions, and their interest in your pursuits will follow.
3. You need a lot of energy! Just like SXSW, business life is non-stop. You have to figure out how to work until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., get up at 7 a.m., and still function and produce day after day.
4. Follow up immediately after meeting someone. If you delay getting in touch with someone after getting their card, you’ll likely forget all the details of the interaction or what you were supposed to follow up about; and the longer you wait, the less they will remember about you.
5. Your pitch needs to be simple and easy to understand. Meeting hundreds of people who only give you a moment of their time really helps you hone your pitch. You quickly learn that if your explanation is not simple to understand or interesting, they are going to move on and talk to someone else. Tip: if you want to know if you have a strong pitch, occasionally ask someone to tell you what they think your company does after you introduce yourself.
6. There’s a lot of competition out there. There’s no place like SXSW to learn that no matter how brilliant your idea, there’s at least three other companies that think they are going to own the same market. When ideas are plentiful, execution is everything.
7. Potential mentors are everywhere. SXSW has the best and the brightest in attendance, but you have to be selective about who to solicit for advice. Critically assess who will provide the most value to your company and your personal needs and figure out a way to get them to listen. And don’t worry: If they say no, there are at least 10 more people around who can provide you with great advice.
8. Always be prepared to pitch. At SXSW, you never know who might share your elevator or literally bump into you as you round a corner, so look your best, have your pitch down, and always carry your product or something to demo.
9. Have a strategy to market your company. Don’t just give your card to anyone who makes eye contact. Your product or business isn’t for everyone. If you can narrow your focus to a target customer and think of creative ways to reach that target, you will get better results. Otherwise, you just look desperate and your ideas will be ignored.
10. Give yourself time to expand your mind. There are so many thought-provoking lectures and panels at SXSW that can have profound impacts on your business or your personal life. But you don’t need to wait for SXSW each year to reflect and learn something new. Opportunities to learn and develop are all around you, so remember to make time for them every now and then.
What did you learn from SXSW that will help you in your company? Use the comments to help keep the conversation going.
A great piece in @ Entrepreneur this month - Here are his six steps to connecting with influencers in your industry.
1. Offer something. "Give three things and ask for one," Babitsky says. In other words: Give more than you take. When he’s interested in making contact with an influencer, Babitsky first determines what he can offer that will be of value to the contact. He may be writing a white paper or book or be organizing a conference where he can offer the individual a speaking gig.
Of course, not everyone is writing books or organizing conferences every day. However, you can offer to interview the person for your blog or for a special report on your web site. Alternatively, you might be involved with a professional or trade organization where you can introduce the individual to your own network of influencers.
2. Do your homework. It’s usually possible to research influencers’ past writing and speeches, interests, and pet causes with a simple online search. Don’t waste their time asking basic questions or for information that is easily available online. Instead, find common points and use those to find areas where you might connect.
3. Get in touch. Babitsky likes to reach out via phone or email instead of social media because it’s more personal, he says. However, take your lead from the influencer’s cues. If he or she is active on Twitter or carries on online conversations on his or her blog, that might be a good way to get in touch, too.
4. Limit the ask. When reaching out for the first time, make it short and sweet. Don’t ask for anything that will take more than 10 or 15 minutes — a brief interview or a straightforward question or two. People generally like to help, but they may not have time to answer lengthy questionnaires or get involved in a seemingly endless back-and-forth.
5. Keep in touch. Maintain a database of contacts that also includes searchable keywords related to interests. That way, if you come across an article or information related to some of your contacts’ interests, you can easily send it along, keeping you relevant and memorable.
6. Ask to reciprocate. If someone has helped you, Babitsky recommends asking the individual if there is anything you might do to help him or her. The individual may be dealing with a challenge you can help alleviate, he says. If not, the ask is another form of relationship building, showing the influencer that you’re interested in giving back.
To all friends who ask if they need a business plan to start a company....
Entrepreneurs: You’re More Important Than Your Business Plan
by Rich Leimsider and Cheryl Dorsey | 9:00 AM February 18, 2013
"Would you take a look at my business plan?"
Some member of our staff at Echoing Green, an angel investor and grantmaker in social enterprise, hears this request every week. And we are often happy to review these start-up plans — which include the typical elements such as a product description, competitive analysis, estimate of market size, and projected financials. But we are interested in much more than these traditional plans. We use other criteria to find new people and ideas that can create large-scale social change.
In short, the business plan is overrated.
Like the vast majority of start-ups, most new social enterprises are bootstrapping efforts. As Amar Bhide said in “Bootstrap Finance: The Art of Start-ups" (a 20-year-old HBR article that is an uncanny precursor to today’s "lean startup" meme), traditional business planning processes are less relevant to bootstrappers — where resilience trumps planning and energy trumps experience.
Applying a formal spreadsheet-type analysis to an early stage concept can be “disastrous.” Instead, we look at eight broad rules for success, half of which are about the entrepreneur herself (not her business plan). These are lessons we’ve learned from investing $30 million over the last 25 years in 500+ social start-ups about what make a promising social entrepreneur, but they are equally applicable to any entrepreneur.
Purpose and Passion. Do they care deeply about this issue or community? Do we understand why?In 2012 Echoing Green invested in 28-year-old Marquis Taylor as one of our Open Society Black Male Achievement Fellows. Marquis created an organization called Coaching For Change to engage young Black men as entrepreneurs pursuing business opportunities related to basketball, football, and other sports. His passion was evident from his initial application — as the child of a single mother in South Central Los Angeles, basketball was his ticket to college. But he also understood that while a career as a professional athlete was extremely unlikely, sports itself was a multi-billion dollar industry with great opportunity as coaches, trainers, even youth camp organizers.
Perspective and Resilience. Will this person bounce back from the obstacles they will surely face in building this business? According to official statistics, more than 50% of new enterprises fail in the first 5 years. But in our experience 100% of new entrepreneurs face partial failure regularly. Even when a particular challenge doesn’t end the business immediately, the ability to bounce back is crucial. Although this is Marquis’ first entrepreneurial endeavor, his journey from academically struggling high school student to graduate student at Smith College demonstrated the grit and tenacity to consistently overcome obstacles.
Point of Entry and Leadership. Can you envision this person entering a field in a transformative way and inspiring others to action? All leaders must demonstrate authenticity and legitimacy with their customer base and other stakeholders. Marquis is building his organization in Massachusetts, a far cry from the Los Angeles of his youth. But his authentic presence and open attitude have given him access to the insular industry and geography where he now works.
Power Source and Resource Magnetism. Can this person attract money, people, and other resources to their cause? At Echoing Green we’ve learned that more important than charisma is what we call resource magnetism. Whether or not the entrepreneur has a thousand-watt smile (and it just so happens that Marquis does!) it is much more important that she is able to quietly persuade people around her to volunteer their time, talent, and treasure. Somehow Marquis is able to use the most tenuous of connections to arrange a conversation with a busy but influential leader, and then walk out with a financial commitment or five more introductions.
Even the most entrepreneurial leader, of course, needs a great idea. Here are our four rules we use to evaluate the underlying business concept:
Innovation. Has it been tried this way before? There are hundreds of organizations that use athletics as a way of engaging low-income teenagers. But too many of these organizations fail young people by neglecting to make the connection between athletic success and professional success. Marquis found a way to do this. Coaching For Change asks young people to build their own businesses around youth clinics, summer sports camps, and coaching. The kids develop discipline and focus, but also practical, marketable skills.
Importance. Does this organization tackle an issue that matters in the world? Our Fellows must not only have a clever idea — they need to tackle one of society’s major pain points. Marquis reminds us that nearly half of all young black men who start high school will not graduate. His work matters.
Potential for Big, Bold Impact. Could this organization directly, or by example, change a big system? Truly great organizations don’t merely grow, they also influence their field. Marquis is ambitious and he hopes Coaching for Change will work with as many young people as possible. Butreaching scale through copycat businesses is just fine and if Marquis can demonstrate the viability of his model, we believe it will be adopted more broadly and faster than Coaching for Change can spread it.
A Good Business Plan. Does the start-up plan (budget, timeline, staffing, etc.) seem thoughtful?Of course, the business plan remains an important element and we don’t neglect to look at it. While Marquis’ plan today is well-structured, the truth is that when we met him it was not the strongest part of his overall presentation. But we invested in him because we believe that helping an early-stage entrepreneur articulate a detailed plan is one of the ways that risk-tolerant investors can be most helpful.
Coaching for Change is by no means an established success. And even the most promising social enterprise take wrong turns. We are proud to have made early investments in the work of Andrew Youn, who founded One Acre Fund; Wendy Kopp, who founded Teach for America; and Vikram Akula, who founded SKS Microfinance. Each has led their start-up to massive impact for hundreds of thousands of people and influenced the way resources are deployed in their fields. But we’re equally proud of Angel Taveras, whose Echoing Green-funded mentoring program never reached scale, but who now pursues social change as the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island. So while we know that Marquis Taylor meets our eight criteria and has a better than average chance of success, we’re still buckled in for what might be a bumpy ride.
The point is that a business planning process can be extremely valuable to an entrepreneur. But if we’re going to truly see change through entrepreneurship, we have to focus on the person first and the business plan second.
How brands adapt marketing to the second-screen experience via @SBJSBD
How brands adapt marketing to the second-screen experience
Published January 28, 2013, Page 24
The traditional viewing experience continues to evolve for sports fans. Gone are the days of experiencing the game as a static spectator. Instead, fans are gravitating toward social sites to enrich their viewing experience and cultivate a deeper connection with the games they watch.
Capitalizing on this shift towards a second-screen experience is essential for brands wanting to remain relevant, particularly with millennials. Surprisingly, many brands are coming up short.
While major sporting events, such as league championships, generate millions of viewers and spark massive amounts of social commentary, brands are continuing to segment their strategies. A brand may sponsor the event — with its logo on the field and its advertisements airing during commercial breaks — but its social strategy is either tactically different or missing altogether. This lackluster approach does little to consolidate the team’s fan base, let alone spark engagement from fans who are tuning in remotely.
Conversations surrounding these high-profile sporting events will occur on Twitter and Facebook, regardless of the brand’s involvement. This presents a huge opportunity. However, the challenge for brands is: How do we capitalize on these conversations while keeping our branding consistent and providing meaningful content for fans?
While very few brands have succeeded in creating this type of experience, during Super Bowl XLVI, Coca-Cola was able to effectively pilot this type of strategy. Coca-Cola fully understood that in order to execute a successful advertising campaign, it would need to incorporate an extended social experience for fans.
The company relied heavily on fan nostalgia and utilized the polar bears traditionally seen in their holiday advertisements. The approach was simple: The polar bears (one a Giants fan and one a Patriots fan) hosted a Super Bowl party named the Polar Bowl.
During the game the bears would react to plays, advertisements, tweets and Facebook messages, all in real time. All of the social and multimedia content associated with the Polar Bowl was easily accessible to fans at CokePolarBowl.com.
Coca-Cola’s strategy not only engaged fans on multiple screens, but it also created a branded ecosystem directly connected to the Super Bowl. Coca-Cola was able to integrate its brand into an interactive experience for fans while capitalizing on the buzz already created around one of the biggest events in sports.
The campaign was a grand slam. Coca-Cola reported higher volumes of engagement over longer periods of time than it had originally anticipated. The company blazed the trail, and now it’s time for more brands to follow suit. The second-screen experience is the future of endorsements, particularly in the sports industry. However, this type of complex strategy must be executed properly in order to have the greatest amount of impact.
■Opportunities for fan activation
The key to fully turning spectators into active participants is to establish a sense of inclusion. Fans must be exposed to the strategy from the onset, and their path to engagement must be clearly outlined. One way to execute this would be through a simple, branded hashtag.
Let’s paint a picture. Say a sports apparel brand recognized that many fans of a particular NHL team use a simple slogan when referencing their team. The brand then decides to capitalize on this opportunity and turn the slogan into a branded hashtag.
With the NHL and team’s cooperation, the hashtag, along with the brand’s logo, would be branded on the arena board lining the rink, as well as on towels and T-shirts given away to fans at the game.
In order to fully support the fan experience and further incentivize fans, there would also be a sweepstakes run on Twitter as well as on a customized app on the brand’s Facebook page. Fan participation would grant them the opportunity to win exclusive prizes.
In the aforementioned scenario, the consistency is in the branding. Taking an endorsement strategy to a second screen presents the risk of sloppy or inconsistent branding. One solution would be to create a microsite to consolidate all of the socially endorsed experiences offered to fans.
A microsite, similar to the site used during Coca-Cola’s Polar Bowl, gives users a centralized location to access all the engagement opportunities the brand is providing. Moreover, it gives fans a more tangible location to discuss the game they are viewing, ultimately creating community feel.
■Connection to experience
The benefit for brands executing a social endorsement strategy is the ability to connect with fans in real time. What’s more, sports fans develop a certain level of emotional attachment to their team and sport. By tapping into this connection, brands have the opportunity to link their brand synonymously with this emotional attachment. This is the connection brands should always strive to achieve when creating social endorsement strategies.
An endorsed strategy with social media sites as the catalyst allows brands to create a more personalized experience for fans. Moreover, activating these fans on social media gives the brand, as well as the endorsed team or event, a pulse on fan conversations. This critical information can then be repurposed and used to their benefit. By understanding what topics and mediums fans are most willing to engage on, brands and teams can then develop targeted content that they know will resonate with fans.
Creating a campaign that aggregates social endorsements in conjunction with traditional endorsements is the future. This strategy is the key to maximizing exposure and fortifying extremely high levels of fan engagement for brands. Targeting sports is the perfect segue for brands to begin piloting integrated social endorsement strategies using a second-screen experience as a catalyst.
My favorite part of the Sunday Times is always the Corner Office section. This past week’s was no exception. G.J. Hart, executive chairman, C.E.O. and president of California Pizza Kitchen, listed his six steps of leadership. Here they are:
"The first step is to be the very best that you can be, because you can’t lead anybody if you can’t lead yourself. So you have to be honest with yourself about your good qualities, your bad qualities and the things you need to work on.
The second thing is to dream, and dream big. What’s the world of possibilities for yourself and for your organization? You have to be able to say, “Here’s where I want to get to.” It’s not that you’ll ever necessarily get there, but if you don’t dream, you’ll never even get started.
The third is to lead with your heart first. Let people see that you’re human and that there’s a human side. Show people that you have compassion. It doesn’t mean that you don’t set expectations and standards. But if you lead with your heart, people figure out whether you’re genuine, whether you’re real.
The fourth thing can be the hardest for young leaders: to trust the people you lead. It’s about letting go, and allowing people to grow into leadership roles. At the end of the day, it’s O.K. if they make a mistake or if they fall down. Because as leaders, it’s your job to pick them back up.
The fifth is do the right thing, always. It’s easy to say. But the way I like to describe it is that if the rules say one thing, particularly as it relates to people, and you genuinely believe in that person, sometimes it takes courage to do the right thing and give that person a second chance. Because we’ve all made mistakes and somebody picked us up.
The sixth is that it’s ultimately about serving the people you lead. It’s about putting the cause before yourself, and a willingness to see it through. I developed this list over time because it’s the way I live each day. My job is to lead and to make a difference. I’m a catalyst for change, to create an environment where people can grow and prosper.”
Golf through Arnie’s eyes as casual player, fan, businessman
I have been around the game of golf since I first hit a ball when I was 3 years old. That was 80 years ago. I still have interests in golf course design, course ownership and so on, but I haven’t really played competitive golf for quite some time. So as 2012 comes to an end, I’m seeing the game as you do: as a casual player, as a fan and as a businessman. And I like what I see.
This year marked an important but painful anniversary for me. A half-century ago, I lost the U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff to a young up-and-comer named Jack Nicklaus. That was an agonizing loss, but with a half-century of hindsight it’s clear to me that such challenges are the key to growth. This is as true for athletes as it is for businessmen, and as true for sports as it is for industries. Look at our own game. Golf has been kicked around some in the last few years. Whether it was the glut of golf courses; the damage of a Great Recession, during which politicians rushed to make the sport a scapegoat; or the soft television ratings from a few years ago, the game has faced its share of tests.
As we look back on 2012 and into the future, however, I see an increasingly vibrant and healthy game emerging from those examinations. It doesn’t take a scratch player to be moved by Bubba Watson’s personal story, his daring style and his gutsy Masters win. The rest of the major champion class of 2012 — Webb Simpson, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy — underscore the global reach of our game and the lasting appeal to both young and old.
At the amateur/club level, the game is stabilizing as well. According to the National Golf Foundation’s latest available figures, 25.7 million Americans played at least one round of golf in 2011. Of course, in these tough economic times, players are leaving the game. One underlying sign of golf’s strength: Even with the ebb in golfers, rounds played in 2012 are up 7.4 percent over 2011, the biggest one-year increase since the turn of the century.
Staying with that grassroots theme, I marvel at what The First Tee has accomplished. In the first 14 years since its founding in 1997, The First Tee has positively impacted the lives of more than 6.5 million youngsters. By 2017, the organization expects to influence an additional 10 million youngsters. That’s inspiring.
Palmer looks forward to golf’s return to the Olympics, led by the game’s global growth. Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
The game’s vibrancy is evidenced in television, too. Who would have guessed that Golf Channel, only 17 years old, would be the fastest-growing network on television? As a founder of the network with my partner Joe Gibbs, I take great pride in that. For those who are convinced that Tiger Woods must win tournaments in order for televised golf to thrive, consider this: 2011, a year in which Tiger did not win a single official money event, was the most-watched year in Golf Channel’s history. That momentum at Golf Channel continued into 2012, which is shaping up to top 2011’s numbers and set a new mark for viewership.
Today, however, the game is as global as can be. In November, a 14-year-old from China named Tianlang Guan won the Asia-Pacific Amateur and earned a spot in next year’s Masters. He’ll be the youngest contestant in tournament history. Think of the impact that alone will have on golf across Asia in 2013 and beyond.
The men are not alone. As the year comes to an end, we celebrate genuine global female stars as well, hailing from places as diverse as Chinese Taipei, Korea, Norway, Japan, the U.S. and, again, China. All of this bodes well for golf’s well-earned, long-awaited return to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Oh, to be young again! What a thrill it would have been for me to represent my country in the Olympics.
Do we have issues? Sure. What truly global enterprise doesn’t? We need to keep bringing the game to youngsters and women. We need to address the distance that today’s ball travels. Slow play is turning time-starved people away from the sport. We need to encourage nine-hole rounds. We have environmental concerns to deal with and we have to keep a vigilant eye on the standards of sportsmanship that set our game apart. The U.S. Golf Association and R&A recently announced a ban on the practice of “anchoring” clubs — usually a long or belly-length putter — against the body. I applaud them for not only their ruling, but also for the patient and thoughtful approach they took, studying the issue for years and across all levels of golf before making their decision. There was nothing knee-jerk about it. The game is in good hands.
Golf has been played for the better part of 600 years, and while the men and women who play it may age with every passing season, the game has an uncanny way of renewing itself. As I write this, dozens of hopeful tour players — the next wave of stars and major champions — are sweating out the final stage of Q School. Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, purists and modernists are heatedly debating changes to the treasured Old Course at St. Andrews. Meanwhile, in Asia, a 14-year-old boy is months away from his first breath of Augusta’s spring air. It doesn’t get any better than that.
“I saw one young man carrying a high-end Cuisinart coffee maker and pink slippers to the checkout counter,” Webb said. “I asked him jokingly if those were for him. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘You have no idea how much this means to me. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever been able to buy my mom a Christmas present.’”
When we watch bowl games, most of us aren’t thinking about the obstacles these players have overcome to get there. National Championship, BCS, Chick-fil-a, Sugar…it doesn’t matter. This is a huge moment in their lives. Congrats guys.
My favorite part of the Sunday Times is always the ‘Corner Office’ profile. This past Sunday Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, was profiled. He listed a number of different ways he helps manage culture at LinkedIn, including a borrowed mantra from Coach K and a few rules from Private Equity legend Ray Chambers. Check out the five rules below:
1. Living in the moment.
2. It’s better to be loving than to be right.
3. Be a spectator to your own thoughts, especially when you become emotional.
A nation is only as good as its start-up culture. Words that ring true, more than ever. But think about this, what is the goal of business? When Google’s stock dropped by 8% because of quarterly earnings report of $11.3 Billion in revenue, it got me thinking.
Not that this guy needs any introduction but Ari Emanuel (CEO of WME) posted up some great wisdom last Tuesday.
Although many of these may seem like common sense it’s cool to read the internal thoughts from arguably the most powerful man in Hollywood.
It’s even cooler that he used LinkedIn as his outlet.
1. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and move out of their way.
If you feel like you know everything, you’re wrong. I know what I don’t know and then I find partners who can teach me. A perfect example is my partnership with Patrick Whitesell, my co-CEO at WME. While we take on different roles at the company and focus on different things, we share the same goals and at the end of the day, we’re working toward the same end. That’s been the key to our success.
2. The only constant in business is change. Get comfortable with it.
When I started in the business, there were four broadcast networks and 19 cable networks. Now there are five broadcast networks, 117 cable networks, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, HBOGo, iTunes, Amazon Prime, VOD – the list goes on and on. Next year there will be more distribution platforms, and in ten years the landscape will have shifted another 180 degrees. The business is changing quickly, and the only way to succeed is to change with it. I always tell my colleagues, there is no such thing as a traditional talent agent anymore. It’s about pushing beyond that 10% commission and finding opportunity where it didn’t exist before.
3. Fail often, fail quickly.
Nobody fucks up like I do, but you’ll never succeed unless you take risks. Big ones. In 2009, we took Endeavor, a company that was doing incredibly well, and merged it with the oldest talent agency in the world. From a cultural and organizational standpoint, it was a big risk. People had their doubts. But we had a vision and a lot of help from very smart people (see #1.) Three years later, our business is stronger, our bench is deeper and smarter, and our deal-making is more innovative. It’s a better company – period. You have to lead by example if you want to promote a culture where risk-taking is rewarded.
4. Your schedule makes you dumber.
Force yourself outside of your daily schedule. Be curious and take time to learn about worlds outside of the one you live in. Watch the news, read the paper, educate yourself. Don’t be afraid to call people you don’t know, start a conversation, and ask for things you need. At the very least, you’ll be more interesting. At the most, you’ll take your business in new and bigger directions.
5. You only get one shot – make it count.
I learned this the painful way. After being hit by a car and lying face-down in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard, I was confronted with a whole lot more than my mortality. Take advantage of each day that’s given to you and do something to move the needle on your business, even if it’s just an inch. You’ve heard it before, but life is not a dress rehearsal. Don’t waste your time (or mine.)
6. Good ideas rule all.
In the end, it’s all about creative ideas and content – it’s the lifeblood of our business. I’m fortunate enough to work with the writers, directors, musicians and actors who are defining culture with their voices. It’s why I come to work in the morning. In 100 years, when the world looks different, and we communicate in new ways, and we have more devices and platforms and distribution methods, I believe great artistry will still matter most.