"...keeping you great" Ten Minutes with the Growth Guy
Headlines: (warning, mostly about founders/CEOs, not the rest of the exec team)
The Founder's Dilemma -- this is the title of an article in the February 2008 Harvard Business Review. Notes the article: "Most entrepreneurs want to make a lot of money and to run the show. New research shows that it's tough to do both. If you don't figure out which matters more to you, you could end up being neither rich nor king." Here's a link to the article -- you only get the first page -- the rest of the article will cost you $6.50 -- I found the article worthwhile to read and made me think about how I might transition myself in Gazelles, though WARNING -- it is mainly focused on technology-based firms. Thanks to David Mammano, founder of NextStep Magazine for bringing this to my attention.
Founder Frustrations -- the author of the article, Norm Wasserman, is an assistant prof at Harvard specializing in Entrepreneurial studies. He has an interesting blog entitled "Founder Frustrations" -- he has both an excellent overview of the above article (i.e. businesses that are not capital intensive are the easiest for founders to maintain control) with links to his data and research. And if you scroll down you'll see his various postings on topics like how to split equity with the founding team, founder-CEO succession, whether to partner with friends, etc. I've added his blog to my list to receive.
Founder Fun -- "Top-Gun Airborne Action" May 15 -- 18, Las Vegas -- late last year I told you about Maverick Business Adventures™ -- they host one-of-a-kind adventure experiences for business leaders. The first experience was an off-roading Baja adventure with Jesse James and 3-time Super Bowl winner, Darren Woodson. You can watch a 4-minute highlights video here. Two Gazelles' insight readers participated and their enthusiastic feedback is under DETAILS below. The next trip is their "Top-Gun Airborne Action" May 15-18, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. It's a Zero-G flight, Aerial combat in a jet fighter (you fly), Helicopter into the Grand Canyon, dinner with Peter Diamandis (founder of the X prize), unique business sessions and much more still shaping up -- it's already half sold-out. Check it out here. Work Hard, Play Hard!!
Founder's Freebie -- I don't know how long it will last, but the banner ad on the HBR site (click on the HRB article link above) offers a free copy of Michael Porter's HBR classic "Strategy and the Internet" if you take a quick survey. The article highlights how companies can mistakenly dismiss strategy fundamentals just because the internet has changed the playing field. It's always a great idea to read Porter's HBR articles -- we have his classic "What is Strategy" referenced on the My Gazelles page -- one of the seven "must read" articles.
Founder's Quote -- "Selling the product is for sales guys... Selling the company is for CEOs" Stephen Watkins, founder of Entrex.
Founder's Mistake -- and last, I loved this piece in the NY Times this week about Steve Jobs and reading. Seems he did make a big mistake. According to AP research last year, only 27% of Americans had not read a book recently. In turn, 27% had read over 15 books in a year and 50% six books. As Timothy Egan, the author, points out 60 million copies of the DaVinci Code have been sold vs. 3.7 million iPhones. OK, OK, not a fair comparison, but hey, I'm a reader and enjoyed the article defending books and reading!
Here's what a few of the Gazelles on the trip had to say about their Baja experience (and I like the added note Mike sent me -- see last posting):
"What we found here is a group of likeminded individuals. We're not all in the same business; we're not doing the same things and that's part of the beauty of it. But everybody is here to work hard and play hard, so you get a very intense group of guys. You don't get to meet a guy like that in an evening or over a round of golf...these are guys I'm going to be talking to and relating to for weeks and years to come." -- Mike Lally, PCB Group
"When I first got here the first day, I thought, "Well, I won't be lasting," but after a couple of days I found that I was looking forward to the next trip out to Las Vegas ....from a business perspective, the meetings were phenomenal with great insight. They were really motivating to, I think, any business man at whatever level you may be, at the top of your field or just an entry-level guy. With the type of talent and consideration that these fellows have, this club will definitely make a difference in my life and I'm sure will make a difference in a lot of the people that I deal with." -- Jim Spano, International Resort developer
Mike Lally further noted, to my delight "...as part of the evening business sessions, I introduced the whole maverick group to the one page strategic plan. Many were one man internet businesses, but a few were from the brick and mortar world. Ironically, guest celebrities Jesse James (Monster Garage) and Darren Woodson (Dallas Cowboys) were scribbling notes just as fast as all the mavericks as we discussed tips and tools in the 'what's working' sessions."