Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
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Most 12-year-olds love playing videogames -- Thomas Suarez taught himself how to create them. After developing iPhone apps like "Bustin Jeiber," a whack-a-mole game, he is now using his skills to help other kids become developers. (Filmed at TEDxManhattanBeach.)
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
Startups Uncensored is on "How to Build a Great Internet Company". It is an open and frank town-hall conversation with the Docstoc Family. Jason Nazar, CEO of Docstoc interviews different team members of Docstoc to talk about the specific tips and advice on topics such as Product Management & Design, Web Development, BizDev, Content Creation, and much more. This is a unique one of a kind session showcasing many different members of the Docstoc team talking about specific best practices they've developed in each of their disciplines.
We asked three business-owners who started from scratch how they cracked it.
Former model, 28-year-old Stephanie Mason, launched her hair-extension business, Showpony Professional, in 2009 and hit turnover of $1 million by year three.
Serial entrepreneur, 32-year-old Glen Carlson, kicked off his 40-week business accelerator program Key Person of Influence three years ago. In just 11 months it hit $1 million in revenue and he's on track to reach $1 million profit next year.
Here are their tips for passing the million-dollar milestones.
1. Be visible
Mason got her hair extensions into salons by “pounding the pavement”. She started with Victoria, built up her territory, and as soon as there was enough business to be able to support a representative she moved on to the next state.
She got a big boost at the 2012 Australian Hair Expo when Showpony was a finalist in the Expo's Business Excellence Awards. “All the salons from around the country go to this event so we were doing demonstrations on the stand all day and the stand was chock-a-block for three days,” she says.
Of course, being visible doesn't just mean showing up in person. In an age where you are your Google profile, you need to be visible in blogs, articles, industry publications or try writing a book, says Carlson.
Kuipers, who has now handed over day-to-day management of his business to his three daughters, still puts energy into keeping the business' brand and social responsibility program visible.
2. Be unique
Identify how your business is different and sell that. For Mason, exploiting a gap she identified in the market has meant investing time in educating salon-owners and the next generation of hairdressers in how to use her products and sell them to their clients.
It's a slow-burn approach, but has created a “loyal following” she says. Now looking at expanding into overseas markets, her starting point will be putting an education team on the ground.
In an industry known for a hard-sell, Carlson takes a different approach and sticks to a single product. “There's a lot of charlatans and, frankly, bullshit artists," he says. "And the typical model is: sell, sell, sell.
“So instead of selling more and more and more to one place we're opening more cities and that's how we're increasing our revenue by growing wide rather than trying to hammer in deep.”
3. Save yourself
Carlson says he is “ruthless” about preserving his time for high-value activities. Anything else gets delegated or systematised. From day one, when he only had $10,000 in the bank, he got a virtual assistant to handle his diary and inbox. “I personally had plenty of time but it was a low-value activity.”
4. Identify door-openers
Carlson's plan of attack? Find partners servicing the same target market where there is no competitive overlap. The proposition involves the partners selling 10-15 reasonably priced tickets to an event for small-business owners. Each partner became a sponsor of the event. The value for KPI? Some of the 500 business owners then choose to sign up to its 40-week program, which generates 90 per cent of KPI's revenue.
“Apart from focusing on the high-value stuff, I think it was the partnerships that gave us the leverage to grow really, really quickly,” says Carlson.
For Mason a significant door-opener was winning the belief and support of Heading Out Hair and Beauty's Caterina Di Biase. She opened the door to the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, which put Showpony in front of the top 30 salons in Australia.
5. Stay focused
Kuipers puts his success down to "sticking to his knitting", even as his business grew to 20 company trucks and 45 contractor trucks. “A lot of people stray and are always trying to make money here, money there, but we don't. I always believe in keeping to the core business and just keep on improving the systems all the time.”
6. Find a super-model
Business models based on your time will act like brakes when you're racing towards the million-dollar milestone, says Carlson. “If their revenue is attached to their time it is limited.”
7. Look ahead
What's next? Kuipers says he aimed to increase turnover by 8 per cent annually, growing in a sustainable way.
Whether it's introducing a new product line; opening in a new market or looking efficiency improvements, keep moving forward.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
- William Feather
2. Believe that there are no failures; we merely postpone our success. There are no failures in life, only delays. Failures are stepping stones, not stumbling blocks, to success. Unless there are failures, how can there be success?
3. Failure can be reversed into success.
4. Failure is a process. It is a series of events leading to the failure that fails.
5. It takes a lot of courage to fail.
6. Failing challenges us to greater heights.
7. It is a privilege to taste failure. Not everyone has the experience of a particular failure.
8. Failure is not final.
9. Accept the realities of failure. It strikes at everybody.
10. Do not brand ourselves as failures.
11. Regard failure as an isolated case. We have not failed; it is the work we have done that has failed. We must separate ourselves from failure. While we dislike our failure, we still love ourselves dearly.
12. Permit ourselves to fail.
13. Do not regard failing as a stigma.
14. Failure is not the opposite of success. It is the step prior to achieving success.
15. Any work we do has inevitably two results - failure or success. It is akin to tossing a coin in the air - the result is either a head or a tail when it lands on the ground. Sometimes, it happens that failure results. We did not choose failure.
16. Failure is a learning process. We learn failure in the school of hard knocks, just like we learn trigonometry in school. Regard failing as an education process.
17. Since failure is a learning process, enjoy failure! Failure can only be appreciated and enjoyed in the University of Life.
18. Failure is a resource from which we can draw invaluable experiences.
19. Failure creates other opportunities.
20. Focus on managing 20% of crucial failures. It contributes to 80% of the results.
21. Failure is not that important. It is the response we make to the failure that is important.
22. Read biographies of successful men and their failure. Study how it traumatized and spurs them on to greater heights. Model them.
23. Pamper yourself with a good book, holiday, meal, movie or simply laze around and smell the roses.
24. Plan and strategize what is the next course of our action.
25. Finally, remember success is managing failure.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Updated: Monday November 25, 2013 MYT 9:29:33 AM
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Ed Tittel and Kim Lindros | Nov. 15, 2013
We rarely get a head's up that a disaster is ready to strike. Even with some lead time, though, multiple things can go wrong; every incident is unique and unfolds in unexpected ways.
This is where a business continuity plan comes into play. To give your organization the best shot at success during a disaster, you need to put a current, tested plan in the hands of all personnel responsible for carrying out any part of that plan. The lack of a plan doesn't just mean your organization will take longer than necessary to recover from an event or incident. You could go out of business for good.
How Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery Plans Differ
Business continuity (BC) refers to maintaining business functions or quickly resuming them in the event of a major disruption, whether caused by a fire, flood, epidemic illness or a malicious attack across the Internet. A BC plan outlines procedures and instructions an organization must follow in the face of such disasters; it covers business processes, assets, human resources, business partners and more.
Many people think a disaster recovery plan is the same as a business continuity plan, but a DR plan focuses mainly on restoring IT infrastructure and operations after a crisis. It's actually just one part of a complete business continuity plan, as a BC plan looks at the continuity of the entire organization. Do you have a way to get HR, manufacturing, and sales and support functionally up and running so the company can continue to make money right after a disaster?
For example, if the building that houses your customer service representatives is flattened by a tornado, do you know how those reps can handle customer calls? Will they work from home temporarily, or from an alternate location? Companies such as SunGard sell access to cubicles that include a desk, phone and computer in their recovery centers, along with server- and device-based DR services.
Note that a business impact analysis (BIA) is another part of a BC plan. A BIA identifies the impact of a sudden loss of business functions, usually quantified in a cost. Such analysis also helps you evaluate whether you should outsource non-core activities in your BCP, which can come with its own risks. The BIA essentially helps you look at your entire organization's processes and determine which are most important.
Why Business Continuity Planning Matters
Whether you operate a small business or a large corporation, you strive to remain competitive. It's vital to retain current customers while increasing your customer base - and there's no better test of your capability to do so than right after an adverse event.
Because restoring IT is critical for most companies, numerous disaster recovery solutions are available. You can rely on IT to implement those solutions. But what about the rest of your business functions? Your company's future depends on your people and processes. Being able to handle any incident effectively can have a positive effect on your company's reputation and market value, and it can increase customer confidence.
First, Create a Business Continuity Plan
If your organization doesn't have a BC plan in place, start by assessing your business processes, determining which areas are vulnerable, and the potential losses if those processes go down for a day, a few days or a week. This is essentially a (BIA).
Next, develop a plan. You can use any number of free templates available online or find an actual plan published by an organization similar to yours and modify it as needed.
There are six general steps involved in creating a business continuity plan:
One common business continuity planning tool is a checklist that includes supplies and equipment, the location of data backups and backup sites, where the plan is available and who should have it, and contact information for emergency responders, key personnel and backup site providers.
Remember that the disaster recovery plan is part of the business continuity plan, so check with your IT department to ensure it has or is actively developing a DR plan.
As you create your plan, consider interviewing key personnel in organizations who have gone through a disaster successfully. People generally like to share "war stories" and the steps and techniques (or clever ideas) that saved the day. Their insights could prove incredibly valuable in helping you to craft a solid business continuity plan.
Then, Test Your Business Continuity Plan
You have to rigorously test a plan to know if it's complete and will fulfill its intended purpose. Many organizations test a business continuity plan two to four times a year. The schedule depends on your type of organization, the amount of turnover of key personnel and the number of business processes and IT changes that have occurred since the last round of testing.
Common tests include table-top exercises, structured walk-throughs and simulations. Test teams are usually composed of the recovery coordinator and members from each functional unit.
A table-top exercise usually occurs in a conference room with the team poring over the plan, looking for gaps and ensuring that all business units are represented therein.
In a structured walk-through, each team member walks through his or components of the plan in detail to identify weaknesses. Often, the team works through the test with a specific disaster in mind. Some organizations incorporate drills and disaster role-playing into the structured walk-through. Any weaknesses should be corrected and an updated plan distributed to all pertinent staff.
It's also a good idea to conduct a full emergency evacuation drill at least once a year. This type of test lets you determine if you need to make special arrangements to evacuate staff members who have physical limitations.
Lastly, disaster simulation testing can be quite involved and should be performed annually. For this test, create an environment that simulates an actual disaster, with all the equipment, supplies, and personnel (including business partners and vendors) who would be needed. The purpose of a simulation is to determine if you can carry out critical business functions during the event.
During each phase of business continuity plan testing, include some new employees on the test team. "Fresh eyes" might detect gaps or lapses of information that experienced team members could overlook.
Finally, Review and Improve Your Business Continuity Plan
Much effort goes into creating and initially testing a BC plan. Once that job is complete, some organizations let the plan sit while other, more critical tasks get attention. When this happens, plans go stale and are of no use when needed.
Technology evolves, and people come and go, so the plan needs to be updated, too. Bring key personnel together at least annually to review the plan and discuss any areas that must be modified.
Prior to the review, solicit feedback from staff to incorporate into the plan. Ask all departments or business units to review the plan, including branch locations or other remote units. If you've had the misfortune of facing a disaster and had to put the plan into action, be sure to incorporate lessons learned. Many organizations conduct a review in tandem with a table-top exercise or structured walk-through.
How to Ensure Business Continuity Plan Support, Awareness
One way to ensure your plan is not successful is to adopt a casual attitude toward its importance. Every business continuity plan must be supported from the top down. That means senior management must be represented when creating and updating the plan; no one can delegate that responsibility to subordinates. In addition, the plan is likely to remain fresh and viable if senior management makes it a priority by dedicating time for adequate review and testing.
Management is also key to promoting user awareness. If employees don't know about the plan, how will they be able to react appropriately when every minute counts? Although plan distribution and training can be conducted by business unit managers or HR staff, have someone from the top kick off training and punctuate its significance. It'll have a greater impact on all employees, giving the plan more credibility and urgency.
Monday, November 11, 2013
A First Cut at History: A New Book on Amazon and Jeff Bezos
Friday, November 8, 2013
A self-professed computer nerd, Santiago is fluent in a dozen different programming languages and thousands of people have downloaded his apps for the Mac, iPhone and iPad.
Learn how Santiago's parents overcame a rigid school system that left their son intellectually stifled and depressed and instead followed an unconventional pathway to nurture his incredible gifts. Santiago's story is truly inspiring and his family's experience provides a powerful model for parents of exceptionally gifted children.
Friday, November 1, 2013
ABC's Secret Millionaire Ali Brown goes undercover to volunteer for the homeless youth program at Common Ground, the Westside HIV Community Center. After working with kids living on the streets of Venice, California -- and hearing about lives being saved and changed -- she reveals her secret.
10 minute clip. Original air date May 10, 2010.
You can help. Learn more at CommonGroundHIV.org or call 310.314.5480.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
- A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu
- Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18
- I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? —Benjamin Disraeli
- You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
- The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree
- Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis
- Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. — General George Patton
- Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
- A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonaparte
- You don't need a title to be a leader. –Multiple Attributions
- A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell
- My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. —General Montgomery
- Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker
- Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead
- The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. —Sir Winston Churchill
- The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. —Warren Bennis
- To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux
- He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle
- Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. —Brian Tracy
- I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader
- Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. —Peter Drucker
- Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. —Publilius Syrus
- A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together. —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
- The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. —Theodore Roosevelt
- Leadership is influence. —John C. Maxwell
- You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case. —Ken Kesey
- When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out. —Napoleon Bonaparte
- Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. —Harry S. Truman
- People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. —John Maxwell
- So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work. —Peter Drucker
- The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. —Tony Blair
- The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. —Reverend Theodore Hesburgh
- The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard
- A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible. —Polybius
- A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. —John Maxwell
- A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be. —Rosalynn Carter
- The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly. —Jim Rohn
- Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish. —Sam Walton
- A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur
- A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward. —Ovid
- No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it. —Andrew Carnegie
- Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —General Dwight Eisenhower
- The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist. —Eric Hoffer
- Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. —Brian Tracy
- A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. —Max Lucado
- Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. —General George Patton
- As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates
- All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership. —John Kenneth Galbraith
- Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you'll be criticized anyway. —Eleanor Roosevelt
- Don't necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership. —Donald Rumsfeld
- Education is the mother of leadership. —Wendell Willkie
- Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Stephen Covey
- Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. —General Colin Powell
- Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths. —John Zenger
- He who has great power should use it lightly. —Seneca
- He who has learned how to obey will know how to command. —Solon
- I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be. —Warren Bennis
- I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody. —Herbert Swope
- If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. —Maya Angelou
- If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing. —Benjamin Franklin
- If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. —Thomas Jefferson
- It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. —Latin Proverb
- It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. —Nelson Mandela
- Lead and inspire people. Don't try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead. —Ross Perot
- Leaders aren't born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. —Vince Lombardi
- Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. —John C. Maxwell
- Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy
- Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. —Jesse Jackson
- Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise. —Woodrow Wilson
- Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. —Norman Schwarzkopf
- Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. —Colin Powell
- Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts. —Erskine Bowles
- Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better. —Bill Bradley
- Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. —Tom Peters
- Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. —Stephen Covey
- Never give an order that can't be obeyed. —General Douglas MacArthur
- No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent. —Abraham Lincoln
- What you do has far greater impact than what you say. —Stephen Covey
- Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. —Chinese Proverb
- One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. —Arnold Glasow
- The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on. —Walter Lippman
- The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision. —Ken Blanchard
- The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. —Harvey Firestone
- To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. —Friedrich Nietzsche
- To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way. —Pat Riley
- True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well. —Bill Owens
- We live in a society obsessed with public opinion. But leadership has never been about popularity. —Marco Rubio
- Whatever you are, be a good one. —Abraham Lincoln
- You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. —Eleanor Roosevelt
- A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops. —John J Pershing
- A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. —John Maxwell
- There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage. —Fuchan Yuan
- I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn't. —Dee Dee Myers
- A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men. —Stephen King
- My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. –Unknown
- A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. –George Patton
- The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. –Dwight Eisenhower
- You don't lead by hitting people over the head—that's assault, not leadership. –Dwight Eisenhower
- Earn your leadership every day. –Michael Jordan
Friday, October 18, 2013
- Define the target buyer.
- Create a list of target buyers. Be specific so it's easy to take action. For example, "locate VPs of business development at investment firms" or "conference planners specializing in associations" or "dentists within 100 miles"
- Research warm connections to them.
- Reach out to contacts to ask for warm intros.
- Follow up with leads and so on. This provides a more task-oriented approach to a to-do list rather than sitting down to a seemingly insurmountable vague ideal of achieving sales, which would make anyone who doesn't like selling procrastinate.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
It's simple economics - and you're the simpleton
SAP licensing: 'Vagueness' and 'irregular enforcement'
It's your data, but…
Oracle licensing: A question of trust
Aggressive business practices on the spot