I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the most important thing I have ever not done, is my homework at school. Most of grade school and high school, I basically didn’t do my homework. I knew it was due the next day. I worried a little, but not enough to actually do it.
While other kids were doing their homework after school, I was out playing with the other kids, getting up to mischief. Riding my BMX, playing games (footy, cricket, building tree houses etc). I can home late, often. Mum would yell at me and I had to think of an excuse as to why I was late. I would have to provide at least some kind of creative response. Then after dinner I’d be too tired to do my homework. So I’d promise myself I’d get up early and do it in the morning. When morning arrived I’d be too tired to do it then either… In short the homework would rarely get done. Almost never. When I got to school, the same charade would occur. That is, me thinking of creative reasons why my homework was not getting done. Firstly to the teachers to try and avoid an after school detention. Again later, explaining to my mother why I ‘had’ an after school detention. In hindsight it was all a little stressful. Thinking on my feet for answer. Answers I didn’t have at such a young age, with little fast thinking experience.
Turns out this was a pretty good career move, or even ‘life skill’.
In the end, years of being naughty, taught me how to do something far more valuable than having high grades in senior school. It taught me how to think on my feet and how to present to an audience that wants answers. But it also did a lot more than that. Eventually it showed me how to read the play on different peoples reactions to bad news, that rules could be broken if you could sell an alternative.
It even goes a little deeper when I think it through….
I wasn’t just watching TV when I wasn’t doing said homework. I was out in the street playing. Building things with other kids. Under taking projects, playing games and interacting. Doing real things with real people. Operating in ‘live’ human environments, where the results, in this case the ‘fun’, was based on my ability to motivate other kids and organize them. All this, rather than spending my after school day light hours memorizing a bunch I’ve crap that someone had deemed it important for me to regurgitate in some test.
And now as the years have passed I’m reasonably certain that the key to any success I’ve had in life has been due to my ability to influence people. I’m also pretty sure that not doing my homework was where it all started.
We live in a wordy world. It seems there’s a new acronym, piece of business jargon, or self defining adjective emerging every minute of the day. It’s easy to get caught up in the language, the jargon and forget what business and startups are all about:
Building stuff. Buying something for $1 and selling it for $2. Having a laugh along the way.
Keep it simple. Don’t try and be everything to everyone.
With all this in mind I’ll hand over to George Carlin – and yes, this video is worth every second of the 3.56 minutes it takes to watch.
I’m launching a new startup. For those who don’t know about it here are some of the key points:
- The brand extension comes from an already successful enterprise
- The partnership & legal agreements were entered into over a year ago
- The idea is not an original one, rather a new execution of a proven formula
- We didn’t pitch the idea or ask for permission, we just did it
- It’s a brand extension
- It’s a self funded project with no external capital. But we wont have ownership
- We will give away the corporation, once it is cash flow positive
- It’s a very long lead project
- It wont be cash flow positive for more than 20 years
- Estimated cost of the project is around $500K
- We do expect to however, to yield emotional & community benefits very early after launch
- It’s an industry we’ve never worked in before, but have a natural flair for it
- Some of the product development will be outsourced to 3rd parties
- Outsourcing will occur in 3 large segments of up to 6 years each
- The most important product development will be done in house
- There wont be any major advertising, brand awareness will be driven through family & friends
- We already know it’s unique, but wont require any intellectual property protection
- However, major security measures will be taken to protect the asset, especially in the incubation phase
My new startup is my baby due January 25th, and it’s the most exciting one I’ve ever been involved in. We’re involved in more startups than we think…
Startup Blog says: Let’s not define ourselves by what we own, but the cool stuff we do.
It was easy for white collar workers to be smug during the 1980’s. Their blue collar counterparts faced a dire future as hands on jobs increasingly went overseas to low cost labour markets. It even made it possible for information workers to extract larger salaries as the profitability of their organizations soared. The white collar desk jockey rode the wave of efficiency as corporations globalized and consolidated manufacturing.
Life has a funny way of going full circle. And now it’s our turn, the white collar worker. We are also an endangered species in developed markets.
Yep, you and me. We too, will be outsourced. All us accountants, IP Lawyers, Engineers, Computer Programmers (insert university educated profession here).
Don’t believe me? Then consider this: In India each year there are over 300,000 Engineering graduates and over 400,000 IT graduates who will happily work for 10% of what conglomerate X pays you right now. It’s only a matter of time before large corporations, who are usually struggling for top line growth, can get over the emotional barrier of having a large corporate head office and go offshore. The spreadsheet will make that decision for them. But this time the barriers will be lower than when all the call center went overseas because consumers wont even notice. Society wont care either. They are sick of people earning well above average incomes in ivory towers. No one will feel sorry for us.
What to do?
Stop being a factor of production and start organizing them. Stuff gets done, things can be built, and anything which is done at a desk is about to disappear to low cost labour markets. The way information workers can survive is through undertaking entrepreneurial endeavors (corporate & private). Be able to manage complex projects and by managing situations and people, not doing stuff. The age of the entrepreneur is about to become something which is so significant it changes work just like the industrial revolution did.
Startup blog says: Are you ready?
Get ready at Startup School.
For those of my blog readers already locked and loaded for startup school – Good News.
For those thinking about coming long – Another great reason to join us.
The uber terrific Yvonne Adele from at Ideas Culture has just joined us for the 2 events. She will be facilitating and helping us out through the two days. But don’t think she’ll just be giving the intro’s and outro’s – she’ll be giving us her spin on creativity and ideas, as well as getting us pumped up, motivated and thinking. Which will also blow our minds!
So, if you’ve been on the edge of booking startup school. Time to get moving. The Melbourne event is about to close the door with only a couple of seats left. And Sydney is filling quickly.
Feel free to contact me if you have any queries and want to chat in more detail about it on 0438 779566. Steve.
There is nothing less valuable in startup world than people telling you what to do, while they are doing very little themselves.
Traffic Directors I call them.
These days information and ideas are cheap. The thing of great value is when people start and finish projects. It’s so valuable simply because it’s so rare. In fact that’s true leadership.
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Small tip for startups for today.
Trim the ‘to do’ list and actually deliver on something.
All to often we get caught up in ‘options’ and priorities and a simple solution is to have 1 priority, and 1 thing to do.
Then do it.
Take your to do list and put everything which isn’t number one and file it in a digital format somewhere to return to later. This way you’ll ensure that the ideas and projects aren’t lost.
I know, you know this. I know you’ve heard this idea before…..
But if you’ve forgotten it, or you don’t do it – do you really know it?