Archive for category Class
I was thinking about AJ’s discussion with the class and had a few random thoughts that I wanted to share.
First AJ was not the presenter that I thought that he would be. Please don’t think of this as criticism but here is a guy who works in marketing, is constantly speaking at conferences and schmoozing clients. I was expecting a loud and larger than life speaker. But he wasn’t. To me, he came across as quiet and sincere. And it worked for him. It just goes to show that you have to be yourself and not someone’s expectation of you.
The deeper reflection that I had was when AJ spoke about the number of decisions that you need to make to start a company. There are 1000’s of them and most you don’t need to sweat – what type of card stock do you want for your business cards. But the funny thing is that there will be dozens – not every day, but over the course of the company – that are make it or break it. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a sign that says “this decision is a big one”. Sometimes they are easy to recognize but it many cases you won’t recognize their importance until months or years later when you reflect back on what happened. Good entrepreneurs can intuitively sort out the 95% of decisions into critical or garbage piles and then worry about the critical and the maybe critical ones. They also have a tremendous ability that once a decision is made they move on and don’t look back.
It doesn’t really matter whether or not you made the right call, you have to deal with what is in front of you and not obsess about the decisions that were made in the past.
Last night Ken Kellaway, CEO of RoadLink and Pura Vida H2O presented to class.
The thing that keeps rattling around in my brain is how a 23 year old new MBA takes over the family business and builds it into this huge enterprise over the course of 10 years in an industry like logistics. Logistics is generally a very stodgy industry with corruption and lots of union activity. To be working in this space with your first real job as young as he was I find incredible.
Watching Steve Case’s presentation at Stanford I come away with two thoughts.
First I find it amazing that he had this fuzzy vision from the time that he was in college about this network of connected computers. He knew that it would happen and that he wanted to be a part of it. It wasn’t his first job or even his second, but by the time that he got his third job he was part of this new thing. That is amazing to me.
The second set of thoughts that I have are around his 3 P’s. The more I think of them the more powerful the message is to me. People, Passion and Perseverance: Three things that concisely sum up the Entrepreneurial experience. As in the article this week (“Questions every Entrepreneur must answer”) you have to have the right people, the right mix of skills and the right team to make something work. Passion – Every one has to have the passion to make it happen. We used to have a saying at Streamline: “We can’t have people that want to debate whether or not there is gold in them thar hills, we need people who believe that their is gold and spend all their time finding it.” That is passion. Believing in the vision and doing everything possible to make it happen. Lastly Persistence. No entrepreneurs journey is a straight line. There are roadblocks around every turn and the entrepreneurs job is to get around them (or knock them down or go thru them). To hear a guy who built a company with a market cap of $350 Billion talk about his roadblocks was inspiring.