Tag Archives: success

Savvy Saturday December 28th, 2013

Work hard in silence and let your success be the noise.

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The Best Idea Wins

raised hand
Photo courtesy http://www.sincerelyjules.com

Today’s post is about an article of mine published in Forbes in Spanish a couple months’ ago. You can find the article here. I have pasted it below for reference.

For those English speakers following my blog, here is a summary of what the article is about and how I came to write it.

I was watching a presentation by Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, PayPal and Spacex. He was talking to a group at Stanford University on entrepreneurship and the business of making ideas work. During his one hour presentation he talked about how his management style is founded on “the best idea wins”. I love that expression because it shows how the idea – rather than the trappings, title or position of a person – is what is important in building relevant and innovative businesses.

The resulting article (below) talks about how we need to focus on the value of the idea; how assets are finite but the value of assets is infinite. I also quote Bernadette Jiwa, author of The Fortune Cookie Principle and blogger of Storyoftelling.com, when she says “what we are interested in the fortune – not the fortune cookie itself.” As human beings, we are seeking the intangible that is suggested by a brand and not necessarily the tangible elements that get “pushed” by traditional advertising.

That’s why ideas are so important. Although they are intangible and potentially question the status quo, they can be the difference between a successful and a mediocre or failed venture.

EMC

“La mejor idea gana”
Por Esther Clark
Forbes Mexico

Hace algunos años Elon Musk, el fundador de PayPal, de SpaceX y de Tesla Motors, habló de su trayectoria empresarial por casi una hora en la Universidad de Stanford, como parte de una serie de conferencias sobre ideas emprendedoras. Dijo que cuando fundó la empresa que se transformó en PayPal tenía –y sigue teniendo– la filosofía de que “la mejor idea gana”. Es decir, la calidad y la novedad de la idea, en vez de los títulos del proponente o la jerarquía de las personas presentes, forman la base para decidir si esta idea vale la pena.

En negocios –sean nuevos emprendimientos o sean empresas tradicionales– es importante destacar el valor de la idea. Cuando decimos “la mejor idea gana”, estamos favoreciendo la idea por encima de los “adornos” de la idea. Claro que hay que estar bien preparados para exponer la idea y proponer cómo se la puede poner en práctica, pero también hay que recordar que las ideas tienen una conexión emocional más allá de ser simplemente una solución o una propuesta de valor.

Bernadette Jiwa, autora de The Fortune Cookie Principle y blogger de Storyoftelling.com, explica que el valor de los activos es finito, pero el valor de lo que representan los activos para uno es exponencial. Aunque el valor puede estar sugerido por una empresa o marca a través de la publicidad o una buena campaña de marketing, el valor real (que es lo que debe interesar a los empresarios), lo crea cada consumidor. Como dice Jiwa, lo que nos interesa es la fortuna y no la galleta china.

Las ideas nos llevan a tener mejores productos o servicios en nuestras organizaciones; sin embargo, las ideas –tal vez porque son intangibles y vienen de fuentes inesperadas– no son cómodas y suelen encontrarse, al menos al principio, con una reacción negativa porque implica un cambio del status quo.

Hay un sinnúmero de artículos, libros y presentaciones de cómo hacer un pitch o cómo presentar –de mejor manera– una idea con la intención de “venderla”. Vender el producto o servicio es fundamental, pero explorar el “por qué” de la compra –desde el punto de vista del cliente– también tiene su valor y puede representar aún más valor para la empresa que la venta en sí misma. Es decir, la razón por la que el cliente compra y la conexión emocional que tenga con la marca o la historia de la marca, dan pistas del comportamiento del cliente para futuras ventas y para desarrollar una comunidad alrededor de su marca.

Elon Musk es conocido como uno de los emprendedores destacados de nuestra época –uno que aboga por “la mejor idea”. Hay valor en los activos intangibles porque representan, como la fortuna de la galleta china, un vistazo de cómo pueden ser nuestras vidas; las soluciones a problemas se concretan y las barreras se superan porque alguien crea en lo intangible, la idea y el cambio del status quo.

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The biggest factor in entrepreneurial success is…

BELIEF.

Entrepreneurs naturally have a strong belief in their business idea and how they will make an impact on the world; they are driven to find solutions to the problems (inefficiencies, conveniences, why can’t it work this way?) around them. But it’s only when that belief is translated into action and into a product or service that we can use does it become real and successful.

The biggest factor in entrepreneurial success is belief. Of course there are ways – quantitative and qualitative – to predict failure or success of new business ideas but it is belief behind the idea and behind the entrepreneur that gets the idea noticed, funded and adopted by society.

Business plans identify and describe the opportunity and talent behind an idea but it is belief that brings entrepreneurs, investors and market together.

Making the idea work = belief.

Get funded = belief.

Get noticed = belief.

Be successful = belief.

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Savvy Saturday July 27th, 2013

“I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
-John D. Rockefeller

And here is a great TED talk on “grit”….perseverance and strength to follow one’s goals and to achieve them through hard work, patience and taking advantage of opportunity. Happy Saturday!

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Savvy Saturday May 18, 2013

“ Failure is only postponed success as long as courage coaches ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory. ”

— Herbert Kaufman

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Savvy Saturday April 27, 2013

“We mount to heaven mostly on the ruins of our cherished schemes, finding our failures were successes.”

Amos Bronson Alcott

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Outliers and Success

My sister Christina gave me Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I been “savoring” Outliers because it’s a fabulous read, it talks about cross cultural success (yeah!) and it shows how, as individuals and as a society, we have active roles to play in promoting more success stories.

I was away at a retreat this past weekend where I questioned my definition of success (more at a later post). Nevertheless, here are three key takeaways from Gladwell’s excellent book:

1) Success is a group project – Gladwell shows how outliers become outliers and people become successful as a result of being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of various fortuitous circumstances. He talks about how we are “caught in the myths of the best and the brightest and the self-made that we think outliers spring naturally from earth.” Success is a group project because it’s not just up to the individual to triumph but an individual taking advantage of the various opportunities that present themselves. More opportunities = more success stories.

2) Culture is important – I’ve lived in Ecuador for more than 8 years and worked with many organizations across Latin America, US, Canada and Europe. Every so often I have the opportunity to tell people about the theories around High Power/Low Power Distance. It helps explain why where you are “from” sometimes impacts our communications, habits and decisions-making.

3) 10 000 hour rule – Experts become experts through practice. Roughly speaking, it takes 10 000 hours to become an expert. No magic here, just good old fashioned hard work!

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