I remember the first time a customer yelled at me. I was a senior product manager and the company was working on a new network optimization device — one we promised would save costs and reduce network congestion. Unfortunately, we hit a couple of roadblocks in the process. The first was that we delivered the product months late. The second (and worst) was that it crashed the customer’s test network.
So you want to start a company. You have done your research. And you know it will be hard work. You probably found the oft-cited statistic that 80 percent of startups fail. You may have even read a few post-mortems — the retrospectives company founders and investors write about their startups’ demise.
There are 450 million active users on LinkedIn. And I swear half of them want to take me out for coffee. I get these requests on a regular basis and I always find it strange. Mostly because I do not know most of the senders. It is akin to a stranger on the street asking, “Hey, how about a quick latte?”
The word “hack” has a colorful history. Not so long ago, if someone had suggested you had hacked your way to the top, you probably would have given them a sideways glance. The word described someone who performed mediocre work — not someone to emulate.
You are not imagining things. There is indeed an elephant in your office. Everyone tries to tip-toe around the beast — yet it is becoming increasingly difficult. You see, he started off small, but now he is enormous.
A friend of mine came over the other night for a pep talk. He works at a San Francisco logistics startup. And he said that things are going well and not so well at the same time. Weird, right?
There is fear in the air and drama in the conference room. People avoid making eye contact as they pass in the halls. The tension is palpable. Your mind reels, wondering what just happened.
“The calm before the storm” is a well-worn cliche. But sailors know that this saying is rooted in truth. An approaching storm creates a drop in barometric pressure — and a deceptively tranquil sea.
Have you noticed a certain trend in leadership circles? Career advice columns and business consultants are encouraging leaders to “empower” their teams to promote accountability and achievement.
Need some inspiration for your work and business? Well, look no further than the silver screen. I am not a huge movie buff, but I do find that great stories with compelling characters can often be the source of fresh ideas.
The tide is turning for some startups. I have seen the worried faces in Silicon Valley — and they are not without reason. Funds that were easy to snag in the past are now harder to secure.
Imagine this scene: You are packing your suitcase for yet another business trip. You are pumped about the prospect of meeting with a big customer. Then, you start to think about the security lines. Missed connections … cramped seating … babies crying in your ear … lost luggage. (Feel your head starting to pound?) And that is all before you even get to the airport. Read more…
It is rare to sit in the presence of true genius. I had that privilege a few months ago when three recipients of the MacArthur Genius Grants discussed their work at an event held in Washington, DC. An audience member asked one of the fellows, a renowned author, to share how her grant changed the way she works. I was unprepared for her response.