If a tree falls over without a witness, it makes no sound

If your customer doesn’t hear your excuse, he’ll leave you. If your investor doesn’t get your pitch, he won’t invest in you. If your star employee doesn’t know you’ve included him on your share option allocations, he’ll take an offer from a competitor. If a tree falls over and there is no witness, it didn’t make a…

Read More

Success cannot be pursued. It ensues.

Phil Knight of Nike fame didn’t get rich by chasing money. He got rich by trying to make the best running shoes in the world. His financial success was not pursued, it ensued. Most times, financial success is accidental. You can’t directly chase it. Rather, it ensues from you chasing something else. That doesn’t mean…

Read More

If you truly want something, you must fight for it

The best prizes are contested. You can’t wait for what you want. You must go and get it. Maybe your startup finds itself in greenfields for a time. No competition, lots of opportunity. Eventually someone will try take what you have. Maybe you’re sitting in corporate, looking out the window and dreaming of financial freedom. Eventually you will…

Read More

An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour

If something crazy happens in your business, don’t turn to your rule book. Abnormal situations require abnormal actions. Your reaction can’t be predictable. You can’t follow the rules. When something completely out of the ordinary strikes, you must strike back fast with whatever is at hand. Throw away the rule book. An abnormal reaction to an…

Read More

Dress neatly

Why wear a suit when you prefer wearing a torn t-shirt and jeans? “It’s just being dishonest. I am who I am, why put lipstick on the pig?” That’s just arrogance. Don’t be that guy. Dressing smart is not being dishonest. It simply shows respect. If you don’t show your customer respect, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t…

Read More

Work more than you hope

By all means, hope. Pray. Hold thumbs. It’s all a form of mental manifestation. It helps. Just make sure you work more than you hope. Sometimes your success (or failure) is dependent on a lucky break. Sometimes all you can do is hope for the best. That’s just startup life, you’ll get used to accepting…

Read More

Demand sacrifice from your team

Your average corporate lifer is not suited to joining your startup. Why? Because he (or she) is not prepared to make the sacrifices needed to achieve success. Family time sacrifices. Financial sacrifices. Health sacrifices. Startups steal from every part of life. Its not for everyone. Definitely not for corporate lifers. When you have a startup you must…

Read More

Stare into the void

Every now and then its a good idea to stop moving. To do nothing at all except stare into the void. Make yourself bored. Let your mind run out of things to spin. Sit still and stare into the void like a zombie. That’s when some of the best ideas pop into your head. Ideas…

Read More

Cashflow does not get boring

For an entrepreneur, thinking about cashflow is like going to the toilet. It doesn’t get boring. Its just what you do, every day, at least twice a day, sometimes every hour. The day that cashflow becomes boring is the day you’ve decided to stop taking risks. But for most entrepreneurs, that day will never come. Cashflow is never…

Read More

Predicting rain is no use unless you build an ark

Anyone can make a prediction. “Solar energy is the future!” “Self driving cars are the future!” “Social media will replace traditional media!” It’s not hard making predictions. But a prediction is worth nothing unless you are in a position to exploit the prediction coming to fruition. Noah is not famous because he predicted rain. He’s…

Read More

Winners quit all the time

Along the startup journey there will be many hard times. Times when you think about quitting. Its for these times that you need a framework for deciding whether to keep going. Is it working? Are you happy? Do you believe in the mission? Whatever the question is, keep asking it. If you get the right…

Read More

Play in the centre of the court

In the race to make money, it can be tempting to push the envelope. To bend the rules. To play close to the line. To hit a shot down the line. The problem is that the line moves around. Today you’re on the right side, tomorrow you’re on the wrong side. Its better to play…

Read More