Means vs. Ends

Great leaders obsess over the end, not the means. Process is important, but you should only care as much as is necessary to get your team moving towards a specific, positive outcome that solves a problem.

To be rigidly fixated on a particular tactic is to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Concern yourself about who will get credit in the end, and get ready for political infighting and bickering.

Everyone on the team must be obsessed with solving the problem. With that foundation, the possibilities are endless, and the overall chances of success are much greater.

The Value of Ignorance

As an entrepreneur, Richard Branson has started an airline, a record label, a cellular provider, a car company, and another that builds rocket ships (among many, many more).

He has never piloted a jumbo jet or spaceship. He doesn’t bust out his toolbox and start building cars and cell towers, and I’d bet he doesn’t know the first thing about sound mixers.

He reportedly chose the Virgin name because, in every industry he enters, Richard Branson revels in being an outsider with a fresh perspective.

Ignorance can be valuable if you know how to use it.

Photo: “Sir Richard Branson – WE Day Vancouver 2011” (c) 2013 Kris Krüg, from Flickr. See License.

Sanity check

When I get a new idea, I take a moment to get excited, giggle, do a happy dance- whatever I need to get over the initial exuberance.

Then it’s time to ask myself whether the idea is truly worthy of consuming some of my precious time here on earth. In our fledgling e-commerce business, we run every new product idea through a series of written sanity checklists to expose it at all angles.

It’s easy to be twitterpated by the excitement. We have a useful (if somewhat crass) mantra that helps: Don’t be afraid to kill your babies.

Leaders and kings

We often erroneously refer to those in charge as leaders, but having authority doesn’t make you a leader, it makes you the king. Let’s not confuse the two.

Leaders have followers, not subjects.

Leadership is earned, not anointed.

Leaders seek cooperation through shared interests instead of force.

They have the self-confidence to accept responsibility when things go wrong.

Leaders exhibit self-control.

A king who’s not a true leader will go down in history as being a toothless tyrant. Leaders leave behind a roadmap for future generations to improve their quality of life by learning from past mistakes.

Four ways to face obstacles

When met with an obstacle, there are four ways to react:

  1. Go around. Find a new path to get you to your ultimate goal.
  2. Plow ahead. Go hard and commit to persevere no matter what happens.
  3. Retreat away. Return from whence you came.
  4. Wait. Maybe things will clear up on their own?

They are sorted in order from hardest to easiest.

…and from least common to most prevalent.

…and from least likely to be regretted to most regrettable.

Obstacles are the gatekeepers of your goal, so see them as evidence that you’re one step closer.

Rocket science

I can see why people use the word “launch” to describe starting a business- it’s complex, risky, and is usually a pretty bumpy ride. However, I liken the experience more to building a rocket ship while in mid-flight.

Launching a rocket (I imagine) demands preparation for every scenario imaginable. No expense is spared since most failures are catastrophic.

Building a business, on the other hand, doesn’t offer the same luxury. It’s a clumsy process of building each piece just in time for when it’s needed. Thankfully, most failures are not catastrophic, and a welcome part of the process.

Is it affordable to live full-time in Airbnb’s?

After spending the past 14 months living in AirBnB’s up and down the east coast, I thought I’d share a few cost-saving tips for anybody crazy enough to try this.

Stay at least 28 days and look for places that offer sizeable monthly discounts.

The rate listed is often negotiable- it never hurts to ask politely.

Stick to cities that don’t enforce an occupancy tax on Airbnb’s. These taxes can be hefty.

Finding the best deal often takes a week or two of searching. Availability is constantly in flux- so keep digging.