Most people can’t handle the truth

As an entrepreneur, can’t tell everybody everything that’s going on. Most people don’t have your capacity to handle uncertainty. Most people don’t have your appetite for risk. Most people don’t have all the information you have. That’s why most people can’t handle the whole truth. Sometimes you need to keep the full story to yourself. Don’t lie,…

Read More

Be generous when times are tough

Being generous is one of the golden rules of life. Easy to do when times are good. A lot harder when you’re in the vortex. That’s when it counts. Have the guts and the character to help other people even when you’re the one in need of a helping hand. You’ll find a helping hand…

Read More

You can only commit if you believe

The Amazon company policy of “Disagree and commit” only works if you believe in the leadership of your company.It’s simply not possible to commit to decisions if you fundamentally distrust the competence of your chief.If you don’t think the driver of the bus is going in the right direction, and you don’t think there is…

Read More

Disagree and commit

In Amazon’s letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos talks about it’s policy of “Disagree and commit.” Debates are had to determine the way forward, but at some point a decision is made. Regardless of whether you agree with the decision, you commit to making a success of it. This is a beautiful way of maximizing speed, minimizing…

Read More

It doesn’t matter what the rules say

When you’re pitching to a potential customer, remember this: It doesn’t matter what the rules say. If the customer wants to do the deal, she will figure out a way around the rules. If the customer doesn’t want to do the deal, she will blame the rules. The rules/contracts/policies are irrelevant. The only thing that…

Read More

Don’t make your people choose

If you’re the leader, you have to make the hard choices. Asking your staff to vote is chickening out. It’s like asking your children “Would you like to try heroine?” Your kids don’t have the same experience or information that you have. How can you expect them to make the right decision? If you’re the boss, you…

Read More

Passion is not talent

Just because you love giving speeches doesn’t mean you’re talented at speaking. Just because you love making money doesn’t mean you’re a talented businessman. Just because you love dealing with people doesn’t mean you’re a talented salesman. Passion is not talent. Loving what you do is not enough. You must be excellent at it too. The…

Read More

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings

This saying is from Wagner’s opera depicting the end of the world (of the Norse gods), where the final scene shows a buxom woman singing, followed by the end of the world (and the show). It has subsequently been applied to many circumstances in life, particularly in sport. It applies equally in business. There will be…

Read More

Don’t fight the world

If you find yourself going against everyone, pause. It’s not impossible that you’re right, but it’s very unlikely. Ask yourself: Is it worth the fight? If the answer is “no”, then leave it. Don’t fight against the world. The world usually wins.

Read More

You want to be a price-maker

You are a price-maker if you control the price of your goods, i.e.: the market cannot dictate your prices. Price-makers can change their prices at a whim, ensuring they always make a profit. This can only happen if you have monopoly on something. Product excellence (Apple), patents (Amazon one-click shopping), network effects (Facebook) and brands (Coca Cola) are price-makers because of…

Read More

If you’re a price-taker you need economies of scale

Most farmers have no control over the price of the goods they sell. Milk, maize, apples, whatever. The price is set by someone else. The farmer is a price-taker. He has no say over the most important part of his business: Revenue. If the market wants to pay less than what it cost the farmer to…

Read More

As a leader you must be liked, not loved

If you’re the leader can’t be one of the boys. You can’t gossip by the coffee machine. You can’t be friends with your staff. You can’t be loved. If you need to be loved, you won’t be able to make the hard decisions that every entrepreneur must face. If you can’t make the hard decisions, you’ll fail. Your…

Read More