Managed chaos = innovation

In startup world, the ability to innovate is the one edge you have over incumbents. You need to maximise your ability to innovate. One of the greatest sources of new ideas is chaos. Disorganised teams, frantic running around. This is an asset. Don’t kill it. Do not remove the chaos. Manage it.

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Feedback: Don’t make it or take it personally

When you’re giving feedback, keep it dry and impersonal. Play the ball, not the man. Instead of saying, “You are not up to scratch.”, rather say, “Your work is not up to scratch.” When you’re taking feedback, don’t let it get into your psyche. How people perceive your performance is not you. Taking feedback personally…

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Africa mental models: Pseudonymity more important than anonymity

In a previous post I explained the importance of understanding the latticework, or mental model, for the industry you’re entering, before you enter it.In Africa, an important mental model is that pseudonymity is more important than anonymity.Africans don’t want privacy, see previous article.But they do want pseudonimity. People want the freedom to choose their own…

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Africa mental models: No credit cards

In a previous post I explained the importance of understanding the latticework, or mental model, for the industry you’re entering, before you enter it. In Africa, an important mental model is that virtually no one has a credit card. The only way to bill consumers without accepting physical cash is to use the 3rd party…

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7 lessons for entrepreneurs from Steve Smith

Steve Smith is the recently sacked captain of the world champion Australian cricket team. He’s also the top ranked Test batsman in the world. Smith was fired after admitting to asking one of his players, Cameron Bancroft, to tamper with the ball, which is tantamount to cheating. World reaction to his behaviour has been scathing. Like a…

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Africa mental models: Data is expensive

In a previous post I explained the importance of understanding the latticework, or mental model, for the industry you’re entering, before you enter it. For Africa, an important mental model is the cost of data. Virtually all Africans access the internet using mobile phones, and pay prepaid mobile data rates. In South Africa, it costs…

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Africa mental models: Privacy is not a big deal

In a previous post I explained the importance of understanding the latticework, or mental model, for the industry you’re entering, before you enter it. For Africa, an important mental model is that privacy is not important. In the Western media, privacy seems to be a big deal. In Africa, it’s not. In fact, most people…

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Don’t try save the world

Your business doesn’t have to have the mission statement of “Save the world.” That’s not your job. Your job is to make sure your business does something helpful. Your job is to not hurt people in the pursuit of profit. Your job is to not lie. Don’t try save the world.

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Know the difference between a dip and a dead-end

Do you know the difference between a dip and a cul de sac? Smoking is a cul de sac. That road goes nowhere. Consulting is a cul de sac. That road goes nowhere. One year of no sales is a dip. Once you’re through the dip, you’ll still on the right track. When you’re feeling a…

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Sometimes you ease into it. Sometimes you go in hard.

Generally speaking, you should go in hard for everything. But sometimes patience is required. Want to start exercising after years of sloth-like living? Ease into it, otherwise you’ll injure yourself. Want to start waking up at 5am instead of 7am? Go in hard. Set the alarm for 5am, wake up. Whatever it is you’re trying…

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Beware the stalking horse

A “stalking horse” a screen traditionally made in the shape of a horse behind which a hunter can stay concealed when stalking prey. Sometimes this strategy is used in business too. You may be dealing with someone you consider harmless, whilst unwittingly dealing with a competitor or enemy. By letting down your guard you open…

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