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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Let your staff go through the fire

The greatest gift you can give a person is to let them save themselves. Don’t bail anyone out. Don’t hold anyone’s hand. Don’t mollycoddle anyone. Let people go through the fire by themselves. When they come out the other side not only will you believe in them, they will believe in themselves.

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Happiness = Reality / Expectations

If you want to be happy, lower your expectations. Expect the worst. Plan for it. Make all surprises pleasant. This way you’re always ready for the curveballs that are inevitable in the life of an entrepreneur. Low expectations means reality will beat your expectations. If reality is 1, and your expectations are 0, your happiness is…

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Stay in the tent

Maybe you’re working for someone who’s an ass. Maybe your counterpart at your biggest customer is an ass. Maybe you’re living in a country with a president who’s an ass. It’s tempting to say: “Stuff it, I’m out. Life is to short to for this.” Chill out. Ask yourself: “Do I believe in my company?…

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