Steer clear of focus traps

If you want to succeed in your business, you need to be 100% focused. To be 100% focused, you need to steer clear of focus traps. A focus trap is something that takes your attention away from the job at hand. Newspapers, TV, talkative people, Facebook. Anything financed by advertising is guaranteed to distract you….

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10 tips from Nassim Taleb for entrepreneurs

Nassim Taleb is author of books such as Anti-Fragile, Fooled by Randomness and Black Swan. He is a quasi-philosopher with general life advice that can be applied by entrepreneurs to build successful businesses. Stick to simple rules (don’t lie to customers, don’t break the law). Build in multiple layers, no single point of failure (ie:…

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Beware unintended consequences

In the 1800’s, the British government in India offered financial rewards for people that killed cobras. So people started breeding snakes to cash in. Once the incentive ended, the population of cobras in India soared as people released the ones they’d raised. Same thing occurred in Vietnam with rats. Every well-intentioned policy has an unintended…

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Don’t trust a man who needs a wage, unless it’s a minimum wage

Someone on a salary that barely covers his living costs has a powerful incentive to deny the truth. Faced with the choice of personal financial pain or lying, most people go with the latter. Most people prefer earning a salary to doing the right thing (ie: whistle blowing). As a rule, don’t expect someone who…

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Identify who you don’t want to be

Role models and heroes are good. It’s useful to drive model your behaviour based on actions of people you respect. Just as useful is identifying people you don’t want to be. Spend time making sure you avoid their character traits and management style. Eliminating bad behaviour is just as important as identifying good behaviour. 

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Only read the news for entertainment

The news is just noise. It pollutes your mind. Distracts you from your business. If you want to cure yourself, spend a year reading last week’s newspapers (this is a Nassim Taleb tip). You’ll realise that 100% of what you’re reading is irrelevant to this week. Politics, stock markets, sports, whatever. Just noise. Read the…

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Time to double down

Good news, SA ain’t going down the tubes.Hard to believe, but 2018 promises to be the start of a glorious few years…Whilst in the dark depths of the Guptaleaks exposures it was very difficult to remain positive.Very difficult to see how the baddies would be kicked out of power.Very difficult to see our country get…

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Word of mouth is your most important marketing medium

Marketing via word of mouth is 50x more likely to convert than paid for advertising And it’s free. It starts with great product. Then you must make it easy for your customers to share. To maximize word of mouth you need to get to the maximum number of people at the same time, Record labels…

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Choose the right industry

Roger Federer could have been a badminton player. Instead he chose tennis. If he’d become a badminton champion, chances are you wouldn’t have heard of him. And he would have earned 10% of what he earned being a tennis champion. Being a champion is not made him famous and wealthy. Choosing the right sport unlocked…

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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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