Category: Misc

Lessons from Branson’s “Business Stripped Bare”

h/t to 37Signals for passing along Derek Sivers’ notes on “Business Stripped Bare” by Richard Branson. Some that resonated with me:

Money’s only interesting for what it lets you do.

I had never been interested in being “in business”. I’ve been interested in creating things.

Business is not about formality, or winning, or the bottom line, or profit, or trade, or commerce, or any of the things the business books tell you it’s about. Business is what concerns us. If you care about something enough to do something about it, you’re in business.

Would I have been happy without my successes in business? I’d like to think so. But again, it depends on what you mean by business. Would I have been happy had I not found concerns to absorb me and fascinate me and engage me every minute of my life? No, absolutely not, I’d be as miserable as sin.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to find a manager. Then you should move on, enjoy yourself and then set up your next enterprise.

The first law of entrepreneurial business: there is no reverse gear. No one in business can unmake anything, any more than a band can unmake a song.

Inspire your people to think like entrepreneurs, and whatever you do, treat them like adults. The hardest taskmaster of all is a person’s own conscience, so the more responsibility you give people, the better they will work for you.

Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you. They are there to make things easier. For me, business is a ‘gut feeling’, and if it ever ceased to be so, I think I would give it up tomorrow. By ‘gut feeling’, I mean that I believe I’ve developed a natural aptitude, tempered by huge amounts of experience, that tends to point me in the right direction.

Innovation is what you get when you capitalise on luck, when you get up from behind your desk and go and see where ideas and people lead you.

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Creative kids don’t follow all the rules.

Entrepreneurs take risks and break convention.  Everyone wants a creative kid, right?  Jonah Lehrer shares thoughts on an interesting study

… which looked at how elementary school teachers perceived creativity in their students. While the teachers said they wanted creative kids in their classroom, they actually didn’t. In fact, when they were asked to rate their students on a variety of personality measures – the list included everything from “individualistic” to “risk-seeking” to “accepting of authority” – the traits mostly closely aligned with creative thinking were also closely associated with their “least favorite” students. As the researchers note, “Judgments for the favorite student were negatively correlated with creativity; judgments for the least favorite student were positively correlated with creativity.”

This shouldn’t be too surprising: Would you really want a little Picasso in your class? How about a baby Gertrude Stein? Or a teenage Eminem?

I’ve never been very good a coloring within the lines, myself.

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Wacky… the number of smart ass remarks I wouldn’t have sent!

Philips Electronics releases The Rationalizer, a bracelet that monitors your emotional state while you are sitting at the computer, about to make an irrational trade, or hit send on that email destined to set off a flame war.  The lights intensify and turn a brighter red when your emotions flare, offering what it calls a “mirror of emotion” to warn you that it might be good to take a breather and calm down before making any irrational decisions.

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The new Courier interface and “Infinite Journal”

I’ve longed for a cool tablet that I could carry with me, something more than a phone can handle, smaller than a laptop and my interactive than a netbook.  I thought my gadget-itch might eventually be scratched by Apple, with essential an over sized Iphone.  But now this new secret Microsoft project is leaked… a tablet/journal thing with a really well done user experience. This might be the first truly innovative and well designed thing Microsoft has released in a long time.  Could it be? Is this this the gadget of my dreams (yeah, geeky dreams)?

Courier User Interface from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

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2009 SmartBet raised more than $100k on behalf of charities

2009 SmartBet Winner with the organizers

The SmartBet organizers gather around Brad Chestler who beat out 300 poker players and helped raise more than $100k for Chicago charities last night. Congrats to Brad… and a HUGE thank you to the organizing team… you guys are great to work with…… four years into SmartBet tourneys, you have really achieved a fun event for great causes, and it’s my pleasure to serve with you.

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Support for Children’s Memorial Hospital Car Raffle

My family spent far too many nights at the foot of a hospital bed with my sister Hilliary throughout her life, and I know the important work of a place like Children’s Memorial Hospital. I’m happy to be a member of the Corporate Board of Children’s Memorial Hospital, and show support however I can.

The annual car raffle is a great fundraiser that has a direct impact on kids and families in the hospital. Plus, the odds of winning one of seven cars is great!  Only 7,000 tickets will be sold… buy one today. Good luck!

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