The Delighted Company

Current Reading

Zero To One, Peter Thiel

Selling The Invisible, Harry Beckwith (for the 5th time)

Startup Communities, Brad Feld (second go-round)

Show Your Work, Austin Kleon

Hooked, Nir Eyal

And for the third time, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

A quick note on Peter Thiel.  Zero To One is bravely written, and I love it to death.  The longer I’m in business working in the trenches, hand in hand with eager and anxious clients, the more I appreciate straight talk, with authenticity.  We can all benefit from his strong point of view!  There’s so much political correctness eating away at our truth- you’ll find no p/c B. S. here.

Jim

 

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StartOVER Communities

I’m reading Brad Feld’s Startup Communities, a book I sought out to nurture my enthusiasm for and commitment to collaboration and cooperation.

Brad effectively demonstrates how entrepreneurial-led startup communities and incubators lead to invigorating economics, job creation, drive innovation and forward small business strategy.

A question burns inside me: what would and could happen if owners of existing companies viewed their businesses as startups, and themselves as entrepreneurs and leaders, and not owners and managers?

Ideally, entrepreneurs are filled with change-the-world optimism, in a hurry to tell the world about their great idea. Their wild enthusiasm and camaraderie shapes the culture of the business, pushed forward with a one-mindedness – a purpose shared with employees and stakeholders.

Add in the commitment to community building that Feld’s book promotes: to “increase the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by multiplying connections among entrepreneurs and mentors, improving access to entrepreneurial education, and much more”, and it’s easy to imagine how the dynamics of these collaborations, where people feed off each other’s talent, creativity and support would benefit the owners of established companies as well.

Just as Rich Roll reinvented himself, you can reinvent your company. Rich calls himself a recovering attorney, in the process has become a wellness advocate. He contributes to and benefits from a whole new community.

When you StartOVER and reinvent yourself and your company, the opportunities of community and collaboration will present themselves to you.

Become a recovering “owner” and see yourself as a leader. Find others like you, read Brad’s and Rich’s books, get inspired together, and start some process of formal collaboration.

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Marissa Mayer of Yahoo…

…recently ruffled a big bunch of feathers (see http://onforb.es/15Koqf5).

Ruffling is good.  I am delighted that an intense conversation about the value and mechanics of collaboration is being stirred up.

I don’t want to argue the merits of face-time versus remote-time, except to say they are both essential components of effective collaboration.  My goal is to promote more intimate collaboration as we move forward in our social media-driven world.  Strong communities and consistent face-to-face meeting time are vital components, no doubt about it.

However, it’s hard to imagine any successful company in 2013 would be better served with no remote workers.  A culture that cannot thrive with a population of remote workers has a problem.

Wouldn’t you be willing to bet that a certain percentage of YAHOO remote workers are doing amazing work?  Why mess with amazing?  Find the real problem and mess with that.

Certainly YAHOO, like all companies big and small, will benefit from turning up the heat on collaboration and moving toward more intimate work.  It’s not hard to imagine intimacy being diluted at a company that employs over 11,000 people.

But insisting everyone work side-by-side is like yelling to win an argument.  We begin to focus on the behavior and lose sight of the debate.

What is the debate?

How do we get people to communicate and collaborate at peak levels in order to develop more intimate relationships with our clients and inside our business communities?

To understand Ms. Mayer’s argument, let’s parse her key quote:

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.”

1.      The “best place to work” is far different than being in the position to best serve.

2.      Collaboration is more than important, it is essential.  Everything that thrives is a successful collaborator.

3.      Working side-by-side doesn’t necessarily improve the ROI of our collaborative efforts.

It’s important to note that this is not unique to YAHOO.   All of our significant others- employees, employers, peers, colleagues, spouses, lovers, partners, etc- are relationships that demand continual nourishment, improvement and refinement.

The defining question will always be, “How can I (we) best serve?”

Some of us best serve remotely, some of us need to be brought inside.

We must be mindful that face-time is not an option, it is essential.  Successful collaboration requires us to see eye-to-eye, figuratively and literally.  If it’s been a while, schedule some face-time today!

That being said, we should celebrate the opportunities that remote working relationships provide.  We all want to work with amazing people and have them in our lives, wherever they and we call home.

Jim Robertazzi

CEO, The Delighted Company

P.S.  See @dhh of 37Signals on twitter today for his passionate remarks about remote work.  (not affiliated)

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Rich Roll To The Rescue

One of the reasons I’ve launched a delighted campaign is to give myself a new start.  I feel an urgency to transform my life, to take a new approach to business (or better, to participate in the forever changed economy) and set off on the most authentic and passionate journey I’ve ever attempted in my life. 

I genuinely feel compelled and qualified to help a lot of people do better and more profitable work.  I intend to set a good example.

In my first post I mention reading Linchpin again.  As you might expect, I read every business book that resonates with me.  I can’t get enough.  That goes for relevant blogs.  You could say that I get stuck in the research (see Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and Turning Pro to learn about fear and resistance).

I also have a newfound passion for health and fitness.  Tim Ferriss, on his blog, mentions Rich Roll, and I buy Rich’s book Finding Ultra.  Rejecting middle age, becoming one of the world’s fittest men, and discovering myself.

Perfect for a guy (me) moving into life transformation.   His book and his life are an inspiration to me.  On the book jacket this review by Kathy Freston affirms my desire: “You walk away from reading this book knowing you have the total power to transform your life on every level…”

Then it hit me: that kind of transformation is possible in business as well. 

There is so much passionate discussion about startups and entrepreneurial endeavors, yet much less about established small businesses, or you might call them middle-aged companies. 

Middle-aged malaise is an epidemic in our small business communities.

What if we could bring the buzz and promise of being a startup to the owners of these companies?  That question has been driving me crazy; I’m obsessed with it.

I’m not talking about doing things a little better, or managing your finances and systems more efficiently.  Systemization is really important (I address this in my work: Be Effective First), vital if you’re looking to sell your company in the near future.  I highly recommend Emyth and the like to owners looking for this kind of help.

The people I’m interested in working with want to own companies that turn them on, get them going every day with a burning passion to make a big dent in the universe, as Steve Jobs put it.

I’m looking to inspire people like me: a little out of shape and overweight -physically, yea, but more emotionally and spiritually.  People who know in their hearts and souls that they should be happier and more aligned with the work they’re doing.

Our malaise goes on for years, and we never really notice until one day, as Rich Roll puts it, “I was thirty-nine years old and I was winded by (climbing) eight steps.  Man, I thought, is this what I’ve become?”

That’s how I was feeling about my work, my relationships, and my health.  Like the frog in a slow boiling pot of water.

Well, I’m jumping out, baby!

As I was reading Rich’s book I recalled listening to Tony Robbins discuss Stu Mittleman as a role model for improving his physical performance.  If you know anything about Tony, he looks for people that are amazing.

Stu once said this, “We are not limited by our old age; we are liberated by it.”

Sounds good to me.

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Reading Godin’s Linchpin Again!

I came across a twitter conversation yesterday:

@jasonfried: The official Basecamp App just hit the app store… A sample of replies include: @gsto: Awesome!  @bschopf: Seriously, best day of my life. @Simplescott: Awesome news.

And my favorite, for obvious reasons: @davemoran: Delighted to hear this!

The simple reason to be in business is to delight people.

How does Seth Godin’s work relate?

It makes me feel good.  And that’s why I’m compelled to read all his books, why I follow his blog, watch his TED conference speeches, and go to his events.  He has inspired much of the work I do here at The Delighted Company, I’m happy to say.  Imagine what life would be like if you and your small business were valued in this manner. 

Let me be clear.  Godin’s work makes me feel good for a variety of reasons.  One is that I learn from him.  His message resonates with me.  I trust him to have some expertise, a strong, decisive and unique point of view.  I get real, tangible value.

I also feel good because I enjoy “interacting” with him.   And just having a copy of his book on my desk lifts my spirits.  There are all kinds of connectivity going on here.

Do you resonate with your clients and business community in a way that inspires them? 

How will your life change if people become delighted with you, your story, your products and services?

Let’s get back to Linchpin, page 213 (transposed):

Moby: I also don’t really aspire to selling too many records.  See, my friends who are writers sell 20,000 books and they are happy… I like the idea of humble and reasonable metrics for determining the success of a record.  And I like the idea of respecting the sacred bond that exists between musician and listener.

Godin: The irony of this statement is that this plan will probably lead to Moby’s selling more records, not fewer.

This demonstrates an important philosophy of The Delighted Company: to help inspire and create a sacred bond between small business owners and their business communities.

I implore you to be mindful of how you can inspire and create sacred bonds in your business and your life.  Same goes for me.

Let’s be grateful for Jason Fried, Seth Godin and everyone who does work that delights us, for the opportunities to do our own delighting, and for knowing that we can act upon them right now… together.

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