Dan Pink argues that what science knows about motivation, is markedly different from what business practices… Specifically, the carrot/stick method of motivating people to work in business, is only effective for robotic job tasks – it is utterly ineffective at inspiring people to innovate. For that, you need emotional motivation (read: social business design!)
I was just listening to David Heineimeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and partner at 37signals, on the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast, as he shared some interesting thoughts about entrepreneurship. David brought up some interesting entrepreneurial advice which is worth highlighting:
1) Work Smart – get plenty of rest and sleep and focus your energies on producing output that scales. You are not going to outspend or outbuild a Microsoft so focus your energies on turning an industry or a sector on its head and focus your own work around something that gives you a multiplier effect in time you put in vs. time-to-market traction.
2) Sleep – dumb entrepreneurs work day and night and then brag about it; smart ones work day jobs, do something on the side for 10 hours a week and then take that on full time when it gets traction. In fact, when you are 5X more tired, you level of effectiveness drops by 50X – it’s a multiplier effect.
3) Work within constraints– constrain the time you are willing to put in. Don’t take a college approach to business by doing anything more than is required of a particular task – that’s not working smart.
4) Don’t take venture capital, whatever your do – David was pretty adamant about the fact that venture capital is a time bomb that is strapped to your shoulders. It makes you complacent because it is not your money and at the same time it gets you hooked on the drug dealer (VC’s) so that you are jonesing for than next cash infusion. In short: build businesses that are profitable from the get-go.
5) Don’t ever plan long term (which he defined as longer than 2 months out). David argues that long term planning is flawed because how can you, in a startup environment, purport to know where the market or product will be in 1-5 years? I don’t particularly agree with this one, as I think that some long-term thought can go a long way in helping you design dynamic strategies/approaches that do not hinge on a reactionary mindset- ie) What do we do next week? This type of thinking is unfortunately indicative of the common myopia that can potentially be detrimental to the long-term growth of any business…
You can listen to the full podcast here.
Seth Godin’s new book, “What Matters Now,” is an interesting co-creation by a number of web influentials. Although as you might expect, it is a bit scattered in focus in that it sometimes calls out contradicting views (ie – “Slow down, don’t live through your iphone” and “the world is interconnected, participate!”) it is nonetheless an interesting collection of 1 page thought bursts from some very smart people. Esentially, all of these people were asked to answer one simple question in short form: “What matters now?”
Some of my favorite quotes:
The past decade has been an extraordinary adventure in discovering new social models on the Web—ways to work, create and organize outside of the traditional institutions of companies, governments and academia. But the next decade will be all about applying these models to the real world. – Chris Anderson
You are only as rich as the enrichment you bring to the world around you. -Rajesh Setty
For decades, organizations and their leaders were comfortable with strategies and practices that kept them in the middle of the road—that’s where the customers were, so that’s what felt safe and secure. – William Taylor
Management is great if you want people to comply – to do specific things a certain way. But it stinks if you want people to engage -Daniel Pink
You grow (and thrive!) by doing what excites you and what scares you everyday, not by trying to find your passion. -Derek Sivers