A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. A number of my UC Santa Barbara entrepreneurial students have asked my opinion of Robert Greene's The 48 Laws Of Power, prompting me to check it out. Given the book's commercial success, I had high hopes. Sadly, I was disappointed by Greene's Machiavellian cynicism. When I later learned that Mr. Greeene wrote the book while struggling to suceed as a Hollywood screenwriter, I wasn't surprised. A more accurate title for the book is: 48 Ways To Be A Worldclass Douchebag.
Imagine what it would be like to run your startup like a divided government. Approximately half the company would fervently execute your plans, even when they obviously made no sense. The other half would obstruct your recommendations, including those clearly in the company's best interest. Sound insane? Welcome to the next two years of American politics. A lame duck President and a divided government. However, it doesn't have to be two years of rancor and zero results. Divided governments, as well as divided corporations, have historically rallied behind strong leadership that emphasizes problem solving over demagoguery and infighting. For instance, Ronald Reagan's party never held control of the House of Representatives during his presidency and Bill Clinton only had that luxury for two of his eight years in office. President Obama, Senate Majority leader-to-be McConnell and House Speaker Boehner would all be well served to internalize the following leadership aphorisms. Although the sources of this wisdom held widely different political opinions, but they all shared the fundamental understanding that a true leader represents all the members of their organization, not just those with whom they agree.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. "People have always tended to segregate themselves by age, teenagers hanging around with teenagers, old people with old people..." Tom Wolfe, The Pump House Gang The secret to feeling young is to avoid age segregation and hang out with people both younger and older than yourself. To this end, I have been partaking in weekly bike rides with three gentlemen, all of whom are a generation older than me. I have written about some of the wisdom I have received from my wise friends in several mentor articles. When the Weather Channel heard about our riding group, they graciously provided us with matching jerseys to celebrate our multi-generational approach to friendship.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. It is no secret that Pinterest and other social commerce sites have begun to dial in the commerce equation. These sites (so far) have managed to balance facilitating product discovery and purchase capabilities with users' desires to entertain and educate themselves without feeling like they are in a marketplace.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. What happens when you release a CD in the form of a bottle of beer? Telegraph Brewing and the California band Buellton asked themselves this question and decided to answer it by doing it.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. Want to be an entrepreneur? Don't go to Wharton or Harvard. Instead, grab your surfboard and head to UC Santa Barbara. According to a recent Forbes article, UC Santa Barbara's Technology Management Program offers students a superior startup education over the University of Pennsylvania (home of Wharton), as well Harvard, Northwestern and even its acclaimed southern neighbor, the University of Southern California. In addition, Entrepreneur Magazine recently included UCSB in its Top 50 Schools For VC Backed Entrepreneurs at number 37. A decent showing, but well below a number of larger schools, as the ranking is based on the number of graduates who secured VC funding. Although UCSB has room to grow with regard to the total number of VC-backed startups it generates, the Santa Barbara region fares well when its relative size is taken into account. As shown below, it was recently ranked as the fifth most active metropolitan area in the US, in terms of venture deals and dollars, on a per capita basis. What is most surprising about UCSB's national entrepreneurial ranking is that it doesn't even have a business school. Instead of a traditional business school's case study and textbook approach, UCSB's Technology Management Program (TMP) emphasizes experiential learning.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. Accomplished entrepreneurs appreciate the importance of crafting a succinct, well rehearsed description of their venture. This concise summary can be comfortably told during the duration of a reasonably brief elevator ride. Hence the term "elevator pitch." In contrast, a Personal Pitch differs from the classic elevator pitch, as the focus is on you and not your venture.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. There are a number of disadvantages to being a rookie, irrespective of the profession. Rookies must learn on the job, having few relevant experiences they can draw upon to resolve the daily workplace challenges. However, rookies possess a key advantage: they are unknown, which often leads their opponents to underestimate their abilities. In the case of a startup, this relative anonymity results in a powerful Rookie Advantage. Late in the 1936 baseball season, a 17-year-old Iowa farm boy struck out fifteen St. Louis Browns’ batters in his first Major League baseball game. Shortly thereafter, he fanned seventeen Philadelphia Athletics’ players: an unprecedented feat for anyone, let alone a teenager with no professional sports experience. How did this young, inexperienced athlete baffle so many veteran players? The answer is simple: the Browns and the Athletics had the misfortune of facing Bob Feller when he was completely unknown. There were no scouting reports on Mr. Feller because the Cleveland Indians circumvented league rules by drafting him directly from High School.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. My article 5 Time-Tested Success Tips From Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos was so well received, I am sharing five more pearls of wisdom from Mr. Bezos.
A version of this article previously appeared in the Wall Street Journal. I consistently remind my UC Santa Barbara startup students that for most people, money is not a sustaining motivator. They might start a venture with the money as a primary goal, but money alone generally isn't an adequate catalyst. For this reason, I encourage my young entrepreneurs to fully understand what they will "make" at their venture, beyond monetary riches.