This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE. As part of UC Santa Barbara’s Distinguished Lecture Series, serial entrepreneur, CEO Coach and Author Lex Sisney shared a preview of his newly released book, Organizational Physics: The Science of Growing a Business. As Co-Founder and CEO of Commission Junction, Lex grew the company from two employees to become the de facto leader in the world of affiliate marketing, beating Google in the process. To this day, Commission Junction remains the dominant player despite Google's significant investment of time, money and resources. Lex's new book, Organizational Physics, is compelling, as it applies the fundamental laws of physics to the world of business. By viewing companies through this prism, one can diagnose organizational problems and identify corresponding solutions, irrespective of a company's size, the markets it serves or even the personalities of its senior executives - which makes the book a powerful toolkit for business leaders. By applying the laws of physics to organizations, the author helps the reader, “understand how your business and team really work… (and) get at the underlying causes of what’s making them fail or succeed.”
This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE. I always enjoy a great guerilla marketing story, such as TestFlight’s use of T-shirts and Tacos to gain Steve Jobs’ attention at Apple’s 2011 developers’ conference. Thus, I was inspired when I heard about the impact collaboration-in-the-cloud innovator Central Desktop made at the April 2012 San Francisco ad:tech conference. Rather than hire the clichéd booth babes (which I have always found to be more than a bit sleazy), the company secured the services of a cigar-smoking, bearded angel with an exaggerated New York accent. By adhering to the following guerilla marketing precepts, Central Desktop’s scruffy angel not only grabbed the attention of the show’s 8,900 attendees, he also effectively conveyed the company’s unique value prop.
This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE. Serial entrepreneur, venture investor and startup accelerator pioneer Brad Feld has notoriously mocked traditional marketing throughout his career. Rejecting the paint-by-numbers approach to corporate communications deployed by most marketing executives, Brad has embraced unconventional guerilla marketing tactics to help establish his venture capital firm, Foundry Group, as a thought leader in early-stage tech investing. “…companies should… focus on building amazing products. If you have amazing products, the marketing of those products is trivial. If you have $hitty products, the marketing is impossible. Instead of focusing on marketing as an activity… integrate it into (your) products.” Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group
Coull Offers Advertisers Video Skimlinks This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE. As noted in YouTubers Come Of Age - Google Scores A Solid Return On Its Video Development Fund, many YouTube personalities are sensitive to the nature of the ads associated with their content. Some reject pre-roll ads because they increase the viewer abandonment rate. Others shun translucent run-of-site Google ads, because they are distracting and monetize at extremely low rates. In addition, a number of advertisers have invested significant resources into creating libraries of video content which effectively communicate brand and product attributes but are incapable of eliciting a particular action, such as: clicking to a landing page, completing a lead form, or initiating a purchase. Fortunately, several startups have devised tools which make it possible for content creators to maintain the entertainment integrity of their videos while embedding relevant calls-to-action. Such solutions combine the power of a video’s capacity to inform with a direct response ad’s ability to facilitate a desired action.
This article originally appeared on TechCrunch HERE. My son recently tried to call one of our older relatives. He dialed the number and quickly hung up with a confused look on his face. I asked him what was wrong and he replied, “I don’t know. There’s something wrong with their phone, it kept beeping.” I called the number and was amused to hear a landline busy signal, something my cell phone centric pre-teen had never encountered. My son is similarly unacquainted with cable TV. Other than the occasional NBA game, he consumes his video content via our iPad and Xbox. Most of his online viewing is spent on YouTube. He is not alone. Mark Suster, fellow venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur, has written extensively about YouTube’s evolution from dogs-on-skateboards to its current status as an entertainment medium rivaling cable television networks. Mark provides an excellent primer regarding the future of Internet TV HERE. YouTube has over 800 million monthly unique visitors who consume over 4 billion videos EACH DAY. Its evolution has resulted in a new class of entertainment entrepreneur, the creators of professional YouTube content, affectionately known as YouTubers.
Some People Are Indispensable, But No One Is Irreplaceable Reginald Martinez Jackson was also often referred to as a “hotdog” for his self-promotional antics and lackadaisical on-field play. In addition to his reputation as a showoff, Reggie was renowned for deriding his teammates in the press and initiating clubhouse fights. While it is not uncommon for losing teams to squabble, Mr. Jackson fought his teammates in good times as well as in bad. Despite his attitude issues, Reggie was a perennial major league baseball all-star throughout most of his 21-year career. He earned the nickname “Mr. October” because of his consistent ability to hit home runs during clutch situations in playoff and World Series games, which contributed to his teams winning five championships.
This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE. Serial entrepreneur Seth Epstein recently gave a keynote address as part of the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Distinguished Lecture Series. During his inspirational talk, Seth shared six hands-on exercises that entrepreneurs can use to harness their fears. Seth began his entrepreneurial career when he dropped out of the University of California, Santa Barbara at 19 years old to start a clothing company, which he eventually built into a national line of denim products featured at Nordstrom, Macy's and Neiman Marcus. Seth was also the Founder and CEO of FUEL, a broadcast design firm that Razorfish acquired for more than $30 million, and is an Emmy Award winner for his work rebranding ESPN's X-Games.
This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE. Philo Farnsworth created a technology which underlies one of the 20th Century’s most ubiquitous products, yet he died a man of modest means and is relatively unknown today. Philo was an inventor, not an innovator. He was primarily motivated by the educational potential of his invention, not the wealth it might generate. He freely shared his ideas and technology with others in the hopes that such openness would advance his scientific field of study. Philo’s fellow researchers were not the only people who benefitted from his discoveries. Numerous innovators capitalized upon them as well, creating dozens of multi-billion-dollar enterprises.
This article originally appeared on Forbes HERE. According to a January 2012 Forbes article, nearly 16% of the 400 most affluent Americans do not have a college degree. When one considers the 400 richest people on the entire planet, the percentage of non-college graduates doubles. Shocking? Hardly. PayPal Co-founder Peter Thiel has granted 24 people under 21 years old $100,000 each, with plans to allocate additional scholarships in coming years. The primary stipulation is that each Thiel Fellow must drop out of college, for at least two years, and pursue their “entrepreneurial ventures, research and self-education.” For many entrepreneurs, college has little appeal. Academia’s arbitrary, bureaucratic structure, combined with its predominant focus on theoretical issues, causes many entrepreneurs to depart college early. Others, such as Walt Disney and Richard Branson never even enroll.
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” Eleanor Roosevelt - US Diplomat & Wife of President Franklin Roosevelt As an entrepreneur, I helped create companies which achieved two IPOs and two trade sales totaling $385 million. During those same 15-years, I made innumerable mistakes. Entrepreneurship is best learned experientially, both directly and through the experiences of others. Hopefully this article and the accompanying six-minute video will help you avoid learning these mission-critical lessons the hard way.