Friday Book Review! The Third Wave by Steve Case

Image result for third wave steve caseIf the title of AOL founder Steve Case’s book, The Third Wave, sounds eerily familiar, it is no accident. Case remembers reading futurist Alvin Toffler’s book of the same name in college and wanted to be part of Toffler’s “electronic global village.” And he was. The term AOL seems very oldschool today — and Case explains what happened further in the book — but there was a time when the company he founded, based on the concept of provided services via the Internet, was a pillar of the information age — or more specifically what he calls the “First Wave” of the information age.

The First Wave of the Internet, writes Case, “was about building the infrastructure and foundation for an online world.” It was led by companies such as Cisco, Sprint, HP, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, Apple, IBM and AOL, who created the hardware, software and networks that connected people to the Internet and to each other. Once everyone was online, the Second Wave kicked in. We are still in this Second Wave, the era of the information age, when companies, Case explains, built “on top” of the Internet. Think Google, eBay, Amazon, Twitter and even the iPhone.

We are, however, on the cusp of a Third Wave of the Internet, writes Case, in which the Internet becomes a “ubiquitous force in the world” connected to everything we do. The Internet will be part and parcel of all the facets of our lives, including our healthcare and education systems, and even what we eat. As Case puts it eloquently, the Third Wave “is the era in which products will require the Internet, even if the Internet doesn’t define them. It is the era when the term “Internet-enabled” will start to sound as ludicrous as the term “electricity-enabled,” as if either were notable differentiators.”

First-Wave Issues Society often advances in linear fashion so that the present era moves forward from the past, and the future moves forward from the present. In some ways, however, the Third Wave represents a return to the world of the First Wave — not in outcomes but in means. In other words, success in the Third Wave will depend in large part on the success factors of the First Wave, including a heavy reliance on collaboration and partnership, careful attention to policy and the courage to scale high barriers to entry. Building the infrastructure in the First Wave was capital-intensive, and the same investment partnerships will be required to redraw a nation’s healthcare system or other components of our society.

The Second Wave was different; it was the era when billion dollar companies could be built by a few tech-savvy friends with a computer and a good idea (example: make it easier to search the Internet). The barriers to entry were low, as were the required upfront investment. There still may be some best-selling apps on the horizon, but good luck launching another Twitter or Facebook from your dorm room. One of the domains in which Third-Wave entrepreneurs must be fluent, Case writes, is in government policy.

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Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

thehardthing

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup –– practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular “Ben’s Blog.”

Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in and supervising technology companies. He also amplifies business lessons by telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with Horowitz’s trademark humor and straight talk and drawing from his personal and often humbling experiences, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures.

IN THIS SUMMARY, YOU WILL LEARN:

• Techniques for navigating the struggle of being a leader.

• The right way to hire and the right way to lay people off.

• Why you should take care of the people, the products and the profits, in that order.

• How to lead even when you don’t know where you’re going.

Not a Soundview Executive Book Summaries subscriber? Then click on the title to purchase and download it right now to begin learning these critical business skills.

 

The Start-Up Plan for Starting Now

STOP TALKING AND START DOING

“If you want to sell a product, just make it. If you want to sell a service, just deliver it. If you want to create a company, just create one.” The opening words to the first chapter of Fail Fast or Win Big encapsulate author Bernhard Schroeder’s “just do it” philosophy. Entrepreneurs should stop planning and instead get into the market as quickly as possible. Schroeder, the Director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University, is especially dismissive of business plans, “an anachronistic waste of time,” he writes. “However long you think it will take you to write a solid business plan, you have to double or triple that time and effort to include the myriad details and the research data you need to provide.”

While acknowledging some of the value of a business plan in terms of making entrepreneurs think about their markets or budgeting and cash flow, Schroeder argues that much of the research and scenarios developed in business plans become obsolete by the time the plan is finished. Markets move, and the only way to know what works is to be in the marketplace — not squirreled away creating projections. Once in the marketplace, you not only see what works, but you also make the corrections necessary to succeed.

To help entrepreneurs go “as fast as you need to go,” Schroeder offers in Fail Fast or Win Big a new “LeanModel Framework” composed of four elements:

  1. Lean Resources. “Lean resources” is a mentality of launching the company with the fewest resources possible. “Less is more,” Schroeder writes. “Look to get your company started in the leanest way possible by leveraging everything you can.” Today’s technology helps. It’s now possible to build a prototype for very little using 3-D printers; crowdfunding (to which Schroeder dedicates a full chapter) is a truly revolutionary way to get funding for any venture.
  2. Business Model. While rejecting the major writing project of a business plan, Schroeder urges entrepreneurs to “take the time to understand your marketplace, current trends and your target customer segment, then craft a business model that not only makes common sense but it makes money.”
  3. Rapid Prototyping. The core of Schroeder’s philosophy is to stop talking or planning and start doing, and doing means creating a product or service to sell in the marketplace. This product can be minimally viable — it is in essence a test product for sale. There are Internet tools, online platforms and new technologies that make rapid prototyping more feasible than ever before. There are even “rent by the hour” manufacturing and engineering facilities available. It all starts with a mentality, however, that is not only focused on speed but also focused on success, not failure. “Most people fear failure, and therefore they move too slowly when they should be creating a rapid prototype of their product or service,” Schroeder writes.
  4. Customer Truth. Speed to market is only a first step. The goal is to get to the market fast so that you can start to receive customer feedback as quickly as possible and make the necessary changes sooner rather than later.

Schroeder, who for several years led Amazon’s marketing efforts and has helped numerous small companies succeed in the marketplace, offers an inspirational guide designed for a world in which nothing is too fast — and failure is a positive sign of action.

2 Billion Under 20

When does a movement become a book become a movement?

This is exactly what is happening with 2 Billion Under 20 through two young entrepreneurs, Stacey Ferreira and Jared Kleinert.

Stacey Ferriera is currently the 22 year old co-founder of 2 Billion Under 20, and CEO of AdMoar, an online marketplace that matches brands with YouTubers for product placement opportunities on their channels. Jared Kleinert is currently the 19 year old co-founder of 2 Billion Under 20, Founder of Kleinert Ventures, a marketing consulting firm whose clients include #1 NYT Bestselling authors, Olympians, start-ups, and Fortune 500s.

2billionunder20

Ferreira and Kleinert founded 2 Billion Under 20 a year ago and since then have collected the stories of 75 young people from across the globe as they share their stories of starting up, failing, succeeding and overcoming. The collection of stories will be published as a book to be released on July 28th, entitled of course, 2 Billion Under 20.

Among those included are ambitious young people like Paige McKenzie, who started her own YouTube channel at sixteen that now has more than 55 million views; Sam Mikulak, who’s represented Team USA in the Olympics and is a seven-time NCAA champion in Men’s Gymnastics; Jack Andraka, who developed an early detection test for pancreatic cancer at fifteen; Tallia Storm, a Scottish singer who was discovered by and opened a concert for Elton John, on her way to signing a record deal with Virgin Records; Dau Jok, who escaped civil war in South Sudan to become captain of the University of Pennsylvania’s Division 1 basketball team and founder of a nonprofit to help youth in his native country, and many other accomplished and inspiring Millennials from all walks of life.

The authors and co-founders of 2 Billion Under 20 are now booking a book tour across the globe, with 35 cities booked and a goal of 300. Through this tour, plus their speaking engagements with TEDx, World Future Society, John Maxwell Foundation and many more, they hope to inspire Millennials to better understand themselves and their unique potential, and show how they can all act on their passions and make a difference at any age.

Their motto of “Join the Movement and Change the World” should be an inspiration to not only their own generation, but for previous and future generations as well.

The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs

the creators code

SIX SKILLS FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS

Consultant and entrepreneur Amy Wilkinson’s book, The Creator’s Code, is a step-by-step guide on how to become a successful entrepreneur based on 200 interviews with those who have achieved the heights of entrepreneurship — from well-known pioneers such as Howard Schultz of Starbucks to less well-known names, such as Sarah Blakely, whose idea for footless pantyhose became the billion-dollar company Spanx, and partners Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, who launched the wildly successful Gilt Groupe online fashion platform.

Carefully parsing the transcriptions of her interviews, author Amy Wilkinson was able to synthesize the responses into just six essential skills required for entrepreneurial success.

Some of the essential skills in The Creator’s Code are not surprising to any reader who has researched or experienced entrepreneurship. The first of her skills, for example, is to “find the gap.” Most entrepreneurs achieve their success by unearthing an unmet need or finding a gap that needs filling with a new product or business model.

Wilkinson, however, is not satisfied with a pithy prescription followed by examples. She explains to her readers how they can find the next billion-dollar gap by identifying three archetypes of entrepreneurs: sunbirds, who transplant ideas from other areas, architects, who build from the ground up, and integrators, who combine different concepts. Shultz is a “sunbird” (named after the hummingbird-like bird who moves pollen from flower to flower). Shultz made his millions by having the foresight to realize that transplanting Italian coffee shops, with their baristas and long menu of fancy coffees, would fill a need that no one before him had fathomed.

Spanx’s Blakely is an architect, building up her company from just an idea. Maybank and Wilson, of the Gilt Groupe, are integrators, who combined e-commerce and fashion to build a unique company based on online flash fashion sales.

Another of her more familiar skills, to “fail wisely,” is also presented with fresh, practical how-to information. More than just being resilient, Wilkinson argues that successful entrepreneurs know how to manage failure. For example, in addition to placing small bets (rather than risking it all), Wilkinson found that many entrepreneurs set failure ratios — proactively deciding how much failure they were willing to accept before giving up. The key to failure ratios is thinking in terms of a portfolio of risks. For example, Stella & Dot founder Jessica Herrin has a 1-to-3 ratio, accepting to fail at one out of three initiatives she attempts.

The four other essential skills at the heart of The Creator’s Code are less familiar. “Drive for daylight” is Wilkinson’s phrase for keeping focused on the road ahead. “Fly the OODA Loop” is the skill to be more agile than competitors. The phrase comes from the world of aviation dogfights, when American pilots were taught that the key to winning air battles was to Observe (get information), Orient (prioritize the information and ignore the irrelevant), Decide (on a course of action) and Act. “Network minds” is the ability to bring together “the brainpower of diverse individuals.” Wilkinson’s innovative ideas for networking minds include designing shared spaces, fostering flash teams, holding prize competitions and building work-related games. Her code closes with the somewhat surprising “gift small goods” — a call for generosity that strengthens relationships and increases productivity.

In The Creator’s Code, Wilkinson offers a solid framework for building up entrepreneurial skills, supported by fascinating, detailed stories of the creativity and hard work required to turn an insight or an idea into a thriving enterprise.

The Power of Branding

Daymond John epitomizes the rags-to-riches, American-dream story.

An entrepreneur in every sense of the word, Daymond John has come a long way from taking out a $100,000 mortgage on his mother’s house and moving his operation into the basement. John is CEO and Founder of FUBU, a much-celebrated global lifestyle brand, and a pioneer in the fashion industry with over $6 billion in product sales. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, and he has received over 35 awards including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year, Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, and Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

John also provides the means for others to find success through the Shark Tank show, The Daymond John Center for Entrepreneurship and through his two best-selling books. And what is John’s message – that you are the brand you build.

Drawing on his own experiences on the cutting edge of the fashion business, as well as on his hard-won insights developed as a sought-after marketing consultant to global trendsetters and taste-makers, John maintains that branding relationships have now seeped into every aspect of our lives, and that in order to survive and thrive in the marketplace consumers and aspiring professionals need to understand and nurture those relationships.

But don’t take my word for it. Join us on May 14th for our Soundview Live webinar with Daymond John entitled The Power of Branding. At this event you will hear John’s story and the entrepreneurial principles he has learned and developed. And you’ll have the opportunity to ask him your questions during the webinar.

 

The Self-Made Billionaire Effect

WHY BILLIONAIRES SUCCEED

It’s possible to become a millionaire, thanks to a high-paying job in the right industry. To become self-made billionaires, however, takes something more, write John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen in their fascinating new book The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value. The authors label those who can succeed within the constraints of organizations or established systems, as performers. Billionaires, in contrast, are producers. “They envision something new,” the authors explain, “bring together the people and the resources to create it and sell it to customers who didn’t know they needed it.”

Researching the factors that differentiate self-made billionaires from everyone else, Sviokla and Cohen found that self-made billionaires were entrepreneurs who shared certain “habits of minds” that took form in what the authors term “dualities.” A duality is a set of two characteristics that complement each other.

Based on an in-depth analysis, augmented by personal interviews, of the history and personalities of the self-made billionaires on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, the authors identified five dualities common to all billionaires.

The Five Dualities

The first is empathetic imagination. Billionaires have the imagination to develop billion-dollar ideas. Those ideas, however, emerge from what the authors call “extreme empathy” for their customers’ needs and wants. For example, few people were buying mutual funds when 24-year-old Joe Mansueto began buying them in the early 1980s. Drowning in paper, after ordering the quarterly prospectuses from each fund he wanted to follow, Mansueto realized that investors would welcome a service offering a report that provided information for all comparable funds. Within two years, Morningstar was born.

While the first duality concerned ideas, the second duality, patient urgency, frames the billionaire’s perspective. Billionaires, according to the authors’ research, are uniquely comfortable with both urgency and patience. They can work fast and super slow simultaneously, depending on the needs of the situation. As the authors explain, “They urgently prepare to seize an opportunity but patiently wait for that opportunity to fully emerge.” Groupon founder Eric Lefkofsky, who had failed with an earlier ahead-of-its-time website, painfully realized the value of timing. He also knew that the social media layer of Facebook, Twitter and others had made the time ripe for a deal-of-the-day site such as Groupon, and forged ahead with the idea that would make him a billionaire.

The third duality, inventive execution, underpins how billionaires act. Execution is important, but that doesn’t mean that execution cannot involve creativity and imagination. Micky Arison, former CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, turned the three-ship company of his father into the world’s largest cruise company, owning 10 established cruising brands. Through initiatives such as air-sea packaged charters, Arison reinvented cruising from a leisure activity for the elite to a mainstream vacation.

Billionaires are not huge risk takers, the authors write. But, at the same time, they are less afraid of what they might lose now if there is an opportunity to create enormous value in the future. Having been fired from two real-estate investment jobs, Stephen Ross knew trying to start his own real-estate development firm had little chance of success. But the enormous risk of starting his own company was smaller than the risk of trying and failing again to work within the constraints of another firm. It’s this duality of the relative view of risk — balancing opportunity vs. potential loss — that separates billionaires from mortals, according to the authors.

The final duality that exemplifies the mindset and approach of billionaires concerns leadership, or more particularly, co-leadership. Billionaires seek partnerships, the authors write, with people who have the skills or experience that they are missing, usually combining their producer skills with a “virtuoso performer.”

While the bulk of the book explores the dualities, the authors also detail, in this revealing, in-depth exploration into why billionaires succeed, the steps that companies can take to try to encourage and enable potential producers to succeed within their organizations — instead of leaving to start their own enterprise.

Learning from Other’s Mistakes

Truth-be-told, entrepreneurs simply do NOT like to be told what to do. Learning from the mistakes of others however, takes the ego out of the equation so entrepreneurs can learn objectively, while still allowing them to enjoy the freedom of their own experience.

MJ Gottlieb’s How To Ruin A Business Without Really Trying takes a new and exciting approach to help entrepreneurs by telling them what “not” to do. The book uses fifty-five painstaking, yet hysterical tales throughout MJ Gottlieb’s 21-year journey as an entrepreneur to highlight some of the most prevalent and destructive mistakes entrepreneurs make when running a business today.

Gottlieb’s Top 9 Most Infamous Screw-Ups
1. Never ever ever spend what you do not have
2. Never ever ever sign personal guarantees
3. Never ever ever make a decision while in a negative emotional state
4. Never ever ever make a decision while in a positive emotional state
5. Never ever ever make a decision while your ego is involved
6. Never ever hire a friend as your attorney
7. Never ever over-promise and under-deliver
8. Never ever teach the market at your own expense
9. Never ever have anyone work for you for free

If you would like to hear the stories of these screw-ups – and the lessons learned – directly from MJ Gottlieb, then we invite you to join us on March 26th for our Soundview Live webinar The Most Common Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make. It will be both entertaining and insightful.

Book Review: Disciplined Entrepreneurship

by Bill Aulet

by Bill Aulet

Human history has seen certain occupations lifted to a pedestal during a particular era. What explorers were to the Age of Discovery and artists were to the Renaissance, entrepreneurs now occupy places of highest esteem in today’s global marketplace. However, MIT professor and serial entrepreneur Bill Aulet takes a different view of the start-up. In his book Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup, he’s not looking to knock down the entrepreneur’s pedestal but instead raise the masses to the same level. This practical guide to bootstrapping your business is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

If you’re currently entrenched in a large organization and thinking of striking out on your own, you might want to consult Aulet’s book before you start courting venture capital. Disciplined Entrepreneurship delivers compact doses of truth alongside the questions you need to answer to rapidly start and grow a business. Aulet is not afraid to take a hammer to some rock-solid myths, such as the belief that an entrepreneurial venture is commonly the work of a lone hero CEO.

The 24 steps in Disciplined Entrepreneurship are grouped into six themes. Each set of steps answers one of six questions: Who is Your Customer, What Can Your Customer Do For You, How Does Your Customer Acquire Your Product, How Do You Make Money Off Your Product, How Do You Design & Build Your Product, and How Do You Scale Your Business? All of the steps reinforce Aulet’s overarching theme that entrepreneurship can be taught. None of the questions can be properly answered without the reader first answering the question that Aulet suggests every would-be entrepreneur answer: What can I do well that I would love to do for an extended period of time.

If you are able to answer that question, you’ve taken an important first step. Disciplined Entrepreneurship will help you put the right foot forward on all 24 steps that follow.

Book Review: The Pumpkin Plan

by Mike Michalowicz

by Mike Michalowicz

Entrepreneurs are tasked with numerous decisions in the process of creating and building their businesses. As they undertake this task, they search numerous places for inspiration. Author, speaker and successful entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz found his eureka moment in the garden or, more specifically, the pumpkin patch. Michalowicz shares his method for extraordinary growth in The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any FieldThis book is now available in multiple digital formats as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Michalowicz was a model entrepreneur for all the wrong reasons after his first five years running his own company. He describes the round-the-clock work and exhausting stress level that created a business that wasn’t quite giving out what Michalowicz was putting into it. He had two fateful occurrences that put his life and his business on a different path. First, he hired a consultant who advised him that until he was able to “identify the problems, discover the opportunities and then build processes to allow other people and other things to do the work,” Michalowicz couldn’t call himself an entrepreneur.

The second life-changing event ties into the creation of the processes the consultant identified. Michalowicz read an article about the process agriculture enthusiasts use to cultivate record-setting giant pumpkins. Michalowicz made a connection between the radical growth of a business and a world record pumpkin. In that moment the seeds of The Pumpkin Plan were planted.

The Pumpkin Plan takes readers through all aspects of the process of extraordinary growth. Entrepreneurs will learn the reasons behind the common frustrations of overwork and slow growth. Michalowicz has mastered the art of entrepreneurship, having grown and sold several successful companies. This book is a straightforward, action-oriented method to make your business the pick of the patch.