Re-investing capital in big companies to promote innovation
When large tech companies are stable and have built a cash cow for themselves, it is a very difficult process to try and re-invest the capital into innovation new ideas. Innovation happens at the union of talent and money, but the problem in large companies is that the people who helped innovate on product #1 are now heavily incentivized to stay there (culturally and financially) and maintain the systems. This comes at the cost of product #2 as this core team is who is needed to swing for the fences a second time. More verbose version of this plus additional thoughts on managing large and complex organizations in this interview with Geoffrey Moore.
The elusive "what's next?" for serial entrepreneurs
I find myself asking the “what’s next?” question fairly frequently. In this context, the advice I got was to treat it like hunting. Entrepreneurs should always be looking at the problems in the world and taking note of them. When you start hunting, you don't know exactly what you’re looking for, but at least you're looking. Along the trail, you may find a couple of hints that will lead you down a trail and then out of nowhere, the target will show up orthogonal to you when you least expect it.
- Idea: When an idea hits you, take time to properly formulate the thought. Do some digging, see if the idea has some legs.
- Words: If you feel the idea is good, then start to socialize it with the people around you. (Watch out for this trap: don’t be the guy who’s constantly talking about ideas and never doing something about them!)
- Action: By talking to people, you’ve set the expectation that this is what you are doing and you damned well execute! You’ve made yourself accountable.
- Impact: The highest reward as an entrepreneurs is making an impact on the world and leaving a legacy.
Entrepreneurs should always be looking for opportunities. Having an engineering background is great, but don't limit yourself thinking about ideas that only you can build a prototype of. Think about the larger picture and how the idea fits into the world at scale. Be a power networker and leverage the people around you to build the product while you build the business.
School's over, theory is boring
Attending very high level, abstract business presentations full of acronyms and theorems are very difficult to follow and make me uninterested. Telling your personal story and sharing your learning are far more easy to relate to, understand and retain.
- The stories of Scott Bedbury were really inspiring. He helped Nike and Starbucks build the brand and the emotional relationship we have with these companies today. (Take a second to think about how phenomenal it is to take boring items like shoes and coffee and then create entire cultures of them).