Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley presentation

Unfortunately, due to low enrollment, my Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley presentation has been canceled. Very disappointing. The sponsor said business talks get a better attendance in San Francisco than in Silicon Valley where technical topics draw more people.

I suggested to him that perhaps the title wasn’t right. Trying to blend the two, I offered a new title: “12 Small Business Success Tips for the Sex-Starved Technology Geek.” For some reason, it didn’t fly. We may offer it again in the spring.

In the meantime, here is a very brief summary of the 12 key ideas I would present in this program:

 

 

Fast 5:

Work / Life Balance: Nonsense.

Contractors vs. Employees – Be very, very careful. The state wants ALL its taxes. Better off to list part-timers as employees. Look at what is happening to Uber

Create a board of directors.

Skip EBITDA – (a fancy accounting term). If business finances don’t turn you on, don’t waste your time on them. Stick with what you love about your business and hire others to do the financial heavy lifting.

Dump PowerPoint – New study from Stanford shows that drawing on a white board or flip chart creates more retention and credibility than either PowerPoint slides, or TED talk photos with words.

 

Soft 7: Business Philosophy

Be a quitter – Know when to leave bad business deals, poor performing clients and such. Also, plan how to exit your business. Excellent book: Built to Sell.

Be slow to hire and fast to fire 

Take (calculated) risks – Auto executive Robert Lutz said, “The biggest risk is no risk at all.” Kierkegaard said: “To risk is to lose your footing momentarily. To not risk is to lose your self.”

Improvise like a jazz musician – Be willing to dump plans that aren’t working and try something else.

Relationships trump PR every time – We spent boatloads of money on PR with almost zero return. Inviting clients out on the Bay for 3 hours on an America’s Cup racing yacht, on the other hand, creates long-term business loyalty.

Use humor (with judgment) – Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” Certainly true in business.

Select the right partner – Whether business partner or life partner, you must be “on the same page” about running the business.

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