3 New Books; Marketing Partners; Performance Based Leads; Culture is Everything; Multipliers Revised
May 11, 2017
By Taking The Agony Out Of Tech Support, He Built A Fast-Growing Company
May 29, 2017

49er’s Draft Values; 70% Market Share; AI Assistant; Sold Out

"…insights for scaleups"


ScaleUp Summit Sold Out however we still have LIVE streaming available for next week's May 23 – 24 Summit. Enjoy from the comfort of your office, conference room, or home. The next ScaleUp Summit is Oct 17 – 18, St. Louis – with a Scaling Up User Conference Oct 19. Mark your calendars.

Flexi Owns 70% Market Share — of retractable dog leashes. Who would think one company dominates, but they do. They are what Hermann Simon calls a "Hidden Champion." He keynoted our Berlin ScaleUp Summit last week and this recent HBR article highlights the lessons learned from almost 3000 of these mainly privately held firms that dominate focused niches globally. BTW, the average tenure of a Hidden Champion CEO is 20 years vs. 7 year for Fortune 500 firms. And almost half are based in Germany, which the article explains why (other countries including the US should take note). Please take 2 minutes to read how to dominate your niche. And here's a link to Hermann's quick interview of me while in Berlin – he's really on top of social media at 71 years old.

AI Teaching Assistant — Georgia Tech Professor Ashok Goel needed help – so he built an extra teaching assistant using artificial intelligence. Named Jill Watson, it is now 97% successful in answering student's basic questions. This frees up Professor Goel and his human assistants to address the tougher concerns. This Backchannel article goes on to explain advances Pearson and other education firms are making in adding AI to their online and offline offerings. But will AI be replacing teachers anytime soon? Notes Ashok:

..she's not ready to teach- or even take on all the responsibilities of a human TA. "To capture the full scope of what a human TA does, we're not months away or years away. We're decades, maybe centuries away, at least in my estimation," Goel says. "None of us (AI experts) thinks we're going to build a virtual teacher for 100 years or more."

Notes Tom Bemiller, CEO of Aureus Auto Body, who pointed me to the article:

It makes me think about how we could use AI to help teach our employees financial literacy, SOP training, and other internal education programs. Never thought about that before. Pretty cool stuff.

Please take 3 minutes to skim through the article and then continue to ponder how AI is going to assist your business.

49er's Draft Room Values — below is an image from the San Francisco 49ers' draft room that articulates the "Core Values" they were looking for on draft day (from this article written by Peter King for MMQB). They separated them out into 2 categories: "Talent" and "Spirit". Thanks to Gazelles coach Matt Kuttler for sharing.

The key is to hire based more on core values than skill. Specifically, we think hiring should be based on four criteria in this order:

Will – do they have the desire to learn and win
Values – will they fit your cultural norms
Results – do they have a track record of delivering the outcomes you're seeking
Skills – can they competently do the job

The Topgrading Scorecard does a great job of organizing and quantifying each of these parameters – then serves as an interview and evaluation guide. To learn how to "topgrade" check out this online course taken by thousands to learn how to interview and select A players.

Geekdom — putting our registrations over the top was Geekdom. We have partnered with San Antonio leaders Graham Weston (former Rackspace CEO), Nick Longo and their Geekdom team to help support scaling of their member companies. We look forward to welcoming more than 50 leading companies and leaders from the Geekdom community next week at the ScaleUp Summit. Geekdom is a new kind of collaborative co-working space where Entrepreneurs, Technologists, Developers, Makers & Creatives help each other build businesses & other cool things together.

Next Insight June 1 — with our ScaleUp Summit next week, I'll take a break from the insights. Next one June 1.

EXITING: Thinking about selling the business for $40 million or more? Want to get 25% to 200% more than you thought? Request the whitepaper from the Exit Strategies Summit at Harvard from Denise Richmond at (610) 299-6466 or email at [email protected]


Have you ever wondered if working with a coach might accelerate your company's growth, exponentially? Do you have what it takes to move the dial from good to great? Click here to watch Gazelles International President Keith Cupp describes the four most important attributes of successful clients. Contact us at [email protected] for more information.

And if you're interested in becoming a world-class certified Gazelles International coach, please go to gicoaches.com/becomeacoach for more information. If you determine that we're a fit and wish to join our premier organization, we invite you to contact our Dir. of Coach Engagement at [email protected] or 877.217.2253 ext.700.


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Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

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