Steve Jobs 7 Secrets; The Mesh; Getting Middle Management More Involved
October 14, 2010

5 Cash Strategies; Facebook’s #2; Why Wesabe Lost; Africa Update

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Strategies for Increasing Cash
my latest Fortune Venture column is
, on the newsstands and online. Thanks to insight readers Scott Nash,
Barrett Ersek, Sam Goodner, and Phil Miner for contributing their stories
representing ideas you can implement immediately to bolster cash in your

Power of Barter — one of the more
unusual ways to bolster cash is to utilize barter on a more regular basis.
Barrett Ersek was doing roughly a quarter-million dollars of barter a year
through Atlantic Barter when he was building Happy Lawns, receiving up to $100k
in advance credit as a regular customer (hey, that's like real cash!). And when
he launched his new business, Holganix,
he traded in some beat-up trailers for $5k, received an additional $2500 in
advance credit from Atlantic Barter, so he could trade for a $7500 trade-show
booth. Check out the other four specific strategies in my latest Fortune column

Facebook CEO's #2 — Sheryl
Sandberg, Facebook's COO, is key to helping Mark Zuckerberg grow Facebook. And
she's an exception to my rule — that the #2 MUST be someone you've worked with
for quite some time. A former Google exec, they met at a Christmas party in
2007. After a six-week intense courting period involving multiple dinners each
week (this is always key), Zuckerberg placed Sandberg right into the COO
position. Take seven minutes and read this NY Times article
including how she won over the rest of the team. BTW, I'm adding to my rule
about hiring #2's — you MUST have worked with the person before unless the
last four letters of your last names match!

Sandberg's Discipline — a key to
Zuckerberg's and Sandberg's ongoing ability to work closely together are twice
weekly meetings for an hour — just the two of them at 10am Monday and another
on Friday (detailed in the article). Zuckerberg and Sandberg are as busy as
anyone on the planet, yet they carve out this specific time to discuss the big
(and little) stuff. Just another example that the execs running important
companies stick to these kinds of meeting rhythms and don't use the excuse
"hey, we see and talk to each other all week" to avoid specific
"council" time. Again, take 7 minutes and read how the right #2 can
greatly enhance the performance of the #1 and the business.

Roel Nikkessen Agrees…with the power of a
meeting rhythm. I received this note from Roel Nikkessen, CEO of a Dutch ICT
services firm, OGD,
"We've been working for almost two months with your structure of daily and
weekly meetings and I can say it works very well for us! The daily meeting at
16:28 is the routine that our management team needed. And the good thing about
the daily meetings is that we keep it to 15 minutes!" Nikkessen further notes
that the meeting rhythm "not only gives us a better understanding of each
other on our Management Team. It gives us more passion and a drive to move
further. At the end of this quarter we'll see sales up 20%, while our big
competitors in ICT services are still going down." Discipline always wins
out, everything else being equal. Congrats to Roel and his team.

Why Mint Won! — one last
article for the week. Take 5 minutes and scan Marc Hedlund's
guest CNN/Money article
on why his firm Wesabe lost to Mint in the race to
be THE website to help people with their personal finances. There are several
insightful lessons. A key conclusion, notes Hedlund "Focus on what really
matters: making users happy with your product
as quickly as you can, and helping them
as much as you can after that. If you do those better than anyone else out
there you'll win." In essence, Mint, though less robust in its approach
(from Hedlund's perspective), provided a much more idiot proof and easier
"one-button" functionality than Wesabe — essentially the user had to
do very little themselves. Lesson — right doesn't mean best. The article is
worth a scan

Kenya Rockefeller Habits — and kudos to
Olivia Herriford, our first Gazelles International certified business coach to
conduct a two-day
Decisions — Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Executive
workshop in Africa
last week. Working with the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) to host the
workshop, she's also advising them on their transition to a university. Noted
Keith Cupp, President of Gazelles International, "Olivia has a passion for
the people, growth businesses, and the continent of Africa."

Gambia, the Hong Kong of
— this week I'm in The Gambia, the smallest mainland
African country. A former British colony, it's on the western tip of Africa
surrounded by the former French colony, Senegal. I've felt what Africa most
needs is a Hong Kong. So I've started the journey along with some Dutch
investors (thanks especially to Peter Arensman with BAS Consulting) and
business leaders. So far I have more questions than answers, but it's clear,
much of the NGO and foreign governments' subsidies are a huge waste of money.
In turn, infrastructure is critical and The Gambia is making strides. Lack of
cargo planes, expensive power costs, and 22% interest rates are the three
biggest hindrances to the local Gambian entrepreneurs with whom I've met (these
entrepreneurs are dreaming and accomplishing big things — I was impressed with
the scope of their ventures).

Big Problems, Small
— it's been interesting to look at the situation here in
The Gambia through Chip and Dan Heath's lens (from their book
Switch) — that the
mistake companies and countries make is trying to solve big problems with big
solutions (I've seen plenty of this the past couple days) — instead, we need
to look for "bright spots" and find small, simple solutions to big
problems. And when you look through this lens, you see the world in an entirely
different way. I'm excited to hear Chip Heath in person when he keynotes our Fortune Growth Summit
in a couple weeks — hope to see all of you there as we gather the knowledge to
make a difference in our companies and the world — it's entrepreneurs that
must get it done!!! And we have to keep learning!

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.