Super Bowl Event – John Ratliff’s Retreat Center in Marathon Key, FL
December 15, 2015
Zuckerberg’s Focus; Microsoft’s Prediction; Aidan’s Best Advice; Dennis’s Daily Routine; Hiring Hint
January 8, 2016

5 Key Trends; Key Pricing Book; London Olympics Smart Pricing; Atlassian Goes Public; Last Insight for 2015

"…insights for scaleups"


5 Key Trends for 2016 — my latest Venture column in Fortune has hit the newsstands and online. It outlines "5 Key Business Trends to Master for 2016":

  1. Retire the term "manager" — and replace with a new term/job
  2. Embrace "scaleup eco-systems" — time to upgrade the startup eco-systems
  3. Open the books on healthcare costs — companies in the US will get slammed
  4. Benefit from the freelance economy — 50% of workforce is heading in this direction
  5. Be like a "B Corp" — if you want to win the war for talent

Please take 2 minutes to scan the details – and then share with your networks as you prepare for 2016.

Confessions of The Pricing Man — this is THE book on pricing. Pricing is one of the most important decisions you'll make in business and one that is at best an educated guess at most organizations. Written by Dr. Hermann Simon, his firm Simon-Kucher & Partners is widely considered the global market leader in the specialized area of price consultancy. Simon-Kucher will finish 2015 with $235 million in revenue with 850 employees working out of 30 offices in 24 countries – they are the "hidden champion" of pricing around the globe.

Pricing London Olympics — go right to the middle of Chapter 2 and read the section titled "What Smart Pricing Can Achieve: The 2012 London Olympics." Using several very clever pricing strategies, the London Olympics generated more revenue than the last three Olympics combined – read that again – more revenue than the last 3 combined! This mini-case study should motivate you to significantly up your game in strategic pricing. The BahnCard case study immediately following will add to your sense that its amateur hour around most organizations when it comes to pricing. When you think of the amount of money you're leaving on the table because of dumb pricing…anyway, get this book and study it.

What America's Best BBQ Joint Can Teach You About Pricing — this Nov HBR article continues with pricing lessons, this one focused on the importance of NOT price gouging when business is good. In the end, pricing creates an emotional connection with your product/service/company – and it can be good or bad! And customers have long memories if they feel taken advantage of when they have very little power (this is a scarce resource). It seems the London Olympics understood this by letting people "pay their age" – so a six-year-old paid just £6 for a ticket while a 16-year-old paid £16 – there was something that felt inherently fair about this pricing. Take another 2 minutes to read this short HBR piece and then spend time thinking through your own pricing.

Atlassian Goes Public $21 Price — Congratulations to Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founders of Australian-based Atlassian, for taking the company public last week in the US. Founded 13 years ago using $10k put on credit cards by the pair of 22-year-olds; the stock jumped 32% on opening day giving the company a market cap of almost $5.8 billion with Scott and Mike still owners of 66% of the company. It was considered the best tech IPO in 2015. Here's a Bloomberg article providing a few more details. The key to their success was being customer-funded most of the way – which is why the co-founders still held 66% at the time of the IPO. And thanks to Scott for being one of the main endorsers of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)

The Customer Funded Business and speaking of customer funded, here's my 4-minute interview of John Mullins who keynoted our recent Growth Summit and wrote what I named one of the top 5 biz books for 2014 The Customer Funded Business. Skip to 1:16 to hear the Ryzex case study, a company built by Rud Browne who used customer funding to scaleup the business to $75 million. After selling the firm, Rud ran for election as an official of his county in Washington state.

Scaling Up #1 Biz Book in Shanghai — Noted the Shanghai Daily "This manual packs enormous punch by condensing the best business, leadership and talent management advice". Here's to scaling up in China! And we just signed a publishing contract to have the first Mandarin version of the book thanks to our partners Preston Kuo and Eric Schmidt in China.

Great Price for Books — and we lowered the price on a box of 20 Scaling Up books – just $9.99/book plus shipping – a great give away to your customers/suppliers/colleagues. Give the gift of learning. Thank you.

Happy Holidays (and planning)! — I'm taking the next couple weeks off from writing the insights – back in January. Thank you for taking the time to read in 2015 – leaders are readers!


Have you ever wondered if your company would be a good candidate to work with an executive growth coach? Click here to watch Gazelles International President Keith Cupp describes the four most important attributes of successful clients.


Align Software puts everyone on the Same Page – Literally! See, in real time every person in your organization and how they are progress on their priorities – alongside how these Align to the Company Priorities! Scale Up your Rockefeller Habits implementation with – on your computer and on your phone.

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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.