Loss Leader Fallacy; Ken Allen Turnaround; Henry McGovern; London Nov 11 – 12
April 4, 2019
Fool’s Meetings; World’s Greatest; Panera 5-Year Themes; Apr 28 Room Cutoff
April 26, 2019

Atlassian’s Core Values; Bezos’s Letter; CKO; ScaleUpX

Hello ScaleUps, 

Hope it’s been a productive and purposeful week. Here are some insights/opportunities to help you outlearn/outthink the competition.

If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle.
  Jeff Bezos, Annual Letter to Shareholders

ScaleUpX —
In addition to the 9 top biz authors and CEOs keynoting our ScaleUp Summit May 21 – 22 Atlanta, there are 8 ScaleUpX speakers – also authors and leaders of scaleups. Each has 10 minutes to share their core ideas. Join 1000+ leaders of scaleups for this exceptional two-days of executive education – outlearning your competition.

Atlassian’s Scott Farquhar on Core Values —
Scott Farquhar, co-founder of Atlassian ($27 billion market cap), stopped by our 2.5-day YPO Scaling Up workshop in Las Vegas this week while hosting his own global Summit. He shared how Atlassian’s core values have remained constant as they’ve scaled from 50 employees (when he used the Mars Mission exercise to “discover” their values) to over 3500.  Please take 4 minutes to watch their video on core values

Using Your Own Language —
It’s key that your core values are described in a phrase (not single words) using the everyday language of your unique culture. This Atlassian Core Values link lists their values along with a short description of each. I suggest you copy the format of their core values landing page for your organization. Here are the values Scott articulated Wednesday night: 

  • Open company, no bullshit
  • Build with heart and balance
  • Don’t #@!% the customer
  • Play, as a team
  • Be the change you seek

Please take 1 minute to look over their values page and another 4 to watch their video – nicely done. And you’ll notice how it flows into recruiting for additional team members.

Jeff Bezos’s Annual Letter, 4 Takeaways —
This Fortune article summarizes four key takeaways from Jeff Bezos’s annual letter to shareholders. Always a short letter (vs. Buffett’s), it’s worth 2-minutes to see how he communicates his message and vision. Key highlights for me included Bezo’s challenge to other retailers to raise wages; details around the launch and success of physical stores; and their “intuition, curiosity, and power of wandering” approach to scaling. 

Alternative View of Loss Leaders —
Mike Jacobs, founder & CEO of Applied Manufacturing Technologies, emailed me after my last insight on eliminating loss leaders. Notes Mike: 

  • Clay Christensen of HBS warns us in his disruption writings that If there is any +margin in it (loss leaders) at all, be careful to cede that market to someone else as they will enter your market then run up the value chain and leave you in the dust, disrupted and dead. US Steel ceded the rebar market and new steel crushed them…

Thank you, Mike, for the push back and insights. Always a more difficult decision to do less than to do more.  

Chief Knowledge Officer —
I emphasize the importance of HR and IT working closely together since they have the same end goal – to help everyone in the organization make better decisions. Mike Jacobs’ firm does, in fact, combine these two functions into a Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) position. Applied’s “Leadership” landing page highlights this position. Congrats Mike on this innovative leadership move.

CEO-BOOTCAMP: spend 3.5 days with Verne, serial entrepreneur John Ratliff, and 6 other CEOs in a beautiful retreat setting, addressing the constraints holding back you, your business, and your industry. Jun 4 – 7 (Sold Out); Aug 20 – 23, 2019; Jan 14 – 17; Jan 21 – 24, 2020.

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? The Scaling Up team is prepared to support you. We have helped 40,000 other organizations over the past 30+ years, in scaling up their organizations through coaching, workshops, online training and more. 

We would like to offer you a complimentary, personal follow-up from our Scaling Up team to share how we can support you in scaling your organization.


For questions or more information contact us at [email protected]


Create Accountability – Drive Execution with Align, cloud-based software designed to scale up your Rockefeller Habits implementation. www.aligntoday.com – on your computer, tablet or phone. Click here to watch an introductory video.

Better Book Club — What's your team reading? Increase your books read per team member. Easy, Proven, and in the Cloud at http://www.BetterBookClub.com.

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.