Whole Foods Fail?; Employees First?; Ego is the Enemy?; Uber’s Mess?
June 29, 2017
Zell’s Angels; Leading Countries; Samsung Surpasses Apple; High Stakes Negotiations Course
July 13, 2017

Bezos’ Insight; Gladwell’s Omission; Mind-Hack; Two Resilience Questions; CEO Boot Camp

"…insights for scaleups"


Jeff Bezos' Insights this 1997 5-minute interview shows how Amazon's founder recognized a significant trend and then conceived the best business to take advantage of the current situation. This is precisely the idea behind the SWT tool (Strengths, Weaknesses, and Trends). Just the first 30 seconds is worth a watch – then let the rest of the interview flow while you read the rest of this insight and work on some email. I love when an entrepreneur understands the various levers of their business the way Bezos articulates his business model. Thank you to TicketCity founder/CEO (and author of Secrets of Swagger) Randy Cohen for sharing the love.

You Should "Slack" More — seems Malcolm Gladwell left out a significant fact with his 10,000 hours to mastery idea. The opening paragraph of this insightful Nautilus article notes:

Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincare, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest "working" hours.

Research seems clear that working more hours dramatically decreases creativity. And since this is our only real future advantage over AI/robots, predictions of 16-hour work weeks might just be what the doctor ordered! If you can truly put in a focused amount of time on a significant task/project/idea each day, 3 to 4 hours is max (like Olympic athletes). BTW, this is precisely how modern entrepreneurs like Richard Branson structure their days. Please take 5 minutes to read one of the most important articles written so far in 2017.

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less – the Nautilus article is an excerpt from Alex Soojung-Kim Pang's book titled Rest. He is also the founder of the Restful Company and is a visiting scholar at Stanford. Notes Pang at the end of the article, which explains the headline from above:

This is how we've come to believe that world-class performance comes after 10,000 hours of practice. But that's wrong. It comes after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, 12,500 hours of deliberate rest, and 30,000 hours of sleep.

So maybe it's not the 4-hour work week as much as it is the 4-hour work day. But it means shutting off the email/noise and getting some real work accomplished – and then being as deliberate in relaxing/resting. Again, please take a few minutes and read this hugely insightful article. With our move back to the US (today) I'm going to take this opportunity to rearrange my workdays accordingly and find more time for biking, tennis, piano, and magic – and will be asking my peer coach Sebastian Ross to hold me accountable to this (you have a peer coach, right?). Thanks to Gazelles coaching partner Terry Schaefer for pointing me to this article.

Two Questions to Build Resilience — it's also critical not to let the world get you down in the process. This HBR article highlights two questions to build your resilience to life's ups and downs. Notes Srikumar Rao, author of Happiness at Work and the hugely popular MBA course (called the best in the world) titled "Creativity and Personal Mastery":

…is it possible that what you are about to label a bad thing today could, at some point in the future, turn out to have been a good thing? If so, why be in a hurry to label it bad? Just asking yourself the question "Is there any possible way in which this could actually turn out to be good?" presents a realm of possibility. And if you take the question one more step and ask "What can I do to make this happen?" you will find avenues opening up that you may never have conceived of before.

The article ends with a 3-step process to cultivate a new mode of thinking about bad things. Please take 1 minute to jump to the end and review.

Michael Singer's Lesson — serial entrepreneur John Ratliff and I hosted another great group of CEOs at our CEO Boot Camp a few weeks ago. And we once again hopped on some private planes and made the trip up to hear The Untethered Soul author Michael Singer speak. Noted one of his "students" during the Q&A time – when bad things happen to you try re-scripting your mode of thinking from "why did this happen TO me" to "why did this happen FOR me." What are the lessons I'm supposed to learn? What do I need to release? For me this simple reframe has been powerful. FYI, the next CEO Boot Camp is Oct 3 – 6 (Tuesday evening through Friday afternoon) in Marathon, FL at John's beautiful retreat center – and we'll be flying up to hear Michael as well on Thursday. Bob Verdun, who just sold his firm, will be one of our guest entrepreneurs and he's bringing along one of his toys for us to play with as well!

Oops — several of you caught my mistake last week. Chris Zook's book, which I referenced, is called The Founder's Mentality. It's my other friend Noam Wasserman who has an excellent book called The Founder's Dilemmas (do you want to be "king" or be "rich"?). Noam recently moved from Harvard Business School, where he’s taught since 2003, to USC where he is the Founding Director of USC's Founder Central Initiative which researches issues and decision making faced by founders in the early stages of startups. Noam continues to contribute practical ideas to help entrepreneurs.

Back in the US of A — today is our big move back to the US after 8 years in Barcelona. My wife Julie's olive oil business and our daughter Jade's body butter business are two reasons. Plus the epi-center of the biz world has shifted back west – in anticipation of the repatriation of trillions back to the US economy, so it will mean less trips across the pond for me. We're settling in Wilmington, DE and look forward to connecting more often with our North American friends.

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.