Top 3 Motivators; Quiznos and Burger King One-Page Plans; Nine Lessons for Children
July 19, 2011
India Mimics Germany; Driving Sales in August; AirBNB Success; Doubling EBITDA
July 28, 2011

Inside Skype; Delivering Software Faster; VanBelle Nursery Theme; Australia Tour

"…keeping you great"


Inside the Skype Deal Fortune magazine just wrapped up yesterday its hugely popular Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen. The highlight was an inside and detailed look at the $8.5 billion Skype deal featuring CEO Tony Bates and the two private equity guys that made the deal happen, Egon Durbin, managing director of Silver Lake; and Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz Venture Capital Firm. What interested me most were the details around the culture and product changes that have led to Skype's huge growth (100 million users averaging 100 minutes/month of engagement). Here's a link to the 30 minute session and transcript (listen while you do your email or exercise).

Delivering Software Four Months Faster — if I had a nickel for every tech client held hostage by their software development team, I would be a billionaire already. This is precisely why Tony Bates was recruited from Cisco to be the CEO of Skype. Go to 14:13 of the video to hear Tony discuss how they delivered their hottest app four months ahead of schedule and why that has been a critical milestone in the company's turnaround. HINT: to quote Tony it's about "rhythm, cadence, and culture." You can scroll down the transcript and read his four keys – it's about halfway down the script (look at your scroll bar to the right to gauge).

Tony and Wife Set Long Term Goals — every year Tony Bates, Skype's new CEO, and his wife set future goals. In 2007, when he was a 40 year old exec at Cisco, he stated he wanted to be a CEO of a major company by age 45 – and it happened! No surprise. Are your 3 – 5 year personal and professional goals clearly stated in writing – this is something the most successful people do? The month of July provides the perfect time for a mid-year review of your goals – take time on your vacation to think, talk, and decide. Here's a side bar article on that discusses his goal to be CEO.

VanBelle Nursery Nails Theme — speaking of goals, do you have your latest quarterly theme announced? British Columbia-based VanBelle Throness Nursery just successfully wrapped up their first quarterly theme entitled "Around the World in 90 Days." Go to this link to see the graphic, photos, and metrics they used to drive the theme.

Best Shipping Season in History — VanBelle's 110 employee company does 80% of their business in one quarter, so it's critical everything goes perfect. Quoting their coach Trevor Throness, "we developed the theme focusing on every shipment being sent out on time for the quarter. They had a balloon going across a huge world map (1 on-time pallet equals 4 miles), touching at different countries as they went. When they hit India, the whole company had samosas, Italy, spaghetti and so on, highlighting the ethnic diversity of their company and focusing on pallets shipped on time. They were extremely enthusiastic about the process, and said that they had their best shipping season by far in the company's history, with only 2 (out of about 300) semis delayed throughout the quarter. They were extremely happy and impressed with the alignment that the theme brought. They even brought in a hot air balloon and gave rides to employees. It was cool". Again, see photos of these events. Congrats to CEO Dave Van Belle, coach Trevor, and the entire VanBelle Nursery team.

Sept. Australia Tour — due to the high number of requests in Adelaide for a one-day Rockefeller Habits workshop I'm heading back to Adelaide 21 September this year, in addition to Sydney 20 September and Brisbane 22 September. Here's the brochure. There's a discount rate for Weekly Insight subscribers. Use promo code Gazelles and register at

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.