End of Bureaucracy; Manic; Doug Stacey; 45 Seconds
November 15, 2018
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December 6, 2018

Movie of the Year; Business Person of the Year; Microsoft #1

"…insights for scaleups"


Microsoft #1 (for a moment this week)I was 18 months early in my prediction, but confident that Microsoft would surpass Apple in market cap given the renewed leadership of Bill Gates and his new CEO who has pivoted Microsoft from a know-it-all culture to a learn-it-all culture. This CNN piece details why Microsoft may be a better bet than Apple moving forward, including it's 30% net profit vs. Apple's 22.5% and continued double digit growth rates vs Apples single digits.

Bohemian Rhapsody already the highest grossing music biopic movie in the history of the world, with almost a half-billion in revenue, this story of Freddie Mercury and the band Queen is filled with practical lessons on how to scale, build brand, etc. I'll get to those lessons in a moment, but first some top 5 "facts":

  1. Freddie Mercury deemed scientifically the greatest singer of all time
  2. Queen's Live Aid performance voted the best rock band performance of all time
  3. Album sales make Queen one of the world's best-selling music artists
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody the greatest song of all time (several polls)
  5. Holder of several Guinness Book of World Records

Google any of these facts for the backup data.

Queen, First Peoplemy second favorite scene is when Freddie Mercury comes back to apologize to his band members after an ill-fated run at a solo career. He notes how he went to Munich, hired a bunch of musicians, told them what he wanted "and they did it." That was his failure – surrounding imself with "yes" people. He explained how he needed his original band back because they were willing to push back hard, helping hone each song to perfection. This is precisely the definition of a "healthy" team according to Pat Lencioni of Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Is your team talented and healthy enough to engage in the kind of productive debate that drives success?

Next Strategy my favorite scene is when Mercury is asked what makes their rock band different from all the rest – and he had a clear and concise answer (you'll have to see the movie!). And throughout they understood the importance of continuing to innovate and be different, the essence of strategy. The scenes from their first recording session are indicative of living this idea. Ultimately, the song Bohemian Rhapsody broke all the rules while the accompanying video is credited with launching the MTV era and music videos. Here's to every entrepreneur who was told their ideas were dumb and proved the critics wrong. Are you really that different from the competition and can you articulate how?

Execution Their hit album "A Night at the Opera" featuring Bohemian Rhapsody was written and rehearsed over an intense three-week session at a remote rented home in Herefordshire, UK. It proves the power of intense focus (what Steve Jobs learned at Pixar) something I experienced when I rewrote Scaling Up over a similar three-week period. What would happen if you took your team to a remote offsite location and had three weeks to innovate a new product/service/company?

…and What About the Cash Queen was essentially broke after their first three albums because of the draconian structure of their recording contract. Mercury changed all that with the production of "A Night at the Opera." At the time the most expensive album to ever be recorded, it and the follow-on records/concert tours made Mercury and the band rich.

10 Lessons from Bohemian Rhapsody Marcio Kanamaru wrote this LinkedIn piece I found insightful. Translated from Spanish, the English is a little rough but the ideas are solid. Please take time to see this epic movie a couple of times.

Business Person of the Year fun facts for your weekend gatherings – Fortune released their annual Businessperson of the Year list and topping the list isn't your typical young tech star, though she has driven the business by leading with technology – Progressive Insurance's CEO Tricia Griffith. Impressively, her one-year and three-year sales growth topped both Apple and Microsoft as the stock jumped 50% and profit doubled. This article details all she's done to earn this prestigious honor – worth the 3 minutes to read. One weekly routine, "Every Friday she makes a point to join a lunch table to meet employees." What is your routine to communicate with frontline employees?

Enjoy your weekend and the movies!

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. January 15 – 18; March 12 – 15; Jun 4 – 7, 2019.

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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.