Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

“Don’t worry about reputation but about character. You should build character by practicing empathy, practicing moral courage, practicing determination.”

Jacqueline Novogratz

“The revolution is going to happen without us. We were sure that software was going to change the world, and we worried that if we didn’t join the digital revolution soon, it would pass us by.”

Bill Gates

“We sometimes fall flat on our face. But people don’t mind people who try things and fall.”

Richard Branson

“Nobody’s job was to say, ‘I think it’s wonderful.”. Instead, I insisted on everyone coming together to analyze potential problems that could lose investor money”

Stephen Schwarzman

“I was fired from Salomon Brothers in 1981 in part because no one at the firm thought much of my idea for computerizing financial data and analysis and presenting it in real time….Organizations resist innovation- and those that do inevitably fail -because people are more comfortable with what they know than with what they don’t….innovation requires hiring smart, creative and driven people, empowering them to take risks and standing behind them…”

Michael Bloomberg

“Don’t think of a specific job, so to speak, or a specific career, like “I’d like to be this” or “I’d like to be that”. You should find an area that interests you and just get on the highway, and it will lead you wherever you lead it.”

Barry Diller

“Making other people happy is a super-happiness….We believe all human beings are entrepreneurs. They are not born to work for somebody else. Their early history is about being hunters, gatherers and problem-solvers. It remained as an essential part of our DNA; we are not job-seekers, we are job creators. Job seeking is a wrong turn in our history.”

Muhammad Yunus

“In a world of unlimited choices and voices, those who can bring people together and tell a good story have power”

Shonda Rhimes

“First 20 years of my career I worked hard to make money. Second 20 years I worked for my ideals. Next 20 years I will work for issues that are my passion…to nurture the next generation so they can make their own contribution to building a better world”

Terry Gou

Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

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“Don’t take ‘no’ when your gut tells you ‘yes'”

James Patterson

“Whatever drives us, we all derive happiness from finding purpose. We find joy in thinking, doing and discovering – in improving people’s lives and catalyzing positive change in the world.”

Robert Smith

“I should have done this a long time ago”

Lou Gerstner

“Truly great artists, they always get better”

Jeff Koons

“I read. I listen. I try to surround myself with smart people of all ages and backgrounds. Wednesday nights me and my wife host college students for dinner to share their world-views and work, they inspire me with their potential and passion to change the world.”

John Doerr

“Be a voice that is respected and abreast of developments”

Ratan Tata

“By the end of the day, I’ve learned something that shows how dumb I was yesterday”

Bernard Marcus

“I believe in telling like it is and not worrying about it”

Vinod Khosla

“I believe in work and being connected to the world we live in”

Miuccia Prada

Most Important Thing Is To Be Customer Obsessed

“Don’t satisfy the customer, delight the customer” __Jeff Bezos

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What does it mean to be customer obsessed?

Give customers what they love and strive to delight them at every touchpoint. It’s that simple, harder in practice. For example, Amazon knew that customers love free delivery, no one likes to pay for shipping. Amazon came up with the idea of Prime to address that customer want, to make shipping free. Apparently, Prime customers spend $1300+ per year, nearly twice the amount spent by non-prime members.

“The missionary is building the product and building the service because they love the customer, because they love the product, because they love the service, the mercenary is building the product or service so that they can flip the company and make money. Paradoxically, it’s usually the missionaries who make the most money.”

Jeff Bezos

Strategies and tools to be customer obsessed?

How can one delight their customers, by giving them what they love. How can we give them what they love? Understand what they love. How to understand what someone loves, get closer to them, go through a day in the life of your customer, shadow them, really, genuinely try to be useful to them. Create routines, rituals that will assist you to be in constant touch with the customer, not automatic emails or text messages that spam them but personalized messages, meet-ups, calls.

What about the money?

Amazon’s prime service drew ire for being “too good to be true” and helped underline the idea that Amazon is too inexpensive to be profitable. Jeff Bezos’s mantra was to delight the customers and not bumping short-term gains on the bottomline. As Bezos puts it, “paradoxically, it’s usually the missionaries who make the most money.” when you work to delight the customer, in the long run, money comes naturally. The lesson is to delight the customer and money will take care of itself.

WTF is PMF?

MAKE SOMETHING PEOPLE WANT

Jessica Livingston

“Identifying a compelling value hypothesis is what I call finding product/market fit. A value hypothesis identifies the features you need to build, the audience that’s likely to care, and the business model required to entice a customer to buy your product.” __Andy Rachleff

“When a great team meets a lousy market, market wins. When a lousy team meets a great market, market wins. When a great team meets a great market, something special happens. If you address a market that really wants your product — if the dogs are eating the dog food — then you can screw up almost everything in the company and you will succeed”

Andy Rachleff

“The term product/market fit describes ‘the moment when a startup finally finds a widespread set of customers that resonate with its product’.”

Eric Ries

“You can always feel when product/market fit isn’t happening. The customers aren’t quite getting value out of the product, word of mouth isn’t spreading, usage isn’t growing that fast, press reviews are kind of ‘blah’, the sales cycle takes too long, and lots of deals never close. And you can always feel product/market fit when it’s happening. The customers are buying the product just as fast as you can make it — or usage is growing just as fast as you can add more servers. Money from customers is piling up in your company checking account. You’re hiring sales and customer support staff as fast as you can. Reporters are calling because they’ve heard about your hot new thing and they want to talk to you about it. You start getting entrepreneur of the year awards from Harvard Business School. Investment bankers are staking out your house. You could eat free for a year at Buck’s.”

Marc Andreessen

“Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” 

Marc Andreessen

“You know you have fit if your product grows exponentially with no marketing. That is only possible if you have huge word of mouth. Word of mouth is only possible if you have delighted your customer.”

Andy Rachleff

3 Key Metrics for PMF

1. Returning usage – how many users return to use the product/service

2. Net Promote Score (NPS) – would you recommend this to others

3. Paying customer renewal rates

David Rusenko (Weebly)

Product Market Fit is like a Tango dance between product and market.

Mike Maples Jr.

‘WTF’ level features

“It also involves taking the most powerful and compelling aspects of the product and delivering them in the form of ‘WTF’ level features that are not merely compelling – they rise to the level of changing people’s points of view about what’s even possible and create intense delight in customers.”

a16z.com

“Getting product right means finding product/market fit. It does not mean launching the product. It means getting to the point where the market accepts your product and wants more of it.”

Fred Wilson

build-measure-learn iteration

Finding PMF is simple but not easy, build something, test it out in the real world, gather data and feedback and iterate on the product. If it’s that simple why do so many companies build products that no one wants? The process is simple but it takes speed, flexibility and a discipline of relying on data and not on opinions. I know this very well because I was a product owner of a few such products that were built in vacuum or built on very long cycles (iteration cycle was weeks or months and not fast enough).

Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

“With my dress, I was selling confidence and with its success, I was getting confident. Confidence in what you do is crucial”

Diane von Furstenberg

“Time to kick people and by “kick” I mean challenge, is when they’re on the way up, to remind them that when you’re growing, make sure your head is not growing too!”

Jack Welch

“My biggest mistake was thinking I shouldn’t show my mistakes – I learned I should.”

Jack Dorsey

“Your goal should never be starting a company. Focus on the change you want to make, find people who share your same purpose and eventually you may have an opportunity to build something that helps create purpose for others and has a positive impact on the world.”

Mark Zuckerberg

“There is a myth that being successful demands giving up commonsense values; integrity, generosity, courage, empathy etc. I respect ambition but not ruthless ambition.”

Meg Whitman

“For the economic, social and political benefit of all, the Web must be recognized as a public good”

Time Berners-Lee

“If you are not undermanned, you are overstaffed, and you will never see your heroes”

Jerry Jones

“All I had to do was wash dishes and I could earn $1.20 an hour. That was more than 99% of the people make back home in Pakistan.”

Shahid Khan

“It’s important to have good people around you.

Paul McCartney

“The clean energy economy can happen in the next 10 years. So when I think out 100 years, we’re going to be in a world of extreme abundance and peace and prosperity where people live these glorious lives or we’re going to be toast. It’s one or the other.”

Jeff Skoll

Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

“Business isn’t all that complicated. If someone is out in the desert walking around, they’re going to be thirsty. You just have to ask them what they wan to drink. If you have the humility to listen to other people rather than just hawking stuff, you are going to have a loft of customers”

ARTHUR BLANK

“I always try to maintain a sense of reality and ensure that I surround myself with people, who understand the times in which we live”

GEORGIO ARMANI

“I have always chosen to ignore the conventional wisdom in favor of the ideas that interested me”

SEAN PARKER

“My biggest mistake was that I always sold stocks way too early. Selling your winners and holding your losers is like cutting the flowers and watering the weeds.”

PETER LYNCH

“Find a good business – and one that I an understand why it’s good – with a durable competitive advantage, run by able and honest people and available at price that makes sense.”

WARREN BUFFETT

“There’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. If you can increase your potential 10% 20% or 30% by enhancing your talents, they can’t tax it away. Inflation can’t take from you. You have it the rest of your life”

WARREN BUFFETT

“One must continuously go through learning curves to stay relevant. A part of learning is done through reading, and the other part, which likely more important, is talking with bright minds, from different fields – scientists, writers, policymakers, philosophers etc.”

NEIL SHEN

“What I want to do really is leave something of value”

OPRAH WINFREY

“If you are present and awake, you become this great thinker, this great worker. You become a fine-tuned machine. Yogis refer to the state of yoga, which is the same as Heaven on Earth.”

RUSSELL SIMMONS

Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

“Most people fail in science because they talk themselves out of doing the experiment. Ideas are dime a dozen. What makes the difference is the execution.”

CRAIG VENTER

“I arrived in Beijing (1991) – I saw no cars, only bicycles, no tall buildings. The GDP was 4% of what it is today. Nonetheless, we decided to open our first Louis Vuitton store in China.”

BERNAURD ARNAULT

“If I were starting out now, I would look at what the competition is like in various fields – and then consider some that aren’t so popular.”

JULIAN ROBERTSON

“If a digital super-intelligence were inadvertently optimized to do something detrimental to humanity, this could have catastrophic consequences. It could be something like directing the AI to get rid of spam, and it concludes the best way to get rid of spam is to get rid of humans. Or a financial program decides the best way to make money is to increase the value of defense stocks by starting a war. We are the first species capable of self-annihilation, and it’s extremely likely, given enough time.”

ELON MUSK

“Sometimes it pays to be a little crazy early in your career”

FRED SMITH

“Someone once asked Francisco Alcaraz, the genius distiller creating all of our formulas for Patron, “What is the secret? Why is Patron so good? Why do people keep coming back” He says, “The secret’s very easy. It’s called love. We are all treated so well, we love what we’re doing. We never want to leave. We want every bottle to be reflective of us.”

JOHN PAUL DEJORIA

“I use what I call the “mother test”. If your mother calls you and tells you that she is proud of what you are doing, that’s probably a good indication that you are on the road to happiness. My mother used to call much more when I was giving away my money than when I was making it.”

DAVID M. RUBENSTEIN

“Integrity means honesty and willingness to fulfill a promise, even at high cost. Commitment means dedication and loyalty to a task or an organization. Innovation means change.”

MORRIS CHANG

“The four most important words in business are “What do you think?”

J.W. “Bill” MARRIOT JR.

Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

“The more you invest in your mission, the more profits your business will produce. We are living proof of this. Not such a bad formula, huh?”

DAN GILBERT

“I try to be what I really am and not what people would like me to be. There is a certain peace that comes with that. My reputation is truly my own.”

LEONARDO DEL VACCHIO

“Maintain a culture of respect”

ERIC SCHMIDT

“I find it awe-inspiring that there are an infinite number of ways to improve the world through business. Providing better products and services, or less expensive ones, or more accessible ones, all makes people happier. That’s what it’s all about.”

MARTINE ROTHBLATT

“If you have the emotional makeup (you can develop it), you don’t care what the experts are saying”

CARL ICAHN

“Curiosity has kept me young as I have grown older”

LEX WEXNER

“Delivering newspapers I had a lot of elderly customers, so I would always put the newspaper in between the screen door and the door – that caring made me different, made me better than the last paperboy.”

SEAN “DIDDY” COMBS

“No matter how small a project you work on, and no matter what it is, put your heart and soul and sense of responsibility.”

FRANK GEHRY

“We are better employees when we stop trying to be two people and bring our whole self to work”

SHERYL SANDBERG

Lessons From People No Smarter Than You

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use” __Steve Jobs

“When I started Chobani I’d never run a company before and there was no plan, but one thing I saw the could be fixed easily was the factory’s old walls. The badly needed a paint job. So I bought some paint and our first five employees and I all got to work. It was the first and the best decision I ever made.”

HAMDI ULUKAYA

“Some of the most selfish people I’ve met are artists – I’m one of them – and some of the most selfless people I’ve ever met are in business, people like Warren Buffett.”

BONO

“When you ask, What do you want and what do you dream, you’re able to ask yourself, What am I beginning? We need to have a beginner’s mind to think about what is happening.”

MARC BENIOFF

“Information revolution is not just an extension of human capabilities but an extension of brain cells. This super-intelligence will bring about developments we’er never seen before and contribute to humanity”

MASAYOSHI SON

“I’m very clear that everything I do is authentic, practiced and viable – and the end result is generally beautiful.”

MARTHA STEWART

“Health is your own; money belongs to others; power is temporary; and reputation is eternal”

CHAROEN SIRIVADHANABHAKDI

“Investing in people is how we grow. I’m still trying to build the kind of company that my father never had a chance to work for;”

HOWARD SCHULTZ

“There is a story I tell about the geologist who fell off a ten-story building. When he blew past the fifth floor he thought to himself, “So far so good.” That’s the way to approach life”

T. BOONE PICKENS

“On November 21, 1783 Benjamin Franklin watched as the first manned hot-air balloon rose from the ground. A skeptic in the crowd called out, “What is the use of it!” and Franklin is said to have replied, “What is he use of a new born child!”. He had a vision of humanity not as it is but as it could be”

YURI MILNER

“Today’s growing challenge: create meaningful lives for the world’s population. What are the jobs of the future in an age of robotics, driverless trucks and other new technologies”

MICHAEL MILKEN