Like many entrepreneurs, gravitating to other entrepreneurs or business people is natural. Talking to a Neurosurgeon is not.
"It's not brain surgery" is one of my favorite sayings. The other, "it's not rocket science". It seems quite apt that I find myself in conversation with a neurosurgeon, whose gene pool is only bolstered by the fact his father is a rocket scientist. Was I intimidated. Hell yes! But how impressed I was to be having such an intriguing and relevant conversation with a neurosurgeon, was only interrupted by moments of wanting to be opportunistic. I had to literally stop myself asking if a sperm donation was a point I could include in the discussion. Now, what single woman wouldn't want to have a child with this gene pool?
Nevertheless, when I pulled myself together, I realized the synergies between business and neurosurgery isn't actually poles apart and much closer than one would think. As a marketer, we have certainly learnt a lot from neuroscience and consumer behaviour, but the outlook of how a surgeon views what they do, was what struck me as being something every entrepreneur can learn from.
Inc Magazine is an entrepreneurial stable. It is one of the most popular magazines in the world for entrepreneurs and people who run businesses. One of my good friends Kevin Daum, a guy that I met way back in 2002 in Sydney, Australia, is a New Yorker who submits regular articles to Inc Magazine that are read by thousands of people.
As I read the article, "I thought I knew you - Entrepreneurship changes people - and not always for the better", I reflected on my own experiences.
Has entrepreneurship changed me? Is it for the better?
If one of my "normal" friends were sitting there, in that room, they would be terrified. They would have ran out as fast as they can, without looking back. Everyone was talking, almost all at once. They all had their ipads, iphones and pens and paper ready to hear - you are not going to be believe this - JACK DALY. Not that you wouldn't believe that someone would go and see Jack Daly, but because most of the people in the room had seen him speak on sales, not once, not twice, not even three times - but more than 5 or 6 times - BECAUSE he is that good and everyone in that room knows that to build their businesses, they need good management, strong marketing, and SALES. And, when it comes to SALES there is no-one more qualified or better at giving small businesses insight, than Jack Daly.
Brian Heather is a serial entrepreneur; young, dynamic, good looking and with a real social conscience. Not only is he in the business of sustainable environments, landscaping and water proofing, this 30-year old business man is changing the landscape of green buliding.
It may be a buzz word to many, but let me assure you, being green is more than meets the eye. Brian is a much sought after entrepreneur who has landed himself in the spotlight with his inaugural Ted Talk on June 23 on "The importance of reconnecting our cities to nature" as well as the natural charisma of an entrepreneur who is really going places.
His business, Solterra Systems, is a fully licensed electrical, landscaping and waterproofing company that focuses on integrating environmental technology into buildings.
This can range from green roofsproducing food, through to rain screen siding systems that protect the building from the elements with plants.
What can communities be doing more of to connect their cities to nature?
The first step is attaching an ROI to the benefits associated with being in nature for all humans. For example, they estimate that the average American spends 26% of the day being distracted; think text messages, facebook, telephone or advertising. But right now technology is very much a part of what we do. The issue is that there is a loss of productivity in the workplace and people have, in general, very un-balanced live that is enhanced by the fact that technology plays such a huge role in what we do and how we live our lives.
I remember all those cool kids who seemed to have it all at the ripe age of 14, while I sat in the library reading a book because, quite frankly, I wasn't as cool, nor did I win any particular popularity contest to speak of.
Instead, I wrote my weekly debates and hoped that the cool kids' "coolness" would somehow rub off on me and overnight, I could hang onto their coattails too. But that was not to be - instead, I spent every free hour at school secretly hoping that one day I would be cool too.
It’s been five days of the best Miami has to offer coupled by discussing entrepreneurial topics, life and success (or in some cases, lack of) with some very versatile, uninhibited entrepreneurs who all seem content to share stories and experiences while enriching each other’s lives through old-fashion mateship.
Entrepreneurial stories on people like former Geelong footballer Michael Mansfield, Comcity's Jason Reading, Chris Reynolds from Champion Systems, Ryan O'Hare from Eutility and more.
Thought leaders on leadership, psychology, marketing and social media share their views and experiences. A really great story is on business turnaround specialist Daryl Wright from Bond Street 180 and you will also find a story on famous entrepreneur turn photographer, Tommy Mendes.
In all, its a good read and the best stories are on the entrepreneurs behind the brands.
I was surprised as I tweeted the website only a couple of times yesterday and we haven't really promoted it while we tweak a few things, and more than 1000 people where on the site last night at 11pm and it was going up at a rapid pace. For a moment, it made me nervous! Creating your own media can bring greater loyalty to your brand, only if it is done right and you have thought through what your audience wants to read about.
"But if you keep doing that, you will achieve nothing."
I have neither A.D.D. nor do I have a strong A-Type personality (although some people may challenge that), but I do have problems from time to time focusing and for that matter being able to sleep through the night because I am thinking of a hundred things at once.
Someone once said to me that they never wanted to be on that list because there are only two outcomes that derive from being placed on this list: 1. Telemarketers will harrass you for the rest of your life. 2. You will go broke.
Jan Cameron, the founder of successful retail chain Kathmandu knows this only too well. She built her business over 20 years to be the most successful retail business in the outdoor adventure space, selling for a reported $247 million and being placed on the Rich 200 list only to be in BRW today with the journalist reporting that she almost certainly won't be there this year. Why? She sold her business and then after a break decided to get back into the game and invested $80 million into Retail Adventures discount group. Not long after, she had to double her investment to keep the chain alive. Plagued with poor management and a bad company culture, the chain was put in Voluntary Administration in October.
What I had achieved was for all to see. I was comfortable with my place in the world. In many people's terms, I had achieved a lot and for me, I didn't really have any major aspirations to achieve more than what I had. Well, at least that was what I kept telling myself.
Then I received an email. It was from a friend in Dubai and they were touching base with me after a few years of no communication. We hadn't talked for no other reason other than the tyranny of distance and the lack of urgency in making contact. He asked "have you done all the things we had talked about that time we sat up until 3am in the morning, talking about our dreams". I thought back. It dawned on me that I had not. Sure it was 3am in the morning and I may have had one or two glasses of red too much, so my "dreams" were probably more outlandish than what I really wanted to do in life, but the answer still was the same. No I hadn't. And there was a few things that I said that night that I wouldn't mind crossing off my checklist.