What Job Needs to be Done? 2 Minutes to Find Out Why

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Why Uber is The Revenge of the Founders

A version of this article is in the Harvard Business Review Uber, Zenefits, Tanium, Lending Club CEOs of companies with billion dollar market caps have been in the news – and not in a good way.  This seems to be occurring more and more.  Why do these founders get to stay around? Because the balance of […]

How companies strangle innovation – and how you can get it right

  A shorter version of this post first appeared on the HBR blog — I just watched a very smart company try to manage innovation by hiring a global consulting firm to offload engineering from “distractions.” They accomplished their goal, but at a huge, unanticipated cost: the processes and committees they designed ended up strangling […]

Don’t let process distract you from finding the strategy

When you’re up to your neck in alligators, don’t forget the goal was to drain the swamp. I love teaching because I learn something new every class. This time it was, “Don’t let process distract you from finding the strategy.” The latest “aha” moment for me when I was at Columbia University teaching an intensive […]

Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer and Why He Still Has His Job at Apple

What happens to a company when a visionary CEO is gone? Most often innovation dies and the company coasts for years on momentum and its brand. Rarely does it regain its former glory. Here’s why. Microsoft entered the 21st century as the dominant software provider for anyone who interacted with a computing device. 16 years later […]

Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 44: Jacqueline Ros and Christina Stembel

The first two years of my startup were the most challenging years of my life; I just felt like a complete failure all the time. In moments of darkness you need to remember why you’re here and why you’re fighting that fight. Grueling. Demoralizing. Chaotic. Miserable. Most first-time entrepreneurs aren’t prepared for the challenges they will […]

Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 41: Chris Schroeder and Andy Cunningham

There are only two emotions in startups — utter ebullient enthusiasm and outright terror. Here’s the big thing about tech companies: They all believe that if they build it, the world will come, but it doesn’t really work that way. The reality distortion you create is imperative to be able to believe what you’re doing, […]

Working Hard is not the same as working smart

Measuring how hard your team is working by counting the number of hours they work or what time they get in and leave is how amateurs run companies. The number of hours worked is not the same as how effective they (and you) are. I had been invited by Rahul, one of my students from […]

Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 40: Stan Gloss and Matt Armstead

A lot of people, especially in the Midwest, will spend their time thinking too small. They’re a creature of their habit and habitat, in looking at potential investors and market opportunities. If you see a need or problem and you think you can solve it, you don’t want that destiny to belong to someone else. You have to disprove the […]

Clusters, Class, Culture and Unfair Advantages

“Talent Is Universal; Opportunity Is Not.” –Nicholas Kristof I just finished reading J.D. Vance’s excellent book Hillbilly Elegy, and had that funny feeling when you find the story arc of someone else’s life eerily paralleling yours. Vance’s book and the story of my own life suggest that there is an archetypal journey (a pattern of […]