When I worked the markets in the South Wales Valley, I had this amazing old Fiat 128. I loved it. But it had one or two quirks.
The key one was the petrol gauge didn’t work. I didn’t know if it was nearly empty or completely full.
So when I did a market, I was super keen to sell so I would have money to fill the car up full with petrol so I could relax. On days when I didn’t sell, and there was too many of those, I wasn’t sure if I would make it home. I did my fair share of walking home.
"Sales is Power" - Wu Tang
I learnt to drive in that car. And, more importantly, I learnt the importance of selling.
Yup, always be shipping.
The single biggest reason most businesses fail is because they never start.
People sit around telling their friends their great idea and don’t ever make it happen. Ideas need someone to make it happen. Ideas need doers not talkers.
Another reason businesses fail is because when they do eventually start, the founders don’t quite believe in the idea. Or one of the partners doesn’t. A lack of belief can be much more damaging than a lack of funding.
In terms of Rugby or Football, this is the equivalent of not fully committing in the tackle. And when you are half-hearted in the tackle, you much more likely to get injured.
Players, who’re saving themselves for the next big game or an important tournament, often end up injured because they held back. Holding back often ends up in tears.
If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start.
Likewise, ideas need you to commit. They need all your money. They need all your time. They need all your energy. They need all your love. They need all your belief.
If you are half-hearted about the idea, don’t even start.
One night last week, there was a knock at the door.
It was a guy delivering Yellow Pages.
He delivered one for us. And one for the next farm, who were out.
I will never use it. I doubt the farm over the road will ever use it either.
Its time has been and gone.
It saw the Internet as a threat and didn’t move fast enough. Instead of cannibalising itself, it let Google do it for them. They kept doing the thing it had always done.
Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
And now it has to change when it is at its weakest in terms of its ability to raise money and perhaps more importantly, is it just too late. The transition from paper to digital should have happened at least a decade ago.
The trouble with doing business like you always have done is if your customer is changing faster than you are, you will wake up one morning and they will be gone.
And you won’t have to worry hearing the knock at the door; the door will have gone too.
Last week we tried something new.
The Do Lectures turned into something else for 72 hours.
It became a place to start ideas.It became a place of doing.
It was an experiment. And the experiment was to see if you could take ‘time’ out of the process of the starting new companies. Can we accelerate them?
Like anything when you try something new, there is resistance.
But you have to let the experiment take its journey: Judge it at then end, and not before it starts. And not even halfway through.
Over the 72 Hours I saw people pitching their ideas via Ipad’s on Facetime to some amazing business guru’s while standing in a field on the western edge of Wales.
I saw websites being built.
I saw hackers building working prototypes on the spot.
I saw logo’s being crafted.
I saw people lose confidence and then bounce right back. I saw groups come together and I saw them fall apart. I saw frustration and elation.
I saw ideas being pitched and funded there and then.
But what I really saw was a glimpse of what the future looks like. And it is exciting but it won’t be easy, simple or predictable.
Ideas are messy.
1, Don’t follow.
2, Don’t seek consensus.
3, Trust your instinct.
4, Look for what isn’t there. But should be.
5, Ideas make you stand out. Great ideas make you standalone.
6, Ask dumb questions. They are not that dumb.
7, Most great ideas have difficult births.
7, Inform your ideas from what you see, what you hear, what you feel.
8, Don’t chase a fashion. Go where others haven’t.
9, Remember, ideas are plentiful. People who make them happen are not.
10, Don’t let your idea down: Execute well.
11, Good execution is hard.
11, Find the very best people you can and work with them.
12,Timing is important.
13, Love what you do. Or don’t do it.
14, Answer common problems.
15, ‘Standing still’ is just a nicer way of saying ‘going backwards’. Don’t stand still.
16, Fallow. Creativity needs rest.
17, Some ideas look good on paper and suck in real life. And some suck on paper but work in real life. Don’t be quick to judge your ideas.
18, Disrupt the status quo, or you’ll soon become it.
19, Failure is informative.
20, Optimism helps.
21, There are no short cuts. Do the work.
22, Luck matters.
23, "If you are going to try, go all the way. Or don’t even start." CB
Some books are more important than others. That’s because they contain an irrefutable truth. And once you know that truth and what it means to you, and how you need to use it in order to change things, then it is indeed life changing.
Many, many books claim that. But few really are.
‘The 80/20 Principle’ by Richard Koch is one of those rare books that you can indeed call life-changing. And business-changing too. It has a simple premise: 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. This thinking originally came from an Italian economist called Vilfredo Pareto. In 1906, he created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country, observing that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth. It became known as Pareto’s law. But it was actually an American Dr. Juran's observation of the "vital few and trivial many" that gave the principle a broader spectrum. And so the principle that 20 percent of something always are responsible for 80 percent of the results came to be.
If you think about your business, and apply the 80/20 principle, you will see that how uncannily accurate it is. 80% of your businesses revenue comes from just 20% of your customers. 80% of your businesses biggest successes come from just 20% of your people. Once you are aware of this truth, you can start to focus and spend more time on what matters: The 20% of the vital few.
Just imagine if you spent more time on the things that made the biggest difference and not on the other stuff that really doesn’t matter as much to your business. So anyway, go buy the book. It’s great. But the reason to write this today is he has a new book out called the 80/20 manager. So watch out for that.
Here is Richard’s blog: Find your horse to ride, which is a great read. And gives you an idea how good the book is going to be.
You are now at the point of your life when you are developing your professional reputation. You are doing so at the top tier of restaurants in New York City — make it count. Only your work ethic will speak for you, not past chef’s or friends. You must love the do this for a living — no question. You must love to stay late or come early if it is necessary to get the job done. You must love to practice only the best. Most perfect techniques in order to produce a product you are proud of.
Your end product is a direct reflection of how much love and respect you have for yourself and your work. All cooks must work in the most efficient manner, with full regard to producing the highest quality product possible. Responsibility of each and every cook to keep any area at which they are working spotless, regardless of its condition previously. Responsibility of all cooks to know everything about their stations. What is it? Why is it here? How long has it been here? Who made it? Each cook should familiarize himself with every product they are using on a hands on basis. Learn its origins, its classic uses in the French kitchen, and how we use it here at Cafe Boulud.
Each cook should know and record all recipes and techniques that are applicable to their stations. All cooks must think ahead and anticipate. Having your stations set up completely, with back up mise en place close at hand is anticipation. Doing small projects during service lulls is a way to think ahead for your partner. Always think about the next project, doing mise en place for the next day, work to keep your partner set up, start breaking down your station early, etc.
All cooks must watch each others back. If you are done setting up, see who needs a hand. If someone is in the shit do extra chives or shallots for them. Split common jobs between stations. Work for the team so we can have the tightest kitchen in New York.” These rules were posted in the kitchen of Cafe Boulud in New York, during Andrew Carmellini’s tenure as chef de cuisine.
They are still up today.
(Thanks to Mark for sharing this.)
I just had a delivery from my FedEx man.
It’s pouring with rain. And it’s pitch black. But this guy is still smiling.
He helps me with the boxes. And points out that some the boxes aren’t very strong.
I sign the gadget thing with my signature and I ask how it was all going?
He said apart from one, all of it was under control.
He said it was from the Welsh gold centre, and so he knew it was someone’s Christmas present. But he had tried for 3 days to find the address.
He had tried directory enquiries. He had Googled it. But just couldn’t find the address.
So on his day off tomorrow, he had decided to knock on every door in the village until he finds someone who knows the person.
I guess the real gold is him, not the packet he is delivering.