I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.Read More
2016 is already being heralded as “The Year of the Entrepreneur” and many will tell you that’s because the access to start up capital is no longer centered in the hands of just a few. According to Kickstarter’s website the total amount of money pledged to projects is nearing 2.2 billion of which 1.87 billion was pledged to successful projects. When you add in another 800 million from the second largest platform Indiegogo, you’ll get a total of right around 3 billion raised in the last seven years. To give you some sense of scope, Brazil’s GDP is between 3.2 and 3.4 billion, while the UK’s GDP comes in between 2.4 and 2.5 billion. If we’re not careful Kickstarter and Indiegogo could become a financial superpower and demand a seat at the next G8 conference.
Along side the growth of crowdfunding platforms is the continued usage of venture capital. While VC’s provide money to different levels of entrepreneurs and startups they are still providing access to capital. In a CNN Money article from October of 2015, it was reported that 98.4 billion in venture capital money had already been raised and that amount exceeded 2014, by roughly 10 billion. So it’s clear that with the right plan, team and product - the money is there to get your idea off the ground. However, with this much money available is your success guaranteed? Are there any downsides to this new Gold Rush? Or do we still have the same problem we’ve always had, just presenting itself differently in the digital age?
I decided to dig into those questions with a two part interview series and see if we can’t get some answers. As always I went to the people with first hand experience in these areas, with the hope that their stories will help to give you the guidance you’ll need. I was fortunate to speak with Timon Birkhofer, co-creator & director of the documentary “Capital C” which chronicled the stories of 3 different individuals pursuing success on Kickstarter - and as a nice twist, the movie was also financed through a Kickstarter campaign.
To begin the series, I spoke with 27 year old Bulgarain inventor/entrepreneur, Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev. Ivaylo’s story is important for anyone who may be thinking that they have the perfect product and the only thing that is preventing their massive success is MONEY. Fortunately, Ivaylo was very open in his discussion with me about what he learned from his first venture and how that helped to shape his next project. You can read the entire interview here
#6: Microsoft, Google & Apple were all formed in garages of their founders.
#5: 198 other players were selected before Tom Brady in the 1999 NFL draft.
#4: Albert Einstein didn’t read until he was 7 years of age.Read More
When asked to assess their readiness to address the human capital challenge, only 27% of leaders rated themselves “very prepared” to be a leader who creates an environment where employees can give their very best.Read More
For next month’s issue of Preeminent I was quite fortunate to trade emails with a man who has occupied the role as a leader at levels most of us would not be able to comprehend. If you think that you’re having a bad day when the network goes down, clients are calling and half of your team is out sick (Monday Blues) – how about being tasked with leading some of the world’s most elite soldiers thousands of miles away in the Tora Bora mountains while looking to capture the leader of a terrorist organization.
Now you’re probably saying to yourself, this guy is talking about some fictional character in a book he read and he’s going to try and pass that off as a leadership lesson. You’d be wrong, the gentleman I’m referring to is Mr. Dalton Fury. Mr. Fury ( a pseudonym ) is a retired 20 year veteran of the U.S Army and 15 year veteran of Special Operations Forces, he was the Ground Commander and Delta Force troop commander during combat operations in the Tora Bora Mountains in 2003. Solid credentials if you ask me.
I reached out to interview him and get his opinion on topics that I thought most managers and leaders would want to know, but might be afraid to ask:
- Do I put personal aspirations over team goals?
- How to manage the disconnect between home office / Senior Level management and the front line staff?
- What to do if members of your team are legitimately smarter than you?
I wanted to get the answers to the tough questions, the type of answers that would help managers grow and in turn allow their teams to grow. You’ll be able to read the entire transcript in the upcoming September issue, but there was one thing I felt I needed to share before then. I’d posed the following question to Mr. Dalton, “You earned the opportunity to become a leader in the unit. What was that like and how did you go about preparing yourself for that role?”
His response included the following, “To lead action heroes with high expectations, extensive special ops experience and strong opinions it’s important to be a sound listener; compassionate about your mates, fanatically dedicated to the overall mission and possess the inner strength to correct unacceptable behavior in private and praise good stuff in public. The unit likes to say that, “selection is an on-going process.” Fundamentally, this means regardless of how talented you are, how many valor awards you might have or how long you have been in Delta - anyone that fails to meet the expectations of their mates can and will be asked to leave. “
There is so much to unpack in that response:
Character – possessing the inner strength to correct unacceptable behavior in private and praise good stuff in public
Understanding of your role as the leader - be a sound listener, compassionate about your mates and fanatically dedicated to the overall mission
Keeping your ego in check -regardless of how talented you are, how many valor awards you might have or how long you have been in Delta - anyone that fails to meet the expectations of their mates can and will be asked to leave.
I don’t know about you, but I think that sums up exactly what a leader should be. There’s no grey area in that description. You either, do what’s the best for the team or you step aside and if choose not to do so, the team will do it for you. By no means, am I suggesting that there aren’t other valid descriptions of what leadership could be; I’m simply saying I think this is what leadership should be.
I’m very grateful to Mr. Fury for taking the time to trade emails and agree to be part of our upcoming issue, he is a New York Times bestselling author and has a book scheduled for release in October, entitled “One Killer Force”.