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Category: Skills

Nice Guys Finish First, and Other Lessons from “Give and Take”

August 21, 2014 by Akira Hirai

give and take

David Hornik, a prosperous and respected venture capitalist, offers a term sheet to entrepreneur Danny Shader. After extensive due diligence, Shader decides to sign with another investor. The reason? Hornik came off as too affable, too generous with his time, too much of a giver. This anecdote leads off Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, the 2013 book by Wharton professor Adam Grant. As Grant sees it, there are three types of people: givers (“other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them”), takers (“they like [Read More]

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Eight Traits of True Founders

January 11, 2014 by Marty Zwilling

Eight Traits of True Founders

Business success begins in the mind of the startup founder and his team. A winning startup is a team of entrepreneurs who build and run the business as an extension of who they are, rather than some extrapolation of the Google or Facebook model. It’s not so easy to fake the important attributes when the going gets rough. So before you risk it all by jumping into a startup, do a reality check on your own mind to see if you possess a majority of the following attributes, summarized from [Read More]

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The Marketing Maven: Part Artist, Part Scientist

May 10, 2013 by Shyam Jha


Fans of AMC’s Mad Men may be forgiven for thinking marketing is a glamorous field – a celebration of consumption and style in the ‘60s. Unfortunately, marketing in the 21st century has little to do with what is portrayed in this engaging TV series. Today’s marketer needs to be part artist and part scientist. Artist, because creativity is still a valuable commodity. Scientist, because analytics rule in the modern world of marketing where everything can be tracked and measured. Recently we came across a very interesting infographic in a blog [Read More]

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Making the Most of MOOCs

January 3, 2013 by Jimmy Lewin

eLearning Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

The Arizona Republic newspaper recently ran a front page article by Anne Ryman about the explosive growth of MOOCs. MOOCs is an acronym for “Massive Open Online Courses.” These are free online classes that are available to anyone with an Internet connection. Courses are offered by more than a two dozen universities including Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. The article points out those universities are offering MOOCs as a way to expand awareness of what these schools have to offer to potential students. Many of the available courses relate to business [Read More]

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Are You a Five-Tool Player?

November 28, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin

Ed Delahanty

We don’t know who coined the term “Five-tool player,” but it has been a common phrase in baseball for many years. My suspicion is that it may have first been uttered by a sports writer for the Sporting News, a publication which has been publishing continuously since 1886. Its first use may have been to describe Big Ed Delahante, a superstar for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1890’s. The term has always been used to describe special baseball players such as Willie Mays, Duke Snyder, and for those of you [Read More]

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The Debates

October 17, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin

The Debates - Lessons for Entrepreneurs

We imagine that most people know that it is “debate season” here in the U.S. as the Presidential debates dominate media coverage throughout the month. More than 70 million people from around the world watched the first Presidential debate; over 50 million folks watched the Vice Presidential debate. It is estimated that the second Presidential debate had a higher viewership than the first. It occurred to us that these debates provide a teachable moment for entrepreneurs. Now, Why is that, you ask? The reason is simply that many of the [Read More]

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Focus on Core Competencies and Outsource the Rest

October 4, 2012 by Akira Hirai

Focus on Core Competencies and Outsource the Rest

When you’re running a small business, it’s tempting to want to do everything yourself. If funds are tight, the last thing you want to incur are additional expenses. Learning to handle a task yourself – or tapping your staff to take it on – probably sounds like a cost-effective way to fulfill minor needs without adding to your payroll. You sacrifice some spare time, learn a new skill, and come out ahead, right? Well, not always. In fact, trying to do everything can end up wasting money. Outsourcing some of [Read More]

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Write Better with Lists

June 12, 2012 by Akira Hirai

Write better business plans with lists

Lists are a great way to convey information in business plans and other business documents. Unfortunately, many writers misuse lists, rendering their documents difficult to read. Here are a few simple rules to help you use lists effectively. Note that most of these rules apply both to narrative documents and to presentations. Introducing Your List Your list should be preceded by an introductory sentence that describes the items to follow. The last sentence before the list should end with a colon, as below: Today’s class will cover the basics of [Read More]

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Entrepreneurs Need People Who Get Things Done

March 9, 2012 by Marty Zwilling

Jeffrey Gandz

Go-to people get things done. As an entrepreneur, you need these people, and you need to be one, if you expect your startup to be successful. That may be easier said than done, since resumes do not tell the story, and without real nurturing, they won’t stay around long. To highlight how rare this breed is, Jeffrey Gandz of the Richard Ivey School of Business relates a quote from a new CEO in a large company, “I have more than 1000 people in my head office organization, 900 can tell [Read More]

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Writing for Business is Not Like Writing a Novel

February 17, 2012 by Marty Zwilling

Mark Twain

In the world of business, you only get one chance for a great first impression. The stakes are high – you are asking an investor for money, a customer for an order, or another executive for a partnership. Badly written letters, long rambling or emotional emails, or an obvious lack of spell checking will brand you as a poor business risk before the message is even considered. No one is born with business writing skills, and everyone can learn them. Yet this seems to be one of the most common [Read More]

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