Archive for June, 2014

5 Entrepreneurial Lessons

Posted: June 22, 2014 by Tim Metzner in Culture, Leadership, Startup

Tim-MetznerEarlier this year 3,500 people had the unique pleasure of welcoming TV’s most influential reality TV producer — Emmy-winner Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Voice,” “Shark Tank,” “The Apprentice”) — to Cincinnati’s largest entrepreneur group, Unpolished, at Crossroads church in Oakley.

In addition to promoting his upcoming movie, Son of God, he dropped some serious entrepreneurial wisdom on us.

Turns out, though now a huge success, Mark showed up to America (from England) with only $200 in his pocket and started out in LA as a live in nanny. He’s come a long way since then, and shared some great lessons with us. Here are my favorite nuggets.

5 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Mark Burnett

  1. “Those who need to be certain about everything never end up doing anything.” You can be pretty certain that you’re never going to reach a moment of complete clarity and confidence about an idea or opportunity, which means at some point you just need to take that leap of faith.
  2. “Pray, pray, pray… but also get off your ass and work!” Mark was very open about the fact that a strong faith and prayer life has undoubtedly been a huge part of why he is successful, but make no mistake about it, so has good old fashioned hard work and hustle.
  3. “Naiveté is one of your biggest assets.” Simply put, sometimes it’s what you don’t know that will give you the edge. Those who have been hardened by an industry or past failures will not only be facing the real challenges ahead, but also the assumed ones.
  4. “If you don’t love it, don’t do it.” We’ve all heard this a hundred times, but it can’t be stated enough. Life is too short to be spending most of our waking hours pursuing something we’re simply not passionate about. And while there are always exectpions, you have a much higher likelihood of success if you doing something you truly care about.
  5. “Be open to change, but not to giving up.” When asked to talk about any failures he has experienced, he responded that there were certainly some less successful projects than others, but to him, failure would only have come if he had given up on things that he believed in. In other words, he was OK with a project not being a runaway hit, but he would not have been OK with not trying (if he truly believed something had potential).


Getting Ready for the Next Big Thing

Posted: June 15, 2014 by Bill Cunningham in Culture, Innovation, Technology

bill-cunninghamTwenty five years ago, I invited a team from P&G to Apple’s Special Systems Division in Cupertino, California to take a peek at the future of computing. In Cupertino, we viewed a video tape (VHS, of course) called Knowledge Navigator which showed a handheld notebook with a camera, telephony and interactive video. We didn’t know it, but we were viewing the first incarnation of the iPad. And this was before there was an internet, and cell phones just made phone calls. (You can now find this video on

This year UPS published a study called UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper. This study triggered the fond memories of massive changes like Apple showed in Knowledge Navigator circa 1989. Think about these highlights  that should provoke your own evaluation of how you and your company will adapt.

For example, look at all the retail building that is now underway. Real estate studies show that there is enough retail space in the U.S. to accommodate a population of 900 million people. We continue to build, yet online retailing grew 7x faster than offline and achieved 10% share of discretionary spending last holiday season. Especially for the male gender, online shopping has created last-minute saves for anniversaries, birthdays and special occasions without requiring a trip to the dreaded mall.


Your startup is all about the right people

Posted: June 8, 2014 by Amanda Greenwell in Culture, Leadership, People, Startup

AmandaGreenwellWe all know that some startups fail over time. While there are myriad reasons for this, including the inability to articulate market differentiation, not really knowing your customers, or simply not being prepared for the gritty reality of life as an entrepreneur, I have seen how a powerful team can make all the difference. Of course, having the right people for your business starts with you. But the people you choose to surround yourself with after that can play a huge role in setting your business up for success.

Founders are constantly told to network, to form a board of advisors, to find the right people. Some of the brightest founders I’ve ever met are the ones who have the ability to recognize they don’t (and can’t) play every role in their business.

One of the best examples of this epiphany having impact came with one of the startups I’ve worked with at UpTech. One of our founders recently discovered that after he spent time building a support team around his business, to share feedback and to make vital connections, his monthly sales revenues increased by 68 percent. The right people—with expertise in his industry and some with general business experience with whom he clicked—transformed his bottom line.