A Monkey Off The Back – MBA Complete

There are certain times when we feel ‘A monkey has been lifted off our back’, and what happened to me recently with the sign off of my final MBA submission. 

This particular study was essentially completed in two stages – hence the connotation. With this blog titled LEARNING, I felt obliged to acknowledge and reflect.

The first part done internally at UniSA and the final subjects were completed at Torrens University, in the online format where graduation will take place here.

With many students, academia can be a contentious relationship. We can take this as a positive; it leaves us investigating more and diving further into analyses. I personally find myself blurting out more of my own opinions and words than ever before. This creates a deeper learning.

The passion for education formally and informally continues, recently highlighted as a top 5 strength at Gallup Strength. I was recommended this uncanny test by an academic. Combining both forms of study allows us to be honest, practical, challenging and enables us to educate better.

How do we measure our learnings?

My assertion is simple and one that can only be answered by the individual. People study for many reasons; at one end of the scale, people look to climb the corporate ladder – something an MBA has been related too. At the other are those who simply have the desire to learn with no specific reason other than this; which is good enough.

Einstein (reading at this moment), challenged the status quo; there is more acceptance of students doing this now than ever before. Einstein didn’t have much luck with early submissions, however as we can all testify – the genius occurred out of his unwavering desire to prove the unprovable, very few were remotely thinking of.

What is a way to move forward in education?

In today’s business environment that changes rapidly from a strategic perspective; this has liberated the challengers to create an open forum allowing diverse views and opinions to make it to the table.

Having a thirst for knowledge across a range of areas has us  always looking for the next solution – this can only be good. There is also no time like another to become an expert in various trades; the term coined ‘expert generalist’ such as Elon Musk has been labelled. Moving forward and perhaps in our own right, we will see more of this to come.

A few important points:

  • Approach any education with an open mind and surround yourself in the right environment.
  • Do not be afraid to challenge the status-quo, even in a formal academic setting. This is where we become confused the most, debate the most and more importantly, LEARN the most.
  • If you need to finish something to free yourself up for your next challenge – DO IT.
  • Be sure to balance formal education  with non formal education to remain current and in firm contact with real life situations that are happening NOW.
  • Reasons for learning and education are individualised. Take yours, remain true to yourself and when the time calls, put good into practice.

On a sign off note for this post, I am extremely grateful for those closest to me for their support. They will share in the hat throwing for this one too.

MBA dusted… 🙂


2017 – Dear blog, I haven’t forgotten you..

It was time to comfort my slightly neglected blog and quickly throw down a few thoughts on what has been happening in 2017 thus far. It’s a mix of personal, study, books and hubs.

Firstly and above all else, this year is going to bless my partner and me with a son. It has been an experience with a whole lot of indescribable emotions that have swayed us between surreallism and pure bliss. We are both extremely excited and grateful; it is something not taken for granted and we look forward to our family growing by one and guiding him to virtue.

Moving on..

STUDY NOTE: A monkey off my back is imminent for 2017 with the completion of an MBA. A final paper on communication has allowed me to express some of my own opinions whilst combining theory with practical together. Formal education in the modern era has increasingly become a contentious issue and one that I have expressed on also. I look forward to ticking the box and as always taking the learnings and growing from them.

BOOKS, BOOKS & MORE BOOKS: Many good books read and currently in progress, which I am eager to soak up.

  • Phil Knights Shoe Dog has been fantastic. It offers a raw and rustic read and for minds like mine, has you wanting you to get to the next page. Phil’s true grit, determination and pragmatic approach to getting the job done is admiring. It is a book I have gifted to people and from all accounts has been enjoyed thoroughly.
  • 59 seconds gives tips and thought processes for creativity and goal setting. Quick to implement and useful.
  • The Myth of Strong Leader is an academic read which along with Shoe Dog, Bill Gates put at the top of his 2016 list. It breaks down leadership styles based around politics, backed up with a lot of research.
  • Chapter One which was a gift from my partner is about a group of hustler’s from good ol’ Oz who had one thing in mind and that was ‘to do good’. It is an easy to read  story that gives sound advice and is motivating about a team of people sharing the same vision; bring water to those in need. The Thank you label can now been seen in all major retailers with a story attached. The book reads horizontally making it a refreshing hardcover to pick up. I am at the very beginning of Prince’s biography which has started intriguing also. More posts to come later.

HUBS, HUBS AND MORE HUBS: The working enviroment as we once knew it, is making bigger shifts into the future. More and more hubs popping up in cities around the world that is mirrored by organisations and government agencies introducing collaboration spaces and hot desk environments. This all highlighted by large and exciting start up hubs putting stakes in the ground, coming up with the next big thing. It is promising to see these concepts being embraced and the entrepreneur inside and outside of organisations having an impact around the globe.

A reminder to round off with – We all at times get bogged down, distracted and our minds taken off the job. Sometimes we have to do one thing at a time and be present. Stay tuned for more rants and raves in the year of the ‘Rooster‘. 😊

The Hustle, Elon Musk, No Boundaries

Elon Musk recently released his latest plans of his much-watched and analyzed company, Tesla. If we could all have one phone number in our contacts (other than Mum’s), surely it would be this one.

The Hustle recently broke down (in their words) some of these plans, which mash together technology, AI, shared economy and outright determination with an air of, ‘I’ve got this’ and confidence that will push the realms of possibility, setting a new bar.

We are in an age of ‘Limitless’ (gosh, I love that movie) and if there were such a thing as boundaries then Elon does not see them. Something we all can take a little from and move forward with.

The Hustle article below:

Phase One: Consolidate resources

The Musketeer surprised no one last month when he offered up a bid for Tesla to acquire SolarCity (both companies he owns). Turns out this was the first step towards integrating sustainable energy generation and storage.

Now that Tesla’s Powerwall battery systems are ready to scale and SolarCity can provide the power, it’s time to get off fossil fuels and power our stuff with the sun, baby.

Phase Two: Build an army

Tesla has started designing a new wave of electric vehicles including a compact SUV, a new kind of pickup truck, city buses, and semi trucks. Yes, you read that right. Self-driving, battery-powered semis and buses.

The plan is to position the company beyond consumer vehicles and tackle everything on the road by investing more heavily in the machines that make the machines to increase production by 10x.

Phase Three: Research and development

Right now Tesla’s Autopilot functionality is roughly 2x safer than human drivers, even with the most recent string of fatal accidents.

Elon Butterfinger’s vision is to develop self-driving cars that are 10x safer by logging at least 6B miles in partial or fully-autonomous vehicles. They’re currently doing just over 3m miles per day, but with the 400k+ Model 3 preorders being delivered over the next couple years, pretty sure that’s going to pick up some serious speed.

Phase Four: Share the love

Turns out most owners only use their car 5-10% of the day. Seems pretty silly, don’t ya think?

Muskmaster-E wants to fix that by allowing owners to add their car to a shared fleet of vehicles at a push of a button. That way, while you’re at work or on vacation, your car can make money for you by self-driving people around like an Uber.

Sounds amazing until Jimmy from down the street has too much to drink and calls your car to pick him up…

The takeaways

Overall, this master plan is classic Elon. Huge promises, big dreams for the future, and a gut feeling that he’s going to get it all done, one way or another.

Very few people have the stones to take on the car industry, public transportation, long-haul trucking, energy companies, and the shared economy in just under 1,500 words.

Said it once, will say it again. It’s Elon’s world, we’re just livin’ in it.


Advance Queensland Startup Workshop

A statement released during the week by Queensland Minister of Housing and Public Works and Minister of Science and Innovation, The Honourable Leeanne Enoch.

An exciting initiative acknowledging the positive role collaborating with startup representatives, entrepreneurs, government, industry leaders and investors and how this can contribute to the community and a brighter future.

Stakeholders join Advance Queensland Startup Workshop

Minister for Science and Innovation Leeanne Enoch today welcomed key stakeholders to the Startup Queensland Co-Design Workshop, describing it as an important step in the Queensland Government’s plans to create jobs now and jobs for the future.

“The Queensland Government recognises that one of the key drivers of economic change and jobs growth are entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses,” Ms Enoch said.

“The $24 million Startup Queensland package is one of the measures in the $76 million Business Investment Attraction program announced as part of Advance Queensland initiative.

“As a result of the steps we are taking today, we are putting in place the building blocks for the next Facebook or Google to be created here in Queensland.

“The Startup package will support small and medium enterprises and startups to bring new ideas to market, increase business formation and attract more business to Queensland.

“The most effective way to achieve these goals is to involve key stakeholders from the very community the package aims to support.

“Advance Queensland is a comprehensive suite of programs that will create jobs, drive productivity improvements and harness innovation.”

Ms Enoch said today’s workshop was the first in a planned series of engagement sessions that will allow the Queensland Government to work with key startup stakeholders to create a roadmap for the state’s future prosperity.

“Bringing together startup representatives, entrepreneurs, investors, industry groups and government will enable us to design programs that will deliver exceptional results,” Ms Enoch said.

“I expect these workshops will produce programs that leverage existing private sector and government programs to provide an integrated suite of seed and pre-seed funding, co-working space, mentoring and connection to customers and markets.”

The workshop is part of Advance Queensland, a comprehensive program to help make Queensland  a place where industry, universities and government work together to take great ideas, turn them into investment-ready proposals, attract that investment, create jobs and retain the best and brightest in Queensland.

Visit the Advance Queensland website at http://advanceqld.initiatives.qld.gov.au/ for more information.

Where AWARENESS goes the ENERGY will Flow

A cool eighteen minute podcast from Jayson Gaignard’s Mastermind Talks podcast featuring Dandapani.

An Aussie, born in Malaysia who spent 10 years celibate in a Hawaiian Monk Monastery.

After his vows expired his severance package was given to him – a $1000 cash, his robes, beads and a mac book pro. With all the tools needed, Dandapani headed for the mainland of the US where he now calls New York home.

The talk gives us a different look at the modern day monk. Mac book pros, iPhone, blogging, code writing, and meditating.

Dandapani shares a snap shot of controlling one of our greatest tools, our mind.

Awareness lights up wherever we move it to. Cultivating concentration and will power is key.

This, well worth a listen MMT Podcast #42 – Dandapani

Where AWARENESS goes the ENERGY will Flow 

Learning How To ‘Fail’: World Champ Embraces it to WIN

To some it is not an option, others a way forward.

Jeremy Affeldt a Major League ball player with 3 championship rings to his name, puts a perspective here on embracing failure to succeed. Attributing a large part of success by learning how to fail on the big stage.

Adaptable mindset, lessons to learn. Excerpts:

And that’s the secret when it comes right down to it: To succeed, every serious athlete needs to understand that it’s not the highs and lows that define you; it’s how you respond your next time out.

 “In retrospect, none of the success I have achieved in the game would have been possible if I hadn’t learned life’s most important lesson: How to fail.”

When I was younger, I thought I was going to be the best ballplayer in the world. It wasn’t so much that I was cocky — well, maybe just a little — I was simply a product of my environment, and the limited exposure I had to really talented opponents.

“In the end, no one likes to fail — and professional athletes are no different but the key is avoiding the ‘fear’ of failure. It makes no difference whether you are trying to “make it,” or you’ve already set out to do what you intended, and you are trying to live up to the expectations that come along with success. It’s like my dad used to tell me when I was growing up. “Just focus on the task at hand, and don’t worry about the outcome. Let someone else do the worrying, they’ll let you know if you’re not good enough.” He was right; they still haven’t.”

Go ahead, batter, I sometimes think to myself on the mound. I want you to hit the ball. You’re only making my life easier.

Clippings from Peter Thiele’s – ‘Zero to One’

It would of been very easy to highlight most of, if not all of this book. Many great insights into leadership, innovative ways of thinking and business as a whole.

With the title being Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future it may be insinuated that this read is steered mostly towards start ups. And whilst the book dives into the rise and rise of the formidable PayPal, It is certainly not just that. It offers much more.

Here are the sections highlighted as I went through. When I remembered to.

2. Stay lean and flexible All companies must be “lean,” which is code for “unplanned.” You should not know what your business will do; planning is arrogant and inflexible. Instead you should try things out, “iterate,” and treat entrepreneurship as agnostic experimentation.

Improve on the competition Don’t try to create a new market prematurely. The only way to know you have a real business is to start with an already existing customer, so you should build your company by improving on recognizable products already offered by successful competitors.

The lesson for entrepreneurs is clear: if you want to create and capture lasting value, don’t build an undifferentiated commodity business.

So why do people believe that competition is healthy? The answer is that competition is not just an economic concept or a simple inconvenience that individuals and companies must deal with in the marketplace. More than anything else, competition is an ideology—the ideology—that pervades our society and distorts our thinking. We preach competition, internalize its necessity, and enact its commandments; and as a result, we trap ourselves within it—even though the more we compete, the less we gain.

We teach every young person the same subjects in mostly the same ways, irrespective of individual talents and preferences. Students who don’t learn best by sitting still at a desk are made to feel somehow inferior, while children who excel on conventional measures like tests and assignments end up defining their identities in terms of this weirdly contrived academic parallel reality.

This advice can be hard to follow because pride and honor can get in the way. Hence Hamlet: Exposing what is mortal and unsure To all that fortune, death, and danger dare, Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great Is not to stir without great argument, But greatly to find quarrel in a straw When honor’s at the stake.

If you can recognize competition as a destructive force instead of a sign of value, you’re already more sane than most. The next chapter is about how to use a clear head to build a monopoly business.

For a company to be valuable it must grow and endure, but many entrepreneurs focus only on short-term growth.

Paradoxically, then, network effects businesses must start with especially small markets. Facebook started with just Harvard students—Mark Zuckerberg’s first product was designed to get all his classmates signed up, not to attract all people of Earth. This is why successful network businesses rarely get started by MBA types: the initial markets are so small that they often don’t even appear to be business opportunities at all.

Start Small and Monopolize Every startup is small at the start. Every monopoly dominates a large share of its market. Therefore, every startup should start with a very small market. Always err on the side of starting too small. The reason is simple: it’s easier to dominate a small market than a large one. If you think your initial market might be too big, it almost certainly is.

The perfect target market for a startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors.

Every class of people in China takes the future deadly seriously.

As Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels saw clearly, the 19th-century business class created more massive and more colossal productive forces than all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labor?

Actually, most everybody in the modern world has already heard an answer to this question: progress without planning is what we call “evolution.” Darwin himself wrote that life tends to “progress” without anybody intending it. Every living thing is just a random iteration on some other organism, and the best iterations win.

MONEY MAKES MONEY. “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them” (Matthew 25:29).

Most people act as if there were no secrets left to find. An extreme representative of this view is Ted Kaczynski, infamously known as the Unabomber. Kaczynski was a child prodigy who enrolled at Harvard at 16. He went on to get a PhD in math and become a professor at UC Berkeley. But you’ve only ever heard of him because of the 17-year terror campaign he waged with pipe bombs against professors, technologists, and businesspeople.

From an early age, we are taught that the right way to do things is to proceed one very small step at a time, day by day, grade by grade. If you overachieve and end up learning something that’s not on the test, you won’t receive credit for it.

Consider the monopoly secret again: competition and capitalism are opposites.

“Thiel’s law”: a startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed.

In the boardroom, less is more. The smaller the board, the easier it is for the directors to communicate, to reach consensus, and to exercise effective oversight.

In no case should a CEO of an early-stage, venture-backed start up receive more than $150,000 per year in salary.

The graffiti artist who painted Facebook’s office walls in 2005 got stock that turned out to be worth $200 million, while a talented engineer who joined in 2010 might have made only $2 million.

We sold PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. Since then, Elon Musk has founded SpaceX and co-founded Tesla Motors; Reid Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn; Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim together founded YouTube; Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons founded Yelp; David Sacks co-founded Yammer; and I co-founded Palantir. Today all seven of those companies are worth more than $1 billion each. PayPal’s office amenities never got much press, but the team has done extraordinarily well, both together and individually: the culture was strong enough to transcend the original company.

The start up uniform encapsulates a simple but essential principle: everyone at your company should be different in the same way—a tribe of like-minded people fiercely devoted to the company’s mission.

The best thing I did as a manager at PayPal was to make every person in the company responsible for doing just one thing. Every employee’s one thing was unique, and everyone knew I would evaluate him only on that one thing.

Like acting, sales works best when hidden. This explains why almost everyone whose job involves distribution—whether they’re in sales, marketing, or advertising—has a job title that has nothing to do with those things.

A complex sales approach would have made Box a forgotten startup failure; instead, personal sales made it a multibillion-dollar business.

ZocDoc is a Founders Fund portfolio company that helps people find and book medical appointments online. The company charges doctors a few hundred dollars per month to be included in its network.

Whoever is first to dominate the most important segment of a market with viral potential will be the last mover in the whole market.

If you can get just one distribution channel to work, you have a great business. If you try for several but don’t nail one, you’re finished.

The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.

Watson, Deep Blue, and ever-better machine learning algorithms are cool. But the most valuable companies in the future won’t ask what problems can be solved with computers alone. Instead, they’ll ask: how can computers help humans solve hard problems?

Luddites claim that we shouldn’t build the computers that might replace people someday; crazed futurists argue that we should. These two positions are mutually exclusive but they are not exhaustive: there is room in between for sane people to build a vastly better world in the decades ahead.

1. The Engineering Question Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?

2. The Timing Question Is now the right time to start your particular business?

3. The Monopoly Question Are you starting with a big share of a small market?

4. The People Question Do you have the right team?

5. The Distribution Question Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?

6. The Durability Question Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?

7. The Secret Question Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?

There’s nothing wrong with a CEO who can sell, but if he actually looks like a salesman, he’s probably bad at sales and worse at tech.

The Tesla Model S sedan, elegantly designed from end to end, is more than the sum of its parts: Consumer Reports rated it higher than any other car ever reviewed, and both Motor Trend and Automobile magazines named it their 2013 Car of the Year.

Elon describes his staff this way: “If you’re at Tesla, you’re choosing to be at the equivalent of Special Forces. There’s the regular army, and that’s fine, but if you are working at Tesla, you’re choosing to step up your game.”

OF THE SIX PEOPLE who started PayPal, four had built bombs in high school. Five were just 23 years old—or younger. Four of us had been born outside the United States. Three had escaped here from communist countries: Yu Pan from China, Luke Nosek from Poland, and Max Levchin from Soviet Ukraine. Building bombs was not what kids normally did in those countries at that time.

The most famous people in the world are founders, too: instead of a company, every celebrity founds and cultivates a personal brand.

The famous and infamous have always served as vessels for public sentiment: they’re praised amid prosperity and blamed for misfortune.

More recently, Bill Gates has shown how highly visible success can attract highly focused attacks. Gates embodied the founder archetype: he was simultaneously an awkward and nerdy college-dropout outsider and the world’s wealthiest insider.

Just as the legal attack on Microsoft was ending Bill Gates’s dominance, Steve Jobs’s return to Apple demonstrated the irreplaceable value of a company’s founder. In some ways, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were opposites. Jobs was an artist, preferred closed systems, and spent his time thinking about great products above all else; Gates was a businessman, kept his products open, and wanted to run the world. But both were insider/outsiders, and both pushed the companies they started to achievements that nobody else would have been able to match.

A unique founder can make authoritative decisions, inspire strong personal loyalty, and plan ahead for decades. Paradoxically, impersonal bureaucracies staffed by trained professionals can last longer than any lifetime, but they usually act with short time horizons.

Above all, don’t overestimate your own power as an individual.

The single greatest danger for a founder is to become so certain of his own myth that he loses his mind. But an equally insidious danger for every business is to lose all sense of myth and mistake disenchantment for wisdom.

The most dramatic version of this outcome is called the Singularity, an attempt to name the imagined result of new technologies so powerful as to transcend the current limits of our understanding. Ray Kurzweil, the best-known Singularitarian, starts from Moore’s law and traces exponential growth trends in dozens of fields, confidently projecting a future of superhuman artificial intelligence.

But no matter how many trends can be traced, the future won’t happen on its own. What the Singularity would look like matters less than the stark choice we face today between the two most likely scenarios: nothing or something. It’s up to us. We cannot take for granted that the future will be better, and that means we need to work to create it today.

Our task today is to find singular ways to create the new things that will make the future not just different, but better—to go from 0 to 1.

Peter Thiel, Zero to One. Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

There are plenty of great reviews and write ups on this book. Highly recommended from my point. As said in the preface, there are many valuable learning’s and thought processes to be adopted and taken away.

Don’t Sweat the Technique  

Starting lean is not about the finished product, rather getting a MVP(Minimal Viable Product) through a process. Testing, interviewing, re testing and pivoting where need be. 

We are not looking to put the most pristine product on the park from day one. Too many calories will be burnt sweating over this. We don’t know what our customers want. We need to ask them first!

There is one thing having an idea and there is another having customers that want to use or purchase our idea. Yes, there are things that we as consumers do not know we need or want yet. This could be the next Facebook(not that we need it), however this will be a rare scenario.

In the infant stages of either or, we want to gather as much feedback as possible, tinker, tweak, tweak again to get it right. If we reach our MVP and it is not wanted, then we can move on without exhausting all of our time and money.

An excerpt on FastCompany from Eric Ries, author of renowned book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.

“There’s a whole industry devoted to promulgating the myth that all an entrepreneur needs is perseverance, creative genius, and hard work. Ries learned the hard way this isn’t true. A few years later he joined another startup as chief technology officer, broke many tenets of business–they released a minimum viable product that was “terrible, full of bugs, crash-your-computer-yes-really stability problems,” which they charged for–and the result was IMVU, a social network that today has 40 million users who don avatars to interact in a virtual world and grosses almost $40 million in revenue.”

By default or not. This is where we learn. Get a minimal product to early adopters to slander it to bits so we can fix it, develop and tailor.

“Along the way he created a methodology for lean startups and in the book he tells it like it is. No, the vast majority of would-be entrepreneurs won’t morph into the incarnation of Mark Zuckerberg. Unlike in the 2010 movie The Social Network, if you launch a startup you will probably fail and often be miserable doing it, but if you learn from your mistakes and absorb his advice … you’ll still probably fail, but your odds of success dramatically increase.”

Silicon Valley has adopted this process for some time, in the tech startup world. 

We can now see its relevance for new product or service launches inside corporations, government, NFP’s, SME’s or as a start up on its own. The same principles apply. My colleague whom writes at Humanomics, puts it avidly here on the lean start ups adaptability,  Lean Start-up in the Government.

One important aspect of that is the approach to new things. This is where entrepreneurship and innovation is key for government. If we are serious about social innovation, we need to be serious about this. This is the big case for why a new approach.

The lean start up model pioneered by Steve Blank and Eric Ries is fundamental to the way entrepreneurship is now around the world. In my work in social innovation, lean start up principles have played a big role in changing the way work is done and in essence creating better outcomes.  This is the big case for why using this methodology to make this happen.

If we don’t know the answers to the barriers we face, best go to the source and get them. Talk to our potential market place about our assumptions and test. Anything else is guesswork. In affect, we can align methodologies used in Growth Hacking here also.

Work in our development stage strategically to solve uncertainty with the least pain as possible.

Start quick, fail fast. Go through the process(es) cost effective until we reach a finished product.

Short Circuiting the System: 5 Human Examples

In a non arrogant way, short circuiting the system says:

“We don’t really give a sh*t what the ‘rule book’ says.”

This is the path of many what we see as successful leaders and business people today.

The way I view it, is a culmination of self-education, seeing the flaws in formality, looking at them not in arrogance, but compassionately. We can call it reverse engineered education.

Hearing the title of this post on a Tim Ferriss podcast with Glenn Beck, the destination was kicked off. I have to say this is one of the most profound interviews I have listened to. It is my personal opinion, yes, however, I highly, highly recommend it.

Tim widely known for his best seller The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated). You can hear him throughout the interview, (I am sure I wasn’t ‘hearing things’).. pausing, taking a measured gasp in astonishment with the responses he was hearing. If he wasn’t doing it, there were times when I was. Great interview. Enough said.

What we can learn from ‘short circuiting’. I took it upon myself to dive into five human examples, commonly known where this has occurred. There are many others we could use, some widely published, others not so. Some with lessor net worth, some with more. Many fit into this category. All in all the learning experiences can be paralleled.

We’ll start with where I stole the title of this post from..

Glenn Beck

Forbes slots this gentleman well into its top 100 at #39 of the worlds most powerful celebrities, with a modest net worth of $90 million.

He could barely afford one class at Yale when he decided at the age of thirty to head there and have a crack. This didn’t last too long.

Glenn carries a fascinating story. A man whom bucks the trend and has certainly lived with one foot on either side of the line. By listening to his story and diving a little deeper, it is clear there was a genuine non deliberateness in regards to monetary success.

‘Something weird inside of us tells us that we are not good enough’. Glenn’s self reflection and honesty as the founder of The Blaze, a breaking news platform initiated from his roots boasts millions and millions of unique views. It’s hard to believe this precluding statement with this under your belt. 

Tim completed the interview with reversing the processes. Giving Glenn the mic to ask one question. The question was..

“What role have you played in the dialogue of humanity?”

Quite powerful and Glenn leads on to ask, is it positive or negative?

A sticking point for me from listening to Glenn was:

“Agree on Principle”

Steve Jobs  Bill Gates

Thought it prudent to put these two opposites, or not so opposites together. Bill Gates a college drop out. Steve Jobs the same with his well documented issues with schooling.

Opposites or not what both these guys did was short-circuit the system and started things that nobody else could match. Gates slightly different to Jobs, one wanted to run the world the other more artisan. Leave that for you to decipher. 

Most of Steve Job’s opinion on this topic can be summed up in these 15 quotes published.

There are so many to go with here. I randomly chose these to publish in the body. You can click the link to read them all.

“[In school] I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came close to really beating any curiosity out of me.” – Steve Jobs

“I’m a very big believer in equal opportunity as opposed to equal outcome. Equal opportunity to me, more than anything, means a great education. Maybe even more important than a great family life. We could make sure that every young child in this country got a great education. We fall far short of that.” – Steve Jobs

“I’d like the people teaching my kids to be good enough that they could get a job at the company I work for, making a hundred thousand dollars a year. Why should they work at a school for thirty-five to forty thousand dollars if they could get a job here at a hundred thousand dollars a year?” – Steve Jobs

“If I had never dropped in on that single calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.”[54]

Gates, possibly the most famous billionaire dropout. He was relieved from Maths class in high school to concentrate on computer programming. After enrolling at Harvard with no definitive study plan that fit with curriculum the mould he spent most of his time in computer rooms.

Gates made the decision to leave Harvard behind and found his own company, being Microsoft, with long-time friend Paul Allen. The company’s value is irrelevant but is common knowledge it is in the hundreds of billions.


“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”


“Don’t compare yourself to anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself”

James Altuchur

James is possibly one of the most vocal candidates in today’s society in regards to this topic. Somewhat with more of an aggressive approach. Not literally but lets revert back to the beginning here and call it compassion or passion. Here is a link that over arches many articles James has submitted on this.

James biography is extensive. Most famously known for stockpkr and now his self branded podcast, books, newsletters and blogging. He is on record to say that he gives permission for his children to leave school. Easier said than done, however that is how strongly he feels about this and his view on ways to educate and live the life you want. Making a difference along the way.

James’s details experiences and gives tools in these two best sellers, Choose Yourself! and The Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth. Powerful reads.

Sticking point for me from James:

“Let people see who you are”

 Peter Thiel

In 1998 Thiel co-founded PayPal, an online payments system, with Max Levchin. The company later merged with X.com, then headed by Elon Musk.

It is far better to have 50% of something than 100% of nothing as they say. Never truer words said in this case. One of the most, if not the most prolific joining of forces in the modern-day. 

Author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, Peter’s book is a must read. Written pointedly in a relative way for all to understand. Watch this space for more on Peter’s book.

As far as formal education goes, Thiel studied 20th-century philosophy as an undergraduate at Stanford University. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Stanford in 1989 and acquired a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1992.[13]

 Peter’s answers here in an interview in line with our topic:

I think what’s very dangerous about college is the enormous amount of debts people are taking on [to finance their education]. What you’re learning and what it’s good for become much more common questions… It’s important that we answer these questions before we [get into debt].

Whilst Peter has formal education as you will find with most of these guys, to a certain extent anyway. They have strong opinions of the risk reward especially in the entrepreneurial space.

I think a lot of Millennials have been pushed to compete all their lives for these educational prizes and I think it’s important to somehow break from that and to think about what’s valuable, what’s important and to not always be defined against your peers, which I think has been set as a standard for the Millennial generation.

 Peter started the ‘Thiel Fellowship’. Something that sparked a national debate by encouraging young people to put learning before schooling.

One of many sticking points:

“Give members of your team one unique thing to do”

What do these people have in common?

They all short circuited the system. Some by extreme consciousness, others by default or following their own informal path.

They have or are all leaders and founders of multimillion/billion dollar companies. Most if it being out of curiosity and starting somewhat lean from the outset following their interests and beliefs.

The way I see it, is the eye was not always on the prize. Extreme sacrifices, simply concentrating on the present not knowing really what the outcome was going to be.

Most of the time was spent on exploring, pushing the limits in various ways. Not following or looking to be what the majority looked at positively in a social sense or succumbing to expectations and validation.

Resources that we have today, it would be extremely ignorant and doing an injustice to oneself not to explore this. An immense amount of tangible literature, learning tools and shall I say mentors whether physical or virtual can be drawn on. Priceless information and learning to enhance our lives.

On a personal note I feel it would be naive not to be aware of what we have available to us from an ‘informal’ nature. Perhaps as we are starting to see some of these so-called ‘informal’ teaching methods are infiltrating some of our most well know campuses as we speak.

Yes this is resonant for me from an early age however short circuiting the system for me is not about deliberately becoming a college drop out. That would be naive in itself, right? Everyone has different motivations and views. The answer well may lay in a hybrid version of both. Point being is to explore our options and open up to unleash our most productive learning and creativity.

A philosophical quote:

Meditations: A New Translation (Modern Library)

For a bit of fun we’ll finish this post with an exercise from Claudia’s Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century and have idea sex, why not?!

I get this concept and other than being fun, there is a practical side to it. With each sticking point quote from our examples, we’ll come up with a closing one combining them all. Here is mine:

“Build uniqueness, don’t compare. Lead with who you are and agree in humanity”

Read. Write. Learn. Look beyond.

How to go Viral? (Especially if you have Writers Block)

How to write a post that goes viral? Especially when we have writers block. I don’t actually know the answer to the writer’s block part, but thought I would throw that in the title as it sounded good and may create some interest #virality. That being said we never know, as I am sure many seasoned writer’s and creators would testify their best work is put down after times of block.

Deep down most of us want our work or content to go viral. Experience that rare feeling of having thousands and thousands of people reading our work, thoughts and opinions.  Especially when it comes from a place of passion. Have our notifications(if we have them set) spiral out of control forcing our device into shutdown! Sounds like some serious fun!

The elusiveness of creating a viral post lead me to reflect back, yet again into Ryan’s(feel like I’m on a first name basis with him) latest book Growth Hacker Marketing. Clarifying virality(a made up tech word as spell check alerts me), viral loop and how the modern-day and our use of ‘hacking’ can eradicate the guess-work as touched on here Growth Hacker Marketing: Definition and Thoughts.

While I was driving to a haircut from work, this is what I came up with, it was easy! To write a post that goes viral, write a post about going viral, therefore wouldn’t everybody want to read this!?

With the right titles tags and categories in place it will get the traction and cohesion rate. With 500 million bloggers(at least) this post would be widely researched. Bingo, done! Wishful thinking. EDIT: I’ll let you know how we go with that. 😉

From here we will break down ‘virality’ and ‘viral loop’, along with some other thoughts along the way.

Andrew Chen puts it in ‘simple’ terms above. API stands for ‘Application Programming Interface’ a snap shot of the definition is as follows:

In computer programming, an application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API expresses a software component in terms of its operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types. An API defines functionalities that are independent of their respective implementations, which allows definitions and implementations to vary without compromising each other. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks. A programmer then puts the blocks together.

We know that:


‘Growth’ and ‘Sustainable’ being mentioned in the same paragraph, let alone sitting right next to each other in the same sentence makes us stand up. If it doesn’t, it should, and it would be wise to know how we can make this happen. It is certainly what every start-up thirsts for and most individuals and established organisations too. Jonah gives us all hope and I would say excitement.

TURN 1 INTO 2 AND 2 INTO 4— GOING VIRAL Virality isn’t luck. It’s not magic. And it’s not random. There’s a science behind why people talk and share. A recipe. A formula, even. —JONAH BERGER

I love this response from Growth Hackers when they are confronted with a question that goes something like this,  “Why isn’t my content going viral?”

The growth hacker has a response: Well, why should customers do that? Have you actually made it easy for them to spread your product? Is the product even worth talking about?

The crux of going viral is for our content to provoke the desire for people to share. It sounds simple however is more misunderstood than not, otherwise everyone would be doing it. If we are not doing this at the forefront then we will be challenged from the outset. The hacker’s job is to implement tools, and campaigns to enable all of this to happen. As detailed below, It’s all about the ‘K factor’. If our K factor is greater than one then our content has gone viral. This is what we are after.

Virality at its core is asking someone to spend their social capital recommending or linking or posting about you for free. But virality is not an accident. It is engineered. And it goes without saying why viral spread is critical to the growth hacker approach. Ideally, growth hackers look for a viral coefficient (or “K factor”) greater than one. The term “K factor” is typically used in medicine to describe the contagion of disease. In the start-up world, the viral coefficient measures the number of new users that each existing user is able to convert. If each new user is bringing in, on average, more than one user, then the K factor is greater than one and your start-up is going viral. A product or business or piece of content will go viral only if it provokes a desire in people to spread it. On top of that, a growth hacker must facilitate and encourage its spread by adding tools and campaigns that enable virality. All of which is to say a simple truth that we try to deny too often: if you want to go viral , virality must be baked into your product.

Holiday, Ryan (2013-09-05). Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising

Andrew Chen simplifies the viral loop as: “The steps a user goes through between entering the site to inviting the next set of new users”. He breaks this down into 4 parts.

  1. What’s your viral media?
  2. What’s your funnel design?
  3. What’s the viral hook in your product?
  4. What are the on ramps to your viral loops?

The full article can be read here What’s your viral loop? Understanding the engine of adoption. I’d suggest if you have a genuine interest in this field to follow Andrew at andrewchen.co.

More viral loopness:

viral loop (n.)—A viral loop is the process by which a person goes from seeing your product or service to using it and sharing it with others. For example, let’s say your friend gets an e-mail from his favorite product asking him to join a contest. He joins and shares it on Twitter because the product offers him another entry if he does. You see your friend’s tweet and click on it, entering the contest as well and sharing it with even more people. This is how viral loops become self-contained, self-fueling mechanisms of growth. Facebook newsfeeds and embeddable YouTube videos are all great examples of viral loops. virality (and viral coefficient) (n.)— Virality is the person-to-person spread of a product or an idea. Because growth hacking is about scalability —ideally you want your marketing efforts to bring in users, which then bring in more users— it often depends on viral techniques for growth.

Holiday, Ryan (2013-09-05). Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising

At this point I thought it be appropriate to embed You Tube’s top ten most viral videos of all time. Ironically the Gangnam style is at No.1 one(I had put my featured image in before this). What can we learn from these and what questions do we ask ourselves, how these pieces get the views? (If nothing else, have a laugh at looking at this compilation of videos that you have more than likely seen before)

One question that comes to mind when looking at these for me is:

How intentional were the creators of the content to actually go viral? It is fair to say that much content is not intentional. When looking at virality from a business perspective it is far different. Perhaps the lesson to be taken from this is not always to be so deliberate, it may nudge us a little closer to going viral. In the same breathe science is increasingly replacing the guess-work.

What we do have now is hacking where we can use tools, campaigns, ads and so on that can assist our content to create a loop. There are many tactics that can be engaged, using bit torrents, strategically place blurbs leading to main content pages, offering payment to early adopters, offering free space to storage driven business, even placing share options selectively. This all assists in collecting the crucial data to continue to create the loop.

We can’t expect to tag our content even if it has that ‘wow’ factor, pop it online and have it go viral. The internet is a big world with 2 point something billion people everyday using the web and this is growing. Content will get lost. Experimental Thought: It would be cool to dig up the best of the least viewed content from around the world and implement today’s hacking methods and see what traction we could get!

Can we hack our way to virality? The common answer is yes. With some fundamentals being ticked off along the way.

Many bloggers, artists and creators do not weave their craft to necessarily ‘go viral’. Although reward for their work would be rightfully satisfying, people have passions and many other reasons to do what they do. Some of the best content we read and have seen over time is far and away from going viral. I’m sure most would testify. On a personal note, I like seeing this and the place where it comes from.

As a start-up and or an established organisation, views, sign-ups, cohesion rate, virality and all those other key points is where the chase is at! Sustainable growth. New tools, more innovative concepts, smarter people continually hit our ‘streets’ everyday contributing to enabling this quest. 

Estella quotes virality from a visionary perspective: