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Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

I was passed this interview of Marc Andreessen by Charlie Rose and it is a must see for any entrepreneur, investor or businessperson involved in technology or the future of the Internet.  Marc Andreessen has an impressive resume as an entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer that founded Netscape, co-authored Mosiac, co-founded Ning and also sits on both ebay and facebook’s board of directors.  In this interview, Marc has offers thoughtful insight on the past, present and future of technology, the web and the major players involved.

The video is almost an hour, but well worth the time invested.  Also I’ve noticed that there are a lot of folks on YouTube have seen clips but are looking for the full version (56 Minutes) which can be found here on either Google Video or Charlie Rose’s website.  Enjoy…

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This morning I read the following quote by Henry Ford on a blog that I follow, called the Rat Race Trap, and wanted to share:

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

This holds an important truth for all entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs are by nature, dreamers and goal setters.  Even at the far end of the spectrum, some entrepreneurs just simply don’t want to work “the Man”.  On the other end, a couple of ambitious entrepreneurs might have a friendly wager to the first one to net a billion.  But wherever you fall on the spectrum, the quote above holds true.

LESSON LEARNED: Set ambitious goals, live Big, and dream BIGGER, but remember there can be a vast difference between “what you are going to do” and “what you’ve done.”  You’re the man Henry!

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Allen Young has an insightful post titled The Startup Myth, on the often mislead perception that building a Startup is the same as building a Business.  He offers great truth on the distinction between the two and how an entrepreneur’s understanding of this distinction will inherently affect his or her approach to their business.

“[For] the first-time entrepreneur who has bought into the Startup Myth. His romantic vision of startup life becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and he is destined to struggle with a small “startup” because that’s what he wants.”

Many people might wonder how the startup life filled with late nights, Ramen Noodles, and constant struggle can in any way sound appealing.  But it is an odd fact that for many entrepreneurs this odd combination has a powerful allure to it.  (Ah…the life of an entrepreneur.)

Enter Allen…“Dump the warm fuzzies. Entrepreneurship is not about startups. “

As Allen reminds us, don’t be disillusioned by the appeal of a startup.  A startup is only the beginning to a much bigger and longer story.  Focus too much on the beginning and take the risk of losing in the long run.  Realize that approaching business and entrepreneurship as a Startup, is shortsighted and destined to struggle or fail. Entrepreneurship is not about the startup, “entrepreneurship is about growth and value.” A business will not measured by the “Story” behind the Startup, but rather its ability to create and grow value.

Lesson Learned: Build a Startup and have a Great story to tell, but Build a Great Company and others will tell it.

Thanks Allen.

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They never forget.

An Elephant Remembers

An Elephant Remembers

I just read a post by Seth Godin called Personal Branding in the Age of Google. He laid out an experience a friend of his had, after posting an ad on craigslist for a housekeeper. The friend received three responses, and Googled each of their names. Turns out her three candidates were a drunk, a thief, and lastly, one that planned to quit the “menial job that is below me, and I’m annoyed by it” as soon as she “sold a few paintings.” Sources for this eye-opening information included a Myspace profile, a police record and a personal blog. Ouch.

MY PERSONAL BRANDING NIGHTMARE

Seth’s post reminded me of my own Personal Branding nightmare. I think at one time or another we have all Googled our own name. You know, to find out what Google’s got on you.

So I searched… Michael Bungartz… and there I was on the first page:

– “Michael Bungartz is accused of using profanity, threatening an officer with loss of his job and insulting the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department…”
– “Michael Bungartz… disorderly conduct…”
– “…arrested for disorderly conduct after a domestic dispute.”

There’s even a YouTube video clip from a regionally televised news station, breaking the story. Yikes!

IT WASN’T ME! I’M INNOCENT

The problem is that… I’M INNOCENT! See my name is Michael J Bungartz, obviously, and I am originally from Wisconsin. Well so is Michael J Bungartz, Chief of Bloomer Police who is also from Wisconsin.

This guy is totally killing my rep! I’ve gone from entrepreneur and all around good guy, to a profanity spouting-abusive-disorderly-jackass (sorry Mr. Bungartz from Bloomer, but it’s true).

PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

Luckily I’ve been blogging for a while now, and have a couple of other plugs out there and this imposter is continually getting pushed down the list of Google’s search results. Although there was nothing with in my power to have stopped this from happening, it does bring up a valid point. Your Personal Brand or Image is a delicate thing. Screw up and the world can, and will find out (literally the world). No more hiding.

Lesson Learned: Protect your personal brand at all costs. The world, or more appropriately “Google”, is watching, listening and won’t be forgetting any time soon. As Google puts it… “Don’t be evil.”

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I was meeting with my friend and fellow entrepreneur Scott Silvi this last weekend, and was explaining to him how I had all these irons in the fire that I could not ignore, but didn’t want to give up on my 4-Hour Workweek in 90 Days. My current commitments include; a job in sales, which at the moment keeps my bills paid, a big iron in the fire with RentUpdate.com, which is a long-term venture, as well as a handful of other projects including this blog as part of my short-term goals. All of them have their place on the list of priorities and meet a certain goal (Keep the Bills Paid, Long-Term, Short-Term, etc.).

So can I accomplish everything at once or do I need to jettison some smaller projects that meet my short-term goals? I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and having thoughts to give in on my 4-Hour Workweek, and asked Scott for advice.

After a few seconds of reflection, Scott replied, “Pay yourself first.”

Most have heard of the concept of paying yourself first in conjunction with personal finances, in which out of every paycheck, before you even pay bills, you take the first x% and dedicate it to yourself (e.g. Save, Tithe, Invest). He went on to explain, that if your short-term goals or smaller projects are important goals that you want to accomplish, then “pay yourself first” and dedicate the first hour of every day focused on the achievement of that smaller short-term goal. That way, at a minimum even if you don’t get back to that goal by the end of the day, you have at least dedicated one hour towards accomplishing it.

So if you are one that also has numerous irons in the fire, and have trouble managing your time between keeping the bills paid, your long and short-term goals, take Scott’s advice. Don’t give up on your goals, “Pay Yourself First” and dedicate the first hour of every day to taking one, even small step, towards achievement.

Thanks Scott…

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Seth GodinI started reading blogs on a daily basis about 6 months ago and I am amazed at how much information is available through the Blogosphere. Even though there is plenty of noise (aka crap) out there, I continually find myself reading more useful information from blogs than I do through any other source. Even while searching Google for random topics on ‘Whether to bootstrap or Fund’, ‘Angel Investing’, ‘Venture Capital’ or whatever, it seems that somehow I always find my way to a blog post. I can remember even a few years back when I’d be researching a topic, and find myself on Wikipedia or this or that.com, but now 75% of the information I find is through blogs.

Great there’s a lot of information on blogs, what’s your point?

Point is, that out of the hundreds of blog posts I’ve read, Seth Godin consistently posts the best blogs. (The keyword I want to impress here is “consistently”.) Full of information and value, I have yet to be disappointed, or left without having gained something from one of his posts. What blows my mind is that he posts new blogs everyday, sometimes twice a day! How does he do it?

Regardless, if you haven’t subscribed to Seth’s Blog yet, do it. If you call yourself an entrepreneur this stuff is mandatory reading.

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As an entrepreneur I have noticed one thing about myself when weighing the viability of a new business opportunity. I begin to think about all the competition that is out there and get paralyzed answering the question of how it’s going to be better. For every business idea I have wholeheartedly pursued, there are a hundred that I haven’t taken action on because I couldn’t justify why my product or service was better than those that already existed.

What finally hit me was that there are so many successful businesses out there, that aren’t the best, some honestly aren’t even that good, yet somehow they manage to be successful in there own right. Likewise there are many entrepreneurs that are not as bright as you, with an idea that isn’t quite as good as yours, but they have done one thing better than you and that is to take action. They didn’t let the thought that their business might not be the best stop them from starting.

If this sounds like you then recognize it for what it is and take action towards pursuing your ideas. If you don’t, then you will continue to do nothing, because now they have the successful business, while you…well you have your 9 to 5 and an idea once ambitious, now a memory of what could have been.

Lesson Learned #2: If you are held back by the feeling that you, or your business idea, isn’t the “perfect” solution or doesn’t have the potential to be the biggest and best in its industry, remember you don’t have to be the best, only better than some.

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