30 Under 30: The Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs of 2012 Of course you know about the "pinboard" site Pinterest, which attracts 20 million visitors a month and has been valued at, oh, a cozy $1.5 billion. And Spotify, the Internet music service, is a whisker from being a household name, with more than three million paying users and a reported $220 million funding round waiting in the wings. To have created either company would be a pretty amazing lifetime achievement. The fact is, though, the two companies' founders are just getting started. Pinterest's leaders--Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp--are each just 29 years old. The serial entrepreneur behind Spotify, a Swede named Daniel Ek, is also a year shy of 30. Odds are, quite a bit fewer than have been created by Ek, Silberman, Sharp or any of the 30 incredibly accomplished 20-something entrepreneurs identified in this year's 30 Under 30 ranking. You probably won't have to wait long for the class of 2012 to yield its own crop of mega-overachievers. They're solving big problems.
Business Plans Are a Waste of Time. Here's What to Do Instead If you're taking time to carefully perfect a business plan to help ensure your company's model is sound and that it will be a success--stop. That's the word from William Hsu, c0-founder and managing partner at start-up accelerator MuckerLab. Hsu, who's been both a successful entrepreneur and an executive at AT&T and eBay, says that starting a company is "a career for really irrational people. In all probability, whatever the idea is will fail. Building a reality distortion field is how entrepreneurs convince themselves and their employees that this is a good idea." With that in mind, he advises: 1. A great team trumps a great idea every time, Hsu says. In either case, having great team members can fill in any areas where the entrepreneur lacks strength, he says. 2. "Whatever hypothesis you have about the market, it's probably wrong by definition," he says. Then, he says, pivot and reconfigure on the basis of that market response. 3. Does that mean you should never look ahead?
Starting a Business: The New 'Safe' Career? You know the stereotypical image: An entrepreneur risks it all in a gamble to get a business started. It's tremendously hard work--but is it really all that risky? Sometimes what seems safe is, in reality, far riskier. The "Safer" Options José María Cobián, an experienced entrepreneur in Spain, recently wondered about the number of university graduates in his country thinking of trying for a public sector job. And yet, according to research that Cobián quotes, five years out, only a fifth of the people who actually pass the exams get jobs in the public sector, and the annual success rate in the examinations is only 2%. Are big corporations safer than starting your own company? Where the Jobs Really Are Look at the hiring trends. As Cobián also points out, if you want a new opportunity, small companies are largely the way to go. Job security is long gone in the world.
Why Face-To-Face Meetings Are Overrated You know the feeling. Everyone’s sitting around a table, ideas are building on ideas, and intellectual sparks are lighting up the room. It’s tempting to think that this kind of magic only happens when people can see and touch each other. Let’s assume for a second that that’s true: Breakthrough ideas only happen when people are interacting face-to-face. Given that, you’re only going to frustrate yourself and everyone else if you summon the brain trust too frequently for those "a-ha!" This is why at 37signals we don’t meet in person all that often. But what about those spur-of-the-moment rays of brilliance? By rationing in-person meetings, their stature is elevated to that of a rare treat. Reprinted from the book Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Aaron Levie, CEO of Box He pivots and changes direction. “And what that means,” Levie continues, “is that it’s a catalyst for IT buyers to implement the next generation of technologies that they’re going to run their businesses off of. This opportunity did not exist in ’03 or ’05 or ’07 or ’08 or ’09. It is happening right now.” Levie leaves no room for doubt: The hard drive is finally dead. GOING SOMEWHERE Aaron Levie usually has a cup of coffee about him, and sometimes two. For IT departments, the convergence of these trends presents an extraordinary challenge: How do you manage so much information on so many different platforms? “You have iPads, Android devices; you have iPhones; you have Macs,” Levie tells his new recruits. Box has about 20 million users, spread out among 180,000 businesses, who use the platform to upload files, collaborate, and share content online. “We have to build the best brand,” Levie says, “and we have to develop our site around the enterprise. His speech is winding down.
How the Rich Get Rich John D. Rockefeller, America's first billionaire, said, "If your only goal is to become rich, you'll never achieve it." Easy for him to say, but his point is well taken: If the only thing you care about is making money, no matter how much money you make it will never be enough. Still, even though we all define and calculate success differently, most of us would like wealth to factor into our equations. To find out how, check out the 400 Individual Tax Returns Reporting the Largest Adjusted Gross Incomes, an annual report issued by the IRS. (The latest report is for 2009, which to you and me was a long time ago but to the government is really, really up to date.) In 2009 it took $77.4 million in adjusted gross income to make the top 400. A mere $77.4 million only got you in, though; the average earnings were $202.4 million, a lot of money but well down from the $334.8 million average in 2007. Where it gets interesting is how the top 400 made their money: Obvious conclusions:
Thinking of Starting a Business? Print Profits in 3-D Printing Imagine you hit a button on your printer, and out emerges a prototype of a prosthetic leg or a component for a space shuttle. The moment has arrived, and it means big things for 3-D printing companies. Though the industry has been around for decades, 3-D printing is gaining momentum. Indeed, companies in many fields are getting creative with 3-D printing technology. Looking to get started? How big will it get? By 2017, Wohlers Associates estimates that sales of 3-D printing products and services could hit $6 billion worldwide. The market segment that has experienced the greatest growth recently is the personal 3-D printing market, which includes printers such as 3D Systems's Cube ($1,299) and Makerbot's Replicator 2 ($2,199). How much do I need? You'll need capital. Who's in it? There are big incumbents. The Quick and Dirty on 3-D PrintingHow much?
How to Be Way More Productive Wake Up With More Energy Many people feel tired in the morning not because they didn't sleep enough but because they have low blood sugar. You can minimize this by consuming a tablespoon or two of unsweetened almond butter before you go to sleep. It's a very simple way to stabilize your blood sugar. (I've tested this by having a continuous glucose monitor implanted in my side.) Double Your Reading Speed in Five Minutes Write down a sentence, any sentence that has eight to 12 words and fills a single line on a page or screen. Clear Your Inbox in Half the Time The only consistent way to get to inbox zero is to respond to fewer emails, because each response breeds more email. The first is five.sentenc.es, which gives you a footer that says, "Why is this email five sentences or less?" Boomerang is an extension for Gmail. The last tool is emailga.me, which forces you to go through your email sequentially without an inbox view, with timers and other gamifications.
The Interview Question That Reveals a True Leader Building a great leadership team is one of your most important jobs as CEO. But it can also be one of the hardest. What makes it so hard is that you not only have to find a domain expert but a strong leader who inspires results far beyond your team's abilities. More confusing is the fact that most experienced domain experts are often terrible leaders, while great leaders often have resumes that won't make it past your screening process. And today's hiring process doesn't make things easier. So how can you find the right leader? If he says, "I haven't fired anyone," it's obvious this person's a bad fit. If the candidate did fire someone, then find out how it happened. If he says the candidate wasn't surprised, let him walk you through the termination process. Be sure to find out why the employee didn't work out. Before the story is finished, ask one final question, "What did you do after they were let go?"
6 Habits of Remarkably Likable People When you meet someone, after, "What do you do?" you're out of things to say. You suck at small talk, and those first five minutes are tough because you're a little shy and a little insecure. But you want to make a good impression. You want people to genuinely like you. Here's how remarkably likeable people do it: They lose the power pose. I know: Your parents taught you to stand tall, square your shoulders, stride purposefully forward, drop your voice a couple of registers, and shake hands with a firm grip. It's great to display nonverbal self-confidence, but go too far and it seems like you're trying to establish your importance. No matter how big a deal you are you pale in comparison to say, oh, Nelson Mandela. Clinton takes a step forward (avoiding the "you must come to me" power move); Mandela steps forward with a smile and bends slightly forward as if, ever so slightly, to bow (a clear sign of deference and respect in nearly every culture); Clinton does the same. You meet someone.
8 Things Really Successful People Do Most people claim to want success. But not everyone is willing to do the hard work and the smart work to get there. Often opportunities present themselves and because people are distracted, they miss them or give up on them before things fully develop. Truly successful people don't leave much to chance. They are disciplined and focused. They constantly seek new methods to achieve more, in bigger and faster ways. 1. Fancy cars and houses are all well and good, but many foolishly focus on the byproducts of success, rather than concentrating on building sustainable success in the first place. 2. Success comes faster to those who are open, active learners. 3. People in your life require time. 4. Not all successful people are calm and nice. 5. Everyone has a vision of their own perfect body. 6. There are many highly successful people like Richard Branson and Warren Buffett who don't consider religion to be important or relevant. 7. Really successful people live by rules. 8. Like this post?