Legends & Losers - Motivational & Inspirational Stories With an Edge

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079: Purpose Before Profit: Tony Tjan on Leadership, Wholeness & Solving Big Problems Part 2

Great leaders aren’t in the business of creating followers, they’re in the business of creating other leaders. To build a team of leaders, we have to value what we can’t measure. Chemistry, care, love, respect, wisdom, positivity and especially wholeness, in ourselves and others. Here are the 3 things we learned about leadership, solving big problems and generating long-term value from entrepreneur, venture capitalist and New York Times best-selling author, Tony Tjan.

The greatest competitive advantage is when you deliver someone intrinsic meaning. - Tony Tjan

Great Leaders Put Purpose Before Profits

Financial results are a byproduct of giving our people intrinsic meaning. In other words, purpose. When we help people have a higher expression of themselves, we’ll get the best out of them, and we’ll get great value creation. Tony believes that companies with the strongest, long-term competitive advantage take a long view, stay very authentic, and have great care and respect for their colleagues. As Tony points out, “Authenticity will never go out of fashion.”

Great Leaders Don’t Iterate & Fail Fast

If we want to solve real BIG problems, we can’t have a short term time frame. Tough problems require purposeful innovation and data-driven feedback from real customers and stakeholders. Transforming an entire industry takes time, so stay patient, ignore all the ebbs and flows and focus on the long view.

Great Leaders Embrace Vulnerability

Entrepreneurship and leadership is about walking the line between vulnerability and conviction, and understanding that the two are sometimes at odds with each other. As leaders, we must understand that we have a duty to serve. We are here to create more leaders and meaningful roles for them in our companies. We spend 70% of our time at work, so let’s surround ourselves with great people, with great competency and great character, and help produce more of them.

Great leaders don’t define success by their IPO or the company bottom line. Great leaders define success by the lives they change. Without authentic care and respect for the people around us, especially within our companies, all our leadership training, all our mentorship programs, all our team building exercises, will fail. To build great teams that solve big problems and achieve big financial success, we must put purpose before profit.

Guest Bio

Anthony (Tony) Tjan is CEO and Managing Partner of Cue Ball, leading the firm’s overall direction, including deal development, on-going guidance and mentorship to the leadership of Cue Ball’s portfolio companies. Tony is one of the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders for Tomorrow, a TED conference speaker and New York Times best-selling author of Heart, Smarts, Guts & Luck, and Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters.

Download the latest episodes, subscribe and review Legends & Losers on iTunes. Then go out and #BeLegendary

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078: Purpose Before Profit: Tony Tjan on Leadership, Wholeness & Solving Big Problems Part 1

Great leaders aren’t in the business of creating followers, they’re in the business of creating other leaders. To build a team of leaders, we have to value what we can’t measure. Chemistry, care, love, respect, wisdom, positivity and especially wholeness, in ourselves and others. Here are the 3 things we learned about leadership, solving big problems and generating long-term value from entrepreneur, venture capitalist and New York Times best-selling author, Tony Tjan.

The greatest competitive advantage is when you deliver someone intrinsic meaning. - Tony Tjan

Great Leaders Put Purpose Before Profits

Financial results are a byproduct of giving our people intrinsic meaning. In other words, purpose. When we help people have a higher expression of themselves, we’ll get the best out of them, and we’ll get great value creation. Tony believes that companies with the strongest, long-term competitive advantage take a long view, stay very authentic, and have great care and respect for their colleagues. As Tony points out, “Authenticity will never go out of fashion.”

Great Leaders Don’t Iterate & Fail Fast

If we want to solve real BIG problems, we can’t have a short term time frame. Tough problems require purposeful innovation and data-driven feedback from real customers and stakeholders. Transforming an entire industry takes time, so stay patient, ignore all the ebbs and flows and focus on the long view.

Great Leaders Embrace Vulnerability  

Entrepreneurship and leadership is about walking the line between vulnerability and conviction, and understanding that the two are sometimes at odds with each other. As leaders, we must understand that we have a duty to serve. We are here to create more leaders and meaningful roles for them in our companies. We spend 70% of our time at work, so let’s surround ourselves with great people, with great competency and great character, and help produce more of them.

Great leaders don’t define success by their IPO or the company bottom line. Great leaders define success by the lives they change. Without authentic care and respect for the people around us, especially within our companies, all our leadership training, all our mentorship programs, all our team building exercises, will fail. To build great teams that solve big problems and achieve big financial success, we must put purpose before profit.

Guest Bio

Anthony (Tony) Tjan is CEO and Managing Partner of Cue Ball, leading the firm’s overall direction, including deal development, on-going guidance and mentorship to the leadership of Cue Ball’s portfolio companies. Tony is one of the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders for Tomorrow, a TED conference speaker and New York Times best-selling author of Heart, Smarts, Guts & Luck, and Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters.

Download the latest episodes, subscribe and review Legends & Losers on iTunes. Then go out and #BeLegendary

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077: Artificial Intelligence is the New UX - Ray Wang on What Happens in an AI-Driven World

Artificial intelligence progresses from monitoring and notifications to recommendations all the way to automating the process. Up until now we’ve lived in a world where we’ve essentially “faked” artificial intelligence through complex rules engines, workflows, triggers and a thousand other elements, none of which work at scale. Now we’re entering a world where artificial intelligence will merge with machine learning and Internet-of-Things devices to produce the outcomes we want at scale. Here are 3 things we learned from Constellation Research principal and founder Ray Wang on the rise of artificial intelligence, attention spans, blockchain and much more.

People who are talking about AI keep talking about the math, the data, the algorithms. The real question is, What business outcomes are you trying to achieve? - Ray Wang

When thinking about AI, start with the business outcome

We’re about to live in a world when your toilet paper can reorder itself. Demand signals can come from sensors, which are dropping in cost, or from your choices communicated through devices like Alexa. Our interactions with devices backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning are about to become our primary user experiences with technology in our daily lives. So it’s critical to start not with the math, the algorithms, the rules, but to start with the outcome we want and work backward from there.

Expanding Choice = Shrinking Attention Span

In today’s world, if you want to get a point across in video, you have about 30 seconds. If you really want to go deeper, maybe you have 3 minutes. This stands in direct contrast to the explosion of long-form content like podcasts (like Legends & Losers) that allow you complete freedom to have an authentic dialogue without the restrictions of traditional media. What does all this mean? Know your goal. If you produce long-form content, remember: authenticity trumps time. If it’s real, authentic and riveting, people will consume long content. But if you want to get a message across for marketing purposes, do it in 30 seconds or less.

Blockchain may transform everything from medical records to currency

If you believe in privacy rights, keep a close eye on blockchain technology. Entrepreneurs and academics are working right now to use blockchain for everything from crypto currency to to keeping track of your college transcripts and medical records. The best cryptocurrency in the world right now is Cryptex, which is a blockchain-based currency design. This allows the best of both worlds - freedom of exchange and security of a cryptocurrency combined with the privacy of blockchain.

The way we think about technology radically affects which technologies take off and which don’t. Imagine trying to sell Alexa to someone in 1993. “I’d like to put a device in your home that listens to everything you say, a device we’ve designed to help you buy more products from our company, one of the largest and most powerful on the planet.” Good luck with that sales pitch. With any disruptive technology, it’s critical that we step back and think about our ideal outcome. Step into the future and imagine what’s possible and what we really want, then figure out how to use technology to get there.

Guest Bio

Ray Wang is the Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman of Silicon Valley based Constellation Research, Inc.  He's also the author of the popular business strategy and technology blog "A Software Insider’s Point of View". With viewership in the 10's of millions of pageviews a year, his blog provides insight into how disruptive technologies and new business models such as digital transformation impact brands, enterprises, and organizations.  Wang has held executive roles in product, marketing, strategy, and consulting at companies such as Forrester Research, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and Johns Hopkins Hospital. Go to Constellationr.com for more information, read his blog http://blog.softwareinsider.org/ or follow Ray on Twitter @rwang0.

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076: Brian McCullough on Internet History, Fumbling in the Dark, & Category Design on the Fly Part 2

In retrospect, it turns out that Napster was a harbinger of our current world of unlimited selection and instant gratification. What can recent history teach us about the future of digital technology and category design? Here are 3 things we took away from a recent conversation with Internet History podcast host and web 2.0 pioneer Brian McCullough, author of the upcoming book, How the Internet Happened.

I like history where it’s basically people fumbling around in the dark and making it almost by accident. - Brian McCullough on the history of the internet

History Is Made By People Making It Up on the Fly

Reading history from a couple hundred years ago makes it seem like everyone’s a genius and every event was inevitable and logical. Delving into recent history, on the other hand, and talking to the people who actually made that history, gives you a sense of what was really happening. People fumbling and stumbling until they find something that works and running with it. Nothing is inevitable, nothing is logical. History is made by people just like us; people who are doing their best in the moment, failing often, getting back up and trying again.

Everything Online Exists Because of Online Advertising

As much as we may think that the internet has changed everything, those changes have been in specific areas and mostly thanks to the ability of someone to throw an ad against it. Marc Andreessen pointed out recently that the big technology challenge over the next 20 years is to transform industries like finance, healthcare and education that so far have been left virtually untouched by the digital revolution.

People’s Opinion of Technology is Shifting

When the iPhone first came out in 2007, and people were reconnecting with high school friends on Facebook, technology was a marvel that improved our lives. In just 10 years popular opinion is changing, and Silicon Valley leaders can feel it. Digital technology, and especially social media, taps into one of the most powerful drives of our species, the need to be part of a community. But we’re struggling to adapt to all this new technology. As a result, we’re seeing a movement toward “ethical design,” so technology enhances our lives rather than controls it.

All the biggest tech companies we can name today, from Amazon to Facebook, were called insane at some point. Even if you’re building a company in a dumb category, or a category that has already been “done” by other competitors, you can transform the category simply by doing it differently. The key is to reimagine the category, don’t just build a slightly better mousetrap.

Download the latest episodes, subscribe and review Legends & Losers on iTunes. Then go out and #BeLegendary

Guest Bio

Brian McCullough is the host of the Internet History podcast and a web 2.0 business pioneer, having founded or co-founded the following companies: WhereAreTheJobs.com, WhoToTalkTo.com and ResumeWriters.com, Penelope and Maxwell. Brian was named to a 2016 TED Residency and is writing the upcoming book, HOW THE INTERNET HAPPENED, to be published by Liveright, a subsidiary of W.W. Norton.

 

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075: Brian McCullough on Internet History, Fumbling in the Dark, & Category Design on the Fly Part 1

In retrospect, it turns out that Napster was a harbinger of our current world of unlimited selection and instant gratification. What can recent history teach us about the future of digital technology and category design? Here are 3 things we took away from a recent conversation with Internet History podcast host and web 2.0 pioneer Brian McCullough, author of the upcoming book, How the Internet Happened.

I like history where it’s basically people fumbling around in the dark and making it almost by accident. - Brian McCullough on the history of the internet

History Is Made By People Making It Up on the Fly

 

Reading history from a couple hundred years ago makes it seem like everyone’s a genius and every event was inevitable and logical. Delving into recent history, on the other hand, and talking to the people who actually made that history, gives you a sense of what was really happening. People fumbling and stumbling until they find something that works and running with it. Nothing is inevitable, nothing is logical. History is made by people just like us; people who are doing their best in the moment, failing often, getting back up and trying again.

Everything Online Exists Because of Online Advertising

 

As much as we may think that the internet has changed everything, those changes have been in specific areas and mostly thanks to the ability of someone to throw an ad against it. Marc Andreessen pointed out recently that the big technology challenge over the next 20 years is to transform industries like finance, healthcare and education that so far have been left virtually untouched by the digital revolution.

People’s Opinion of Technology is Shifting

 

When the iPhone first came out in 2007, and people were reconnecting with high school friends on Facebook, technology was a marvel that improved our lives. In just 10 years popular opinion is changing, and Silicon Valley leaders can feel it. Digital technology, and especially social media, taps into one of the most powerful drives of our species, the need to be part of a community. But we’re struggling to adapt to all this new technology. As a result, we’re seeing a movement toward “ethical design,” so technology enhances our lives rather than controls it.

All the biggest tech companies we can name today, from Amazon to Facebook, were called insane at some point. Even if you’re building a company in a dumb category, or a category that has already been “done” by other competitors, you can transform the category simply by doing it differently. The key is to reimagine the category, don’t just build a slightly better mousetrap.

Download the latest episodes, subscribe and review Legends & Losers on iTunes. Then go out and #BeLegendary

Guest Bio

Brian McCullough is the host of the Internet History podcast and a web 2.0 business pioneer, having founded or co-founded the following companies: WhereAreTheJobs.com, WhoToTalkTo.com and ResumeWriters.com, Penelope and Maxwell. Brian was named to a 2016 TED Residency and is writing the upcoming book, HOW THE INTERNET HAPPENED, to be published by Liveright, a subsidiary of W.W. Norton.

 

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074: Volkswagen Diesel Scandal - Jack Ewing on How VW Committed One of the Greatest Corporate Crimes of All Time

Can companies be truly evil? Can a company’s actions in 2016 be affected by origins that stretch back to Adolf Hitler and the grandiose vision of the Nazi movement? We turned to award-winning New York Times reporter Jack Ewing, author of the explosive book, "Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal," to get his insight on the scandal that rocked what was until recently the world’s largest car company.

When you demand a lot of people, and then don’t set any limits for them...this type of thing is bound to happen. - Jack Ewing on the Volkswagen diesel scandal

Adolf Hitler was an angel investor in the Volkswagen Beetle

In a spectacular example of Nazi hubris, Hitler funded the development of the Bug with stolen union money and then commissioned the largest factory in the world to produce it. The factory is still among the largest in the world, and was built before they had ever produced a real car from the Beetle design. Once WW2 broke out, they had only produced a couple hundred VW Beetles, so the factory was converted over to war machinery production, and eventually was staffed by “conscripted workers” brought in from concentration camps like Auschwitz, among other sources.

Volkswagen committed one of the greatest frauds in corporate history

In 2015, the EPA revealed that Volkswagen had installed software in 11 million cars that basically cheated emissions-testing mechanisms. By early 2017, VW settled with American regulators and car owners for $20 billion, with additional lawsuits still looming, especially in Europe. The total settlements may well run over $50 billion.

Creating a culture of conformity lays the foundation for fraud, scandal and abuse

Volkswagen’s corporate culture of conformity helped prevent employees from blowing the whistle on the program, allowing it to continue for over 10 years.

Guest Bio

Jack Ewing is an award-winning journalist and author of "Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal". Jack writes about business, banking, economics and monetary policy from Frankfurt, and sometimes helps out on terror coverage and other breaking news. Jack joined the International Herald Tribune/New York Times in 2010. Previously he worked for a decade at BusinessWeek magazine in Frankfurt, where he was European regional editor. Jack first came to Europe in 1993 as a German Marshall Fund journalism fellow in Brussels, and wound up staying permanently. He won a New York Times publisher’s award in 2011 for coverage of the European debt crisis.

Download the latest episodes, subscribe and review Legends & Losers on iTunes. Then go out and #BeLegendary

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073: The Power of a BHAG

Jim Collins, Built To Last 

“All companies have goals.  But there is a difference between merely having a goal and  becoming committed to a huge, daunting challenge” 

A CLEAR—AND COMPELLING–GOAL  

Like the moon mission, a true BHAG is clear and compelling and serves as a unifying focal point of effort– often creating immense team spirit.   

It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal;  people like to shoot for finish lines.   

A BHAG engages people–  it reaches out and grabs them in the gut.  It is tangible, energizing, highly focused.  People "get it" right away; it takes little or no explanation.   

Zig Ziglar put it simply: 

If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time. 

A BHAG is a GIANT thing to aim at.  

We have Joe de Sena the founder of Spartan Race Inc. and the category designer of the Obstacle Course Racing category on legends & losers 

And one of the thing he says is that gym memberships spike when people sign up to do a Spartan Race. 

That is to say, a goal, with a date, is very focusing. 

On Episode 12, US Olympic Judo Fighter Colton Brown shared with us, about how the goal of winning  

  • a gold medal has been the centering point of his life, for most of his life. 

Mercury Top Five Software Company BHAG  

  • Tied to category design launch 
  • A Big POV makes it real
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072: Cameron Herold On Great COO’s & How To Reverse Engineer Your Vivid Vision

Great entrepreneurs and CEO’s can set a big vision for their business, but often lack the character traits to steer their business to that vision. That’s where great COO’s come in. Here are the 3 key things we learned about great COO’s, Vivid Vision and reverse engineering from Cameron Herold, serial entrepreneur, business growth guru and founder of the COO Alliance.

I’ve never had a unique idea in my life, but I can always reverse engineer dreams. Cameron Herold on the role of COO’s

Great COO’s Strive to Make the CEO Iconic

What makes a great COO? Truly knowing what their role is and staying in their lane. The best COO’s don’t play out of position or consider themselves a CEO-in-Waiting. Instead, they wake up everyday on a mission to support the CEO. The best CEO/COO teams each have different areas of the business they prefer to focus on, so they naturally complement and reinforce each other’s efforts.

Vivid Vision is Reverse Engineering the Future

High performance athletes visualize themselves in a future state so they can act on instinct in the moment. When setting your Vivid Vision, lean out 3 years and describe every aspect of the company. Every department,what it feels like to come into the office, what the media are saying, what employees are saying, describing everything in great detail. This starts as a mind map and ends as a 4-5 page document. When people can see your Vivid Vision, they naturally conspire to help certain elements of your vision come true.

Embrace Your Bipolar Side; Don’t Medicate It

The medical community has nicknamed bipolar disorder “The CEO Disease.” Of the 11 traits that describe bipolar disease, the average entrepreneur can identify with at least half of them. Cameron has come to believe that the mania and ADHD of bipolar in great CEO’s is often the very traits that cause people to follow them. If you medicated those traits out of a great CEO like Steve Jobs, he would no longer be a great CEO. So instead of medicating those traits, we should teach people entrepreneurship.

Whether you’re the CEO or the COO, it’s crucial to understand the relationship between those two roles. A great COO is much more than a CEO-in-Waiting. He or she is the yin to the CEO’s yang, helping to reverse engineer the CEO’s vision of the future and pull the present toward that vision.

Guest Bio

Cameron Herold is the founder of the COO Alliance as well as a serial entrepreneur, author and top-rated international speaker. Cameron’s books include Double Double, Vivid Vision, Meetings Suck, and his latest, Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs. Cameron is known as a business growth guru and CEO Whisperer, and speaks around the world at CEO and COO events. Learn more and download Cameron’s personal Vivid Vision at CameronHerold.com.

Download the latest episodes, subscribe and review Legends & Losers on iTunes. Then go out and #BeLegendary

 

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071: One CEO’s Journey From The Dark Side to “Killing It” w/Sheryl O’Loughlin (Clif Bar, Plum Organics & REBBL)

How do you attack categories with existing kings? How do you compete with retailers offering competing products at a loss? How do you recover from losing everything in your 40’s? Here’s what we learned from Sheryl O’Loughlin, former CEO of Clif Bar and current CEO of REBBL super-herb beverage, on her journey in product design and category domination in the health food space, dealing with anorexia, and how to build a mission-driven culture.

98% of all startups fail in terms of financial success. So why are we creating a definition of success, for something we put our heart and soul into, based on a number that most people will never make? Sheryl O'Loughlin, CEO of REBBL, former CEO of Clif Bar

Don’t Take On A Category King On Their Terms...Redesign the Category

During her time at Plum Organics, Sheryl entered an existing market, but she entered differently from most entrepreneurs or executives. She didn’t attack the existing category with a message of “our product is better.” Sheryl had a Point of View on how the category should be, went on a purposeful mission to educate the market on her Point of View, and then redesigned the category by launching an entirely new type of product. The end result? Plum Organics grew to $100 million in revenue in less than 5 years and sold to Campbell’s Soup, an unbelievable accomplishment for a physical product company.

Beware of the “Dark Side” of Entrepreneurship

After Sheryl and her husband lost everything in their 40’s, Sheryl ramped up her exercise, diet and weight loss regimen to gain a sense of control. She eventually realized that she had developed anorexia and depression, started working with a therapist, and began the long road to recovery. Studies are starting to show that many entrepreneurs have traits, such as ADHD, dyslexia, executive function and bipolar disorders, that make us more susceptible to depression and addiction. We have to especially be on guard in those times when we feel out of control. The solution is to not allow your self-worth to be tied to your net worth. Embrace your life outside work and get your priorities in balance.

Temper Your Aggressiveness with Vulnerability

Being vulnerable with your co-founders or board members builds a level of trust that can carry a company through hard times. That’s the kind of relationships entrepreneurs should be looking for. Not that you need to be vulnerable every second of the day, but more and more entrepreneurs are beginning to recognize the yin and yang balance. There’s a time to be competitive and aggressive, and there’s a time to be vulnerable. Each has it’s proper place.

For more on Sheryl’s entrepreneurial journey and how to take care of your life while building a category king, check out Sheryl’s new book “Killing It,” and stay up with her latest venture, REBBL, an emerging category king in the super-herb beverage category.  As Sheryl says, “You are your best leader when you can have bold humility…It’s the magic between those two tension points where you find your best leadership.“

Guest Bio:

In addition to her stint as the CEO of Clif Bar, where she introduced the world to Luna bars, Sheryl co-founded and served as CEO of Plum Organics and is now serving as CEO of REBBL super herb beverages.  One of her favorite roles was mentoring budding entrepreneurs when she was the executive director at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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070: Jason Calacanis: Angel Investing Category King

The biggest problem in business is too many solutions without a problem. How does this affect the success and longevity of startups? Why is wealth building so different from what it was like for generations before us? Why is the current generation opting out of capitalism? On this episode, we are joined by legendary angel investor and author, Jason Calacanis, who discusses the democratization of angel investing.

It’s not a get rich quick book, it’s a get rich, powerful, smart and skillful, slowly and methodically till people cannot ignore you book. - Jason Calacanis  

Wealth creation in the 21st century will be radically different from earlier generations.

In the 20th century, people graduated college with little to no debt, making it possible for them to buy houses and set themselves up for building wealth. Nowadays, most college graduates are heavily in debt, so they aren’t able to afford homes and they can’t take part in capitalism.

Angel investing is the riskiest asset class and it’s also one where you get the bad news first.

If a company is going to fail it will probably fail after 3 years, and if it succeeds it will probably succeed between year 6 and 10. If you want to invest in this kind of business, you can’t be someone who needs short term success. - it will only frustrate you.

Job disruption is very real and we should prepare for it.

Even white collar jobs are going to be disrupted by technology, and the best strategy for building wealth is being savvy about looking at the pockets they could go to ride the massive technological wave.

Risk is one of the biggest things people avoid in life, but in angel investing, risk is necessary. Building wealth today is all about taking advantage of technological advances, not using the methods that were based on an old blueprint. Entrepreneurs and founders need to fall in love with the problem and not the solution. The playbook is always changing and evolving, but what’s important is the determination and skill to build wealth.

Guest Bio

Jason is an American internet entrepreneur, angel investor, author and blogger. His first company was part of the dot-com era in New York, and his second venture, Weblogs, Inc., a publishing company that he co-founded together with Brian Alvey, capitalized on the growth of blogs before being sold to AOL. As well as being an angel investor in various technology startups, Calacanis also presents at industry conferences worldwide. Go to Calacanis.com for more information.

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