Ten Things We Learned from Path to the Entreprenati by Pace Klein


Path to the Entreprenati is a fictional story of a mentor and mentee duo that eloquently ties in a business angle. It takes you to the streets of Lyon and Paris and brings you way back to the time of the Knights Templar. It’s a quick read that’s packed with good advice for anyone who wants to be more than just an entrepreneur.

Here are the top 10 things we learned from the book:

1.    The Entreprenati believe in their ability to forge their own path to bring themselves to success.

You know the famous Henry Ford quote “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Entreprenati subscribe to the same belief in business and in life.

2.    The promise of a journey of a thousand miles ends with a single nonstep.

Not making a decision is a decision in and of itself, and the longer you go without taking your first step, the longer you put off reaching your personal success.

3.    Figure out what you suck at early, then be proud of sucking at it.

In other words, know your strengths and weaknesses. Do what is worth your time doing and delegate the rest.

4.    If you think it’s great not to make any mistakes, you’re seriously mistaken.

Mistakes aren’t good and they’re not bad. If you make too many, that’s dangerous. But if you don’t make enough, you’re not taking enough chances.

5.    Don’t let your employees be your own appendages.

If you micro-manage or train your employees to be just like you, your company will be stunted. There’s no growth or imagination when you have a bunch of mini replicas operating the business.

6.    If you want to be on top, head straight to the bottom first.

If you surround yourself with successful entrepreneurial people, you’ll slowly start to become like them. Keep rubbing shoulders with people “above” you and you’ll start to make your way to the top. Just be careful to never be at the very top, lest you find yourself at an educational standstill.

7.    True innovation requires the willingness to experiment in ways that fail more than they succeed.

If you’re not willing to fail then you’re not willing to succeed. It’s as simple as that.

8.    You must remain a child of the universe, for there aren’t any Entreprenati among the grownups.

The secret to life entrepreneurs is to be lifelong learners. It’s important to stay curious and keep questioning.

9.    Every advancement starts with a simple “what if?”

Innovation happens when you’re at a standstill for whatever reason and you ask yourself or your team, “what if we did this?” and “what if we did that?” That’s where the magic happens.

10.  Business books don’t have to read like business books.

It’s possible to read a book that acts like fiction but gives you the tools to become a superb entrepreneur. See for yourself.

What’s your favorite business book? We’re always open to checking out new books.

Getting Past a Deal Impasse


Currently the situation in Washington or with the Minnesota Orchestra is lose-lose.  Since neither party has been investing in a relationship with the other prior to this debacle, how do we now move forward?  If I were an advisor to the principals involved I would suggest the following:

1.  Have a family dinner party with the both sides.

2.  At the party, share the following elements that help close deals, which I have learned from doing deals over the past 25 years: 

Various elements that close deals
90% - Attitude

55% - People
10% - Tactics

37% - Process

8% - Substance

= Successful outcomes

These elements are also confirmed in Stuart Diamond’s great book called Getting More.

When doing deals, most parties focus on tactics and the substance.  These are the two least effective elements to focus on when closing a deal.   This is further complicated when the parties are working through the press.  Once the press is involved the tactics and substance elements reported are not even accurate and they start to inflame each side’s ego.   This in turn causes an almost complete shut down of possibilities.  

3.  After sharing these elements with the parties, I would have them work together on a quick and simple common challenge (a vanilla  issue we all agree upon) that has nothing to do with the current issue.  This will cause the parties to feel a collective mind shift toward possibility;

4.   Once that exercise is completed I would suggest the following approach:

i.  Focus on Attitude & Process.   These are the elements that can close this deal.

ii.  Use members of the party that do have relationships (i.e., People) to help close this deal!

iii.  Have the following boundaries:

Both parties quit talking to the press;

Leave the past in the past and be present;

Be hard on the problem, not the people;

When talking with each other try to use facts vs. opinion;

Have regularly scheduled meetings every day until the issue is resolved;

Focus on strategies (vs. positions and ideology) to overcome obstacles. 

If Politicians Were Farmers


I was having breakfast with my 85-year-old mother the other day and she said the greatest thing. She paid close attention to both political conventions this year and told me that if these guys were farmers, they’d have no crops to sell.

What she means is that our two presidential candidates (let’s be honest, we really only have two options) are all talk and no do. If they were farmers they wouldn’t get any crops in the ground and we’d all starve to death. And yet they’re going to lead our country. Do we need to do some redesigning here folks?

[Image from here]

Failure: It’s an asset, not a setback


Image from http://bit.ly/UpcFbW
The difference between all of us and the late Steve Jobs is that he looked at failure as an asset; most everyone else views it as a setback. Even worse, some of us let failures define us (i.e., “I am a failure”).

When you consider failure a form of education, your greatest ideas will come to fruition. Jobs went through failure after failure before we all came to depend on his iPhone or iPod. It was with each failure that he analyzed what went wrong, and only then was he able to find out what consumers really needed and desired.

When you look at failure as an asset, it won’t dampen your desire to succeed. Instead, you will grow from it. The truth is simple: If you want success, you must value your failures. In fact the greatest failure of all is not to learn from your failures.

Are You A Linchpin?


I highly suggest you read the book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. 

And let me tell you something: you want to be a Linchpin. In a nut shell, if you are great at what you do … you will become an artist. Artists are unique and cannot easily be replaced, copied or outsourced.   

In the book, Godin says it’s time we stop mindlessly complying with the system – or being a cog – and start creating our own maps (ways of doing things and uniquely solving problems). We all have art to create, and the longer we spend our time solely following other peoples’ rules, the bigger of a hole we’re digging for ourselves. If your entire job can be penned out in a manual, you are replaceable. If you ever catch yourself saying, “not my job,” you are not a linchpin. If you do everything your boss tells you, no less and no more, you’ll be one of the first to go when the company downsizes. 

If you make some decisions without asking for permission, use your creativity while producing, and ship assignments only you are capable of doing, then you are indispensable. You must become indispensable to thrive in the new economy.  

This book is required reading for anyone that wants to succeed in todays ever-changing workforce. It’s thoughtful, it holds your hand through the steps of becoming indispensable, and it’s reassuring.  Seth says, “You have brilliance in you, your contribution is valuable, and the art you create is precious.” 

Now it’s time to start creating the Linchpin within you.

[Photo from sethgodin.com]

Lessons We’ve Learned From Years of Managing Contracts


1. You must actively manage your deals and relationships. Keep in touch with your contacts; make sure contracts are up-to-date. You never want a client to bring it to your attention that a contract has expired.

2. Share the lessons you learned with each deal. Remember why deals went sour or why they succeeded, then share the love with others … perhaps they’ve learned lessons that you’ve yet to stumble upon.

3. Use a process. This way you’ll never miss anything you need to cover. Whether you want it laid out in a mind map or a thorough checklist, a process is the framework of a successful negotiation.

4. Know the essence of what you want when you do your deals. Understand the essence of your goals. For example, we might have a goal of not wanting to have exclusivity in the agreement. The essence of this goal is flexibility. Understanding this creates bigger boundaries for creativity for both parties. Understanding that you might be okay with a very narrow and limited exclusivity (if it gives the other side more incentive to market your service) still gives you flexibility.

5. The value of your business is the sum total of its deals. Make good deals, have a good business. Enough said.

What have you learned from your time managing contracts? Are there any learned lessons we should add onto our list?

[Photo from this website]

Ten Things We’ve Learned from Hugh MacLeod


Hugh has taught us a lot, and we want to spread the love:

1. Drawings don’t have to make sense

2. Having a dream is the first step to success

3. World domination requires an evil plan. If you don’t have one, don’t plan on dominating

4. Nonsense is cooler than sense

5. Mediocrity is for the birds

6. Being called crazy is a compliment

7. Anyone can become an entrepreneur

8. Simplicity is always key

9. Sharing is cooler than reading

10. Even people who doodle on business cards can become successful

Why is Hugh MacLeod relevant to us at WieseLaw Firm? Because he rocks, and was recently named Babson College’s official cartoonist. His purposeful art says far more in a handful of words than most books do, making him the perfect fit for Babson. We’re stoked to see more of what this new marriage comes up with. And if it’s anything like the piece displayed on this article, it will be good. (Hint, it says, “quit your yappin’ and go create something.”)

Need we say more?

[Awesome illustration above from http://gapingvoid.com/]