J.K. Rowling speaks at Harvard Commencement in 2008.

Really really good.

Full video at http://vimeo.com/1711302.

Got the below off gapingvoid.com. I couldn’t agree more. LOL Check it out. He’s got some great stuff.

1. Everything takes three times longer than it should. Especially the money part.

2. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

3. People want what they can’t have. In fact, that’s pretty much all they do want.

4. Once you become an entrepreneur, you find the company of non-entrepreneurs a lot harder to be around. You’ve seen things they haven’t; the wavelengths alter, it’s that simple.

5. In a world of over-supply and commodification, you are no longer paid to supply. You’re being paid to deliver something else. What that is exactly, is not always obvious.

6. Word of mouth is the best advertising medium of all. The best word of mouth comes from disrupting markets.

7. People buy your product because it helps fill in the narrative gaps in their lives.

8. You can either be cheapest or the best. I know which one I prefer.

9. Some people think that once they secure venture funding, their problems will be over. Wrong. That’s when your problems REALLY begin.

10. It’s better to be underfunded than overfunded.

11. If an average guy in a bar can understand what you do for a living, chances are you’re halfway to becoming a commodity.

12. It’s easier to turn an ally into a customer than vice versa.

13. If you’re happy in your career before the age of thirty, you’re probably doing something wrong. Heck, if you’re happy in your career before the age of seventy, you’re probably doing something wrong.

14. Smart, young, artistic people are always asking me which is a better career path, “Creativity” or “Money”. I always answer that it doesn’t matter. What matters is “Effective” and/or “Ineffective”.

15. Write the following on a piece of paper, have it framed, and stick it on your office wall: “Have you hugged your customer today?”

16. People will always, always be in the market for a story that resonates with them. Your product will either have this quality or it won’t. If your product fails this test, quit your job and go find something else. Just making the product incrementally cheaper or better won’t help you.

17. Products are idea amplifiers. The molecules and/or bytes are secondary.

18. People remember the quality long after they’ve forgotten the price. Unless you try to rip them off.

19. Markets serve entrepreneurs better if the latter can keep the former undersupplied. Oversupply is the kiss of death.

20. I personally know a former CEO who, once he attained control of the company, ran an EXTREMELY profitable business into the ground in less than two years. From a market cap of $100 million to ZERO, just like that. Why? Short answer: He loved being “The” CEO, but he didn’t much care for being “a” CEO.

21. In terms of becoming an entrepreneur, probably the most useful thing I learned in the last twenty years was how to enjoy my own company for long stretches of time.

22. One successful entrepreneur I know well has a wonderful quality, namely that he never, ever compares himself to other people. He just does his own thing, which actually serves him rather well. Just because his competitor has bought himself a bigger motor boat, doesn’t mean he feels the need have a bigger motor boat. This quality helps him to build his business the way he sees fit, not the way the motor boat people see fit.

23. Running a startup is full of extreme ups and downs. Which is why so many successful and happy entrepreneurs I know lead such normal, stable, unglamorous, “boring”, family-centered lives. Somehow they need the latter in order to balance out the former. Extra-curricular drama looks great in the tabloids, but that’s all it’s ultimately good for.

24. MBAs are conditioned to use their brains in much the same way as sex workers are conditioned to use their genitals. Nice work if you can get it.

25. Bill Gates may have a million times more money than me, but he isn’t going to live a million times longer than me, watch a million times more sunsets than me, make love to a million times more women than me, drink a million times more fine wines than me, listen to a million times more Beethoven String Quartets than me, nor sire a million times more children than me. Human beings don’t scale.

26. F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” F. Scott was a drunkard and a fool.

Shift Happens

This never fail to amaze me. Will a 2010 version come up?

Heart vs Head

“If I had relied solely upon my rational mind, I would never have made the discoveries for which I am famous.” – Albert Einstein

I met an inspiring person today who talked about using the Heart vs the Head. And it’s really intriguing because I constantly fight with myself about the tools I use to make decisions.

How many times have we thought about something great, felt really passionate about it, only to feel less and less enthusiastic the idea as it rolled around the head?

Why are brainstorming sessions so fun? Because you don’t have to rationalize the idea with the communication you usually have inside your head. Ideas can flow endlessly, and people get excited and enthusiastic about the idea because they were thinking with their heart first.

Some people call it the Muse. The Gut Instinct. The Sixth Sense. Whatever it is, everyone has probably felt it some time in their life before.

In my world, business ideas get thrown around all the time. In my opinion, there is no such things as a bad business idea. If I learned anything from my background as a marketer, it is that anything can be sold.

And I truly believe in that. (I can give a 101 examples, but that’s for another day.) Every business idea – however absurd, can be tweaked to make it work. Maybe the product as to be improved. Maybe the business method has to be altered. Maybe the revenue sources needs to increase. Maybe the customer segment has to be changed.

Whatever it is, there are many roads that leads to Rome. And I have tons of fun making seemingly impossible plans work.

Anyway, my point is – that every business idea has the chance of becoming something really great. A good mentor would probably never “phhuusttt” a business idea and conclude that it won’t work.

IF, an entrepreneur, rolls that idea of his too much in his head, he will probably never get to execute it. There are simply TOO many uncertainties, (What with marketing research, customer demographics, marketing budgets and so many other limitations) grey areas and he will never get a perfect business plan.

If too much thought goes into something, it will probably never get done. Aptly put by the most brilliant brain in the 20th century:

“If at first an idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it!” – Albert Einstein

Reflect on that a little.

Now that we know everyone uses their Heart and Head to make decisions, the key is to know when to use what.


a leaving statement.. You know when you are using your Heart to make the right decisions, because you will ALWAYS feel good about it.

Inspired by: Paul Dunn – Inspiration, Social Entrepreneur, Wizard of Wow, Founder and Chairperson of Buy 1 Give 1.

For friends who call me Bimboss.. When we go shopping, they know that I never buy something that I need to think about. If I don’t get it the moment I see it (Like NOW), 95% chances are I will never get it. And almost 100% of the time, I am happy with my decision.