Lesson One: Why Social Media Experts are Idiots

This post is for the entrepreneur or aspiring one. Guy Kawasaki worked for Apple and Steve Jobs twice. He learned some things. He shares Twelve Lessons with you that he learned from Steve Jobs. Here is the YouTube video of that presentation which was given after Mr. Jobs’ passing. It’s about 47 minutes long. I will summarize each lesson in twelve entries or if you want to listen to its entirety here it is:

Lesson One: Mr. Kawasaki thinks that experts are clueless. Especially the “social media experts” or the “social media gurus.” If someone tells you that they are one of these, run the other way. Experts can’t help you. They are arrogant and will just tell you to do the better sameness. They are disconnected from customers. Steve Jobs did not listen to experts. In fact, experts listened to him. As entrepreneurs, you are supposed to figure it out for yourself. Social media has allowed you to get close to people and influencers very fast. Use it correctly and learn something.

Why Mentorship is Dangerous

I’ve been thinking of this concept of mentorship. Through my young adult and professional life I have always been encouraged to seek out a mentor. And we seem to read about it a lot in career advice columns, blog posts, self-improvement literature, etc. And yes, I have had a handful of more wise, experienced individuals guide me through challenging and uncertain times, both men and women. Not sure I would call them mentors though.

Here’s the observation that I’ve made. It becomes dangerous when the mentor is treated as a hero. Then the mentorship experience becomes hero worship. This creates limitations on your self development. You fail to develop to your fullest potential because you become so focused on BEING your mentor. Do you really want to be a second-rate copy of your Mentor or a first-rate you? So here lies another meaning of “bcc”: do you want to become a Blind Carbon Copy?

Here’s a simplified analogy regarding the above. Steve Jobs died this past year in case you didn’t hear. He is probably the first person associated with that brand called Apple. There was a lot of attention focused on him after he died. Lots of people were sad. There were a lot of tributes written about him. He was worshipped and he continues to be worshipped. He has been deified.  So the question I’ve heard is “Who is the next Steve Jobs?” And it continues with “Who is the next Mark Zuckerberg?” Or “Who is the next Arianna Huffington?” Or “Who is the next Angela Merkl?” Or “Who is the next Margaret Thatcher?” (Huh? That was a curve ball, right?) Yes, I look forward to watching Meryl Streep portray the Reagan era politician in “The Iron Lady” which is coming soon to a theater near you. These questions are silly. Seeking out “The Next” whatever creates limitations and ceilings on inventing something different that can change the world in even a greater capacity. Sure, the aforementioned people have made a major impact on the world but that does not mean that they represent the absolute potential. Mentorship and learning from great leaders has value but be careful not to diminish your own ability to do amazing things. Do something different.

StartUp San Francisco: A Winning Tradition Based on Six Concepts

I discovered this article on Twitter during my morning news run. It was written by Boston entrepreneur Jason Evanish about his visit to the Valley. The Valley collectively refers to Silicon Valley and San Francisco. He believes that there are six reasons why the Valley is the Center of the Universe and these beliefs resonate with my recent experiences in the space.

Here are his observations:

(1) Openness (#payitforward): There is a “How can I help?” attitude. Most recently, I experienced this kind of generosity at AngelHackSF, the SF Ruby on Rails community, WomenWhoCode (led by the fearless Sasha Laundy) and Women 2.0 events.

(2) Optimism: Anyone with a vision is encouraged. The energy of the startup community is contagious and this fosters an entrepreneurial environment. At the beginning of the journey, it’s the subjective feeling of hope that prevails over a revenue model or the analytical razzle dazzle.

(3) Culture: The Valley is competitive but also collaborative. The Valley attracts a lot of talent because of this kind of culture. Talent wars abound so companies must provide a great work culture in addition to a fun environment. Mr. Evanish remarks how he was impressed with his visit to San Francisco based Twilio.

(4) Evangelism: People are happy with work and life in the Valley. They want you to move here now. Mr. Evanish believes that there are three hubs in the Valley ecosystem: San Francisco, Palo Alto and Mountain View. My observation is that San Francisco is THE hub of the Valley ecosystem where the Peninsula (Palo Alto, Mountain View and Menlo Park) and the South Bay (Santa Clara, San Jose and Cupertino) are also important and complete the ecosystem. Facebook is moving to Menlo Park and Apple is Cupertino – they are in the ecosystem. The Valley is a regional ecosystem which offers a phenomenal lifestyle. One can live in San Francisco, work in Mountain View, enjoy the culture/nightlife of San Francisco during off hours, catch a music concert or lecture in Berkeley, take off to Tahoe for skiing, run off to Napa or Sonoma up in the Wine Country, drive down the coast to Big Sur to be on the water, etc. etc. etc. (you get the picture). Plenty of things to do. All the time.

(5) Weather: The Bay Area climate is more favorable than the East Coast. This has a tremendous impact on lifestyle. Thus far, at every tech event I have been to I have always met a transplant who said they left the East Coast because of the weather. They were tired of shoveling snow, or tired of not being able to go out, or tired of being unsatisfied with their heating system in their apartment. They just got tired.

(6) Omnipresence: Mr. Evanish thinks it’s “cool” to see a familiar tech company’s logo on a billboard. These billboards are ubiquitious in San Francisco (the “City”) and the rest of the Valley. Walk or bike in the City, or drive along 101 or 280 and it’s just not possible to not see one of these gigantic manifestations of a Brand. This concept of omnipresence is also similar to how technology is so relevant in our lives.

At the end of the day the Valley has created a Winning Tradition because of the people who inhabit it. There is a diverse group of individuals from all over the world who converge here with hopes and dreams to build something great that will impact humanity. And even if the dream is not realized, the experience of engaging within a vibrant talented community and building life long relationships contributes to the richness of the Tradition. It’s the dynamic human element that matters.

This post was based on an article from OnStartups.com and tweeted by Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh) the founder of @HubSpot. Discover #inboundmarketing.

The Link Between a Queen, San Francisco and Silicon Valley

I’ve developed a habit of checking my Twitter feed right before bed to check on breaking news or something to laugh about. Last night there was a stream of tweets from Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan about the power of education and its impact on women and children.

Here is the stream in reverse order:

(5) A child born to an educated mother is 50 percent more likely to reach the age of five. #EducationSavesLives
(4) 1 extra year of schooling for a girl reduces her chances of dying later in child birth by 40%! #EducationSavesLives
(3) Never forget it – education saves lives. #Education
(2) We were a gathering of enthusiasts from all walks of education… all trying to balance our education optimism with economic realism.
(1) Spent morning immersed in how aid for education needs global partnership. During times of crises there’s no better investment than in ppl.
Queen Rania summarizes the sad and unfortunate reality of the world today. That not all societies believe education is a basic human right.  Education creates hope and opens the doors to recognize opportunity. Ultimately it is the “investment in people” or human capital that fuels the innovation which fixes problems in society at large or improves the quality of life for an individual. Generally, the global innovation incubators are found in highly educated locations. San Francisco and Silicon Valley (San Jose, Sunnvyale, Santa Clara) are both in the 10 most educated U.S. cities or in the 10 best cities for educated workers.  I don’t see this changing any time soon. The driver for innovation in the Valley are immigrants who can call the Bay Area a new home offering a certain regional appeal of inherent beauty, optimal climate and cultural/outdoor lifestyle activities. If presented with the chance to experience the San Francisco Bay Area or some other innovation ecosystem such as New York/Boston or Austin where would talent recognize the best career and lifestyle opportunities? Given the proximity to the Asian markets perhaps the San Francisco Bay Area also offers a strategic advantage.
In summary, the power of education is the power to change the world and make a dent in the universe. Ultimately, education eradicates poverty which creates hope for an individual to pursue opportunity. This is not to say that everyone in America has access to opportunity but education is the foundation to begin any journey to change the world. You can follow Queen Rania @QueenRania