Being Authentic Entrepreneurs

Authenticity is one of the most commonly uttered buzz-phrases at any management or leadership seminar, and while this ubiquity may banish it to the realms of ‘blue sky thinking’ (aka management-meeting-related-drivel), the truth is that authenticity is hugely important for entrepreneurs. A Philosophy Lesson In the classics, if we examine existentialist philosophy and aesthetics we see that authenticity is espoused as one of the highest virtues; it means your ‘work’ is faithful to your own…

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The Pitch

We’ve all seen the TV shows… Nervous start-ups go up against a panel of investors, giving their elevator-pitch followed- almost instantaneously- by a round of severe grilling.  The lucky few survive, with more cash, less equity and hopefully a brighter future. The phenomenon of ‘the pitch’ however, once exclusively the prevail of start-up land, is now part of business life.  Clients that I advise, ranging from early-stage companies, to research scientists looking to raise huge…

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Networking

It doesn’t matter how great your ideas are, how driven you are, how much money you have to invest or even what your track record is; your next venture, deal or project will only be as good as the people involved. For many, ‘networking’ conjures up images of awkward forced rooms full of sweaty-palmed sales people playing an elaborate game of collecting business cards.  For many more, the world of networking seems like a never-ending…

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Philanthropy

“Growing up in Los Angeles at the age of two it was just my mother, brother and I.” John Paul Dejoria told me, “We had very little but didn’t know it. We had a very loving mother. At 6 years old, my mom took my brother and I downtown for Christmas to see the store window displays, trains, puppets and holiday festivities. She gave my brother and I a dime and asked us each to…

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Serendipity in Entrepreneurship

When I’m mentoring or consulting with entrepreneurs, I’m always intrigued by what they’re reading… Why? It gives me a great indication of where they’re getting their inspiration from; and I’ve noticed a real change in the past few years.. The Cult of the Business Book! A passing examination of the contemporary entrepreneurs reading list is sort of like playing a very detailed game of buzz-word-bingo. Alongside the ‘staple’ content of Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, et….

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How to Manage a High Performance Career

In diverse industries from banking to entrepreneurship and medicine to engineering, it’s no accident that those who excel share the sports analogy of being, ‘at the top of their game.’   The world is so constantly-on, so global, and so demanding- that those with an eye on the pinnacles of their industry must realise that they’re moving from simply being in senior roles to- rather- being in high-performance careers. In my own life, I have witnessed…

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The Business of Invention

In a world dominated by the information economy, it’s perhaps easy to assume that ‘unicorns’ (businesses that achieve that elusive billion dollar valuation) can only be found in the realm of apps, software and platforms. The truth however, is that the economy of things (engineering, manufacturing and production) is very much alive and kicking. From aerospace to biotechnology and from consumer goods to electronics, the spirit of invention is being empowered by technology to create…

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How To Become a Billionaire

For many entrepreneurs, the billion dollar valuation or exit, is the non-negotiable target they set for themselves. As of 2015, there are just over 1,800 (known) dollar billionaires in the world, with a combined wealth of over $7 trillion-which is growing fast (the same list had a combined wealth of ‘just’ $3.6 trillion five years ago). Mitch Cohen (Vice Chairman of PwC) along with his colleague John Sviokla conducted the first-ever study on self-made billionaires,…

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The Role of Design in Business

Outside the [wonderful] ‘bubble’ of the creative industries, businesses often see ‘design’ as a cost, as something that the marketing department does in between espressos and yoga. The truth however, is that the vast majority (if not all) of the most successful businesses I have ever seen place design thinking at the head-table of conceptual pillars for their enterprise; alongside financial and strategic.

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Failure – A Seven Letter, Four Letter Word

My first business was a very successful digital agency and consultancy, it gave me almost a decade-long adventure, taking me around the world and enjoying the thrill of being on top of my game, it was my life. The .com crash however, slaughtered this business in spectacular fashion- and once the loose ends were tied up, I was very quickly back at square one…. There is a universe of tools, advice, guides and so forth…

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