During the event of Think Chicago last week Howard gave a speech on Entrepreneurship to a crowd consist of mostly college students like me. It’s, in my opinion, sensational in the sense that it resonates deeply with ideas and thoughts that have been formed inside my mind during a few month long start-up endeavor. Using my phone, I took pictures of some slides of Howard’s speech and hereby share them with you guys along with personal interpretation of some of them, leaving along those I have not fully comprehended in the hope that they will become future reference and source of inspiration for myself as well as my fellow entrepreneurs. I think you will enjoy and benefit from the notes as much as I do.
Let’s get started with little background with Howard Tullman. Being the CEO of investment firm he is also an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. His extraordinary vision on entrepreneurship has helped many start-ups take off in a variety of industries.
Many of us are living by the definition set by other people around us: parents, siblings, friends and even acquaintances. Our inertia to try out new things and new life is mostly driven by doubts and fear other than actual failure. Just because your parents are not able to start a business and change the world in the process is NO indication that you cannot. Other people’s limitation are theirs and theirs alone. No matter how relentlessly they are trying to tell you that you are bound by their rules as well, it’s up to you to eventually choose which path to go and it’s you who actually travels the path you chose.
When you are committed to the life of entrepreneur it essentially means you are committed to a life of problems. Spending time to assign blame every time a problem comes up, you will not have energy to solve them anymore.
There’s No Such Thing as a Good Excuse. When You Settle for Less than You Deserve, You Get Less Than You settled for
Always push the envelope. The reason it’s dead simple: you really get one chance to do this right. Yes, you can absolutely try harder next time, but the time devoted in the better next time could have been put into the enhancement and continuation of the successful first time. When you realize that your time and energy is finite, you will see that you indeed only get one chance to do something right.
You deliberately raise the ante of effort and concentration in order to clear your mind of trivialities.
Acting independently requires both courage and will. Making decision yourself is terrifying at first but it’s way more intellectually satisfying than taking order from others for your life.
When you are in the process, in the groove of the work itself in all its twists and turns, its mess, its mistakes, the nightmare days and anguished nights…
I Always Ask for the Best Seat n the House. Someone’s Going to Sit in it. It’s OK if it’s not Me, but it’s not OK for Me not to Try to Get it.
Don’t Ever Sell Yourself Short. Feasibility Will Compromise You Soon Enough. Don’t Allow Yourself to be Defined by Others’ Limitation.
The fact that other people suck has nothing to do with you, it’s horrible thing to include other people’s weakness in your own equation of success. Just never doubt in your ability and potential because if you do you simply won’t get where you want to be. Don’t get me wrong, difficulties will be encountered more often than you can imagine, you need to act fast to learn from these feedbacks and don’t think these feedbacks are your limitations. “Fears kill more dreams than failures ever will”.
Work Ethic and Energy. We Tell Ourselves that Skill is the Precious Resource and that Effort is the Commodity. It’s Actually the Other Way Around. Effort Can Trump Ability.
Effort is trait and ability is skill. Skill can always be obtained through training when you have the effort.
First, It’s very unlikely you can’t outsmart them. Second, you can work hard enough to reach a point to outsmart them.
Innovation, Iteration and Constant Improvement are the Only Ways to Consistently Succeed. Customer Expectations are Progressive — Yesterday’s Miracles and Today’s “So Whats”
Infinite Demand for the Unavailable. A Real Product or Service. Address An Important Problem or Source of Pain. Time/Cost Savings or Productivity Increase or Improve My Status
Why Concepts Fail? 1. Fail to Meet a Real Customer Need 2. Not Ingrained in User Behavior 3. Too Easy to Replicate 4. Incapable of Evolution 5. Awakes a Sleeping Giant 6. Triggers Monopoly or Other Litigation 7. Appears Commodity-Like. 8. Technology Lowers Entry Barriers To Soon 9. Rejected By Customer Culture 10. Inadequate Alliances.
I have to add one actually: staying in development too long instead of doing rapid iterations. Release the minimum viable software to users and listen to their response and use response to iterate.
The Right Plan: Make Your Plan Concrete. Offer a Solution, not just a Need. Details Matter as Much as Vision. The Screenplay isn’t always the Movie that gets made., but it’s always what gets the Movie made.
a. A Few Large Customers Can Dictate Policy and Pricing to Smaller Manufacturers and Distributors(Licorice, Wine)
b. Large Manufacturers Can Dictate Policy and Pricing to Distributors and Customers (Pharmaceuticals)
d. Other Players May Have Unexpected Leverate and Bargaining Power (Agents vs Brokers in Real Estate)
Want to talk? I am on Twitter @RoyLi1004.