Business Lessons from Chris Rock

Wednesday, 28 January 2009 06:26 by kpotvin

  

We saw this piece on comedian Chris Rock and innovation thanks to a terrific newsletter called:  SmartBrief on Leadership.  In the article "Innovate like Chris Rock," author Peter Sims says Rock's brilliance stems not only from talent but from his experimental nature.  To try out new material, Rock plays small clubs, testing his jokes there.  These "experiments" may succeed or fail based on audience feedback but, quickly, the winning lines are apparent.  The lesson for us?  Sims, co-author with Bill George, of True North (see our earlier posting), writes, "Experimental innovators don't overanalyze or put all of their hopes into one big bet - they quickly, creatively, and inexpensively use experiments to learn, gather insights, and identify unique opportunities - they then rapidly iterate, relearn, and refine to achieve success."   

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Mozart on "The Muse"

Tuesday, 27 January 2009 08:17 by kpotvin

The Writer’s Almanac reports that today is the birthday of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in 1756.  Here is Mozart’s take on creativity, "When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer — say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep — it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best, and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them."  

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Play Where the Puck Is Going To Be

Saturday, 17 January 2009 13:30 by kpotvin

Last night while attending a Monarchs Hockey Game (a PTA sponsored event for the kids), I was reminded of a quote by ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky:  "A good hockey player plays where the puck is.  A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."  This sentiment is extremely relevant to the business world today.  Lately, the puck has been moving pretty fast and anyone who isn't thinking about the long term is going to miss it.  Those who move ahead with creativity and focus will have a better chance of being in just the right spot once the economy rebounds.

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All Things Change

Friday, 16 January 2009 09:26 by kpotvin

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(Stan Veit/Digibarn Computer Museum)


Last night, after a UConn alumni event featuring Political Science Professor Howard Reiter, a fellow Husky and I walked through Cambridge's Harvard Square (in below 0 temps I might add).  There, I was reminded of just how much journalism has, and will, change.  A Cambridge icon is the Out of Town News newsstand which opened in 1955 and is actually listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  This is where Microsoft's co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen famously bought the magazine which inspired the creation of the company.  Even with such a rich history, times change and the newsstand is closing.  Martin Finucane from the Boston Globe wrote a terrific story on the newsstand, its history and demise.   It may be sad but it is not surprising.  The Pew Research Center recently released data that "the internet, which emerged this year as a leading source for campaign news, has now surpassed all other media except television as an outlet for national and international news."  While I dread the day when I can't sit down with a cup of coffee in the morning to read my delivered copy of The New York Times, that moment may come sooner than we think.  Anyone else still reading a hard copy of a newspaper?

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The Resilience Factor

Monday, 12 January 2009 08:07 by kpotvin

Resilience - the ability to bounce back from adversity - is completely underrated and yet absolutely critical in this time of economic turmoil.  Psychoanalyst Kerry Sulkowicz, MD, says in his recent BusinessWeek column, "Analyze This," that emotional resilience in the face of the current crisis would be "the ability to resist being swept up in the global state of panic and to adapt as creatively as possible to one's setbacks and losses."  In other words, this is the time to get creative and look for the opportunities that are (really!) out there.  The old ways may not be working so conjure your entrepreneurial roots and explore a different path - find new investments, create new products, try new communications techniques.  Dr. Sulkowicz writes that he sees a variety of responses from CEOs he works with regarding our current state of affairs.  "Some see a dangerous and unpredictable time that they hope to 'ride out,'" he writes.  "Others consider these events a chance to learn, as they focus on protecting their companies and looking for opportunities."  Which will you choose?

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