Fred Wilson has been doing a very interesting series on Management Teams for the last several weeks on his blog. It is part of his MBA Monday series and this section was on building and maintaining the management team. They just did a wrap up post called The Management Team – Guest Post By Jerry Colonna – The Crucible of Leadership. It’s well written and gets to the heart of the matter of what makes the difference between good and great leaders and managers. So much easier to say than do. I feel like I’ve been through a Crucible and I hope that I’ll get an opportunity to see what I’ve learned about the topic and practice my leadership skills. Empowering people and getting things done are near and dear to my heart and apparently seem to align to my strengths according to Strength’s Finder 2.0.
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Bottom line is that we are all different. We aren’t Steve Jobs or Bill Gates and we shouldn’t strive to be. We need to find that place where our passions, skills, and opportunity come together. constantly look inward and then work on it until something happens. We need to accept and stare our demons down as we can’t fight them because the more we do, the more they stick around to haunt us. Surrender to the demons and they will surrender to you or leave you be is what Colonna mentions in his post.
How often can people do/experience all of the above? There are people who have changed the world (e.g., Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, etc.) who didn’t make a lot of money and we won’t ever know if they were truly happy, healthy or content. There are people who changed the world and made a lot of money (e.g., Oprah, Steve Jobs, Madonna, Lady Ga Ga, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, etc.) but we don’t know how happy or content they are or were. Oprah has been the most open about her struggles with personal satisfaction and her weight…the businessmen, not so much.
Do we have to deal with having one or two out of three? I think I can count on one hand the people who appeared to have all three but if you dig a little further… Check out a recent post on TechCrunch called 10 Things Entrepreneurs Don’t Learn in College. All very true, the second being “How To Be Betrayed,” which happens all of the time in business (and politics) whether you are a man, woman, or a duck. I clicked over to the authors (James Altucher) post on how to be lucky and it made me wonder if he had kids because he advises getting up at 4 or 5 a.m. every day and to bed by 9:30 pm with exercising and eating right in between. Maybe I’ll figure out how to do that when I’m 50 and the kids are gone. I guess that’s why some are more monetary successful than others…early bird gets the worm!
The saying “you can have it all, but just not all at the same time” must be true. So it seems the thing we have the most control over is how we feel: happy, sad, content, angry, etc. We can try to change the world but there’s no telling what numerous things will be thrown in our path. We can try to make tons of money, but a lot of shit happens (e.g., kids, health issues, the economy, marriage, divorce, love, hate, indifference, parents) trying to do that. But we will usually find ways to make enough to get by or we become comfortable with a lot of debt.
I was reminded during my recent trip to China that Buddha, who was born and originally spread his philosophy in India before his teachings were embraced by the Chinese, taught that at the root of all suffering was desire (for a person, place, thing, success, money, etc.). As I understand it, he said that if you gave up the desire for earthly things or status that would be the only way you could eventually achieve enlightenment. He certainly changed the world and was arguably content/enlightened but was not rich by American standards.
I guess it depends on what age you are, your genetic disposition, and what cards life has dealt you as to whether you believe you can achieve all three at the same time for a substantial length of time…
In case you missed it, here is the hilarious video about Bill Gates’ last day at Microsoft that was shown at his final keynote address at the Computer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday. I think it’s so great to see his fun side! As an entrepreneur, I am in awe at what he has accomplished in his lifetime and even did a post about a prior appearance of his with Steve Jobs a while back.
The video stars Brian Williams, Steve Ballmer, Matthew McConaughey, Robbie Bach, Jay-Z, Bono, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Kevin Turner, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore, and others. Thanks to Long Zheng for posting his own video and helping me find a link. Here’s the link to the YouTube video that will hopefully show properly below (its been off & on again).
For the first time in 20 years Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and Steve Jobs (founder of Apple, NEXT, and Pixar) sat down for a joint interview on May 30, 2007 for the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital D5 Conference. The interview is hilarious and awe inspiring! Bill and Steve have achieved such outstanding professional success and their companies have affected many of our daily lives more profoundly than any other high technology companies to date. Microsoft and Apple laid the groundwork and helped train individuals who have since created companies of their own that have enabled email, blogging, Internet browsing, mobile devices, and Internet search (don’t tell Google) for the masses. Being an entrepreneur, I can appreciate how much effort, energy, and passion it takes to build even the smallest of businesses and for each of them to make it from Founder/CEO and still be heavily involved with their company’s decades later (even though Jobs had a little break during his career at Apple) is down right jaw dropping!
Bill married Melinda French in 1994 and they have 3 children born in 1996, 1999, and 2002. Steve’s first child was born in 1978. He later married Laurene Powell in 1991 and they have 3 children who were presumably born after 1991. Babble Soft released its first PC/Pocket PC version of Baby Manager in 2005 (just after our second child was born) and we released Baby Manager Web and Mobile in March 2007 so it’s unlikely we will have the chance to say that two of the most famous dads in the technology world used our software when their kids were born. Oh well, maybe some other up and coming dads in the tech world will discover us before their babies are born!
I’d like to think that if the technology behind mobile devices, the Internet, and Babble Soft had existed when the children of these well known dads were born that Bill and Steve would have enjoyed playing around with Baby Manager Web and Mobile. I could just see them and/or their wives giving their nannies a mobile device and showing them how to easily input information with a touch of a screen or click of a button. Later, they or their wives could log in to a web application to see how things were going at home and leave notes to their nannies, spouses, family, and friends. Or they could use their mobile device and sync via cradle or over-the-air to Baby Manager Web and get a real time update on baby. An entrepreneur can dream, can’t she?
Baby Manager was created using Microsoft technologies. The application works with the most commonly used browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox) and the latest Microsoft OS based PDAs and Smartphones. One of the reasons we created a web application was because expecting parents were emailing us asking when we would have a version that ran on the Mac. In 2005, I was barely holding my head above water with 2 little ones, so we put PR on hold until recently so we could more effectively use our limited resources to reach all the interested, Internet savvy new parents in the world. We do use our Mac to create graphics and design product literature. However, the PCs in our office outnumber the Macs…but if Macs start running Windows then the ratio might change.
The most interesting observation I can make about these two famous dads is that they have very different personalities, followed their own paths, have different strengths & weaknesses, and achieved financial success by being true to their own visions. As someone who also interviews people on the topic of success, this observation further affirms my belief that ‘people should follow their own path to success, not try to mimic someone else’s.’ Every second that passes the world is different, and what has worked for others in the past may not work in the present. There’s a reason we all have different fingerprints!