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Posted on: 6 February 2008 | 3:31 pm

The October Lions' Invite Lists are available for download

For October, Three “Invite to Connect” Lists are available for download in the Download Section of Your Lions’ Liar Menu October2007WelcomeALL.csv (1143 Lions) October2007AcceptALL.csv (575 Lions) October2007WelcomeAllSpeadsheet.csv (1143 Lions with additional “market affiliation” fields for sorting, filtering, and selective inviting) The current plan is to republish Lions’ Invite Lists once a month.  So these lists will be current and reflect changes to each Lion’s Profile Opt-ins within the past thirty days.  As we continue to grow our membership, we plan to increase the “granularity” of the invite lists over time.  While we will continue to provide BROAD invite lists, it makes sense to start creating more specialized invites lists — for example, “by industry”, “by country”, etc.  The introduction this month of our “WelcomeALLSpeadsheet” will allow Lions, who already have adequate “Connection BREADTH” (ie they have at least 500 to 1000 connections which gives them Maximum LinkedIn Database Visibility) to shift their “invite focus” to “Connection DEPTH” (ie use their remaining “Invites” to focus on increasing their connections within Vertical Markets relevant to their Professional Needs)   October Invite List Details Remember:  Inclusion to our Downloadable Invite Lists are currently based on Three Questions — which MUST be answered in the “LinkedIn Tab” of your Lions’ Membership Profile if you which to be included in ANY of these lists —  <<I ACCEPT ALL Invites to Connect from Fellow Lions>> <<I WELCOME Invites to Connect on LinkedIn from Fellow Lions>> <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> Also, NO LION IS INCLUDED IN ANY DOWNLOADABLE INVITE LIST IF THEY HAVE FAILED TO INCLUDE THEIR LINKEDIN PROFILE URL ( the “http://www.linkedin.com/in/YOURLINKEDINUSERNAME” link) in Their Lions’ Membership Profile (technically you haven’t completed your Lion Registration if you haven’t included your LinkedIn URL)   October2007WelcomeALL.csv AND October2007WelcomeALLSpeadsheet.csv Lions on these lists have set their Opt-ins as follows — UN-Checked (=NO) <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> Checked (=YES) <<I WELCOME Invites to Connect on LinkedIn from Fellow Lions>> EITHER <<I ACCEPT ALL Invites to Connect from Fellow Lions>> The Lions on the “WelcomeALL” lists are agreeing to — “Welcome ALL Invites” They are NOT agreeing to — “Accept ALL Invites.”  So Sending Invites to Lions on this list should NOT result in them using the “I Don’t Know (IDK)” button but may not yield 100% Acceptance Rates. October200WelcomeALL.csv can be uploaded directly to your LinkedIn account for sending out invites. October2007WelcomeALLSpeadsheet.csv CAN NOT be uploaded directly to your LinkedIn account for sending out invites.  This file can be openned with you favorite Spreadsheet Program and then sorted and filtering to create a more targetted Connection Invite List.   This file is included for those Lions who ALREADY have over 1000 connections.  These Lions have already achieved CONNECTION BREADTH (ie maximum visibility to all LinkedIn users) AND have decided to shift their connection strategy to CONNECTION DEPTH in markets or demographics which are relevant to their professional needs. (ie, By Industry: healthcare, software, etc and/or By Region: India, France, Japan, EU, etc and/or By Profession: Management consultants, Executive Recruiters, Software Engineers, etc.) The WelcomeALL Lists this month were reduced from 1539 tp 1143 due to Lion Profile Errors outlined below   SPECIAL NOTE TO “FOUNDING LIONS” I encourage “Founding Lions” (our first 500 Mmebers) to complete their Lions Profiles in order to attract DEPTH as well as maintain BREADTH of their LinkedIn Connections For the benefit Lion Cubs and those Lions still able to send out Invites:  The Founding Lions haven’t been able to unable to send out any invites in almost two years.  They are the 500 LinkedIn users with 500+ Connections in January 2006 — when LinkedIn Management instituted the Current Rules which were designed to target them specifically — and lead us to our organize ourselves as “The LinkedIn Lions.” Originally, the Lions had a single “AcceptALL” List and it has been effective in continuing to MAINTAIN our CONNECTION BREADTH without being able to Invite anyone.  In return, those who connect to us are conferred nearly instant “Super-Connector” Status and Maximum LinkedIn Database visibility. However, as LinkedIn users are forced to “ration” their 3,000 Invites, a separate opportunity to grow CONNECTION DEPTH emerges for our “Founding Lions” by attracting CONNECTION DEPTH Invites, which are most relevant to you, by including the details relevant to your profession in your Lions Profile.   October2007AcceptALL.csv Lions on these lists have set their Opt-ins as follows — UN-Checked (=NO) <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> Checked (=YES) <<I WELCOME Invites to Connect on LinkedIn from Fellow Lions>> Checked (=YES) <<I ACCEPT ALL Invites to Connect from Fellow Lions>> The Lions on the “AcceptALL” lists are agreeing to — “Welcome ALL Invites” AND they are ARE agreeing to — “Accept ALL Invites.”  So sending Invites to Lions on this list should NOT result in them using the “I Don’t Know (IDK)” button AND should yield Acceptance Rates close to 100%. The AcceptALL List this month was reduced from 715 to 575 due to Lion Profile Errors outlined below.  Also, I suspect there many more Lions that would like to be on this list but haven’t updated their Profiles yet.    “DO NOT BOTHER ME” STATUS To further ensure that Lions don’t get “IDK Strikes” against them — we allow Lions to COMPLETELY opt-out of ALL Downloadable Invite Lists AND ANY Invite Requests from ANY Lion. The following Opt-in combination ensures a “DO NOT BOTHER ME” Status — Checked (=YES) <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> UN-Checked (=NO) <<I WELCOME Invites to Connect on LinkedIn from Fellow Lions>>     Lion Profiles Breakdown as of 12 October 2007 First the Good News — Out of 1654 Registered Lions — only 294 Lions REQUIRE Personalized Invites to Connect from Fellow Lions only 45 do NOT Welcome Invites of any kind from Fellow Lions Now the Bad News — Out of 1260 Registered Lions who APPEAR to be willing to be included on Downloadable Invite Lists 50% had one or more problems with their Profile Opt-ins which excluded them from one or more downloadable lists      DETAILED Breakdown: Out of 1654 Registered Lions - 339 Lions have Opted-Out of being included in ANY Downloadable Invite List (“Opt-Outs”) The LinkedIn Tab of their Lion Profile shows they — CHECKED <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> 294 Lions have opted-out of ALL Downloadable Invite Lists BUT — They are still Willing to Recieve PERSONALIZED Invites from fellow Lions (“Personalized Invites Only”) The LinkedIn Tab of their Lion Profile shows they — CHECKED <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> CHECKED <<<<I WELCOME Invites to Connect on LinkedIn from Fellow Lions>> 45 Lions have opted-out of ANY INVITES from ANY Lion (“DO NOT BOTHER ME”) The LinkedIn Tab of their Lion Profile shows they — CHECKED <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> UN-CHECKED <<<<I WELCOME Invites to Connect on LinkedIn from Fellow Lions>>     DUE TO LION PROFILE PROBLEMS, also EXCLUDED from Downloadable Invite Lists were — 83 Lions who left the LinkedIn Public Profile URL BLANK in their Lion Profiles To be SAFE, ALL are excluded from ALL INVITE LISTS until they add their LinkedIn Profile URLs to their Lion Profiles 52 Lions have Not Confirmed the <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> checkbox in the LinkedIn Tab of their Lions Profile To be safe, ALL are excluded from ALL INVITE LISTS until they re-confirm by reviewing and SAVING their Lions Profile Settings 64 Lions have the following INVALID OPT-IN COMBINATION in the LinkedIn Tab of their Lion Profile — UN-CHECKED <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> UN-CHECKED <<I WELCOME Invites to Connect on LinkedIn from Fellow Lions>> To be SAFE, ALL are excluded from ALL INVITE LISTS until they re-confirm a VALID OPT-IN COMBO in their Lion Profiles 112 Lions have the following INVALID OPT-IN COMBINATION in the LinkedIn Tab of their Lion Profile — CHECKED <<Do NOT send MASS Invites to me>> CHECKED <<I ACCEPT ALL Invites to Connect from Fellow Lions>> To be SAFE, ALL are excluded from ALL INVITE LISTS until they re-confirm a VALID OPT-IN COMBO in their Lion Profiles 671 Lions have Not Confirmed the <<I ACCEPT ALL Invites to Connect from Fellow Lions>> checkbox in the LinkedIn Tab of their Lions Profile To be safe, ALL are excluded from ACCEPT ALL INVITES LIST until they re-confirm by reviewing and SAVING their Lions Profile Settings   PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ... REPORT ALL IDK ("I Don't Know" Button) INCIDENTS ON OUR -- "INCIDENTS REPORTS" Forum on The Lions' Lair -- http://www.themetanetwork.com/component/option,com_fireboard/Itemid,29/func,showcat/catid,107/ It only takes one "errant" Lion to create alot of IDKs for everyone else ... the sooner we know, the sooner we can take corrective action So far, Incidents of Lions using the IDK button show that they either -- 1) have their "Opt-Ins" on their Profiles set incorrectly (ie they think they have "opted-out" when they haven't or were just "confused") Solution: they (or "we") change their opt-ins to their correct settings 2) don't realize that the IDK button "has consequences" (ie, they are new to the Lions and/or LinkedIn) Solution: Educate them not to use the IDK button except in "extreme circumstances" and NEVER use it against another Lion (especially since you can communicate directly to any other Lion with our Private Messaging System at The Lair -- ie there is no excuse for not confronting other Lions directly with anything you might find a problem) Another Potential Solution: Newly Registered Lions are NOT added to the Download Lists until after a probationary period (30 to 60 days?) We haven't had any documented cases of "knowingly venal Lions" since August ...

Posted on: 21 October 2007 | 10:23 pm

Do You REALLY Want to be a Microsoft Guinea Pig AGAIN? | Vista and Office 2007 Beta 2 "Might Suck Less" - But This Time I'll Be Letting Others Find Out First

Yesterday, I dutifully downloaded the Vista and Office 2007 Beta 2 releases from Microsoft.  Then I suddenly took pause.  Here we go again. Do I really really what to be guinea pig for Microsoft?  Haven’t I bled enough for them already?  Why would I even consider being a part of this? We are all familiar with pharmaceutical industry “package inserts” that list all sorts of scary-sounding terrible consequences which might result from the use of their products — no matter how unlikely.  Software is no different.   And using beta software certainly does not disappoint those who thrive on needless risks.  No news here.  However, I found Microsoft’s warning somewhat amusing — About Beta Software Registration is required for participation. [ OK — cgm] 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 is for evaluation and planning purposes only. [ Hmmm — cgm] Beta software does not necessarily display the same high level of stability of shipped Microsoft products. [ sic — cgm] Beta testers may experience problems with 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 products that could potentially result in loss, corruption, or destruction of existing data. [ As opposed to “shipped Microsoft products”? — cgm] This beta testing release is not appropriate for production use.  [ As opposed to “shipped Microsoft products”? — cgm] It is strongly recommended that you back up your existing data before you install and run this software. [ As opposed to “shipped Microsoft products”? — cgm] Beta code is offered "as is," and does not include technical support.  [ As opposed to “shipped Microsoft products”? — cgm] Many organizations have policies prohibiting unauthorized software installation on company-owned computers. Make sure you check with your IT department before downloading and installing 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 on your computer at work.  [ As opposed to “shipped Microsoft products”? — cgm] It was point number three that got me laughing out loud.   “… the same high level of stability of shipped Microsoft products.”  Who is kidding whom?   Has no one ever bothered to let Emperor Gates know that his Windows attire is a bit diaphanous?  Having just gone through a long and painful process of rebuilding my XP box, the sting is still fresh in my mind.  Not to mention the months of tweaking to try to get outlook and outlook exchange working properly (and in a “single user” environment, no less!).   And then the constant monitoring and tweaking just to mitigate the relentless march toward Microsoft domination of ALL of my CPU processing and memory resources. I’m just not sure I feel like being dragged down yet another relentless and irreversible Microsoft “Bait and Switch” road.   Deja Vu — yet I never learning the lesson. I know all too well the alluring power and slippery slope of — “Gee Whiz!  Maybe they finally fixed the growing list of nuisances that interrupt my daily work flow with this new release?” Only to inevitably discover — “Gee Whiz!  Now I have a whole new batch of nuisances that interrupt my daily work flow.”  And then realize — “Gee Whiz!  Maybe the devil I know is really much better than the devil I don’t know?” Only to find myself saying to myself — “Gee Whiz! I wonder if there is a way back to the old devil?”  (The answer is always NO.) I don’t know about you, but I’m just not up for a repeat of this pernicious Microsoft Product Roll-out Ruse.  It just never ceases to amaze me how a company can not only survive but even thrive when it’s major market driver is — “Gee Whiz! I hope this version sucks less than the last one.” Nothing like a company with a secure customer lock-in (or lock-up?). So I’m going to wait this one.  It’s about time I learn not to take the Microsoft “This One Might Suck Less” bait.  And I’m sure I won’t be missed anytime soon as there seems to be no shortage of others willing to take the bait. ( Activation servers overloaded at Microsoft ) Okay.  Maybe I will eventually test out Vista and Office 2007.  But not until I have a “triple boot” (Linux, Apple OS X, and Windows) Dual-Core machine up and running.   I just can’t afford the inevitable downtime that is part and parcel of living in the windows world of “chronic beta testing” .  That dual-core “triple booting”  Apple - MacBook Pro is looking mighty good to me right about now. The Safest Way to Preview Vista & Office Beta 2 – Thank You CNET! Images: Inside Windows Vista beta 2 Images: Outlook 2007 beta 2 | CNET News.com Images: Word 2007 beta 2 Images: Excel 2007 beta 2 Images: PowerPoint 2007 beta 2 or at least until June 2006, when Microsoft is plans to release an Online Test Drive of Microsoft Office 2007 which allows you “to try out the next release of Microsoft Office products and doesn't require product installation or download.” Office 2007  Office 2007 Beta  Office 2007 Beta 2  Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2  Microsoft Office Beta 2  Outlook 2007  outlook beta  Vista  Longhorn  Windows Vista  Microsoft Vista Beta  Windows  Microsoft  dual core macbook Related Links Vista And Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 Download Pages — if you dare Windows Vista Home Page 2007 Microsoft Office system preview site Early Reports By Those Much Braver Than I Windows Vista Beta 2: Key word is Beta - Tech News & Reviews - MSNBC.com *** Installing Vista Beta 2 was one of the worst operating system experiences that I’ve ever encountered. It took me days to install a working version on a new Lenovo ThinkPad X60 laptop with 2GB of memory and all sorts of built-in wireless networking. I tried installing it as an update to the laptop’s Windows XP — but after four hours of churning away the laptop shut down and wouldn’t reboot. I tried again on the ThinkPad as a clean install, which meant wiping out everything on the hard drive and starting from scratch. That took about an hour to complete. It also removed every device driver that I needed to run the laptop. Downloading the drivers from the Lenovo Web site took a long time, but after a while I had downloaded and installed the package. Unfortunately, not everything I downloaded is Vista-ready so rebooting had to occur after every 10 minutes of computer use. [Sound familiar? — cgm] Windows Vista Beta 2 Sucks - Gizmodo ** Outlook 2007 Might Not Suck! ~ Chris Pirillo *** If the right people see it, this may very well be the Outlook version to beat. They’ve fixed a handful of bugs, but… not nearly enough to convince me that this is any better than O2k. [Sounds promising. — cgm] Windows Vista Feedback ~ Chris Pirillo *** Dinner with Jim Allchin (GnomeREPORT) Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Vista February 2006 CTP (Build 5308/5342) Review, Part 5: Where Vista Fails. I don't hate Windows Vista, and I certainly don't hate Microsoft for disappointing me and countless other customers with a product that doesn't even come close to meeting its original promises … you'd have to be special kind of stupid to look at Windows Vista and see it as the be-all, end-all of operating systems. In some ways, Windows Vista actually will exceed Mac OS X and Linux, but not to the depth we were promised. Instead, Windows Vista will do what so many other Windows releases have done, and simply offer consumers and business users a few major changes and many subtle or minor updates. That's not horrible. It's just not what was promised. [Is anyone surprized at this? — cgm] Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 Review: Part 1: A New User Interface * Despite arguments from analysts, Office users, and, yes, yours truly that there simply isn't much more you can do to improve such well-worn application types as word processors and spreadsheets, Microsoft has come up with an excellent answer to the critics. It is simply changing the rules to the game. Instead of creating yet another Office version with a slightly modified user interface and slightly improved features, Microsoft has gone back to the drawing boards. And say what you will about the software giant's ability to innovate, because Office 2007--the next version of Microsoft Office that is expected to ship to customers in January 2007--is nothing but innovative. It's a breath of fresh air in a market that, frankly, hasn't ever seen changes this exciting or disruptive. The company has completely rethought the productivity application user interface. Gone are the menus and toolbars from every previous Office version, replaced with what Microsoft calls a "results-oriented" user interface. …  It is, if I might be so bold, the most innovative user interface work that Microsoft has ever unleashed. [Thanks to Apple’s OS X. — cgm]  » Office 2007 - A Gentle Ribbin by Kingsley 2.0 Hawk Wings » Blog Archive » Outlook 2007 beta 2: screenshots, commentary Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 review by PC Magazine * Microsoft seems to have focused on two main areas in preparing beta 2: the user interface and SharePoint collaboration services. [Perhaps not where you or I might have focused. — cgm]   The interface remains an uneasy mix of svelte new toolbars and boring old dialog boxes. … The new Office has more extensive updates to its interface and sharing features than did any previous version—and users and organizations will need to think hard before taking the plunge. [Have I missed something?  When did UI become a Microsoft strength? — cgm] Early Testers Hit Snags in Vista Beta 2 a bit more stable than the previous build and the install process is way more informative. [That’s comforting. — cgm] Early Testers Hit Vista Beta 2 Snags **** Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did introduce a seed of doubt in the mind of some company watchers this week, when he said that there was still a chance that Microsoft might push back the Vista launch, if feedback from Windows Vista Beta 2 indicates the product needs more work than expected. [Anyone taking bets on this? — cgm] Dual-Core Processors The Intel® Core Dual Core Processing: Over-simplified, demystified and explained. - Article - Short-Media ***** Dual-Core Processors from Intel Corporation * All About Dual-Core *** Maximizing Desktop Application Performance on Dual-Core PC Platforms **** Apple Dual-Core Machines Apple - MacBook Pro ***** Apple - Power Mac G5 - Dual-Core G5 Barkings!: 3 Operating Systems On a MacBook Experience the First Virtualization Solution for Intel-powered Macs! *****   Improving Windows Performance & Functionality Without “Upgrading” (or switching to Linux or OSX) Pepping Up Windows | Tom's Hardware ***** an incomplete but useful list of functional and perfomance enhancements

Posted on: 25 May 2006 | 5:19 pm

Planning, Funding, Executing, and Exiting a New Venture | Gerry Lemberg

Planning, Funding, Executing and Exiting a New Venture by Gerry Lemberg   An entrepreneur is that rare gifted person who has foresight, is firm and resolute, able to motivate and lead others and understands that the value of an idea is directly proportional to the ability to execute it with limited resources. Only about 1 out of 50 new business opportunities presented by entrepreneurs to investors for funding are ever successful. Our research has shown that entrepreneurs who fail to attract investment believe: Investors are too risk averse Investors can’t recognise a brilliant idea There is an equity funding gap for early stage investment Investors look only for short term results Investors are sharks that only want to steal their ideas Investors are too greedy Too much competition for available capital Investors ask the wrong questions Investors expect us to make a compelling case for our life’s work in ten minutes Investors have no appreciation for the sweat we put into the development of our idea and technology   The Reality  In the investment community the reality is that there is more capital available than there are compelling business opportunities in which to invest. Any venture will be compelling and fundable if it offers relief to a well defined customer pain which will generate revenue when executed by a highly motivated team of entrepreneurs possessing a sustainable advantage. The fundamental reason that only 2% of start-up business can attract professional investment is that the majority of entrepreneurs don’t understand how to properly structure a business or understand the investment process. Most of the new ventures that don’t get funded are due to: A belief that an Idea or a Technology + Capital = Success. An inability to understand the difference between an idea and what it takes to execute that idea into a revenue-generating business. The ignorance of not recognising that the funding process is structured to mitigate foolish risks and flesh out the criteria for success. The lack of communication and presentation skills. Unwillingness by the entrepreneurs to make an investment in developing the required skills to meet the critical success factors and adjusting their attitude to work in partnership with investors.    There are some fundamental rules successful investors, be they angels or VC’s, have in their bible. Investors who don’t always follow these rules are family, friends and fools.   Rule No 1  The idea is worth only 20% of the value of the venture. Ideas are like opinions. Everybody has at least one. Universities and research foundations invest in ideas. Successful investors invest in the execution of ideas that will create revenue. The creation of revenue requires the recognition of following two rules.    Rule No 2  People – not ideas technology or money -  build companies, thus they are worth 50% of the value of the venture A multi-million dollar fighter aircraft flown by an untrained pilot in combat would have a very short life expectancy. Investing millions in entrepreneurs with a potential billion dollar idea who have insufficient skills, passion and connectivity in their industries and markets is a sure route to an eventual crash and burn.     Rule No 3   A successful and fundable business requires a sound structure right at the start, thus the structure is worth 30% of the value of the venture. A highly skilled pilot flying an unarmed aircraft in combat would have a life span measured in seconds. Investing millions in a brilliant idea executed by a skilled, passionate and connected entrepreneur without a structured and validated market, sales, operation, product development, financial plan and team to execute it will burn through any investment in a very short period without creating revenue.   Rule No 4 Only products and services that can relieve a significant identified group of customer’s pains can generate revenue.  The biggest risk for investing in any idea or technology is the creation of an elegant solution for which there is no problem. The landscape is littered with the corpses of brilliant ideas, technologies, products and empty bank accounts created by passionate and creative inventors who mesmerized themselves and naive investors and could never find a customer that was willing to pay for it.   Rule No 5 Investors expect to exit with significant returns within six years. Investors in early stage ventures expect returns commensurate with the risk they are taking. Their minimum expected return is at least a 30% IRR or five (5) times their investment. Aside from liquidation of a failed investment, there are three ways that an investor can exit from a successful investment: A management buyout from a cash rich business. A trade sale of the business An IPO on a significant stock exchange Investing in new ventures is a risky undertaking and the entrepreneur needs to address the primary priority of their investors of exiting with a significant return. That exit needs to be part of the grand strategy right from the beginning of the venture. Brand equity will be one of the single largest components of the exit value of the business. Thus an important part of the grand strategy will be planning and creating that brand equity. Creating brand equity requires the business to be customer centric rather than product centric. If you create a brand that is synonymous with customer pain relief and customer service, the value of the business will more easily meet the priority of the investors as well as the customers.    Rule No 6 Strategies that are developed without total awareness of the forces and threats that can impact your business will inevitably fail. Unlike the linear process of R&D and product development, most strategies dealing with marketing, sales, competition and HR deal with people issues and if dealt with using a linear approach will fail because of emotional responses, which force you to react rather than act. Unlike a linear problem, which allows you to go back to the “drawing board”, people oriented issues are non-linear problems. Any intervention in trying to resolve a non-linear problem changes the outcome in a manner that will not allow you to return to the original state, thus forcing you to react rather than act. If you react, you are then playing by your adversaries rules and you will lose.    Grand Strategy Robert Greene in his recently published book “The 33 Strategies of War” addresses Grand Strategy. The key to grand strategy is forethought. Grand strategists look at the world with a dispassionate eye, thinking in terms of the whole campaign to reach the objective by planning indirect and subtle steps along the way whose purpose gradually become visible to others. Grand Strategy is the apex of rationality with four main principals. 1.  Focus on your greater goal. Begin with a clear goal in mind that is rooted in reality. What has distinguished all history’s grand strategists, and can also distinguish you, are specific, detailed focused goals. Contemplate them day in and day out. By clearly visualising them in this manner they will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Your goals must be rooted in reality. If they are impossible for you to realise, you will grow discouraged. On the other hand if your goals lack a certain dimension and grandeur, it can be hard to stay motivated. Do not be afraid to be bold. 2.  Widen your perspective. Grand strategy is a function of vision, of seeing further in time and space than the competition does. Force yourself to widen your view, to see things for what they are and how they might play out in the future, not for how you wish them to be. Always try to look at the world through the eyes of other people, including your competitors. 3.  Sever the roots. In a society dominated by appearances, the real source of a problem is hard to grasp. Too many issues drag on because neither side know how to find the root of the problem. Uncover the roots of the trouble and you can then develop the strategy to sever them, ending the problem with finality. 4.  Take the indirect route to your goal. The greatest danger you face in strategy is losing the initiative and finding yourself constantly reacting to competitive or other forces. The solution is constantly to be aware of your situation so that you can not only plan ahead, but also to plan subtly to take the indirect route. Preventing your competition and other potential adversaries from seeing the purpose of your actions gives you an enormous advantage. The key is to maintain control of your emotions and plot your moves in advance, thus acting rather than reacting.   As an example, The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour was a devastating surprise, but a strategic disaster. The Japanese showed their hand too quickly ensuring that the Americans would prosecute the war to the bitter end. After the attack, Admiral Yamamoto stated prophetically that “All we have done is awaken a sleeping tiger”. The rest is history.   Winning is the object of a Grand Strategy  A significant part of the Grand Strategy is a constant learning process. Cristina Andersson in her book “The Winning Helix” concludes, “Winning is a result of successful preparation, which is a learning process. The attitude of winning is a mental model, which should be cultivated along the process of preparing for peak performance.”   In order to plan, fund, execute and successfully exit from a venture and satisfy the priorities of all the stake holders in the process, you have to create the DNA of your organisation so you can act on the inevitable changes and forces that will create the obstacles that prevent you from achieving your objective. By creating the right DNA for your organisation you will be able to address the critical success factors to put you on a winning course. Those areas of constant learning to create the right DNA must be deployed to cover: Awareness & Communication The Business Concept The Management Team The Business Model The Operation Plan The Marketing Plan The Sales Plan The Financial Plan   With foresight, a grand strategy and constant learning winning will be inevitable.  Dr Gerry LembergSilver Fox Venture Partnerswww.silverfoxvp.com www.clearstartup.com Gerry Lemberg is a venture capitalist who has been focusing on early stage ventures for nearly 40 years, as well as early stage turnarounds.  The above is an essay Gerry uses as a supplement to a seminar called “Planning, Funding, Executing, and Exiting a New Venture” which he gives regularly at a number of MBA schools in Europe.   Gerry is very generous with his time and insights and is a regular contributer to numerous online forums on venture capital and entrepreneurship.  I am honored that he has given his permission to have his essay reprinted here — cgm

Posted on: 21 March 2006 | 1:14 pm

FIND OF THE WEEK: HumanPages - "LinkedIn With A Heart?"

As it turns out, there is now more than one way to run a SPAM-Proof Online People Directory and Referral Service.  Move over LinkedIn — Introducing HumanPages. HumanPages is the brainchild of Chris Bartlett.  I first met Chris in December 2005 at the Beyond Blogs and Social Networks Conference (a terrific conference put together by David Teten and Scott Allen, authors of The Virtual Handshake).   And, yes, that’s right — Chris and I first met in person!  Real-world F2F networking — it happens sometimes. ;-) Anyway, I got a personal tour of HumanPages from Chris a few weeks later while it was still in a skunk-works alpha release but it still looked pretty good from the get-go.  Subsequent iterative and incremental improvements driven-by alpha user feedback has given HumanPages a simple clean interface. This week, HumanPages is now in public beta release — and I recommend anyone who has ever used LinkedIn to take a serious look at it.   While hardly a competitive threat to LinkedIn’s massive “resume database” (5m+), HumanPages takes an entirely different approach to solving the inherent SPAM problem of Online People Directories.  LinkedIn’s clever “authenticated one-to-one human referral chain” looks a whole lot like networking (even using networking terminology).  In fact, we often hear people use the term “LinkedIn Network”.  So it’s hardly surprising that many people (including LinkedIn management) often confuse online activities on LinkedIn as “actual networking” among “connections” — rather than just “manual human SPAM filtering.” LinkedIN is NOT a network and is NOT a networking platform.  LinkedIn is an application to find, or be found by, other LinkedIn members.  That’s it.  Nothing more, nothing less.   And it works well.  While LinkedIn Requests are always unsolicited, they are — NOT anonymous, NOT easily automated, One-to-One, Time-Consuming to create, and Time-Consuming to refer through. This approach, while an effective SPAM deterrent, is beginning to show signs of weakness under long-term use.  As anyone who has been using LinkedIn for awhile will attest to, the process is highly-inefficient and a “daily-grind.”.   For most active users of LinkedIn, the daily routine of processing request is becoming a significant burden and major time commitment — resulting in the so-called “Connector Burn-out.”  And all for pure SPAM deterrence! Enter, HumanPages.  Just like LinkedIn, HumanPages starts as a People Directory — except it has a much simpler solution to the SPAM risk:  Make people pay to contact you. At first this may seem a little weird — but it is well-understood that SPAM is a by-product of “zero-cost messaging”.  SPAM only becomes a problem when the cost of each message goes to zero.  With high-volumes of “zero-cost” marketing messages, even highly-ineffective un-targeted SPAM sweeps can still get cost-effective results. One of the more interesting proposals to solve email SPAM was to put a small cost on email —similar to postage — which would have a major deterrence effect on “zero-cost” SPAM.  This is, in effect, how LinkedIn actually works.  LinkedIn has no SPAM because there is significant personal expense to the process. It’s a pain in the ass to create LinkedIn requests one-at-a-time and there is a significant risk that, if you do it wrong, people will yell at you (i.e., it’s not only not anonymous — it’s highly Public! ).   Therefore, active LinkedIn users must spend the time and the effort to create highly-effective requests to get high response rates from extremely low volumes of requests.  More radical proposals to solve email SPAM have suggested that people pay cash to contact others.  With this “supply and demand” approach, anyone can contact anyone else — but there is always a price to pay.  “Bye-Bye zero-cost messaging” and “Bye-Bye SPAM.” Of course, there is one huge problem with charging people to connect to you — You look like a piker asking for a fee just to connect.  But what if the money went to your favourite charity instead of you?  That’s the approach HumanPages has taken.  An interesting approach.   When you register, one of the “fun” exercises is figuring out your personal “pricing strategy”.   If you price high, no one will contact you.  If you price low, does that reflect your sense of self-worth?  Or the worth of your charity? In summary, HumanPages promises to be an extremely interesting market experiment in social media — with potential windfall benefits to charity to boot. Since I am an incorrigible "re-positioner" of other peoples companies (I tend to see what I want to see), I thought it best to have Chris (Bartlett) explain HumanPages in his own words — HumanPages is an online directory for business professionals where you can contact anyone directly while creating a contribution to charity. We found the Friend-of-a-Friend business networking concept, like LinkedIn.com, burdensome upon the people required to forward requests and frustrating to use. We wanted a mechanism that was simple to use, like an old fashioned directory whereby I could contact anyone directly…the problem was to find a mechanism that was easy to use and gave people control. Our solution is a Contact Price, which each person sets between $1 and $100.  When a member sends an email Contact Request, the Contact Price payment is pre-authorized by the sender and automatically charged upon the receiver accepting the Contact Request. Each member also selects a charity and 50% each Contact Price payment is contributed to it. By getting listed in HumanPages you can be contacted by potential clients, new employers or business partners knowing they are paying the Contact Price you set…this is a fantastic referral and spam filter. Each person who joins (for free) HumanPages is helping themselves for business networking and helping their favorite charity. … Join www.humanpages.com now to help yourself and your favorite charity.    

Posted on: 17 March 2006 | 7:22 pm