Lucky or Smart Secrets to an Entrepreneurial Life Lucky or Smart is the 2005 production of 6 time entrepreneur, young multi-millionaire, and Tripod founder Bo Peabody. Bo Peabody has had some amazing and fortunate things happen to him that he would attribute to good luck. But he has done it time and time again -- something that others would attribute to smarts. Bo says only, that he was smart enough to realize when he was getting lucky, and he drives to teach you to do the same thing. Bo even goes so far as to argue that there is a pseudo scientific formula for creating business luck. Lucky things happen to entrepreneurs who create fundamentally innovative, morally compelling, and philosophically positive companies. Why? Because smart people gather there and work hard -- and when that happens, luck shows up! There are two steps to this process: 1. Create an environment where smart people will gather 2. Be smart enough to stay out of the way and let luck happen. Entrepreneurs who start silly, morally bankrupt, and philosophically negative companies where the CEO is only out to make a million bucks rather than do anything interesting or valuable do NOT attract these kinds of people. This has less to do with your business model and more to do with how the entrepreneur communicates the mission of the company. Having a mission creates an aura of authenticity that attracts and inspires smart people. Once you’ve got them get the hell out of the way. Entrepreneurs are born not made. A person deciding to become an entrepreneur is making the first in a long line of bad business decisions. In general, entrepreneurs are B students with lateral thinking and broad knowledge; managers are A students with linear thinking and specific knowledge. Good is the Enemy of Great. A good decision made quickly is better than a great decision made slowly. Startups must move. Forget greatness, if you survive you will succeed. Startups attract sociopaths. Ordinary people don’t agree to work for startups, they go get ordinary jobs, so as an entrepreneur you had better learn to like odd people, because that’s who’s going to agree to work with you. Practice blind faith, and undying love for your startup. Love it too much, blind faith inspires believers. Though they start as skeptics, the raw energy and sheer audacity of it all, will bring them in. Passionate entrepreneurs with near religious conviction will bring an organization from the brink of disaster. Patient and supportive investors can be a big help too. Every successful investment is on life support at some point. Learn to love the word ‘No’. No is the first step in the sales process, no is the beginning to the formulation for your plan. Don’t ever accept rejection, train yourself not to shut down when you hear no. When someone says no to another human being he is at his weakest moment. Take that opportunity and start selling. Prepare to be Powerless. When you’re an entrepreneur even ‘No’ is a triumph. It’s a signal that your customer is at least marginally engaged and your innovative concept isn’t just collecting dust on someone’s desk, never to see the light of day. Selling to executives and being the young underdog is fundamentally an uphill battle. If you send enough email, log enough voice mail, and spend enough money on Fedex, these guys will return your call. When they do, don’t expect them to apologize, this is your chance, your one chance! If you don’t hear from them for a while, don’t panic, they are busy. The Best Defense is a Gracious Offense. Always, always be gracious. What goes around comes around, never, never be defensive. No matter the outcome of the meeting or the telephone call, the person should always at least like you. Don’t believe your own press, in fact, don’t read. Press is sensationalized to the positive and to the negative to give people the image of what they want. As it turns out accuracy can be quite boring. Constant information and hype inflow only distracts you. The best you can make use of a BlackBerry is to buy them for all your competitors, they’ll never have another creative thought. Daily you should read the Wall Street Journal. Read the New York Times on Sunday, and choose one of several reputable weekly or monthly business magazines. That’s all you need. If you’re doing something innovative, then there shouldn’t be that much news for you anyway. Be definition the news has already happened. The more you focus on the past, the less time you can have your mind in the future. Always be selling your stock. Entrepreneurs have one job: to create a market for the stock in their startup. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. Anyone who tells you to spend your days managing product development, tweaking the budget, or reviewing the sales and marketing effort is wrong. Certainly these are all important jobs, but they should be the responsibility of A students you’ve hired. For the entrepreneur these jobs are secondary to THE job. To create a market for your startup’s stock. Compared to entrepreneurship, there’s nothing adventurous about venture capital. VC’s are just capitalist. They want money, and the best way to make money is to manage money. They do so in a diversified way, whilst you put all your eggs in one basket. Once you interest one, all the others will come running with herd mentality. Your vision has to be big and as an Entrepreneur you must always be selling it. Know what you don’t know – You have to know when you truly don’t know the answer to something, and need to ask for help. You have to know when to turn off the selling, and accept the honest limitation of your knowledge. You have to know what you don’t know how to do, and what you’re not good at. First you have to admit it to yourself, and then to your colleagues. Conclusion – Every entrepreneurial situation is unique. Nothing about this book is inarguably true or universally applicable. There is however, one overarching theme you must take away with you: The difference between being lucky and being smart. To power to do this comes solely from keeping your ego in check. As an entrepreneur, your ego is both your most dangerous and your most useful weapon in your arsenal. Was I lucky? You bet your ass I was lucky. But I was also smart: smart enough to realize that I was getting lucky. Summary of Lucky or Smart?, prepared for the partners of Allied Strategy by C. Colby Thomson. I suggest you just read the book.