“I’m worth a billion but I have no sense of purpose”

Everyone is asking if we are in a tech bubble. I think we are not. But I also think that there is a bigger problem at play. In the race to be the next big thing we forgot that companies exist to fulfill a need. We got too consumed with our own numbers, our growth and hockey stick curves and who’s writing about us. ‘Oh they’re hot they got into Techcrunch’. We forgot to ask ourselves one key question: what is our purpose? Why do we exist as a business. If we disappeared tomorrow would it really matter?continue reading »

How Howard Schultz saved Starbucks

I just finished reading Howard Schultz’s book ‘Onward’ in which he tells the story of how he returned to the CEO position at Starbucks around a decade after stepping down to save it from its downward spiral.

 It’s an exhilarating read… and a story of how – once again – a great leader returns to save the company he created, and does it with courage and brevity and a commitment to a higher cause than just saving a failing company. Much like the story of Steve Job’s return to Apple, it’s a story of how passion for the purpose the company once served dies after a great leader departs, and how that’s restored through a series of controversial very non-text-book type moves. That’s what makes it a great read!

 I won’t spoil the read for you by giving it all away…I’ll just share some of those moves that really stood out for me as signs of courage and great leadership. At least how I read them.continue reading »

Nothing more inspiring than inspiring people :)

On Friday we put out probably the biggest announcement  in PeoplePerHour’s history, introducing ahead of time some big changes to the product coming up. We were expecting to get axed; grilled, crucified and hammered with negativity. We prepared for the worst.  Not because we dont believe in what we are doing or but because people normally react negatively to change. They are daunted and confused by it.

Yet the reaction so far has been one of euphoria; relief and inspiration. The blog crashed momentarily from the huge traffic influx, we got some 10,000 hits in a very short space of time. People posted comments like the below saying how they got inspired by the journey we went through and how they cant wait for the changes to go live.  This leaves me more inspired than i ever was, knowing that what we are doing is in itself giving people excitement, hope and inspiration. I feel blessed that we have such an entrepreneurial community. Thank you folks – you rock!continue reading »

Why America is still the land of opportunity

I just spent two weeks in New York. It was supposed to be a very non-descript trip, without a concrete purpose. I went there to attend a few tech conferences, meet a few people I had connected to via email and wanted to meet, and get a local vibe of the new hot tech scene that everyone is talking about – now the 2nd largest in the world after silicon valley.

I write this on the plane on the way back to London. And already I have my return flight booked for next week, I have a real estate agent looking to get me a flat (or ‘apartment’ i should say :-)) and I already signed up new office space there. And got close to making my first hire. And I feel I moved slow even. 🙂 That’s the pace this city moves in.continue reading »

My Top 10 learnings from 2011

I write this from a snowy and beautiful Zermatt, Switzerland on (appropriately) the last day of the year. The snowfall is too heavy for skiing and alas a perfect opportunity for me to compose the thoughts and reflections on 2011 that have been circling my mind for weeks now and finally crystallized in the crisp air of the mountains.

 And I start with this: wow, what a year! Naturally as an entrepreneur the dominant story of my last 12 months is my company that consumes so much of it. What am I saying – hell – PeoplePerHour IS my life.continue reading »

Think Different

Steve Jobs words for the Think Different ad are just pure perfection

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

And the Ad itself (which in the end was never aired) is probably the best ever.. i would rate it higher than the 1984 which has been dubbed the best Ad of all time

Anyone wondering whether its worth reading Steve Job’s 600 page biography that came out all i have to say is that when i started reading it i literally couldn’t put it down. Simply amazing. Funnily enough i think the text above is just a perfect summary of his life. Which was why he chose to not air it in the end as it was in his words ‘too much about me’

Why Culture Matters

Ask ten managers what their company culture is and they’ll probably send you to the HR department. Frankly, I used to be one of them. Recently, I went through a turning point following which I now consider culture building my No1 priority as a leader. Here’s why.

To set the setting: my company has grown almost three-fold in headcount in the last six months. We went from just over 15 people to now about 50. Naturally what happens at this pace of growth is the controls and processes you had in place are no longer able to give you the same level of grasp on the business as before. There’s just too much going on.

The natural inclination of most managers in this situation is to inject more process, more rules and manuals, more middle layers of management to delegate to so as to ensure that things run as efficiently as they used to. Whilst some of this is necessary, if this is the only thing you do you will – at best – have an efficient machine that simply ticks on. If you’re lucky you’ll stay in business. You wont game-change.continue reading »

What defines entrepreneurs

After almost a year and a half of absence (and fans screaming and shouting for my return of course !! J) I decided to revive my blog, the URL now changed to my name and the full one no less (seeing as I have such an easy and memorable name!)

I don’t know where to start in my effort to summarise the last 18 months or so. So much has happened. My last post was December 2008 which was one the toughest of tough times my company – PeoplePerHour.com – has gone through, and therefore one of mine. Which may be why my blogging fell in the back burner – or no burner at all as it may be.continue reading »

The make-up of entrepreneurs

One question I have always been fascinated by is what drives people to greatness? What compels certain people to take risk while others take comfort in security and complacency? The easy answer is: money. But is it?

Maurey Klein wrote a great book called “The Change Makers” which digs into the lives of some of the entrepreneurs who have shapes the 20th century. From Thomas Edison, to Carniege, Bill Gates and Sam Walton.. Klein unravels the deep-rooted drivers that are behind the relentless drive and unfathomed ambition of those people that led them to greatness.continue reading »