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 »

What politicians dont get (or do)!

The world economy is in shambles and yet I find if shocking that what politicians are doing about it is virtually all wrong.  No one is really taking a long term view and interest in fixing the problems that got us here…instead we are massaging the truth and giving people false hope. And as much as I am critical of the banking system and its failure to serve society I think our economies were troubled before the banking crisis. Bankers did what they do best – get greedy, put their self interest above all else and by virtue of their misdoing magnify the problem. But they weren’t necessarily the root cause. 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’

Things that don’t matter

I look back at my life sometimes and can’t help thinking: there’s so much energy we spend on things that ultimately don’t really matter. The small talk, the fluff, the event you ‘have to’ go to and pretend you are interested. The long meetings and dragging relationships with people you know will end. Yet we put up with it every day.

I wonder sometimes if I could go back in time and erase all of that and refocus my energy on the things that really mattered how things would have been different today. Or maybe in some paradoxical way those things do play a part by preparing you for the things that do matter, loss leaders in a way.

This thought in itself may arguably not matter either. After all we can’t go back in time to change it. So does it really matter?continue reading »