Entrepreneur – Five shifts driving tomorrow’s leadership

This week the World Economic Forum is proud to announce the Young Global Leaders class of 2015. Primarily in their mid-30s, these 187 individuals are challenging traditional leadership paradigms and bringing about positive change in the world.

Their organisations and approaches bring to mind a film of their youth (and mine) – the 1980s series Back to the Future, which predicted a futurist world in 2015 that blew our mind. In a time of Dictaphones, VHS tapes, the Sony Walkman, and the ground-breaking fax machine, the technology that Marty McFly confronted as he leapt 30 years into the future seemed other-worldly. While not all of their predictions have lasted or become a reality (remember laser disc players?), many of them (think flying cars, hover boards, an alternate currency and personal, wearable technology) are causing radical shifts in today’s society.

Over the same 30 years, an equally dramatic shift in organisational leadership has brought the world forward. Just as much of the 1980s technology has become defunct, these Young Global Leaders are proving that that decade’s leadership styles are also past their use-by date.  Management by fear, rigid hierarchies, male-dominated workplaces and silo-thinking  are increasingly anachronistic. The next generation of leaders are diverse in terms of gender and nationality, their work crosses the traditional divides between sectors and they take creative approaches to cracking tough problems.

In particular the YGLs from the class of 2015 are proving the importance of five key shifts driving their leadership:

  1. Radical Transparency – As the technology and speed of communication has increased each one of us is butt-naked. Leaders in today’s world realise that everything they say, do, and share could be made public. Authentic leaders will shine in this era and encourage their employees and organisations to live and work with a transparent, open mind-set. Increasingly, this is especially important in government. This is exemplified by new YGL Stela Mocan, the Executive Director of Moldovan e-Government Centre, which uses open data and various digital tools to encourage people to participate in politics.
  2. The Power of Giving – Is your organization merely operating as the sum of its parts? Or are you enabling a workplace of mutual support & giving to achieve loftier ambitions? Adam Grant, Wharton Professor of Management and Psychology and a new YGL, framed these issues with is book Give & Take, while leaders are putting this philosophy in action with organisations, communities and networks around the world.
  3. Constructive Conflict – Conflict can tear apart societies. When dealt with constructively, however, disagreement can also be a source for understanding, empathy, and new solutions to challenging questions. A current Young Global Leader, Lutfey Siddiqi of UBS, is encouraging leaders from around the globe to think differently about conflict and is working to educate young people to embrace this attitude.
  4. Tri-sector Leaders – Today’s global challenges are complex, interrelated and require collaboration across the three domains of government, business and civil society, as well as across cultural borders. Almost every Young Global Leader from the Class of 2015 has lived, studied and worked in different countries; many of them speak multiple languages; and a great number of them, as embodied by Gaurav Gogoi, an MP in India and entrepreneur, Kirsten Parker of IHS, or Andrea Cooper, the Executive Director of Liverpool Football Club Foundation, who represent the type of tri-sector leaders that are needed to tackle the world’s intractable problems.
  5. Beyond the Bottom Line – Successful in their individual areas of expertise, Young Global Leaders are dedicated to making a contribution to society more broadly. Whether in private or public sectors, academia or in the media, they consider themselves social entrepreneurs in spirit. The Class of 2015 includes notable social entrepreneurs such as Lauren Bush Lauren, Founder of FEED Projects, which provides lunches for hungry school children, and Kenya’s Lorna Rutto of EcoPost, which turns plastic waste into fencing. Many other YGLs, like Logan Green of the ride-sharing platform Lyft and Michelle Dipp of OvaScience, which focuses on fertility, are building their companies beyond the bottom line in the mould of Hill Valley’s eminent scientist Emmett Brown – seeking business solutions, including new technologies, to address societal challenges.

These shifts will not only change today’s working culture, but lay the foundations for the next 30 years. So how will the world look in 2045? As Back to the Future has suggested, many new technologies will surely alter the course of human history. We may be living on other planets, machines may have taken many of our jobs, and tech breakthroughs may help us deal with climate challenges. There’s no doubt, however, that a more constructive, inclusive, diverse and transparent kind of leadership will be essential in creating the kind of future we want.

Author: John Dutton is a Director at the World Economic Forum and Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders.

Ref: Weforum


Entrepreneur – What These 6 Entrepreneurs Learned From Their Biggest Mistakes

We asked members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) to share the lessons they learned after some of their biggest misses in business.

Define Roles Clearly

“After we hired our first employee in 2013 into a generalist role, I quickly realized that the position was not set up for success. There were no clearly defined metrics that this position would be held accountable for, and we were pulling this employee in multiple directions. We eventually shook hands and parted ways, and have since implemented clearer accountability standards while regularly meeting as a team to check in on how everyone is progressing.”

Ryan Zagata, EO Brookyln
President, Brooklyn Bicycle Co.

Focus on Sales to Start

“Before starting my business, I had a background in consumer products and brand marketing, and was used to huge budgets. For my company, I initially used some of those same strategies and spent a lot of money buying mass-media packages. While I had great branding and professional materials, I didn’t have a plan in place to identify what our target audiences wanted and how we were going to reach them directly. I learned we needed to generate sales rather than branding, and to find a way to track or measure all of our campaigns.”

Cesar Quintero, EO South Florida
Founder and COO, Fit2Go

Balance the Team

“In 2009, we experienced a difficult year financially due to the recession. We went deep in the red, and I personally funded the company for several months. I thought laying people off would lead to bad morale, but it was actually the opposite. I now know that having the right people in the right seats–and letting go of those who don’t fit–is the best strategy. Bigger isn’t always better, and to me, it’s better to grow sustainably while providing security for our team. It took me failing to realize this.”

Keith Roberts, EO Colorado
Founder and president, Zenman

Plan Your Funding

“I funded the startup of my first company using six personal credit cards and started in debt. It was unfortunately a mentality that followed me into my second company, as I hadn’t quite seen it as a clear failure yet. Using credit cards or loans to grow and maintain a business is expensive. I learned to operate from cash whenever possible. If you are going to use outside funding, then have a distinct plan in place for when and how it will be paid back.”

Jen Sterling, EO DC
CEO, Red Thinking

Engage Consumers

“My first attempt at analytics technology was a high-risk medication-analysis tool. I deployed the technology in a home health agency I was running, and sent the results to my patients’ physicians. I received seven cease-and-desist letters. I was so passionate and sure about what I was doing that I never took a minute to actually consult with the beneficiaries of my technology. I learned to engage with my consumers before I plow forward with an idea.”

Dan Hogan, EO Nashville
President and CEO, Medalogix

Document Decision-Making

“While we generally did a good job of making decisions, we did an exceptionally poor job of documenting them. Forgetting to write down both how and why we do certain things yielded countless hours of repeated work and decision-making as employees were gained and lost over the years of growth. Now, we keep careful written documentation of how processes work and why certain decisions were made. It’s helped us learn from our mistakes and bring new hires up to speed on key issues much faster.”

Pavel Sokolovsky, EO Chicago
Co-founder and CEO, eComfort.com

Ref: Inc

entrepreneurs – must-read entrepreneurs books

entrepreneur books

There’s a reason professors assigned required reading in classes. When you encourage pupils to think independently and interpret the week’s lesson via reading outside the classroom, you create an environment of learning. Students become teachers, teachers become students, and learning transcends predetermined roles. Ask any student in college today and I’m confident they’ll prefer seminar environments over lectures.

Why stop this in college?

Employees who shape an office culture the most are usually the ones who promote learning. They seek being both the student and the teacher bringing value and new skills to their colleagues on a consistent basis.

When I started out in business I didn’t have access to the entrepreneurs I considered “successful” in person, but I did have access to articles written on them, biographies and news programs. I would eat up as much content on my “dream team” of leaders as possible and from there look for the traits that spanned multiple entrepreneurs, companies and decades. This helped me form the basis of my “entrepreneurial education” and it was free, reading up on people you admire is still my number one piece of advice to up and coming business owners.

To foster a culture of learning at Zirtual we created a (growing) list of books and articles that all employees and assistants are asked to read. You can find a partial list below & why I think all businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and self-learners will benefit from giving them a gander.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

When it comes to company culture few are as uniquely unified as Zappos. This book captures Tony’s pre-Zappos days from him as a 9 year-old button-making entrepreneur to selling Zappos to Amazon for over $1 billion. What I love aboutDelivering Happiness is its focused message, breaking the elements of Tony’s business philosophy down into manageable chunks. I also saw it as an opportunity to shape Zirtual’s culture as one that fosters individuality and leadership at every level, something Tony & his team instilled in Zappos from its inception.

This Is How You Get People To Trust Your Product by Lynn Perkins

No matter what industry you’re in if people don’t or can’t trust your product it’s destined for failure. Written by UrbanSitter CEO Lynn Perkings this article delves into how her company created a business around matching parents with strangers to watch their kids. While there are few situations that require more trust than leaving your children with caretakers I found relevance in how Zirtual needed to make trust our number 1 goal in customer relationships.

Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright

Few business books take an approach this scientific. The authors used data from a 10-year, 24,000 participant study to not only identify 5 distinct stages of employee tribal development but also how to manage each stage. I found this book helpful in hiring both ZAs and our core team, identifying key traits of people I wanted to lead our team. It also helped me identify the signs of when an employee begins to slip to a lower level and how to lift them out of it.

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

I’ve always found it amazing how the 80/20 principle applies to so many areas of business. Revenue, user generated content, product usage, and more can all, and often do, follow the 80/20 principle. This book by Richard Koch applies the principle to productivity guiding readers to achieving 80% of their results from 20% of their effort. I’m in the business of making people more productive through delegation so it’s only natural that my employees are productivity evangelists.

The 1 Thing Super Successful People Never Do In The Early Morning by Alexis Kleinman

This might be the oddball of the list but it’s one of the most important practices I’ve implemented into my daily schedule. I’m a firm believer in establishing a grounding set of practices that help keep productivity up. Without spoiling what the “one-thing” is, this quick read can (and hopefully will) have a lasting impact on your daily productivity.

Published in collaboration with LinkedIn

Author: Maren Kate Donovan is CEO at Zirtual.com

Ref: Forum Blog

Serial Entrepreneurs – The Founders Who Pursue Multiple Opportunities

Do most great entrepreneurs focus on one idea or pursue many? A quick look at billionaire entrepreneurs reveals that most of them are serial entrepreneurs.


Entrepreneurs are known for being able to focus on one thing to the point of making it a reality. Entrepreneurs are also known for their ability to recognize business opportunities when they come. These two qualities can be at odds with each other: focusing on one thing while looking around for more opportunities contradicts itself.

For many new entrepreneurs there is a real dilemma here. Should you start a lot of companies, or should you focus your whole life on one, like Zuckerberg?

To answer this question, we collected data on world’s top-earning entrepreneurs – the self-made billionaires who made money through starting companies. This year, there are 1426 billionaires in the world, according to Forbes. 960 of them are self-made, while the rest inherited their wealth. We focused on the business history of the 960 to figure out how they made their money. Specifically, did these billionaires make it from a single business, or multiple ones. After crunching the numbers we found that 830 of them made money from more than one business, while 130 derive their wealth from one business.
At the very least, it means that most of the top earning entrepreneurs in the world are serial entrepreneurs, having made money from two or more different businesses.
But what do we mean by “different” business?

How different of a business have these people done? We found the business ventures of the top five entrepreneurs with the most diverse backgrounds. As you look at their histories, you start seeing how they looked for opportunity but didn’t necessarily have a clear billion-dollar plan from the start.

How We Got Data on Serial Entrepreneurs

We analyzed profiles from Forbes Billionaires list and found self-made billionaires, who made money from multiple sources. From there we found entrepreneurs with the highest number of venture who are also the most popular as measured by Google Trends. We carefully analyzed the biographies of each billionaire-entrepreneur to compose a timeline of his ventures. For Richard Branson, to save space, we took only the most popular ventures, as the total number is 400 (according to Richard Branson Timeline of Ventures on Wikipedia). We also clustered very similar transactions as one venture.

The point at which each entrepreneur achieved a billionaire status is approximate. We used data from acquisitions of private companies, public offerings, and major stock price increases to gauge the time when these entrepreneurs hit the one billion milestone:

  • Sheldon Adelson became a billionaire after building a casino in Macau, China, and taking the company public. This transaction alone increased his wealth 14 times making him the third-richest American at the time.
  • Eric Lefkofsky owned 22% of Groupon at the time it went public at $12.8 billion valuation. Thus Lefkofsky’s net worth was over $2 billion.
  • Mark Cuban was one of the co-founders of Broadcast.com, acquired by Yahoo! for $5.6 billion, a transaction that most likely made him a billionaire. In 2011, Cuban was No. 459 on Forbes Billionaire list, with a net worth of $2.3 billion.
  • Elon Musk first became prominent as one of the co-founders of PayPal. When PayPal was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion, Musk owned 11.2% of the company, making him a multi-millionaire. He later became a billionaire, when the stock of Tesla Motors, a company he took public in 2010, rose 3 times. He owns a 32% stake in Tesla, which is valued at $5.82 billion, as of August 2013.
  • Richard Branson most likely became a billionaire from his airline business that includes Virgin Atlantic (founded in 1984), Virgin Australia(former Virgin Blue), and Virgin America. His second major income source was his record business, that he sold for $900 million in 1992.

Self-Made Billionaire Serial Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Net Worth 2013 Twitter
Richard Branson $4.6 B @richardbranson‎
Mark Cuban $2.4 B @mcuban‎
Sheldon Adelson $26.5 B
Eric Lefkovsky $1.1 B @lefkofsky
Elon Musk $2.7 B @elonmusk


courtesy : Funders and Founders

Coming to America for Entrepreneurs

It is no secret that some of Silicon Valley’s tech giants were founded by immigrants. Sergey Brin, a Russian emigrant, co-founded Google; Andrew Grove, originally from Hungary, co-founded Intel; both Steve Chen of YouTube and Jerry Yang of Yahoo came to the U.S. from Taiwan.

Immigrants continue to become some of the most successful founders in United States. Brazilian-born Mike Krieger moved to California in 2004 where he met future partner and fellow co-founder of Instagram. Danish co-founders Jon Froda and Anders Pollas created Podio in early 2009. Indonesian-born Malcolm Ong met his fellow co-founder, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, co founded Skillshare while they both working at other startups.
How did they get here? And, most importantly, how can we get you here? There are more than a couple of ways.
Let’s start with the most optimal ways – the ways that ensure you get a green card.

Many Ways Of Coming to America

Option 1. Alien Investor – this is the EB-5 immigrant visa that asks you to invest $1 million in a U.S. business. If that business is in rural area, you only need to invest $500,000.
But what if you don’t have that kind of cash?
Option 2.  EB-2 (C) visa — this is considered an “employment visa,” but under the (C) variety does not require you to have an employer. What you need is an advanced degree (masters and higher) or an exceptional ability in your field. Also, you will have to should that brining you to the United Stated it is in the national interest of the United States.
What if you are so young that you don’t have exceptional abilities yet? You can still come in.
Option 3E-2 Treaty Investors – do not worry, this time they will not ask you to invest a million. All you need to do is open a business in the U.S., invest at least $100, 000 in it. You also need to be from a country that is on the list of treaty investors. A  lot of countries are.
If you main asset is your talent, you have another option.
Option 4O-1 visa is for people with exceptional abilities, including abilities in doing business. Say you wrote an app back home that got written up in magazines and someone famous reviewed it on YouTube? You can try for this type of visa. You will need a  U.S. employer to sponsor you. Hopefully that employer is an amazing startup you want to work for.
Option 5L1 visas. The first kind is the L1A – you need to be ab executive or a top manager of a company that has offices in your country and in the U.S. You need to have worked at that foreign office for at least a year during that last three years. And they need to be sending you to the U.S. If the company does not have a U.S. office yet, you can be the one who opens it. the L1B kind is where you are not an executive, but you have some specialized knowledge. if the company sending you to the United States is not the one you ultimately want to work for, you will want to jump ship sooner or late. Many people have.
Option 6H1B visa. This visa is for employees. There are a lot of requirements such as labor certifications, caps on the number of visas, etc. If you have i, but want to be an entrepreneur, use the time while you are on H1B to find the startup you actually want to work for.
Option 7B-1 visa. This is a business visa. It is short-term, only 3-6 months. You can extend it once by another 6 months, totaling 12 months in the U.S. The downside is that you cannot work on this visa. But you can negotiate and network, etc.
if no other solution is available, B-1 is your way to come to America and then figure out the better way.
There are of course other options coming to America like J1, F1 but they are less than a straightforward way for an entrepreneur.
Things are changing quickly for entrepreneurs in America, for the better.  We will be hosting the  “International Founders and Startup Immigration”  to discuss the best strategies and hear from the attorneys and investors.
Update:  Lastly, there is the Startup Visa, that is not an option yet, because it has not been passed as a law. As of December 1st, the current senate bill calls for a number of changes to immigration law. Among them, it would create a new type of visa allowing foreign-born entrepreneurs legally in the U.S. to stay if they can raise $100,000 in capital and hire at least two American workers during their first year holding the visa.

Entrepreneur – Traits All Great Entrepreneurs Share


Not everyone has what it takes to run their own business.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires not only a great business idea, but certain traits. Jenny Ta, founder and CEO of Sqeeqee.com — a social commerce platform that gives individuals, businesses, celebrities, politicians and non-profit organizations the ability to monetize their profiles — said that, for years, people have tried to identify what qualities make successful entrepreneurs, especially serial entrepreneurs, different from everyone else.

“While there is no single answer to this question, certain traits pop up again and again when studying this class of person,” Ta said.

Based on her experience, Ta said there are six common traits found in entrepreneurs:


Belief in oneself is a universal characteristic of serial entrepreneurs. You must believe in yourself, and believe in your vision. This doesn’t mean you can never have a moment of doubt, but it does mean that your doubts cannot be allowed to overwhelm your core belief in what you are trying to do. If it gets to the point where you’re having brief moments of belief instead of brief moments of doubt, it may be time to go back to the drawing board.


 Simply sitting around believing in yourself won’t allow you to get much done. You must be motivated to work toward the realization of your vision, and that motivation should come from within. Other people cannot push you to greatness. If you need constant kick-starting, your chances of success are greatly reduced.


Successful entrepreneurs do not lie down in the face of adversity. If the first real challenge you face takes the wind out of your sails, how can you hope to overcome the numerous and difficult obstacles that almost always pave the way to success? An honest evaluation of your ability to triumph over adversity and to follow through when staring at hardship is necessary before you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.

An understanding of your limitations

This may seem like the opposite of having confidence, but it is not. While you need confidence to succeed, you also need to be able to view your own abilities objectively. A good entrepreneur is a good leader, and a good leader knows when to listen to others. If you stubbornly refuse to consider other viewpoints, or insist on doing things yourself that can be done better by those with a more suitable skill set, you are steering your enterprise toward failure.

A healthy disrespect for the rules

People with an entrepreneurial spirit know that rules and common knowledge exist to be defied. Illicit risk-taking behaviour is a common trait among entrepreneurs, and that translates into the ability to defy conventions that stand in their way. That doesn’t mean entrepreneurs are natural felons, but it does mean that entrepreneurs are willing to cross lines that some people are not.

Willingness to fail

Successful entrepreneurs fail, but then they start over and try again. Rarely is a huge leap taken without huge risk. An entrepreneur has to be able to objectively weigh risk and reward, and take the risk when it makes sense. A budding entrepreneur who is not willing to risk it all when the rewards are great enough is unlikely to ever reap those rewards.

Ta encouraged aspiring business owners to review these traits and see if they can identify with them. “If not, ask yourself how you can change your thinking and behaviour to achieve your own entrepreneurial goals,” Ta said.

courtesy: Business News Daily.