A more refined yin and yang between “working hard and working smart,” is “the hustle and the machine.” Working hard and working smart is a false paradox, because you always need to work hard smart. The difference in “the hustle and the machine,” is an acknowledgement that no matter how much you hustle, there are not enough hours in the day. That no matter how hard you plow, you do need some John Deere equipment.
Groupon employs 70 writers and a lot of local salespeople to hustle up its local offers; however, on the other end is an email machine. Can you imagine if Groupon had to hustle on both ends?
As a rough rule, I find you can only hustle on one end. You can hustle on inventory or demand generation but not both- on one side you need a machine. When I was on Wall Street, we hustled to find and service a stellar group of hedge fund research clients. But when it came time to get paid, we traded their blocks of shares onto the floor, ECNs, and other liquid pools. We didn’t go looking manually for buyers. In fact, I saw some people trying to do just that: finding the other side of each transaction to generate double commission, this was called “naturals.” It didn’t work too well; two-sided hustling is building business on coincidence.
Ideally you have machine on both ends, as eBay did in the 90s. As ideal as that may be, hustle on one end and a good machine on the other tends to a decent mid-term barrier to entry. Google for example, has search as its machine on the consumer demand side (inventory), and big Fortune 500 sales force to hustle for clients on the other end (buyers).
If you are all hustle, you have no chance at exponential grow, because it’s nature is linear. If on one side you have a machine, you have a chance of exponential kicking in and making your hustle side much easier. For example, it must be much easier for Groupon salespeople to sign up local businesses now then it was a year ago. Machine can seep into your hustle.
Posted via email from jonsteinbergA more refined yin and yang between “working hard and working smart,” is “the hustle and the machine.” Working hard and working smart is a false paradox, because you always need to work hard smart. The difference in “the hustle and the machine,” is an acknowledgement that no matter how much you hu … | Comment »
Posted via email from jonsteinbergSpecial thanks to Aol Ventures (Mike Brown, Jon Brod) for hosting our meetup and to our great panel of speakers: Our speakers were: Duncan Watts, Principal Research Scientist at Yahoo! Research, author of Six Degrees Nihal Mehta, CEO Buzzd, discussing their new viral offers Greg Galant, Sa … | Comment »
Matt Blumberg had some good follow up on Fred’s blog on the topic of “what a CEO does.” I’ve found the bulk of the thread to be helpful but disagree on one point Matt makes: NIHITO (Nothing interesting happens in the office)
It could be that Matt is talking about CEOs and my role is different from that, but I’ve been struck recently but how important being in front of the screens and with the team is. It’s in the office where rfps get responded to, client campaigns are launched, product decisions are made, etc
I do agree with Matt for salespeople. As a friend once said, “the dollars are out there not in the office.”
For me, however, everything interesting happens in the office. Even terms of my involvement with sales- most sales get defined, rfped, and closed in the office. You do need to press the flesh but you also need to pound the phones and keys.
Being out of the office is a high stakes bet. It may have a big return, such as winning a new client, but it also is a tremendous amount of time investment.
At least for my job, I very carefully evaluate the expected return of time out of the office. I find I need to be in the office at least 50% per day with 50% available for out of office sales and biz dev.
We do have big wins in meeting with new clients or going to focused conferences but they cost me at lot in the way of execution time.
That’s why I think nights are the ideal interpersonal time for entrepreneurs. I have two kids but try to get to meetups, client events, etc two to three nights a week. They’re essential and they don’t detract from the flow of daily responsiveness.
(iPhone treadmill etc)
Posted via email from jonsteinbergMatt Blumberg had some good follow up on Fred’s blog on the topic of “what a CEO does.” I’ve found the bulk of the thread to be helpful but disagree on one point Matt makes: NIHITO (Nothing interesting happens in the office) It could be that Matt is talking about CEOs and my role is different from t … | Comment »
Quick and Dirty, Back of the Envelope, and Business School in 1960
When I was in business school, we produced about one financial model a week. I often wondered what business school must have been like for one of my mentor’s, Jerry Speyer, who attended the same school, Columbia Business School, in the 1960s. How did they produce spreadsheets on actual spreadsheets? Similarly, my father wrote what few papers he wrote in college using carbon paper, typewriters, and when he splurged on hired typists. And what of Mad Men who have the luxury of napping and drinking while copy is being set? I led a session for our team today called “quick and dirty mocks for clients.” My goal is for our team to be able to mock up customized ad programs for brands in under 60 minutes; for both our destination site and the Viral Network. Clients want the general idea quickly. Polishing and smooth edges are for when the order is set and the program is to be put in place. In a quick and dirty mock, there are no errors, but there is also no polish. It’s a sketch, it’s an idea, it’s a back of the envelope calculation. Which brings be to rough estimation. If you can’t do the business math on the back of an envelope to size an opportunity or deal, you’re using false precisions or overcomplicating. False precision is the devil in every financial forecast. The only thing that works is linear growth extrapolations for a 6 month period, and rough hacks for years out. But why quick and dirty and why back of the envelope? Technology has allowed for much greater speed and precision of production. In a business school semester, students now produce 12 financial models per semester with greater precision than the single model our predecessors in the 60s turned out. The speed and volume is now a force that there is no going against. Columbia Business School wants a model a week from it’s students. In business the quickest, most responsive, and productive have an edge. A partner recently apologized to me for firing 5 emails with 5 ad plan revisions in a hour, my response, “Keep it coming, how else we get the deal done?” Don Draper pitches Life Cereal (while drunk) with a single pitch board that probably took days to produce. Rather than use the technology of today to produce 40 slides for Life, use the technology to produce 40 great client ideas, each just a few slides. If the client doesn’t like it with one slide, he or she won’t like it with 20. Further, no one spends as much time with your documents as they used to. Instead of 4 interoffice memos, it’s 1500 emails, docs, and ppts. Still no room for slop and carelessness but quick and designed for a 5 minute glance. And with that, point made, and I’ll end. BLOG POST:
Posted via email from jonsteinbergWhen I was in business school, we produced about one financial model a week. I often wondered what business school must have been like for one of my mentor’s, Jerry Speyer, who attended the same school, Columbia Business School, in the 1960s. How did they produce spreadsheets on actual spreadsheets? … | Comment »
BuzzFeed, which tracks online topics that have gone viral, is offering a version of the analytical dashboard it uses to monitor the spread of Internet “memes” to any website, brand or publisher that wants to track the popularity of their content. To demonstrate the dashboard’s features, BuzzFeed — which is run by viral marketer and Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti — has opened up its own internal version of the tool to show all of itstraffic statistics, including the performance of individual stories on the BuzzFeed site and where their traffic came from.
The acceptance of imperfection is essential to working in an operational business. In any given task there are always kluges needed or fixes. If everything runs perfectly, it probably means that you’re not in a growth business, and if you are, it means you’re not pushing into “the new” quickly enough. Embracing imperfection and getting comfortable with it is something that’s taken me along time.
Once you realize that “great products are products that ship” (Steve Jobs?) and that in software businesses the product is never “done,” you recognize that waiting for perfect is not an option. In fact, even if you were to wait for perfect, it would change by the time you got there. With that said, you need to shift your mind from “everything will be great when things are perfect” to “by definition there is no perfect.” You can always look ahead to something: graduation, when your kids are out of diapers, when the code base is migrated, but there is always something next. But it should occur to you that there is only the now and the next, you only live in the now, and there is always a next next. BLOG POST:
Posted via email from jonsteinbergThe acceptance of imperfection is essential to working in an operational business. In any given task there are always kluges needed or fixes. If everything runs perfectly, it probably means that you’re not in a growth business, and if you are, it means you’re not pushing into “the new” quickly enoug … | Comment »