Archive for June, 2014

What Successful People Read that You Don’t

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

18567633_sI was finalizing a purchase with a new company this weekend and because it was a new vendor, I had to complete the deal by registering on the company’s website. The sales representative was charming and extraordinarily knowledgeable throughout the entire negotiation, so it didn’t surprise me when she wanted to coach me through this last “mile.” We sat together while I completed some forms online.

When the website wouldn’t take capital letters and persisted in translating everything I input to lower case, I laughed and said,

“Wow, your company will think you’re doing business with e.e. cummings.”

“No, we don’t do business with an e.e. cummings, “ she replied. “At least not in my territory.”

Because I am both an educator at UCLA Extension and a working MBA, my heart sank a bit. I know we teach you sales, business, accounting, marketing, operations, human resources, manufacturing, and then some in business school. But if that’s really all you know, we have failed you by graduating you.

The most successful business people read.

They read way beyond their business field. They consume poetry, fiction, science, philosophy, science fiction, science fantasy, religion, psychology and then some. Without these references, you are doomed to lose prestige when your product knowledge is no longer at issue.

We may have done you a real disservice if you have an undergraduate business degree.

Consider whether you have an education deficit, which is more of a liability than you might think. Consider what subject areas would expand your point of view, like anthropology, fine arts, sociology, physical science, biology, mathematics, linguistics, political science and the whole host of topics that enliven the world with different perspectives.

You can be an autodidact, a MOOC-addict or at least a casual reader in these other fields. However, nothing comes close to being engaged by a teacher or mentor who is dedicated to challenging you on a new subject.

Successful people actively widen or deepen the shallow areas of their education. They never stop learning – really learning, not just apprising themselves of a topic with a Buzzfeed style list.

Read and learn to get a richer framework for life, and life brings you greater riches.

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SnapChat CEO Reveals Secret Behind Disappearing Function

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

17034072_sIt’s no surprise where the idea for instantly erasing texts came from. SnapChat CEO Evan Spiegel had a secret buried in his past that explains the whole concept.

Last week Stanford University ProvostJohn Etchemendy cast a much wider net around the filthy email trail left by Spiegel from his college days. It’s not just regrettable what Spiegel “thought” (that women were sluts and then some). It’s not just repugnant that he needed to broadcast his impressions, along with instructions to his fraternity brothers about how to take action against women.

What the Stanford provost brings to our attention is how many people received the emails that were “crude, offensive and demeaning to women.” And, all those men seeing those emails, didn’t one have a sister or mother? Didn’t one have a friend in a sorority house?

Not one person spoke up and said: “Hey, that’s disgusting. Stop it. We’re better than this.”

Truth is, this derogatory speech goes on all the time.

Not just about women. Not just about minorities. About  anyone who is different. Anyone not in power at the moment. Not in the clique, or the club, or the boardroom, or wherever there’s potential to put down someone who somehow is different.

Mean boys are no different than mean girls. Bullies all of them.

What’s worse is that we let them say their piece, and we never speak up. Even if we don’t agree, or don’t find it funny – we are loathe to say to the bully: Stop.

The Stanford provost wants us to be better than this. It’s not enough to ignore it. Or pretend you didn’t hear it or read it.

If you don’t speak up, you are part of the problem.

I spent a good part of last year policing a client. He is a good man in a very angry time of his life. The result was some mean-spirited blogs and posts. I never let one go by. I urged, hectored and insisted he remove them. We finally decided we could not work together.

That’s why it’s hard to speak up. Because you will not hear: “Thank you, you brought me to my senses!” You will however replace that client, friend, club, or whatever it is you’ll give up for something better.

That’s the lesson. Do what’s right, even if you did nothing wrong.

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