Think of yourself as a start-up company

Getting my feet wet

The January 2012 cover story of Fast Company magazine was all about Generation Flux.You’ve heard of Gen X, Gen Y and more, but what is Generation Flux?

Our business world has been through some tumultuous times: Recessions, financial meltdowns, the massive disruption of technology, natural disasters, nations defaulting on their debt, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and much more.

For every catastrophe and massive shift emerge new breakthroughs and advances. During these past few years, we’ve also seen some of the most interesting companies flourish and grow Apple, Facebook, Lululemon, Amazon, Twitter and more, we’ve seen medical advances at an unprecedented pace and the introduction of new technologies that will forever change our future. In short, this is a time of flux … uncertainty. This makes it hard to chart a course — let alone pull together a five-year plan.Have you taken a look at your investment portfolio recently? Do you honestly think that there is a reliable long view out there? It is with this sense of pandemonium that Fast Company has dubbed us — all of us — Generation Flux.

“To thrive in this climate requires a whole new approach,” states the magazine’s article, This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New And Chaotic Frontier Of Business. “ … some people will thrive.They are the members of Generation Flux. This is less a demographic designation than a psychographic one: What defines GenFlux is a mindset that embraces instability, that tolerates — and even enjoys — recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions. Not everyone will join Generation Flux, but to be successful, businesses and individuals will have to work at it. This is no simple task. The vast bulk of our institutions — educational, corporate, political — are not built for flux. Few traditional career tactics train us for an era where the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.”

Are you freaked out yet?

via Joel: Think of yourself as a start-up company.

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Cash expands by $187b in untaxed offshore accounts

Image representing Pfizer as depicted in Crunc...

U.S. companies led by General Electric Co. (GE) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) stockpiled an additional $187 billion in untaxed overseas profits over the past year, boosting their offshore holdings by 18.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The 70 U.S.-based companies studied hold $1.2 trillion in profits around the world. GE and Pfizer have built up the most money outside the U.S., at $102 billion and $63 billion respectively, according to securities filings. Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) were among the companies that increased their accumulated overseas profits by more than 40 percent in 2011.

As U.S.-based companies expand globally, they keep profits overseas, legally out of the reach of the Internal Revenue Service. Lawmakers from both political parties point to the stockpiling as a symptom of a failed corporate tax system, even while they remain deadlocked over whether the U.S. should impose higher or lower taxes on its companies’ global profits.

“You’re seeing more and more business go on overseas, because that’s where an increasing amount of the global purchasing power is,” said Matt Miller, director of public policy at the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based association of chief executives at large companies that backs lower taxes on overseas profits. “We need to get a competitive tax system that is not antiquated and has all the complexities we have today.”

via Cash Horde Expands by $187 Billion in Untaxed Offshore Accounts – Bloomberg

Brand thinking and entrepreneurship

Nando's take-away in Canal Walk Shopping Mall,...

Recently I had the honour of speaking at Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week, a four-day event that was held at the Cape Town City Hall. As per my usual style of presentation, it was made up of images that I spoke to, rather than words on slides. So since distributing my presentation won’t help, I wrote this summary to share what I spoke about.

My speech was based on how challenger-brand thinking can be used as a framework for entrepreneurship and some other thoughts. Challenger-brand thinking is based on Eating the Big Fish, a book by London-based business strategist Adam Morgan.

The book establishes eight credos or behaviours that are consistent across ‘challenger brands’ such as Nike, Apple, Pepsi and even Nando’s. I have adapted some of the credos to creating a more meaningful dialogue on entrepreneurship.

Behaviour 1…

via How challenger-brand thinking can be used for entrepreneurship

How much money do you *really* need to start your company?

Scott Kveton

Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr

I keep hearing startup entrepreneurs tell me “We need funding. If we just had $XXXk of investment, we’d be killing it right now.” I press them with one question: what would you do with the money if you had it? Inevitably the question is met with a blank stare. Most of the time people haven’t thought about it. The answers that do come feel a little half-baked:

“Buy a bunch of ad words to get people to our site – that’s all we need”

“Build the product”

“Finish the product”

“Hire a bunch of sales guys”

Sure you have an idea and investment is flowing right now. Unfortunately, your idea is totally worthless. I repeat: your idea is totally worthless. If you can turn your idea into a product that people want to pay for, that’s a different story.

via How much money do you *really* need to start your company? « Scott Kveton.