Friday, July 26, 2013

Pippa Malmgren on Success

Shrewd global observer and major league insider, Pippa Malmgren, recently discussed success during an interview. Among the points she made:
 I've been very lucky; a lot of interesting things came my way. I used to be like the old Soviet Union with a rigid Five Year Plan. That worked very well but I also learned to make room for surprises outside the original plan; it's a matter of finding a balance between the two.

If you love what you do, you'll be better at it than anybody and the money will follow.

I don't think getting great academic scores is indicative of capacity to innovate. You also need people who grew up playing with engines and radio sets, or with ideas. Practical, hands-on experience counts as much.

Cultures that do not accept, let alone celebrate, failure, don't have the capacity to innovate. Failure is needed in order to learn and innovate, and when you've nothing to lose, the opportunities for risk-taking and creativity drastically improve.

All big businesses started out at the kitchen table or in the garage. Two thirds of the net new jobs are created by firms that employ fewer than 50 people. So SMBs are critical to economic success. They may not have easy access to capital, but this is actually a huge advantage for them. Capital constraints force them to act with  immense discipline, and that's how good businesses are founded.

Once a business model is working, business owners often want capital, but the desire for immediate cash can overwhelm the innovative work they're doing. Entrepreneurs should never be solely chasing the capital, but should concentrate on doing something they love, which in turn creates better businesses.
Nobody tells you that running a small business is a character test. People will tell you your ideas are crazy. This forces you to decide what you really believe and to stand, usually alone, behind your beliefs.

Two pieces of advice: 1. Don't run out of cash. 2. There are two kinds of people: the ones who give you energy, and the ones who take it away. Ruthlessly go with the former.

1 comment:

  1. Priceless advice. Especially the "love what you do" part. It may not make you the best in the field, but you will be better at it than anything you don't love. And it will make you happier than you can imagine. I have a client who has a restaurant. She confided to me that she hates it, but it pays well. She is not a happy person and has very high stress levels. Life is too short to be miserable. I spent 27 years in a cubicle (1984-2011). The freedom of self-employment is worth the pay cut. Only wish I had done it sooner.