Category Archives: A Better World

No task in my life has defined me more than that of being a good father. Help change the world by empowering other fathers.

What’s Wrong with Positive Thinking?

image-source: liveandlovework.com

Whenever I talk so enthusiastically about entrepreneurship, a few people really feel the need to correct me. They say that positive thinking is naïve, oversimplified and at best just a placebo. The serious pessimists love to point out that nothing so simple as positive thinking can be true. Continue reading What’s Wrong with Positive Thinking?

Off The Beaten Path

Over the last year I have been working on a project funded by the European Investment Bank to help young entrepreneurs in the occupied territories in Palestine. The project has been an amazing learning experience for me. Sometimes you have to move outside your comfort zone and beyond your normal pathways in order to discover new parts of the planet and new sides of yourself. The photo is from the Technical University of Hebron and was taken in December 2011. What impressed me most about this group was their eagerness to learn and their insightful questions. Rather than being focused on the hopelessness of the situation in their region, these brave young entrepreneurs were searching for opportunities and seeking solutions to problems.

This is true entrepreneurship at its best. Becoming an entrepreneur means taking responsibility for your life and taking action to make good things happen.

Spiderman’s Vulnerability


Whether you are standing onstage in an auditorium speaking to an audience of 1000 or meeting a new client for the very first time, you will not succeed in influencing others unless you are able to connect with them first. Connection is absolutely essential to communication, especially if the message is important to you and to your audience. Connection is absolutely essential if you are going to persuade and to influence others.

So many leaders and entrepreneurs understand this point and yet as soon as they open their mouths, they forget the basics. Connection comes first, then communication. Only after deep communication is persuasion possible. But how do great speakers connect with their audiences?

One of the ways is through showing vulnerability. In a fantastic TED talk called The Power of Vulnerability, Brene Brown explains that vulnerability is essential to us connecting as human beings.  Without vulnerability, we cease to be perceived as human.

As a teenage boy I loved reading superhero comics. Having supernatural powers is a great fantasy. All superheroes had great strengths, but they all had their weaknesses as well. Superman was powerful, except when he was around the metal Kryptonite. The big green Hulk was stronger than anyone, but he had a big heart and weakness for children (and babes of course).  My all-time favorite comic book character was always Spiderman. Spidey was a teenage boy who was able to do amazing athletic stunts, but he also was constantly plagued with doubt and insecurity. He didn’t choose to be a hero. A radioactive spider bit him and then fate would never leave him alone. His greatest vulnerability was his self-doubt and every episode was really about him trying to overcome this trait. It was the internal struggles rather than the external struggles that defined his defeats and his victories. Without being vulnerable, then superheroes are not interesting. By being vulnerable they reflect our own lives. The more they show us their weakness, the greater their victories and the more we connect with them.

Such is also true with great communication. Without vulnerability, there is less likelihood of connection. Connection is a result of Authenticity and authentic speakers connect and influence. How authentic are you as a speaker? Do you allow your audience see the real you and your own vulnerabilities? What can you do to connect more deeply with your audiences?

Want to learn how to communicate better with your customers? We can help. Contact me at Quickminds (www.quickminds.net) and schedule a meeting with us.

p.s., Thanks to Annicken Rød, Culture Evangelist at Cisco for the inspiration for this blog post.

A Three Minute Course in LEADERSHIP

Whether you are creating a business or creating an amazing life, you can benefit from thinking like an entrepreneur and by taking leadership.

Unfortunately, some of the most fundamental assumptions that we make about leadership may be wrong or over-glorified.  A leader is just a lonely nutcase without followers. The first followers, not the leader, are the ones who take the greatest risk yet get the least praise and recognition. The first followers are the ones that teach other followers how to follow. How often do discussions about leading fail to discuss how to follow?

One of my brilliant entrepreneur-coaching clients sent me a link to the following 3-minute video by Derek Sivers about How to Start a Movement. Watch this video and ask yourself:  What are the areas of my career or life where I am truly taking leadership? How can I nurture my followers and treat them like equals?

Want to learn more about entrepreneurial thinking and leadership? Then sign-up for one of my workshops or courses. Even better, join me for the Oslo Leadership Event (May 27-29, 2011 in Oslo).  There I will hold a talk entitled: Dare to Dream – the Entrepreneurial Mindset. If you attend and are one of my blog readers, please come and introduce yourself to me!

Leadership lessons from the Dancing Guy

Thanks to Erlend Bakke. Check out his amazing360 photography tools at: http://www.3sixty.no/

Why Do Dyslexics Make Great Entrepreneurs?

I spend a lot of time being curious about what makes some people great entrepreneurs. I recently found an article in BusinessWeek that discusses the fact that an abnormally high percentage of entrepreneurs are dyslexics. They raised the question – Does the struggle that is required to overcome dyslexia prepare dyslexics to become great entrepreneurs? And if so, what are these traits?

According to BusinessWeek, the ability to grasp the big picture, persistence, and creativity are a few of the entrepreneurial traits of many dyslexics.

In a study that was published in 2008, Julie Logan, professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School in London found that 35% of entrepreneurs in the U.S. show signs of dyslexia.

“The broader implication” says Logan, “is that many of the coping skills dyslexics learn in their formative years become best practices for the successful entrepreneur. A child who chronically fails standardized tests must become comfortable with failure. Being a slow reader forces you to extract only vital information, so that you’re constantly getting right to the point. Dyslexics are also forced to trust and rely on others to get things done—an essential skill for anyone working to build a business.”

“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

James LeVoy Sorenson, a highly successful entrepreneur in the medical field says that overcoming dyslexia trained him to be persistent and to solve problems in new ways. He says “I like to add one word to the end of many sentences: ‘yet.’ Instead of saying, ‘I can’t do it,’ I say, ‘I can’t do it—yet.'”

I am not a dyslexic, but I think this is a good lesson for all of us who want to be better entrepreneurs. – RICK

See: http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/dec2007/db20071212_539295.htm

Top Dyslexic Entrepreneurs

Take a look at the following list of Entrepreneur Dyslexics and see if you recognize a few names…

  • Charles Schwab
  • Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple)
  • Paul Orfalea (Founder of Kinkos)
  • John Chambers (CEO Cisco)
  • Richard Branson
  • Henry Ford
  • Ingvar Kamprad (Founder of Ikea)
  • William Hewlett (Founder Hewlett Packard)
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Ted Turner (Turner Broadcast)
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Alan Meckler (CEO of Jupitermedia)
  • Walt Disney
  • Nelson Rockefeller
  • Thomas Edison
  • Anita Roddick (Founder of Body Shoppe)
  • Alexander Graham Bell

See: http://www.incomediary.com/top-30-dyslexic-entrepreneurs/

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Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Kill the Cow

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwerfeldein/1934917078/What will Norway live from when the North Sea oil wells run dry? I believe that some answers lie in empowering young entrepreneurs. The following cow story made me think about the fact that sometimes we get very creative when we are forced to do so. What are your cows?

Kill the Cow (by Conor Neill, www.conorneill.com)

A family lives in the outskirts of a remote village on a small plot of land.  The family owns one cow.  Each day they live from the milk of the cow.  If there is little milk, they eat little.  If there is lots of milk, they eat well.  The lives of the mother, the father, the children depend upon the cow.

One autumn day, a lone traveler stops in the village.  He is hungry.  The family share their milk.  The traveler is grateful. The traveler wishes to return the favour and help the family.  He doesn’t know how to help the family.  He hears that there is a wise man in the village.  He walks over to the home of the wise man.
“I was hungry and the family fed me.  I would like to help them.  How can I help this family?”
The wise man said “Kill the cow.”
“Kill it?  How can that help them?  They depend for their lives on that cow.”
The wise man repeated “Kill the cow.”
The traveler was nervous about following such strange advice,  but the reputation of the wise man was such that he went ahead and killed the cow.
A year later the traveler happened to pass again through the village.  He noticed new shops and a thriving market.  He saw a new hotel that provided beds and food to the travelers who came for the market.
The traveler entered the hotel.  Behind the bar he found the eldest son of the family of the cow.  The man was standing tall, smiling and happy.  The traveler greeted him and asked “What happened?”.
“We lost our cow.  There was no milk.  We had to go out and do something to eat.  We set up a small market, it grew.  We set up this hotel, it is growing.  Without the milk from our cow, we had to try new things.”
Silently to himself, the traveler reflected on the power of the wise man’s words.  “Kill the cow.”

“Any nation that thinks more of its ease and comfort than its freedom will soon lose its freedom; and the ironical thing about it is that it will lose its ease and comfort too.” W. Somerset Maugham

What is your cow?

Conor Neill (author of The Rhetorical Journey – www.conorneill.com)


Today’s blog post was written by my friend Conor Neill, who is a professor of communication at IESE University in Barcelona.

Conor and I frequently collaborate on webinars for entrepreneurs. Watch the EVENTS page on this site for future events. I strongly encourage you to visit his blog site and to subscribe to his posts. – RICK

If there is no struggle, then there is no progress

“If there is no struggle, then there is no progress” The title of this blog is a quote from Fredrick Douglass. He was born a slave in America in 1818. After two failed attempts to flee from a brutal slave owner, he finally succeeded in escaping to freedom and went on to educate himself and become a leading writer, newspaper editor and champion voice of the slaves during the American Civil War.

If there is no struggle, then there is no progress.
What does this say for entrepreneurs?

I attended a seminar on entrepreneurship last week where co-founder of Opera Software –  Jon von Tetzchner was one of the speakers. He made an interesting statement. He said that while Opera used over 2 years to get their first seed capital, he said that he is 100% certain today that if they had gotten the funds right away, that they would not have survived. His claim was that the the very process of having to struggle and go through a long and demanding process of searching for capital was one of the things that made them stronger. Tetzchner said that in the process, their business focus sharpened and that each “no” made them tougher.

How important is diversity to an entrepreneur? I often ask groups of entrepreneurs to list the most important characteristics or traits that they must have in order to succeed. “Stubbornness” is always one of the top 5 traits. Stubborn as a mule.

Churchill said something like: “Success is moving from one defeat to another without losing heart”.

The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck”.

Carolyn Salmon (Rick’s Mother) often said “Remember that God’s delays are not God’s denials”.

What do you think? Leave your comments.

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Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Can Entrepreneurship Empower Palestinians?

Last week I was asked to join a group of coaches and investors to design and lead a program for Palestinian entrepreneurs from the West Bank. This week I have been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking about conflict resolution. Thinking about peace. Thinking about empowerment and the role that entrepreneurship can play…

An article in yesterday’s Norway Evening Post discussed the problems in the UK with generational unemployment. 11% of the children in the UK grow up in a family where no one works. No one. The programming starts at birth. Children learn to believe in limitations. Severe limitations. There are very few good examples and even fewer role models. There is only a strong belief – being reinforced daily – that their situation is hopeless and futile. Thus, their likelihood of breaking out of this environment is slim. Generation after generation, the problem gets passed on.

What kind of beliefs are young Palestinian entrepreneurs being taught? What do the children of Palestine believe about their own chance to create their own future? Isn’t this really a question of empowerment?

The greatest gift in becoming an entrepreneur is not the money. It’s not the glamour of being your own boss nor the ability to work when and where you want. The greatest gift lies in knowing that you can create your own future. True entrepreneurship and true empowerment is believing that no matter what situation arises or whatever circumstances occur, that you will be able to find a way to turn it around, to create your own business, to survive and to thrive.

How can we teach this to young Palestinians? How can we instill in them the belief that the future is really theirs to create? Empowerment is one of the only true paths to peace in Palestine. At least that is what I have been thinking…

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Fake It or Be Yourself?

Years ago I heard a great story about networking. It came from an investor who had a different strategy than most. He was part of a delegation of US businessmen who were going to travel to Japan to setup new business relationships. Most of them attended a class where they learned about Japanese customs, etiquette and manners. They learned how to bow, how to present their business cards with two hands and a shallow nod, how to toast sake wine, etc.  The investor ignored these classes. He went out and purchased a giant box of big cowboy hats and took it with him to Japan. While all the others were busy trying to act like good Japanese, he would reach into his box, grab a cowboy hat, stuff it over the ears of the little Japanese businessman, grab his hand and shake him like a tree branch while exclaiming loudly “Howdy there Pardner! Niiice to meet ya’ll!”.  Guess who came home from the trip with the most business?  Guess whom the Japanese businessmen probably still remember?

Dare to be yourself. Sometimes we are so intent on pleasing the people we meet that we forget to be who we are. Good networking skills involve being very specific, clear and intentional in how you present yourself or your business, but mostly it involves being yourself.

I do a lot of work with entrepreneurs where we seek to clarify their message. We work in order to develop a brief Elevator Pitch message that is easy to remember yet addresses the specific wants of the investors or business partners they seek. Note that I say “want”, and not “need”. We buy our wants, not always our needs. For example, I need basic car transportation, but I really want a shiny little sports car. Communicating who you are in a manner that touches on the wants of your audience will help you improve your networking tremendously.

I met another person who introduced himself as a detective. Since he did not say anything more, I was puzzled. I asked what kind of detective. He answered “an existential detective”. I was even more puzzled. I asked how that could be. OK, he smiled and told me he was a priest and that his job was to help people find answers to life’s big existential questions. To this day I have forgotten the names of many other priests yet I still remember this one. Find a way to present yourself that helps others to remember you and to easily understand what you do, who you are and what you are looking for.

And have some fun too!

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.  ~Judy Garland

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Connecting the Dots

Steve Jobs: "Follow your curiosity & intuition"

Like most children, I loved drawing Connect the Dots pictures. I can envision myself staring at a new and particularly complex page of dots and numbers and trying to imagine what could possibly emerge from all that chaos.

Today, as an adult I look forward in my life and try to imagine what future can possibly emerge from all the dots. Some things are easy to foresee. Some things are impossible to imagine and yet there is a marvel and mystery in what the future may hold.

Steve Jobs delivered an amazing speech at Stanford University several years ago. The link to the video is here. In this speech he looks back on some of the major events of his life – dropping out of college, founding Apple, getting fired by the board, rejoining, recreating Apple and surviving cancer. It is an amazing story of inspiration and yet the central theme is that you cannot connect the dots looking forward in your life, only by looking backwards. You must move forward in your life without the numbered dots that will tell you what your next step should be.

Even though he was the founder and a major stockholder at Apple, Steve Jobs was fired. He was publicly ridiculed, humiliated, laughed at and defeated. In his speech Jobs says that this was probably one of the most important and necessary events in his life. Even though Apple had rejected him, he realized that he still loved what he did. This is what allowed him to keep going. He founded NEXT and Pixar, he helped create Toy Story, the world’s first computer animated movie and eventually, Apple hired him back.

When giving advice to the young Stanford graduates he says “Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else ‘s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Follow your curiosity.
Follow your intuition.
Listen to your inner voice.
Be brave and love what you do. The rest will work itself out. The dots will get connected.

Helen Keller was born without sight, hearing or the ability to speak and yet she was quoted as saying that “Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing”.

If you could look back on today 10 years from now, what would you remember? What will you do today that will be worth remembering 10 years from now?

If you read this blog, then you are probably an entrepreneur. If not an entrepreneur, then you are probably someone that wants to create something special with your life. Each day is a blank page. What will you write on yours today?

Want to turn-around your business and achieve results in record time? Contact me to discuss Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation and Management for Hire services for technology companies. You can learn more at www.ricksalmon.comwww.xelerator.com and at www.e-unlimited.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.

Here is another interesting article about Steve Jobs and his career.