Tag Archives: personal development

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/

Fall in Love with your Market, not with your Technology

Why do so many early-stage technology companies struggle? One reason is that they fall in love with their technology. Many entrepreneurs are great engineers or scientists. They create all sorts of inventions and smart new technologies. They write algorithms, file patents and then they march out to search for markets, calling ”Is there anyone out there who could use my new technology?”

Pushing technology is like pushing on a rope.

When I graduated from University I had two buddies. The first one loved IT technology. He always had the latest PC/phone/PDA/gadgets. He chose a career in the IT industry and was constantly searching for that next razor-edge, earth-shaking, game-changing technology wave.  The second buddy chose to sell coffee machines. We smirked at this. He said that in most large office buildings (at that time – early 1990s) they drank really bad coffee. He was right and he decided to change this. He focused on the problems of a specific market. He licensed and sold whatever technology was best. He made a fortune selling these coffee machines. We others are still searching for new technology, much like Don Quixote out looking for dragons to fight.

I do corporate turnarounds for early-stage companies that are struggling. I have lots of tricks, but the one that works most often is to get them to let go of the technology obsession and to tune their ears and eyes on the needs of a unique market.

It is really simple and easy.

Don’t fall in love with your technology. Fall in love with your market. Your market will last for many years. Technologies just come and go.

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.

How Can Entrepreneurs Keep Faith?

Something that all entrepreneurs will face sooner or later are setbacks, delays and rejection.  It goes with the territory, yet one of the hardest things is keeping faith and energy in your project, regardless what comes your way.

How do others do it? How do they keep their belief in spite of resistance?

faith |fāth|  noun
1.  a complete trust or confidence in someone or something : based on belief rather than proof

I have been working on raising capital for a new business for the past few months. We have written a solid business plan. We have a strong team. We have developed a product with potential. We have customers who are willing to use their time and efforts to help us get to market. We have bootstrapped the company as far as we can without external financing, and yet raising the startup capital is taking longer and proving to be harder than expected.

What should we do in order to keep the faith? How can I keep my team focused and moving ahead at a brisk pace when the funding process is slowing us down and stealing lots of our energy?

I asked a friend who is an experienced entrepreneur. He said “Trust your gut feeling and act… Just keep taking massive action.” I think this is good advice that I intend to follow, but it still did not address the core issue of how to stay motivated.

So I called another friend who is a coach. Of course, he replied with some questions. He asked me the following:

  • Why did you begin with this startup business in the first place?”
  • “What do you want to get out of it in the long-term?”
  • Why is this business so important to you?”
“He who has a why can endure any how.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher
“Give me a big enough WHY and I will always be able to figure out the HOW”
–from the book Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins

It was then that I realized the answer to my question.

In order to keep myself and the team highly motivated, we must keep our focus on our PURPOSE. We intend to build a strong business. We have created a product that solves a real and relevant problem in the marketplace. When we get it to market, hundreds of millions of children and senior citizens will benefit. This is our purpose and the reason that we created this business. Connecting to this purpose is what gives us energy and the belief that is necessary in order to overcome setbacks, delays and resistance.

My job as an entrepreneur and my job as a leader is to keep this Purpose visible and clear in our daily discussions and in our meetings.


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.

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.

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.

Am I crazy to be an entrepreneur?

Image from www.all4humor.comI woke up this morning and my first thought was that “I am crazy”! Stark, raving, mad, lunatic crazy. It was all triggered by an argument that I had with my business partner yesterday, which was by no means his fault.

Crazy can be defined as doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result. Crazy is when you have the most amazing product to sell, but your customer has no money. Crazy is when you create a sales forecast in Excel with hockey-stick escalating revenues, yet in your gut you know that this might not be too realistic. Crazy is when your business model is simply not working, but you refuse to see the light. Crazy is when we fool ourselves, both in business and in life.

But isn’t it necessary for entrepreneurs to be visionary? Don’t we have to own a dream? Don’t we have to see solutions where no one else dares to look or believe? Isn’t it necessary to “keep the faith” in spite of resistance? What if Thomas Edison had quit after over 1000 failed experiments to invent the light bulb? Isn’t that what makes some entrepreneurs great while others are only mediocre? Don’t entrepreneurs need to be a bit crazy?

In the book Awakening the Entrepreneur Within, by Michael Gerber, he talks about 4 different entrepreneur personality types. There is the DREAMER – the entrepreneur with the ability to see holes in the market and to discover innovative new ways of solving problems. There is the THINKER – the one who takes the dream and figures out the mechanics and the strategy necessary to make it work. There is the STORYTELLER – the one who figures out how to tell the world about this amazing dream, and then there is the LEADER – the one who buys the dream, understands the strategy, embraces the story, but takes LEADERSHIP.

My wife’s favorite mantra is “Balance, balance and even more balance”.

Balance is what entrepreneurs need. To succeed you must have all the 4 personality traits, not just one. You cannot be just a dreamer. You must also balance this by being a good thinker, storyteller and leader as well.

Nobody ever said that being an entrepreneur would be easy. Don’t give up your dream, but seek the balance that will make it all work.  I promise that I will.

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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. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips. Contact me if you want to find out how we can help accelerate your business.

Image from www.all4humor.com

It is hard to change just a little. Easier to change a lot.

To succeed as an entrepreneur you have to pay attention. You must pay close attention to what is going on around you – to your company, your market and to your own mindset.  And quite often you will discover that you need to make changes.

The problem with change is that changing just a little is often harder than changing a lot. Your old mindset still has its old values and attachments that inevitably will slide you back into your old groove. But when you change enough to create a new mindset, you can free yourself from your old way of looking at things and create a new groove.

The older we get, the more difficult habits are to break. The more we have done something one way, then the more difficult it is to do it another way. The longer we have a perspective, the harder it is to change the way we see things.  This is human nature.

Want to make a change? Make it a big change not a small one. Trying to wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning is harder than deciding to wake up 1 hour earlier. The transition is greater and the effect will be more noticeable and likely to stick. Trying to simply improve your sales skills is much more difficult than committing to making a significant change in your sales strategy (enroll in a course, hire a sales coach, employ a consultant). The point is that if you first come to the realization that you need to change something in your life, then make it a big change. You might find it easier and you will more likely succeed.

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.com and at www.xelerator.com.

Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that this beautiful world that we have created needs our help. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.