Friday, November 04, 2016

Learning from Silicon Valley

My recent trip to Silicon Valley resulted in two fun columns for the National Post. 

The first looks at success tips from the QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose, from both hard-working entrepreneurs and some rather susprising celebrities. By contrast, the second column focuses on failure – as discussed at a “Day of the Dead” event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

From Oct. 31:
QuickBooks Connect brought together entrepreneurs, accountants and celebrity achievers for three days in San Jose to discuss growth, collaboration, technology and creativity. Here are 10 tips to help you succeed in the new business era.
Click here for the column. 

Three quick takeaways:
Actress America Ferrara on finding your niche: As the star of "Ugly Betty" struggled to find a new role as a producer, she realized she' would do best by "telling stories only I could tell." She concluded: “You don’t have to stray from your passions to have impact.”

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps on competition: Commenting on his intensity before  a crucial race this summer in Rio, the winner of five 2016 Olympic gold medals revealed: “When someone makes a negative comment, I make it a motivator. I use it as fuel.”

Dave Alwan, a winning pitcher on Shark Tank: “If you don’t dream big, you can’t think big.”

Moderator Marguerite Gong Hancock with Bill Reichert and iconic sock puppet
From Nov. 7:
Read insiders’ insights into why even good businesses fail –and sometimes bad businesses succeed. Find out why a tablet failed in 1991, and how the founder of messed up his first startup.

The conclusion: “Canadians need to share more collective wisdom about about failure. And why it’s a beginning, not an end.”

Attendees were encouraged to memorialize their favourite failures.

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