Saturday, January 28, 2006

Design Is The New Entrepreneurship

Design Is The New Entrepreneurship
In this increasingly unbundled world, design is the new entrepreneurship.

Specifically, in the old days, entrepreneurship depended on building a large team and infrastructure to handle manufacturing, operations, and sales.

Today, especially with Internet businesses, these functions can all be outsourced, leaving design as the core competency of the entrepreneur.

A friend of mine is building a Web 2.0-type Web site. In the old days, this would have taken an entire team to build and operate. He's doing it on his own. In his spare time.

He designed the service, created a spec, and put it out to bid on Rentacoder...48 hours later, he's received a ton of bids, including some as low as $20. And that is not a misprint.

Of course, the $20 bidders are students in low-wage countries, but several reputable firms bid only slightly more, like $120.

I was amazed when he showed me the bids, but it just reinforces the point: Design is the value-add, not implementation.

Today's entrepreneurs need to be designers, first and foremost.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mr. Frey, your 15 minutes are up

Mr. Frey, your 15 minutes are up

Oprah finally rips into "Big Jim" for his fictional "memoir."

It may not affect him now, but I'm sure there's plenty of old Milli Vanilli albums out there that will testify to the long-term downside of being found out as a stinkin' liar.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Why Reputation Isn't Important

Why Reputation Isn't Important
Recently, NBA star Kobe Bryant attracted an incredible amount of attention for scoring 81 points in an NBA game, a total that was only exceeded once before by the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, back when NBA teams averaged about 25% more points per game.

Even more incredibly, rather than congratulating him, some journalists and NBA stars criticized him for taking too many shots.

Never mind that the same people criticized Bryant for sitting out the fourth quarter of the game last month in which he scored 62 points.

I freely admit that I am biased...I'm a Lakers fan, and my dog is named Kobe (though that came before his admission of infidelity). And some of the criticisms are valid--after all Kobe did shoot (and make) a lot of shots. But I don't believe that any fair person can agree that selfish, me-first gunners like Vince Carter and Antoine Walker have a right to criticize him.

Lest we forget, Vince Carter is a shrinking violet who for many years, refused to drive to the basket and unleash his famous dunking ability if there was a chance that he'd be fouled and who admits to deliberately tanking games to force a trade. Meanwhile, Antoine Walker is an alleged power forward, who, despite his many talents, prefers to shot ill-advised three pointers.

This is a lengthly preamble to my main point, which is that reputation isn't that important. No one wants to get a bad rep, but the only shame is in deserving a bad reputation.

Whatever you do, however transcendent, you may be criticized.

Conversely, you may be praised for something that isn't particularly deserving.

Ultimately, the best approach is to focus on your own evaluation of your actions. That intrinsic reward is far more important than the barking of the crowd.