KaosPilot at NextD

Uffe Elbaek, KaosPilots Principal and author of KaosPilot A-Z, is interviewed at NextD.

The interview is outstanding. It give you another great look at the thought behind the Danish business school.

Read the interview, get inspired, and come back to get a copy of KaosPilot A-Z to find out more about this amazing place.

Essays from KaosPilot A-Z

Scattered among the pages are essays by various friends of the school. Some of the authors you will recognize, but what’s better is that many of them you won’t.

Here’s a partial list of what you’ll find:

  • “Sharing Makes Us Bigger” – Ketan Lakahani, South Africa
  • “F$@# Heirarchy, Give Me The Gestalt” – Richard Stanley, Finland
  • “The Corporate Chaplain” – Steen Hindebrandt, Denmark
  • “Willing To Be Disturbed” – Margaret Wheatley, USA
  • “Time And Again I Asked” – Dee Hock, USA
  • “The Grassroots Entreprenuer” – Anita Roddick, UK
  • “Dr. Michael Copass and The Four Square Mode”l – Andy Stefanovich, USA
  • “Black Box” – Wy Wong, Hong Kong

I wanted to quote this passage from Andy Stefanovich, founder and director of Richmond, VA- based Play. I think this captures one aspect of what making blogging so wonderful. He tell the story of Dr. Michael Copass and Medic One, the country’s first medical emergency response system:

The Medic One story now serves as a point of inspiration for other people who may not have known about this development to create new ideas. The very fact that you have read this paragraph and have been affected by the story make you part of the collective consciousness. And the process will continue.

More about KaosPilots

I want to tell you more about KaosPilots. I first heard about the Danish business school in this month’s (April 2004) issue of Fast Company. Heath Row wrote a one page article about the school and their book KaosPilot A-Z. The book was published in Danish a couple of years ago, and recently translated into English.

I got intrigued with the school and contacted them to see where I could get the book in the U.S. The school principal Uffe Elbaek and I had some conversations. We decided to start selling the book here at A Penny For… I figured I had an audience that likes unique content.

I really liked the book. It is a great combination of innovative business thought and wonderful photos. I share with you some of those thoughts over the next couple of days.

Business Books – A Comeback?

There is an article in the WSJ today about business books and the difficult run they have had [sub. needed].

One bright point is Mr. Trump’s new book called ‘Trump: How to Get Rich’. It is being released tomorrow and right now, it is #25 at Amazon.

Here are the other hopefuls for 2004:

From WSJ 3/22/04; Sources: Barnes & Noble, publishing companies

The Business of Books

If a business book sells 10,000 copies, it is considered a success. It is very rare for a business book to have blockbuster success like a Da Vinci Code or the latest Harry Potter. One exception is Good to Great by Jim Collins having sold over 1,000,000 copies.

I found that out recently and it really surprised me. I am not sure why. I guess I looked at my bookshelf and saw an awful lot of business books.

I have decided that Rob, Jon, and I are single-handedly supporting business book publishing in America.

Books Mr. Buffet says you should read

Today, Warren Buffett released the Berkshire Hathway’s annual letter to the shareholders.

The buzz today is that he recommends some books to read:

  • Bull! by Maggie Mahar
  • The Smartest Guys in The Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
  • In an Uncertain World by Robert Rubin

He gives a nod to Jason Zwieg’s revising of The Intelligent Investor, originally written by Benjamin Graham.

There is one other book reference in the letter and you have probably heard this story. Every year, Buffet does a session with finance students from the University of Tennessee. Last year, the students gave him a copy of Jim Clayton’s autobiography, First A Dream. Clayton is the founder of Clayton Homes, a powerhouse in the manufactured homes business. One thing lead to another and Buffet ended up buying Clayton homes last year. As a thank-you for the tip, each student got one share of Class B stock . Today’s value is $3,136.

Two of these titles are already on Amazon’s Top 25

P.S. Fast Company also had a take on the Clayton Homes acquisition in their Jan. 2004 issue.

Barry in town

Barry Moltz spoke to the Milwaukee Company of Friends Chapter last night.

I’ll post a summary over the weekend.

I find this interesting. Barry said the number of books he sells at his speaking engagements is roughly equal to 1/3 of the event’s attendance. Last night, we had 15 people and he sold 5 books.

Winners Know When To Quit

Todd’s decision to leave his family’s business even after he tried unsuccessfully to grow it is a wonderfully complex life decision.

I always hated the expression that my father told me (I think he was quoting Vince Lombardi) that “Quitters Never Win and Winners never Quit”. What a bunch of hogwash! Winners know when to quit. Winners know when to move on to something else. There is no shame in business surrender.

Sometimes when you quit your current adventure it can be rejuvenating. Closing one door can open up the possibility of others opening. My friend Beth Finke, who wrote the book, “Long Time No See” talks how when she finally lost her sight after 20 years of diabetes and countless surgeries, she was relieved. She had been previously living between the seeing world and the blind world. When there was no possiblity of her seeing again, she could begin her life as a blind person.

In my book, I talk about when I was running my own businesses, there are many days I wanted to stop the world and get off. We all know if can get rough. How do you know when to quit and move on? Remember what Gene Autry said “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging”. Evaluate where you are and the passion you have for your current endeavor.

Consolidating your gains or minimizing your losses can be the best course for you to take. Decide what you can learn from this decision. Next Path…

But the path that Todd has selected to take would be a hard one for me. I always thought that I had the easier job of going to work everyday and not staying home with our infants. At least at work, people pretended to listen to me.

Barry’s Blog

Since this a Blog Book Tour, Todd asked me to give you my take on blogging.

I have come to love blogging. I have never been much to keep a diary except during especially difficult times in my life or when I was writing the book. But I wanted a way to share with visitors all of the people and ideas that I come in contact with as I travel around the country and talk to people about the book. It also is a good way to collect my ideas for the next book which incidently my wife wants me to call “Over My Wife’s Dead Body”. I wish I could get more people actively involved in my blog, but so far that has not been the reader I attract.

I think it is important for all entrepreneurs to reach out and share their ideas. Running your own business can be such a lonely place. Everyday you are riding the rollercoaster and you are trying to balance and focus on so many things. What I learned after doing 50 interviews with other entrepreneurs for the book was that we are not alone. Additionally, there are so many people out there willing to help if you just give them a chance!

Let the Tour Begin!

I am very excited to begin this Business Blog Book Tour. It is a very creative way to talk with people all around the world. With almost no marketing budget for my book, the internet and blogs are a perfect way to spread the word and ask for meaningful discussions on the ideas expressed in “You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth About Starting and Growing Your Business”. I want to hear people’s thoughts about my personal journey and the stories that are told of 20 other entreprenuers.

I wrote this book because I can’t help myself. I am an entrepreneurholic. I have been kicked out of business, gone out of business and sold a business. People in the late 1990’s got the wrong idea that you could write a business plan on Monday on a napkin and go public on Friday. They saw it as a get rich quick scheme. In fact, I have always hated those books that “give you 10 quick steps to success”. If you want to make alot of money in the next 5 years, go get a job. Most overnight business success stories take 10 to 20 years.

Start a business because you have a passion. Develop the resilience to ride the business rollercoaster up and down as you succeed and fail. Create a family and friend support structure that can help you during these times. When you succeed, celebrate your milestones. When you fail, wallow in it if you must but see if there is anything to learn and move on. Neither success or failure lasts forever. Remember you are not alone, the people around you will help transition you through all of these times. Depend on it.

Choosing Biz Books

I have been reading a lot of books lately. I am searching for new ideas. With books, the writer has room to expand on a thought and give it substance. I am finding I don’t retain much from the popular snippet style of journalism in most newspapers and magazines.

The next problem I run across is which books to read. The number of business titles published in 2002 was in the thousands (8000?). I don’t have the money or the time to get through all of them. I am sure many of you have the same problem.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. I buy almost everything from Amazon. The reviews give you an idea of what people think about the book. As they get to know me, they start to give better suggestions for other things I may like. I also like that I can purchase either new or used books. Check out the best biz titles for 2003 as rated by the editors and the customers.
  2. Check out Jack Covert Selects from 800-CEO-READ. This Milwaukee-based company specializes in business titles for corporations and individuals. I find Jack’s reviews are through, honest, and outside the mainstream. This month he recommends:

  3. If you are a regular reader, you’ll know I am partial to Fast Company. They started a book club in October and each month they let readers vote on five books. Here are the choices thus far:

    Also, John Moore posted a Best of Marketing Books list for 2003 on FC Now.

  4. Check out All Consuming. The site is a combines of data from Technorati, Amazon, Weblogs.com, and Alexa to show the popularity of books on blogs. Since business blogs are still relatively new, there isn’t a ton of feedback yet. I think it will grow into another word of mouth source for recommendations.
  5. Finally, I hope the Business Blog Book Tour becomes another trusted source for reading suggestions. We have lined up a great set of stops for the tour. I plan to annouce the first author after the holidays.

The books I now have to read

Tom Peters highlights many people and their ideas in his new book Re-Imagine.

The names that I recognized included Gary Hamel, Seth Godin, and Doug Hall.

Here the ones I was less familiar with and thought I should add to my reading list:

  • The Experience Economy – James Gilmore and Joseph Pine
  • Serious Play – Michael Schrage
  • Beyond Disruption – Jean-Marie Dru
  • Funky Business – Kjell Nordstrom and Jonas Ridderstrale
  • Leading Minds – Howard Garner
  • Orbiting the Giant Hairball – Gordon MacKenzie
  • Aha! – Jordan Ayan

Anyone read any of these? I would be interested in your comments.