Friday, December 05, 2008

What is your question?

Many smart folks in business think and act very quickly. If you have a question to ask them, for work, guidance, or advice, you need to ask your question quickly and clearly. Most often this type of person will not want to wait for you to think your question through while your talking with them.

In situations where you will not get much seat time with these people it is worth your time to identify before hand, what is your question. Practicing outloud before hand will help clarify your thinking and delivery.

Not only will your results be better, you will be viewed as someone who can think clearly and quickly. The natural ability to do this on the fly will grow over time.

Asking for help

Asking for help is a form of flattery. The process of asking will open doors, and you will be surprised by the willingness of people to help you.

A good skill to have in life is knowing what you know, and knowing what you don't know. Asking for help doesn't show a lack of intelligence, it shows you know yourself and aren't afraid to ask a question so you can learn and move on.

Asking for Advice

I got some advice on how to ask for advice yesterday.

"Give the person something to chew on, something that leads to a conversation."

Many people (myself included) instead of using this technique will just state where they are going and how they plan to get there, and then ask for the other persons thoughts. This method doesn't leave an easy open for a discussion to begin if you don't know the person your talking to very well.

By giving the person something to chew on, three potential routes for example, you give the person an easier avenue to participate and help (which most people want to do).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Blogging as a form of mentoring

I am a strong believer in the power of a good mentor/mentee relationship. As cliché as it sounds, a good mentor helps the mentee connect-the-dots. The mentee has a goal but often has an unclear or ill defined path to get there. A mentor is someone that has already traveled down a similar path the mentee is going, and can help the mentee understand a) what direction to go and b) how to fill those gaps.

I have been following a handful of blogs over the past five years or so. In addition to finding the informational content that I was searching for, I gained insights on how to move forward along my own path, i.e. using blogs as a form of mentorship.

The blog I have read the most Brad Felds ( and am currently on the look for good entrepreneur , business development, and CEO blogs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

YEAH (Young Entrepreneurs at Haas): Part 2

Our last meeting was a whirlwind. We spent the morning getting the mentors up to speed, introducing ourselves to the freshmen group, and then getting to work on the case. The goal for the kids this semester is to analyze and present their findings on a case discussing opportunity recognition.
We wrapped up our second session last Saturday which was largely spent in the computer lab developing their PowerPoint presentation (they definitely taught me a thing or two about the new version of PowerPoint).
Similar to the MBA environment at Haas, a large component of the YEAH program is to help the kids learn and understand the benefits of teamwork. It was great to see how the kids worked together (with minimal encouragement) to get all of the slides completed.
One unexpected benefit that I’ve gotten out of the YEAH program so far is the ability to witness these team dynamics, as well as the ability to coach them on understanding how to work as a team even better. Interesting! This is one of the main skills of mine I wanted to “scale up” at Haas, I had no idea I’d get that chance through YEAH.

First day of YEAH

Yesterday was the first day of YEAH (Young Entrepreneurs At Haas). I had a great morning (albeit a bit early) spent with two other mentors and 7 high school freshman. I was a bit unsure of what to expect when I showed up, but I am really glad I chose to be a part of YEAH.
After a brief introduction we split into groups and began our case discussions. The case we will be reviewing this semester is on Opportunity Recognition and involves some basic finance, marketing, and strategy. I was amazed by our group. After reading the case together the kids dove right into their problem set and only required some minor help guiding their thoughts.
I can’t wait until the next session.- Aaron

I'm Back

Ok. I realize that the last posting date was A LONG time ago, but I'm back. Reason for the break: I was writing soo many essays to get into business school, I couldn't fathom writing anymore. That said, I decided to get back up on the wagon today.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

We weren’t really super into it…

A VC has a good post that ends in a tip for entrepreneurs. It briefly discusses the necessity of the founders being 100% passionate about their project, if not they don’t give their all and that ends up trickling through the organization.

Assuming the founders have 100% passion, the question I am working towards developing answers for is, how do you scale that enthusiasm for your company throughout all its employees as is grows substantially? How do you create a corporate culture and what qualities does that culture have that creates evangelists out of everyone on the payroll?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Corporate Culture - Wal-Mart

I have been thinking a lot about corporate culture since reading the INC article I discussed in my last post. I am really interested in how to develop an innovative and successful corporate culture early on in a company’s life cycle that will greatly increase the odds of building a successful company. I plan to begin posting regularly about this subject including my thoughts and ideas gathered from other sources.

Fast Company had a recent article
Working with the Enemy that discussed an environmentalists switch to back Wal-Mart. At the end of the article a glimpse into the Wal-Mart culture that its massive success was built on.

From the article;

“But for Werbach, the big surprise is how much he's learned from Wal-Mart. He riffs on the company's obsession with its core mission, its relentless tracking of results, its "correction of error" meetings. "In failure," he says, "you don't hide your head in shame, you actually get on the phone the next day and you talk about what went wrong." In Wal-Mart's culture, he has found what he thought was missing from the environmental establishment.”

Friday, August 31, 2007

Using Culture as a competitive advantage recently posted an article I found very interesting. It really highlights the importance of team building for ventures as well as how to build and maintain a corporate culture that gives your company a competitive advantage to companies mimicking your product or process.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Linked In

I have noticed a significant increase in the amount of people I know that are starting up a Linked In account. It will be interesting to see where all that goes.