Why You Shouldn’t Build a Billion-Dollar Startup

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Entrepreneurs dream about building the next big billion-dollar company. But the Apple, Google, and Facebook-shaped stars in their eyes end up clouding their vision. It’s easy to get caught up imagining your company going viral and getting to millions of users — all before your business has made a single dollar.

All the hopes and visions in the world won’t get you any closer to your billion-dollar exit. In fact, setting out to build a billion-dollar startup is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Gary Chou, an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, teaches his students how to launch a startup by taking a completely divergent approach. His course in Entrepreneurial Design has an unexpected syllabus for a business class: forget about creating a business plan or making a pitch deck for a fictitious billion-dollar unicorn company. Instead, get out there and do it — create a real $1,000-dollar company.

Chou’s assignment is to create a business that will produce $1,000 in monthly profit in a way that’s repeatable and sustainable. What has emerged from this exercise includes real profitable, ongoing businesses and funded Kickstarter projects. But beyond the money that’s been made and the companies created, what’s most important is the experience and knowledge you take away — for if you take on the challenge of building a $1,000 startup, you’ll learn three invaluable lessons.

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Dr Seuss’s Surprising Strategy For Success

In 1960, two men made a bet. There was only $50 on the line, but millions of people would feel the impact of this little wager.

The first man, Bennett Cerf, was the founder of the publishing firm, Random House. The second man was named Theo Geisel, but you probably know him as Dr. Seuss. Cerf challenged Dr. Seuss that he wouldn’t be able to write an entertaining children’s book using only 50 different words.

Dr. Seuss took the bet and won. The result was a little book called Green Eggs and Ham. Since its publication, Green Eggs and Ham has sold more than 200 million copies, making it the most popular of Seuss’s works and one of the best-selling children’s books in history.

At first glance, you might think this was a lucky fluke. A talented author plays a fun game with 50 words and ends up producing a hit. But there is actually more to this story — and the lessons in it can help you become more creative and stick to better habits over the long run.

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John Cleese Discusses Innovation

The hilariously creative John Cleese shares how interruptions and busyness are the biggest barriers standing in the way of innovation.

If you get into the right mood, then your mode of thinking will become much more creative. But if you’re racing around all day ticking things off your list, looking at your watch, making phone calls, and generally just keeping all the balls in the air, you are not going to have any creative ideas.

His solution? Make boundaries of space and time.

The Struggles of Creativity

The painful and inevitable struggle remains to create in a childlike and openhearted manner, but to be un-wistful and cruel when judging one’s creation.

Artist Christoph Niemann writing for the New Yorker about the process of making his first app and the “most important struggle at the center of all creative pursuits: being the artist and the editor at the same time.”

Productivity Secrets: The Best of the Internet

Get BetterHappy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week! 

Dare to say “YES, AND”!

Having the audacity to ask (or say “Yes, and”) opens doors. Waiting for permission leaves you hanging.

Harness the Productivity Power of Automation.

Create with an open heart. Edit with a critical eye.

Productivity secrets for startups.

What will our digital etiquette be in the age of Data Darwinism?

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week:   Try using Zapier or IFTTT to automate iDoneThis updates from lots of apps, including Evernote and Github! Set triggers and zaps to send to today@today.idonethis.com (personal users) and yourteamname@team.idonethis.com (teams). You can find the exact address in the “from” field of your reminder emails.

Dare to Say “Yes, And”

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The skills cultivated in improvisation — communication, creativity, teamwork, taking risks, and resilience — are ones you’d want to see on a résumé. Business schools are taking note and even teaching improv. Robert Kulhan, adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business explains, that at its core, “Improvisation isn’t about comedy, it’s about reacting — being focused and present in the moment at a very high level.”

One of the most fundamental principles of improv which produces that mindful reacting is “Yes, and”. You accept and agree with what someone has said, and you’re not done until you build upon it, which requires listening, understanding, and insight.

That “and” generates possibility, and as Tina Fey writes in Bossypants, responsibility. For her, “Yes, and” means, “[D]on’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.”

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Steve Jobs and Customers: The Best of the Internet

MargeHappy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week!

How leaders & employees can power up happiness at work.

Luc Levesque, of TravelPod & TripAdvisor, on how to lead your team to excellence and how he uses iDoneThis.

The science of shower creativity.

Why Steve Jobs never listened to his customers.

5 ways to standout performance.

When leaders don’t have time to lead and fear accountability.

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week:  Hey iDT team users, have you noticed that links are now clickable? Include links in your dones to show ALL the things!