Guy Kawasaki’s Secrets to Influencing Anyone (Infographic)

Here’s how to influence others, while maintaining your trustworthiness.

In his book, “How to Achieve Enchantment,” Silicon Valley business advisor Guy Kawasakiexplains how you can influence others while doing it ethically. In the infographic below, created on behalf of Kawasaki, Column Five depicts how you can enchant your employees — and your boss.


Hottest of the Hot: The Most Exciting Trends in Innovation Right Now

Hottest of the Hot: The Most Exciting Trends in Innovation Right Now

Talking innovation at the launch of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Innovation Week in New York City.

Innovation is the buzzword of buzzwords right now.

Everybody is innovating, or wants to be innovating, or tweeting about how they should be innovating, or Instagraming a picture of the innovative culinary concoction they had for breakfast. We are rethinking how we do what we do and who we are. And we are all sort of obsessed with the process.

At the launch of the Tribeca Film Festival’s Innovation Week, which is under way right now in New York City, a gaggle of leaders in innovation shared what they are most excited about in innovation right now. Their answers range from new technological gadgets to new ways to think about our own identities.

Here’s a rundown of what they had to say. Consider this your cheat sheet to innovative innovation, or the hottest of what’s hot right now.

Craig Hatkoff, co-founder of Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards: “I just had a demo of the latest version of Oculus Rift and while I was somewhat skeptical of how impactful this would actually be…but when someone pays $2 billion for a company with no product ready for market, it sounds like a lot of money…For $2 billion, this may be the closest thing to the Louisiana Purchase that I have seen…when someone takes $2.5 million from Kickstarter, a pair of ski goggles and two iPhones and turns it into the most immersive experience you can possibly imagine, that feels pretty disruptive to me.”

Rabbi Irwin Kula, co-founder of Disruptor Foundation: “The most interesting thing happening in innovation to me now is how people are innovating their identities. And what I call it is that people are mixing, bending, blending and switching in ways that are unprecedented in human history…It’s happening in the way people are putting together their identities, independent of anyone external’s coherence. It just has to be coherent to you. This is a radical way in which we are going to be living as human beings. Innovating identity.”

Mark Payne, co-founder of innovation consultancy Fahrenheit 212: “We look at innovation and see there was this crazy bifurcation of capabilities for so long where there was the discipline of strategy and the discipline of creativity…and what excites me now is we are seeing this crazy convergence happening where the church and state separation is really disappearing. The young, creative people jumping into innovation, they want to see stuff happen, they don’t want to fill rooms with Post-it notes and say, ‘Wasn’t that fun?’ They really want to see an impact…It’s this giant mashup.”

Bre Pettis, CEO of 3D-printing company MakerBot: “Before we started Makerbot, we started this website called And, it doesn’t make us any money. In fact it costs us a lot of money. But it’s one of those things where you go to and if you are a designer, you share your ideas, you give them away for free, you let anybody download your designs. They can download them and make them on a Makerbot. And what ends up happening is when you give people a platform for sharing, they do wonderful and sometimes practical, sometimes completely absurd things. And there is something with innovation that is very close to the absurd. If you want to be more innovative, do stupid things. Do things that tickle your fancy — that make you feel like, ‘This is probably a bad idea, but I am going to do it anyway. Ok, yes, I am going to add explosives to this project’…whatever your passion is, add 3-D printing to it, and something interesting will happen.”

Tarah Feinberg, chief marketing officer of the innovation marketplace Kite: “For me it comes down to one word: it’s about accountability. For me it’s really about the fact that slowly but surely, on every level, of anyone touching innovation on a business level, it’s no longer about shiny objects or a little spike in business results or a story that you can get published in the news next week. It’s really becoming about outcomes.”

Jeff Meleski, chief global growth officer of the consumer collaboration consultancyCommunispace: “One of the most innovative things we see with the brands we work with is what we are calling the democratization of innovation. So it’s moving from the few to the many or at least to the more. And what that means is we are thinking about organization’s cultures and how they are embracing innovation to really be able to keep pace and be much more agile, as you think about their much more traditional software development companies, this idea of agility and innovating in an iterative, incremental manner that is really delivering against business needs, in real time, continuing to keep the brand current and relevant and moving ahead.”

Judith E. Glaser, chairman of the Creating WE Institute, author of Conversational Intelligence: “The idea of identities and new identities: there are actually places in the brain — every time you chose a new name, you get a new title, you learn something new or you can actually see yourself in a new way — you are creating a new identity inside of yourself. So the fact that human beings are now co-creating new identities, we are able to give new definition to each identity and release ourselves from the past. Most of our identities, we bring all that stuff from the past, right? So we are who everybody said we were or we weren’t. But now with new identities, we are able to put new memories, it frees up our brain to give ourselves a boost to become something else that we never thought we could become before. So I highly recommend you think of yourself in new identities. Who do I want to be with other people and co-create in a completely frees your brain from the past, dis-attaches some of the things that are back here — the amygdala hijacking that we get that stops us from doing things — and actually frees us to garner new insights from others.”

Hutch Carpenter, director at innovation management software company Hype Innovation: “Employees are starting to trust their employers a whole lot more around this innovation ‘thing.’…Employees are starting to be asked their opinion, their ideas. Their insight…what I am seeing over the last year, two years, three years, four years, now is a real movement to get a lot more from your employees, get them a lot more involved than you historically ever have. And it’s healthy. It’s healthy for companies because you are going to get cognitive diversity…we have different ways of thinking about things.”


Facebook still unstoppable as it grows to 390 million active users in Asia

The Zuck doesn’t come unstuck. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is continuing its march across Asia, as seen in the Q1 2014 earnings report for Mark Zuckerberg’s social network.

Facebook now has 390 million monthly active users (MAUs) in Asia, from a grand total of 1.276 billion around the world. That Asia tally is up from 368 million MAUs at the end of last year – and way up from 319 million in Q1 2013.

Note that when Facebook issues its Q2 figures, Asia will be the bigger than the ‘rest of the world’ segment. Here’s the MAUs chart for Q1:

Facebook still unstoppable as it grows to 390 million active users in Asia

Allied with Facebook-owned WhatsApp and its 500 million monthly active users, the social network has an extraordinary global army of engaged users.

Here’s are Facebook’s Q1 figures for daily active users. There are now 216 million of them in Asia:

Facebook still unstoppable as it grows to 390 million active users in Asia

Revenue from Asia

The ‘Asia’ chunk of the charts gets a lot slimmer when it comes to revenue. Facebook made $354 million in revenue from Asia out of its total of $2.5 billion in Q1, which is 14.14 percent. Facebook’s revenue dipped from Q4 last year to the most recent Q1, and Asia managed to bring in the only regional revenue rise in that time period.

Facebook still unstoppable as it grows to 390 million active users in Asia

Facebook makes $0.93 per user in Asia – that’s its ARPU – but that’s below the global average of $2 per user.

-Courtesy: Techinasia

Apple Sold 20 Million Apple TVs, Which Are Now Far From A Hobby

The Apple TV continues to gain traction despite little effort from Apple. On today’s financial earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has sold 20 million Apple TV boxes. By the end of 2013, the company had sold approximately 10 million Apple TV units. The product is clearly on-pace for a killer year even with new offerings from Amazon and Roku.

“I’m feeling good about this business and where it could go,” Tim Cook said, further revealing that the company stopped calling the product segment a hobby once it pulled in $1 billion in revenue in 2013. “It didn’t feel right to me to refer to something that brought in a billion dollars as a ‘hobby,’” he said.

“We’ve got a pretty large installed base there,” Cook said, speaking to competitors. He feels the Apple TV stands “extremely favorable” against other streaming devices like the new Amazon Fire TV.

Cook failed to go into future plans in the space. He didn’t reveal any upcoming Apple TV features or partnerships. But with this sort of traction, why change course?

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

5 Ways to Stop Sacrificing Too Much for Your Startup

You have to give up things to start and grow a business, but don’t give up the fundamentals that make life worth living.

Twitter’s CEO and co-founders have said that they won’t sell stock when the lock-up ends on May 5. Why? It’s not hard to guess. A sudden flood of shares hitting the market could send the stock price tumbling, and the company wants to keep a strong share value for possible acquisitions, adherence to lender demands, employee morale, and other reasons.

In short, Dick Costolo, Jack Dorsey, and Evan Williams are doing what entrepreneurs often do: sacrificing for the greater good. The fear of failure runs deep, and for good reasons. It’s ridiculously easy for a new company to crash and burn. But there are useful efforts and those that are wastes of time and energy. What you want to do is to work smarter.

You can’t avoid sacrifice in starting and expanding a company. However, you can be more intelligent about how you do it and avoid unnecessary privations that will actually set you back. Here are five ways to keep some balance and sanity.

Set regular hours (as much as possible).

Running a business, whether new or established, can mean long hours. But it shouldn’t turn into a never-ending series of all-nighters. You’ll burn out mentally and physically. Some significant time away helps you recharge, clear fuzzy thinking, and come back more able to succeed. Set regular hours for yourself. They’ll probably be long, and there will be times when you can’t leave when you’re scheduled to. Set the hours anyway and do your best to keep them.

Trade off advancement with family and me-time.

One of the ideas that drive entrepreneurs to spend all their time at work is the thought that they are pushing their companies ahead. Often, that’s wishful thinking. Track what an outsider would consider actual advancement, and you’ll find that often you’ve indulged in wheel spinning. Maybe it’s losing sight of a bigger picture or perhaps it’s giving in to your inner workaholic.

In addition to setting regular hours, make sure that you do something during your time away from the job. Maybe hang out with a significant other, kids, or friends. Or you might occasionally indulge in a hobby, or even take a course. Meg Hirshberg, wife of Greg Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, says even “generally inquiring about [a] spouse’s day” can help keep important family connections. You’re not going for the big gesture so much as the little daily things that can help keep you and the people you care about sane.

Treat yourself like an employee.

Almost any entrepreneur will have stories about paying everyone else first or being the only one in the office on a holiday. You’re the boss who stands to benefit most from establishing the company, so of course you’re last on the list of anyone who gets a break.

But that attitude can be a mistake. For example, forgo salary long enough with insufficient savings and you’ll be in no shape to get anything done. Think of yourself instead as an employee. This doesn’t mean you get to slack off, but it will force you to consider some things you need when planning strategy, forecasting financials, and scheduling operations.

You don’t always have to be the hero.

Many entrepreneurs want to be the one who comes to the rescue in a problem. Unfortunately, that’s something to feed your ego, not expand the business. Many times you will have to be the one to put in the last effort or work on a particular project. Other times, not only could others take over, but they might even be better suited to whatever has to be done. Give employees, family members, or whoever can help out a chance to shine in the spotlight.

Remember that things change.

This may be one of the toughest tips to implement. As a business grows, it’s easy to fall into habits over how it has to run and what you can and cannot allow yourself to do. In a couple of companies I’ve run, it took me some time to realize that I could actually take a week of vacation, or even two, without putting the business into peril. Next year there might be room for a slightly larger salary for you. Perhaps you can afford a key hire that could take pressure off you and help drive the company to greater success.

Creating a business always requires some sacrifice. Just be sure that the sacrifice you offer is one that is necessary and won’t hurt your enterprise more than it can help.


Is Your Company a Good Fit for an Employee Stock Ownership Plan?

Is Your Company a Good Fit for an Employee Stock Ownership Plan?

If you’re like many successful entrepreneurs, a significant amount of your personal wealth consists of your ownership interests in the company you’ve built. If you are nearing retirement, you may have begun struggling with the issue of how to convert some or all of those ownership interests into cash without selling the company outright.

Selling your company may not be appealing because of the tax considerations, your desire to protect your employees and your interest in continuing to be involved with the firm. For many entrepreneurs, creating an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, may be an attractive option.

Weigh the benefits of an ESOP. An ESOP is a tax-qualified retirement plan – like a 401(k) plan but funded solely through employer contributions, not staff salary deferrals — that’s designed to invest primarily in the company’s stock.

The Internal Revenue Code contains numerous tax incentives for companies that adopt ESOPs and owners who sell their stock to the plan.

The most significant of these tax benefits is that the ESOP can borrow money for the purchase of company stock and the firm can pay back the borrowed funds with tax-deductible contributions to the plan. (This is known as a “leveraged ESOP.”)

If the company is a C corporation and the ESOP buys at least 30 percent of the value of the firm (and other requirements are met), the owners of the company can sell their stock to the plan on a tax-deferred or, in some cases, tax-exempt basis.

There are also valuable tax benefits for S corporations that set up ESOPs.

Understand the players involved. If your company adopts an ESOP, the players will include the trustee of the trust created to hold the company stock for plan participants, the lender, the firm’s owners who are selling their stock to the plan and the employees who, if they satisfy the vesting requirements, will receive the value of the firm’s stock allocated to their accounts when they retire.

Figure out whether your company is a good candidate.  First consider if your company is large enough to justify the costs involved in establishing and operating an ESOP.

If the value of the stock you’re planning to sell to the ESOP is not at least $2 million to $3 million, an ESOP is probably not a good option for your firm.

If your company is worth just $2 million or $3 million, you would likely need to sell all the stock to the ESOP to make it worthwhile.

If your company is worth $10 million or more, a sale of just 30 percent of the stock would be sufficient. (Thirty percent is the amount necessary to take advantage of the tax-deferred-sale tax incentives for C corporations.)

Second, if you are planning to create a leveraged ESOP, be sure you have a large enough payroll to make sufficient contributions to the ESOP to repay the ESOP loan. Tax rules limit the amount that can be contributed to the ESOP to repay the loan to a percentage of participants’ compensation.

Federal laws require that the purchase of employer stock by the ESOP be a prudent investment. If, because of issues unique to your company or its industry, the prospects for your firm are not good, an ESOP is not an appropriate option. Part of this analysis involves whether competent management will be in place to operate the company as your involvement is phased out.

Most successful ESOPs have been implemented not just for the tax and financial benefits but also to reward and encourage employee efforts on behalf of the company.

Calculating the cost of setting up a plan. Because of the complexity of the rules involved and the need to retain qualified advisors, implementing an ESOP can be expensive.

For a leveraged ESOP transaction, the costs typically run from $125,000 to $250,000, depending on the size of the transaction and the type of financing. Keep in mind, however, that an outright sale of the company would also entail comparable costs.

Getting a plan started. The first step is to engage an independent valuation firm and other ESOP professionals. The independent valuation firm will conduct an initial feasibility study to ensure that an ESOP is a viable financial option for your company.

Professionals involved in an ESOP’s setting up include trustees, accountants, attorneys and financial advisors. Because of the complexity of the rules, consider engaging professionals with significant experience working with ESOPs.

Once the feasibility study is completed, you will be ready to take the additional steps required to fully set up the ESOP, including adopting the official documents, finalizing its financing and negotiating the sale of the owner’s stock to the plan.


How Steve Jobs Undercut Silicon Valley’s Greatest Asset: Engineers

Court documents reveal the anti-competitive hiring practices imposed by Apple on other Silicon Valley stalwarts were the norm for years.

Steve Jobs is considered one of the greatest innovators of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

But in some respects, the Apple founder was also profoundly anti-competitive. And in his final years, he may have gone out of his way to thwart the innovation of the underclass of software engineers responsible for Silicon Valley’s inventiveness.

That portrait of Jobs emerges from court documents related to a huge class-action lawsuit involving tens of thousands of software engineers pitched against the titans of Silicon Valley. In these documents, it appears Jobs called the shots with major competitors, such as Google, Adobe, Intuit, and others–which at Jobs’s behest, kowtowed and agreed not to hire one another’s engineers out of fear that Jobs would retaliate.

Some background

The suit began as a Department of Justice investigation in 2010, which ended in a consent agreement in which Adobe, Google, Intel, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm–all companies with close ties to Apple–agreed to refrain from collusion in their hiring practices. None of the companies admitted any wrongdoing. The current class action could award damages from $3 billion to $9 billion to more than 60,000 engineers.

“If you [Sergey Brin] hire a single one of these people that means war,” Brin recounted Jobs saying during a particularly vitriolic exchange over Google’s practice of cold-calling engineers at Apple.

A cowed Brin later sent Google’s executive management team an email that said: “Lets [sic] not make any new offers or contact new people at Apple until we have had a chance to discuss.”

Similarly, Bruce Chizen, the former Adobe chief executive, expressed concerns about the loss of top engineers if Adobe failed to have an “anti-solicitation” agreement with Apple. “If I tell Steve [Jobs] it’s open season (other than senior managers), he will deliberately poach Adobe just to prove a point,” Chizen said, according to court documents.

Though these epistolary exchanges are revealing for any number of reasons, they also document illegal activity and amount to price fixing in Silicon Valley’s market for engineer wages, experts say.

“This is an exceptionally well-documented antitrust case from the plaintiff’s perspective,” says Alan Hyde, professor of law at Rutgers University and author of Working in Silicon Valley: Economic and Legal Analysis of a High-Velocity Labor Market. “The emails are very damaging, that there was a conspiracy not to hire each other’s employees, and the motivation was to hold wages down, because they did not want bidding wars for talent.”

The cost of collusion

Such revelations may be surprising, given the common perception that Silicon Valley has a labor shortage, and that its engineers command huge salaries. The truth is not nearly so pat.

The agreements are “a restraint of trade, and it reduces the options available in the marketplace for the engineers,” says Andrew K. Jacobson, president and lead attorney of Bay Oak Law, of Oakland, California, and a participant in the Rocket Lawyer network. “The engineers become beholden to one company and they cannot maximize their value out on the market if these huge market players don’t participate.”

Ultimately, such collusion also squashes a free-flow of ideas that leads to startup creation, and it squelches the opportunities for startups to gain access to the best and brightest engineers.

“This is not how you attract people to a field with a massive shortage of workers,” says Russ Harrison, government relations director for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA, an association with more than 200,000 members, including computer programmers and software engineers. Harrison adds that on average, computer engineers have experienced stagnant wage growth for the past 10 years, of about one to two percent a year.

“It is very important for these companies and individuals that they be allowed to switch jobs like anyone else, and efforts to limit them is bad for both the companies and the engineers,” Harrison says.