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Entrepreneur Series

Let’s quickly identify a misconception: culture isn’t “perks,” nor is it a collection of soft adjectives. Rewards or attributes are derivative of culture, but not in and of themselves meaningful. When they’re divorced from culture or mistaken for culture, all you’re creating is a parade of expenses and expectations. Culture…

Read the PostWhat Culture in and Isn’t

A handful of years ago, we made perhaps one of the smartest hires in our 14 year history. The title was nebulous – “producer” – and the job description was even more so: “to create opportunities for us to create beauty”. Sounds pretty fluffy, right? This individual quickly set about…

Read the PostTake Advantage of Everything

If you’re in the rare position whereby you’re hitting your target margins, your clients are happy, and you’ve got your staff turnover well in hand, now might be the time to ask yourself: what am I doing wrong? It may sound strange, but it’s at these oddly calm times that…

Read the PostRock the Boat When the Seas are Calm

I was at an agency-centric conference in Chicago last week, and after talking to a quite a few business leaders, it became strikingly apparent that the buying and selling of creative services was a black hole. Agencies were hemorrhaging money on design cycles (or conversely, making a lot, but not…

Read the PostBuying & Selling Creative

At home, I do the laundry. Matching my wife’s (wildly disparate, but confoundingly similar) socks takes approximately the same time as folding the rest of the laundry. A while ago, I had the startling realization that I’d spent 173 hours folding her socks over the course of our marriage. That’s…

Read the PostWrangling Unexpected Time & Cash

If I had a dollar for every unstructured idea/venture I’ve been pitched over the years, I’d have… well… a surprising amount of money. Virtually all these pitches have come without sound business models, an understanding of the competitive landscape, or even a lucid explanation of the intrinsic value proposition the…

Read the PostInvestors Need More Than Just A “Killer Idea”

There may be times when you look at an employee’s “full day’s work”, and have to choke back the venom. Don’t they understand how important [whatever] is? Or that you could do it twice as fast, twice as well? What do you pay these people for? If this is starting…

Read the PostThe Art of Letting Go

A great many entrepreneurs come loaded with craft or connections, but too many shy away from getting their hands bloody in the numbers. The “I’ll just hire an accountant” attitude may be good to ensure you’re meeting your payroll obligations, but not for forecasting when you should hire. Same thing…

Read the PostFinancials Are Power, Not Just Numbers

You’ve got a great idea, right? Now, all you need is a partner or two (or four). Everyone does what you expect them to, you all get rich, splitting the rewards equally… right? Partnerships are great in theory, but a lot like a marriage in perpetual states of compromise, pressure,…

Read the PostPartnerships: Rarely a Storybook Ending

A few years ago, a former employee dropped by and said casually, “You guys are really good, but should be better off. Just work less and charge more.” I thanked him for his sagely advice and tried to change the topic, but he pressed. “If I were you, I’d be…

Read the PostThe Stark Realities of “Easy Money”