Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Do-It-Yourself Oceaneering

strategy + business, October 25, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne hit the thought leadership lottery 
with the idea of blue oceans. Their 2005 book, Blue Ocean Strategy, Harvard Business School Press, which described the advantages of setting sail for new “blue ocean” markets devoid of competitors versus battling for percentage points of share in mature, commoditized “red ocean” markets, sold more than 3.5 million copies. The two professors, having found their own blue ocean, quickly ascended to the pinnacle of strategic consulting: INSEAD presented them with an institute and built blue ocean strategy into its MBA curriculum. Given all this success, the only truly surprising thing is that it took 12 years for Kim and Mauborgne to publish a follow-up.

For the most part, Blue Ocean Shift proves to be worth the wait. It is a practical, well-written guide to finding and exploiting blue ocean markets, informed by the experiences of companies and other organizations that have chosen to seek them out rather than compete toe-to-toe in established markets. Read the rest here.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Why Entrepreneurs Should Care Less About Disrupting and More About Creating

MIT Sloan Management Review, October 16, 2017

WTF? Book Cover Jacket
by Theodore Kinni

If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring to become one, Tim O’Reilly is the kind of mentor you should try to enlist. He’s been there and done that in the New Economy since, well, pretty much since there’s been a New Economy.

O’Reilly started writing technical manuals in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s, he was publishing them, too. His company, O’Reilly Media Inc. (formerly O’Reilly R. Associates), based in Sebastopol, California, helped pioneer online publishing, and in the early 1990s, it launched the first web portal, Global Network Navigator, which AOL acquired in 1995.

Since then, O’Reilly has been an active participant in a host of developments from open source to Gov 2.0 to the maker movement. He is founding partner of San Francisco-based O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures LLC, an early stage venture investor, and he sits on a number of boards, including Code for America Labs Inc., PeerJ, Civis Analytics Inc., and Popvox Inc. He has also garnered a huge Twitter following @timoreilly.

In his new book, WTF?, O’Reilly takes issue with the vogue for disruption. “The point of a disruptive technology is not the market or competitors that it destroys. It is the new markets and the new possibilities that it creates,” he writes. “I spend a lot of time urging Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to forget about disruption, and instead to work on stuff that matters.” In the following excerpt, edited for space, O’Reilly shares “four litmus tests” for figuring out what that means to you. Read the excerpt here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

How to Keep More of What You Make

Learned a lot about how to shelter wealth in private businesses while lending an editorial hand here. Read the rest at

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Take a Timeout, Leaders

Image result for lead yourself firststrategy+business, October 11, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

On July 4, 1845, Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to live deliberately. After 
spending two years, two months, and two days in a 150-square-foot cabin that he built himself for $28.12 and a halfpenny, Thoreau had worked out the gist of the transcendentalist classic Walden; or, Life in the Woods. In it, he wrote, “I never found the companion that was as companionable as solitude.”

CEOs and other leaders would do well to get on companionable terms with solitude, too, according to first-time authors Raymond M. Kethledge, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, and Michael S. Erwin, a leadership development consultant and assistant professor at West Point. Leaders don’t necessarily have to get off the grid and live in a hut for two years. But in Lead Yourself First, the authors make an extended argument that leaders should reserve some alone time “to find clarity, creativity, emotional balance, and moral courage.” They illustrate their thesis with numerous examples. Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Three Career Tips for the Purposeless

In which, I vent my frustration with the fetishization of purpose...

LinkedIn Pulse, October 3, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

“I’m not here to give you the standard commencement about finding your purpose. We’re millennials. We’ll try to do that instinctively,” Mark Zuckerberg told Harvard’s Class of 2017. “The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.”

Baloney. A sense of purpose is like an appendix. If you’ve got one, good for you. If you don’t, you’re not missing anything important.

I’ve always been purposeless. As a kid, I kinda worried about it. I thought I was missing something essential because all I wanted to be was a New Jersey Lottery winner. (In those days, the grand prize was a cool million. Pretax. Woo-hoo!)

But getting a purpose was never a burning issue for me. Getting a job was far more important. I needed money—mainly because the only thing my parents ever agreed on was that one kid wasn’t enough.

Sans purpose, it did take me a long time—15 years—to find work that worked for me. But I learned some lessons along the way. I offer them here as shortcuts to everyone else who drew a blank ticket in the purpose lottery. Read the rest here.