Tag Archives: lessons

Asking the right questions; lessons learnt from reading a book

October 14th, 2009

Reading a book is an interesting experience, why do you start? Why do you continue? Why do you finish? Why do you tell others about it?

The answers to these surprisingly basic questions will probably yield more than you first realise.

Why do you start?

  • The back cover sold you on it
  • You heard great things about it
  • You had spare time of which you decided to read

Why do you continue, once you read one page why do you keep turning? Page after page?

  • Incomplete story, want to know the end
  • There is a lead in to the next page (how often do you stop reading at the end of a chapter vs the middle?)
  • It is little effort to do so

Why do you finish?

  • You wanted to get the full story
  • It was easy once you’d started
  • Satisfaction gained from finishing

Why do you tell others about it?

  • Story aka experience was so good want to share
  • They saw you with physical object, easy to share ie can loan my book
  • Talking point of which you are confident enough to talk on
  • If your friends like it they will think favourably of you (status)

Amazing what you can learn just by second guessing something you already do or most importantly by asking the right questions.

Why Entrepreneurs should go to University

July 13th, 2009

There is some huge stat that 7/10 successful entrepreneurs are university drop outs.

But the key is they WENT to university.

Some of the handy stuff I learned from university that kept me in good stead…

1) Actually Listening

As an entrepreneur I realised the real value of university, so unlike my colleagues I actually paid attention in class, which has stood me in good stead since university.  Case studies, lessons learned, models all very helpful.  The application of these has helped me learn / grow my business / avoid pitfalls my peers make in an outstanding manner.

2) Forcing you to do stuff that’s painful

In business often you want to shy away from anything that is painful (*cough tax returns).  However Uni teaches you to persevere through this by forcing you to do papers and assignments you don’t like.  (Note: this is hugely valuable).

3) The people you meet

The absolute biggest value is the people I met and the relationships I forged.  University has introduced me to my best friends and extensive networks of interesting people.

4) Time to goof around

Sure starting a business at 18 is cool, but it is nice to goof around for a bit, realise the world isn’t on your shoulders, gives you time to experiment.  At university I started and sold three small businesses without a *need* for them to be massive successes.  A sandbox persay. (Case in point Facebook started whilst the founder was at uni.)

5) A train ticket

Gaining a degree allowed me to take on much higher paying jobs in order to finance some of my ventures.  It also provides a fallback should you ever need it.

6) Freebies!

Being a student allows you many freebies, business advice, legal advice, entrance to events, business speakers, networks, alumni.  Hey I even leveraged my role as a student to get into a conference (for free by helping out with registrations) where I met Sir Bob Geldof amongst others.

If you attend university with the right attitude it will accelerate your learning and avoidance of mistakes others have already made.  Thus (I believe) cancelling out the time you have invested in uni.

(Update: By the above statement ‘but the key is they WENT to university’ I wanted to more quash the common defence I hear ‘but yeah the good entrepreneurs drop out’, unfortunately it has been understood by a few as causation, moreso hey they went to uni maybe they got the same stuff I did out of it, thanks guys -Ben).

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