Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Surviving Time in Corporate America for the Entrepreneur

“Surviving” is a difficult task because it is a conflicts with our current goal and mind set. We spend most of our time plotting our escape, that we don’t actually focus on “how to survive” (until we can escape). This is an essential ingredient because by surviving well, we expend less energy, that we can use to then better plot our escape.

Got it?

The thought actually came to me while watching a prison show on “Hulu” that was on The National Geographic Channel. They were profiling an inmate who was a shear mastermind. He was your standard white guy, baby faced, imprisoned with Blacks and Hispanics (race will play a part in just a second, that’s why I’m mentioning it). He looked like he couldn’t hurt a fly. They showed him in the dining area eating, showed him in the yard playing softball, depicting him as a pillar of the prison community. In every scene he actually appeared genuinely happy.

Then they hold up pictures of some guy that was bludgeoned almost to death. Then they show another, and the voiceover states that the Baby-faced white guy was responsible for every one of those beatings. WHAT!?!?!!

Then they pan to a shot of this guy in his cell. On top of his bunk he has a variety of snacks. Honey Buns, BBQ chips, Reeses, Snickers and any other snack you could think of. He proceeds to explain how he gets his cell floors swept and waxed for the price of a few honey buns. He gets his prison uniform cleaned and pressed, for a few bags of BBQ chips and a Snickers bar. That night he was hosting a dinner party in his cell where they were having Mexican food. They found a way to cook tortillas right in the cell. This guy was hosting dinner parties in prison!!!

How did he do this? All by the power of persuasion, keeping his emotions in control and bending a seemingly rigid prison system, to cater to his needs.

That’s how you survive in Corporate America. As an Entrepreneur your goals have changed. You don’t want to be a CEO. You don’t necessarily want to be moved up. You just want to earn your check – do an adequate job, and get home to work on your other endeavors. Instead of letting the place frustrate you with its policies, procedures and politics, use them to your advantage and mold them to help you in your journey out of there.


Although the place I work is frustrating and the people are frustrating there are a few really bright, really experienced people who work there. Gain the trust of these select few and talk with them frequently. Run ideas and business strategies by them. It’s like free counsel. Trust me, if they are really intelligent, they will welcome the discussion and began to vicariously live through you, thus really wanting to see you achieve your goals.

Printers, Xerox Machines, Fax machines

They are all accessible to you to a certain extent. Use them after or before hours to give things you are working on a certain professional flare.

Company laptop

It’s a laptop. Great!!! Now you can postpone buying one and use this one for generating your business plans and excel spread sheets for your ideas. Use it for a change of scenery when you are home working, and take it to the local coffee shop so you can keep working. Keep grinding, keep getting it in!


You are launching a new business; you have a great idea that’s going to take off in just a few months, or years (whatever your particular sentence is). Knowing that should put you automatically in a good mood. It’s as if, someone told you that in January, you would be inheriting 800,000.00. Not enough money to quit, but it’s a nice chunk of change! That would make coming to work a lot easier, you would be a lot happier, and everyone around you would notice. You wouldn’t stress out over reports, presentations, or reviews. You would just make it happen to the best of your ability and let the chips fall where they may.

Hopefully this makes sense, and it can help you survive the day to day at your 9 to 5. It’s frustrating to work on a spreadsheet when you are secretly planning to launch the next facebook, but until you do it’s necessary.

Make the best out of your prison and save that energy for “The Launch” of the next best thing!


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Celebrity Apprentice - A Lesson In Boardroom War by Richard Hatch

As some of you know I tried out for the Apprentice twice (both times getting call backs for the remaining 500 slots). I remain with the opinion that had I gotten picked for the show, Donald Trump would have held me back. So in retrospect, I’m quite happy for the experience of trying out and kind of glad that I didn’t get picked.

I wasn’t a fan of Celebrity Apprentice because the desperation to succeed hasn’t always been there. This season however, they have picked just the right line up of characters who want to be seen, need to be seen and would also sincerely like to earn money for their charities.

As great leaders it’s important to watch these competitive reality shows and watch how some of the greatest minds of our time work. They become a lesson in people management, persuasion, body language and numerous of other attributes that when skilled at, can help the road to success.

In comes Richard Hatch. This guys is a manipulator extraordinaire. He makes Russell from survivor appear humble. In his mind, he has already won. In some ways dangerous but in some ways necessary.

Richard had no qualms about stepping up to be the leader of the first challenge. He is surrounded by some of the greatest names in music, acting and sports and he was not impressed. In fact, it was as if he was resentful of them and their fame. He shouted orders out like a drill sergeant. The interesting part is that I think some of them not only didn’t mind it, but felt they needed it.

There is no doubt that his arrogance got the best of him when he pushed David Cassidy during the pizza challenge. The other thing that was obvious was that Donald Trump wanted him to stay in the game. When Richard had to pick two people to come back into the boardroom he chose Canseco and David Cassidy. When questioned for the third or fourth time about physically contacting David, his tune changed slightly, he said, “If I did push David, then I’m sorry and I apologized”. That’s a lot different then “I did not push David”. No one called him out on that. Or at least it appeared that no one called him out on it (not sure what is left on the cutting floor). That’s no different then David and Jose Canseco both agreeing that he didn’t’ take any breaks, and then state a moment later that he took 2 breaks….and he was called out.

Richard also picked up on the fighting part of the argument. Young Don, says that David was not possessing the energy to fight to stay in the game. As soon as “energy” was mentioned, Richard’s body language change sharply to portray a new sense of energy – to convince everyone that young Don was right. At that point you can even here him stating how mad he wanted to be there.

As a Project Manager that essentially got his ass handed to him, he did a remarkable job staying in the game. I bet he also learned a lot about the people he’s playing with from that one instant.

Kudos to Mark Burnett and his casting team. This cast of characters should make for a great season of Celebrity Apprentice