Learning amidst oaks, arches, & arcades

Dedicated to the stellar faculty, staff, & cohort who made the Stanford EPGC 2018 program such a memorable experience.


To start-grow-manage a business
without losing the plot,
we could all use some tips,
a few weeks at Stanford?
Sure, why not?

California, the Golden state:
Shoreline, wine, cheese, & the sun.
Silicon valley what a region!
Such a perfect confluence
of Education, Capital, & Innovation

Kudos Sen. Leland & Mrs. Jane Stanford
your son’s memory truly lives on,
amidst oaks, arches, & arcades
where we read cases, debated, & learnt

Lights, camera, action: Aug 6, 8 AM
the diamond model for strategy,
first we engage & then we see,
Goethe, Napoleon, & Tolstoy,
culture eats strategy
for breakfast, only if we
let it. Must challenge our intuition
by nurturing diversity.

Lessons from Davita & Kent Thiry
change constantly we must,
a strong sensing & adapting culture,
else we’ll all go bust.

What about The Human Factor?
The back of our brains matter so much,
make things available, simple, & specific,
lets leverage sound, color, shape, & touch.

How about them Gourmet Californian chocolates?
USD 20 to a pound!
And the second generation CEO
who turned such sweetness around?

The art of postponement in operations,
lets design a lean supply chain,
localisation & distribution,
HP & Benetton’s claim to fame.
Bottleneck analysis, variability, & Shingo,
ano….Tomagoya-san’s sooper bento’s in Tokyo.

To IPO was once the norm,
now private funding, lets wait & see.
Should we focus on running our business,
or work them roadshows endlessly?
Com’on you big-bad-banker
& show us your secret book,
quit being a green-shoed crook.
Show us the pop-&-more,
we so wanna be that innovator,
fist high at opening day
on that trading floor!

Create a system to discover what’s next,
a self-learning culture is what’s best.
Fail fast-&-cheap, lets start-&-then improvise,
Facebook, Apple, Trader Joe’s, & Honda did it right.
lets always be upbeat,
and hungry inside.

Growth strategies for new ventures,
ain’t nothing is risk-free,
“You can’t connect the dots looking forwards…”
Must “skate to where the puck is going to be.”
So be a Tough Mudder, got one life to live: This One,
Lets bet it on Tilray to cure lives, & Marley Natural for some fun!

While designing, lets create peaks,
design for elevation, insight, & pride,
use empathy to design the new,
& listen actively in an interview.

Bootstrap or sell stake? For equity is gold,
VC’s & their pious Network,
their advice helpful so we’re told.
Why not just exit? The mind must remain occupied,
should we finance & gun for crazy growth,
leaving profits far behind?
The VC term sheet single-sided
with many terms-&-conditions,
watch for the liquidation preference,
& that nasty downside protection.

Its challenging to sustain consistent high growth,
to scale against 9.8 m/s^2,
only 10% ventures grow
3 years in a row.
So lets think this through,
fill out a matrix or two,
no matter what the venture,
existing or new.
All Things Registry, Home, or Wedding:
Lets organise our thoughts,
north & up will be our heading.

Optimise incentives to drive performance,
such that effort & talent create innovation,
with barriers-to entry to increase our valuation,
wish it was such a simple equation.
Alas it ain’t, & thus
all this fuss
to learn leadership skills
to turn around an organisation.

Stress-to-comfort: Cortisol-to-seratonin,
& only then from bored to excited: Hooh haah dopamine!
Primary human drives: Food, sex, & the need to fit-in,
need a hit? Head to Utah for some L-Tryptophan & L-Tyrosine.

Execution to compete is necessary,
however the next big opportunity,
lies outside of our company.
So lets encourage teams we hire so carefully
to observe the outside, document, & report endlessly.
Do this, & luck will surely be
on our side, as we create history.

Go Beyond the Market, & lobby we must,
build political power along with trust,
have faith in what we offer, build a loyal user-base,
to compete or to partner, will vary case-to-case.
The Regulator has but a job to do,
low-risk & low-rewards, exceptions he’ll make few,
so lets comfort him first, only then dopamize,
so he’s crystal clear about our point-of-view.

To have been the National Security Advisor on that dreadful day,
To have fallen to only rise, get stronger come what may.
Such leadership, such wisdom, & such knowledge on display,
stories shared standing tall, so poignant in the Q&A.

Real-time immersive broadcasting, stream sports on TV,
a novel idea, a humble founder, the idea? Hmmm…maybe?
Took courage to pitch to a crowd with all that stop-&-go,
as the 80 of us took tips, on how a smooth pitch to a VC should flow.

What happens when
high-strung go getters
have to create bits-&-pieces
of a complex large mural
in a yet-to-be-organised system
with limited resources
racing against a deadline?
Magic happens!

Lets all be elephants, ears wide open,
let unique information
not remain unspoken,
‘cos common knowledge & popular votes
are misleading so often.
List pros & cons when deciding
use premortems to uncover risk from hiding.

Want to scale? Let’s create ownership & obligation,
keep stuff simple in the organisation.
Scaling’s more about a mindset & not a number,
From the land down-under: “Don’t f&@k the customer.”

What got us here won’t get us there,
must create doubt, yet spread confidence,
tell stories to create lasting care,
& keep it simple with smart subtraction.
Lets find-&-fix the little bad,
no broken windows to slow our domination.

And so as we settle back in familiar spaces,
that corner-office & familiar chair,
as we interact with our familiar peeps,
who count on us to lead them fair.
Lets reflect on the key learnings
of what it takes to lead & scale,
create resilient teams & adapting cultures,
build organisations that will never fail.
Lets keep that traveling Stanford water bottle full,
yet our thirst & hunger burning alive,
to learn, teach, & seek purpose,
in all that we strive.


(Picture & some of the content copyright of Stanford)


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