“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

“Our Team of Consultants and vendors are the best of the best in the dynamic world of business and digital consulting. I have always surrounded myself with the best possible talent. I truly enjoy sharing this talent and working directly with companies who are looking for results based solutions”
-Jon Flatt

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Author : jfadmin

The Best is Yet to Come

No matter what has happened or is happening, as long as you firmly believe, that the best is yet to come, then you will keep going.

If you have any doubts about the future, you will not survive. Even if life is good now, you should never go easy on yourself. Otherwise, your energy will be drained as soon as you feel that you’re not faced with challenges.

In order to recharge your mind and body, you need to revive your energy by focusing on your own self-confidence. You must get rid of this ‘undeserving’ feeling. You need to recognize your strengths and positives. Then you will feel able to become unrestrained and go for the jugular, whatever the odds.

You deserve it, whatever it is. That’s a great feeling. You now have something to look forward to and you can’t possibly go wrong. It may be a job, a romance, a home or a car. Perhaps an illustrated thermometer on the wall, which measures your progress towards achieving your specific goals, helps. Discipline yourself to keep on track. As circumstances change, don’t hesitate to review your goals regularly, but always keep moving.

Low self-esteem is a killer

That would make life really hard. That affects your interaction with people and enjoy the things you like. Life is sometimes very tough with relationships breaking down and career paths interrupted. That comes with the territory.

Climbing up the different ladders in life is a constant challenge, which should be seen as a sport. Good times never last, but as long as you remain excited about ‘the best is yet to come’, you will jump out of bed in the morning and put more work into your hours than anyone else.

Stress is a – silent – killer too. But if you don’t get stuck in the past and if you have many tasks in your to-do list, then you don’t have time to even think of any ailments and complaints. Don’t let your emotions overtake you.

Go play with your pet and simply let it pass. Always think of the possible sensation of whatever the best is, that is yet to come!

The post The best is yet to come appeared first on AlphaGamma.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

[VIDEO] Building a Startup That Will Last

KERV Interactive, an interactive video startup, in Austin, Texas

For the past decade, growth rates have defined success for most technology companies. Moore’s Law enabled unprecedented computing power, setting off a sprint in winner-take-all marketplaces with increasing returns to scale. Growth-hacking became the entrepreneurial mantra of the early 21st century, resulting in the creation of new tech giants, entirely new industries, and an era in which online community, content, and commerce have redefined how we live, learn, and work.

In a marathon, pacing and perseverance are paramount. Few companies from the tech boom of the mid-2000s had the foresight to temper their pace in anticipation of the long journey that lay ahead. Our collective obsession with disruption made us look at decades-old companies as something to dismantle rather than admire. The potential for career-defining gains got the best of many investors and advisors, and we failed to coach founders on the fundamentals of sustainability. We are only now recognizing how untenable the “move fast and break things” attitude was to become.

Longevity in business creation is taken as a given – nobody sets out to create a company with an expiration date. That said, very few early-stage companies think critically about the strategic principles needed to endure. We think this is essential going forward.

Looking at long-standing companies across various industries, we were able to identify several foundational elements that have contributed to these companies’ tenures. They include society-first principles, adaptable long-term strategies, and scalable leadership. By adopting such standards, startups can increase the odds of long-term sustainability without negatively impacting short-term growth or society at large.

Articulate a value framework oriented toward societal impact, not just financial achievement.

In Jim Collins and Jerry Porras’ research of “visionary companies” that had endured for over 50 years, they did not find a single company that stated “maximizing shareholder wealth,” “profit maximization,” or even “maximizing growth” as a driving force of their activity. They all accepted profitability as core to sustainability, but that wasn’t what motivated or guided them. Instead, what defined the companies Collins and Porras described in Built to Last was a deep commitment to a core set of values that provided the company with a sense of purpose – an understanding of the role they played in society and how they created value for others. Core values served as these companies’ conscience, providing guidance for not just what ends to pursue, but what means to use to achieve their aims.

One example of putting mission ahead of profit comes from Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) and their decision in 2016 to cannibalize $700 million in patient revenues to begin its transformation from a volume-based, fee-for-service healthcare operation to a value-based model. IHC launched in 1975 with a mission to help “people live the healthiest lives possible.” As the healthcare system grew more complex, IHC recognized that they needed to champion dramatic change to do right by their mission and to orient themselves toward a sustainable future. As Laura Kaiser, IHC’s COO, noted, their decisions were not acts of charity but acts of strategy.

It will take time to measure IHC’s success as an early adopter of this operating model, but the organization’s bold commitment to its core beliefs could play a significant role in maintaining its position as the largest healthcare provider in its regional market.

With AI, privacy, and behavior-manipulation concerns, modern tech companies today face significant and complex problems. They can’t disrupt and ignore the effects of their products and operations on the broader ecosystem. The most stable foundations are those built on mutual respect between business and society. Thus, it is important to demonstrate clearly the social and economic benefits of being first-principled when it comes to corporate values.

Demonstrate the ability to execute second and third acts.

Enduring companies are not one trick ponies. Founders with a long-term vision will recognize that they need to make transitions beyond a highly successful first act. Market preferences, technological capabilities, and regulations change. What was once novel becomes a commodity over time. Successful businesses anticipate that they will go through cycles of maturation that demand systemic transitions.

A great example here comes from American Express, which one of us (Ken) led as CEO for most of the last two decades. The company started out in 1850 as a regional freight express business, but a realization in 1892 transformed the company into a financial services powerhouse. While traveling, Amex’s president, J.C. Fargo, had a hard time converting his letters of credit into cash. He thought: “If the president of American Express has that sort of trouble, just think about what ordinary travelers must face.”

The solution was the ubiquitous “American Express Travelers Cheque.” The mechanics of the business – the fact that they sold more orders than were redeemed – also created another opportunity for company: the float.

Amex did not explicitly set out to become a financial services company – they were excelling as freight operators. However, their ability to take a new opportunity and fold it into their existing operations demonstrates their unique ability to execute new acts and evolve. They let their commitment to providing “unsurpassed service” to their customers drive their strategic thinking, allowing them to sense both new marketplace opportunities and forces that might jeopardize their existing business. This attitude has allowed Amex to execute third, fourth, and fifth acts over its century and a half of operations.

In the tech industry, Microsoft is a great example of the power of executing more than one act. CEO Satya Nadella understands the necessity of “growth mindset” rather than a fixed one. He recognized that Microsoft had to move beyond thinking about Windows as its core, so he pushed the company to build Azure, the cloud computing service that now accounts for over $34 billion in annual revenue.

There is a graveyard of companies such as Data General, Digital Equipment Corporation, Wang Laboratories, Burroughs Corporation, and Sperry Corporation that weren’t able to make these transitions. Recent studies suggest that ~50% of the S&P 500 will be replaced over the next 10 years if companies aren’t able to reinvent themselves. If Microsoft had continued operating with a singular focus, it may have joined that list. Instead, it embraced continual (and radical) transformation to become one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Move beyond founder-driven decisions to a scalable system of leadership.

A successful startup is often driven by the vision of its founders and their core team. Most of the key decisions are made by a small group of individuals who have the will and drive to steer the company through the early stages. In backing any company, we’re acutely aware of founders’ mindsets and rally behind those that are building with an attitude of responsibility.

While a principled founding team can create a great company, an enduring company requires a system of leadership that is implemented very early in its history. The framework enables the delegation and distribution of decision making throughout the organization. It is rooted in people practices that help a company constantly recruit, develop, and retain leadership talent at all levels – and make decisions that are aligned with the company’s visions and values.

The Walt Disney Company is an example of a business in which adherence to strict core values and a transformative attitude came together under a system of leadership that allowed the company to rapidly iterate and cement itself as a leader in content, commerce, and experiences over the past half-century.

In the 1950s, founder Walt Disney pioneered a multi-strategy approach for his company that served as the template for “sustained growth,” not only for Disney but countless other organizations. Every Disney employee goes through the same rigorous development process that emphasizes vision and values, behaviors over intentions, and purpose over task. By committing to such training, Disney trusts every employee as a brand steward who can make decisions without onerous oversight.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has enabled the company to remain an innovative powerhouse by opening the process for creative decision-making to other leaders. As the company acquired widely recognized brands – from Lucasfilm to Marvel and Fox – he provided those leadership teams with autonomy so that they could thrive within the Disney ecosystem. Disney’s continuing success long after the passing of its iconic founder is a testament to the power of a system of leadership that endures over time.

A key transition point for founders comes when they are able to build an incredibly strong team that runs itself, freeing them up to focus on making sure the culture, mission, and values seep deep into the ethos of the growing organization. The faster founders implement a system of leadership, the sooner they can empower all others across every level of the company.


We focus on endurance as a fundamental design principle because we believe the best businesses are intrinsically aligned with the long-term interests of society. Economic gains hinge on respect, and companies today cannot earn respect unless they are committed not only to objectively examining the consequences of their creations but also evolving to have a holistically positive impact on society.

We’re optimistic here because, despite the current news cycles, there are contemporary companies we work with like Gusto and Stripe that have taken the long view since inception. Both have spent their early years focused on measured, sustainable growth, and on how they can address societal challenges directly through their work.

At Gusto, an online payrolls services firm, we see this articulated in their guiding philosophy, “Short term gains never justify long-term sacrifice. Invest in the future.” More recently, with the launch of their flexible pay product, they’ve shown the foresight both to contend in a competitive market and commit to servicing and empowering employers and employees alike. For Stripe, an online payment processor, this is reflected in their discipline in executing against their mission to increase the GDP of the internet. Rather than attack that mission from all angles, they’ve grown steadily and deliberately from a payments processing product for small U.S. businesses to a full-stack global commerce platform for all businesses.

By thinking about endurance as a core element of their DNA, the current generation of high- growth companies create moats that help them build superior products and services while avoiding ethical conundrums. Developing clarity about the core value they create for society, the adaptive capacity that will enable them to transition as markets evolve, and the system of leadership will increase the odds that they endure beyond their founding generation.

This article was first seen on Harvard Business Review, and was written by Hemant Taneja and Ken Chenault.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

[VIDEO] 6 Really Good Reasons You Should Stop What You’re Doing and Plan a Vacation

Ah, vacation. It’s a beautiful thing, whether your definition of it is traveling to some exotic locale or staying put and exploring spots in your hometown. It doesn’t matter if you prefer stay-cating, going abroad, or taking a road trip complete with a tent and camping gear.

Breaking from work and taking a breather can be done in a variety of ways. It’s no surprise then that what people state as their reasons for going on vacation vary, but with a similar common theme. Time away from work—and everything that goes with it, from emails to to-do lists to drafting proposals and attending meetings—is essential to your well-being.

Although it may seem like I’m stating the obvious—after all, who doesn’t love a little R&R?—the fact that many people don’t take vacations from work, instead leaving precious unused time on the table tells me one thing: It’s necessary for a healthy reminder about why you should absolutely take time to recharge.

1. It Encourages Creativity

“I’m at my most creative when I’m exploring, so vacation gives me a chance to think big, outrageous thoughts and play around with my most experimental ideas. When I come back, not only do I feel refreshed, but I’ve often made some sort of breakthrough in the rest of my work or life.” – Kathryn Minshew, Founder & CEO

2. It Helps Prevent Burnout

“I take vacation for many reasons. I worry about burning out—not just in terms of declining in productivity, but in terms of enjoying my job and the people around me. If I catch myself sniping at someone because I’m in a bad mood, or feeling exhausted on a regular basis, or not looking forward to going to work (even though I do enjoy my work), I know it’s time to unplug.” – Alyse Kalish, Editor

3. It Makes it Easier to Gain Perspective

“I enjoy vacation to recalibrate. It’s easy to get plugged into the daily routine and forget about all the life that exists outside of it. By traveling, exploring, and adventuring I refresh my understanding that there’s a lot of ‘right ways’ to live and feel charged knowing that there’s not one way to do it. Oh, I also like to have a good tan, too.” – Dan Ratner, Account Executive

4. It Encourages Quality Time With Loved Ones

“I take vacation for a few different reasons. 1) To spend more time with family and other loved ones, 2) to de-stress (hard for me to do actually) and stop thinking about work, and 3) for short vacations (e.g., one day here or there) where I’m attending to family or personal responsibilities. For longer vacations—I want the experience (via travel) to go to places I have not been and that I believe will ideally both enrich my life and strengthen my family bonds and friendship bonds (depending on whom I go with). Sometimes, I’m just worn out and want to sleep in for a day or feel like I can go the gym anytime I want and not have to get there before 6 AM.” – Adi Dehejia, CFO

5. It Gives You Something to Look Forward To

“Life’s short, so I think it’s necessary to put aside time to have fun and see the world! Plus, I enjoy having something to look forward to.” – Jimmy Okuszka, Content Associate

6. It Makes it Possible to Connect With Yourself

“There’s nothing quite like traveling alone in a new country. You’re responsible for having fun. You’re responsible for meeting new people. You’re responsible for making it memorable. It shocks the system into creating new friends, connecting with other people, and expanding your horizons. Most importantly, I feel like it really helps create inner peace of mind/confidence in yourself.” – Dan Kelske, Enterprise Account Manager

The variety of these responses should tell you one thing: You don’t need a formulated reason to break from work and enjoy your life outside the office. Now, what are you waiting for? Look at your calendar and see when you’re going to take off and go on that vacation that you deserve. 

This article was originally seen on The Muse and was written by Stacey Lastoe.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

In 12 Words, Einstein Explains What It Means to Be a High-Performing Leader

No need to overthink about how to effectively lead. Following this timeless advice from Einstein is all you need.

Creatorscientistinventor and unmistakable are a few terms used to describe Albert Einstein. While many people relegate Einstein’s powerful mathematician’s mind to strictly the scientific space, Einstein lived a life that has lessons applicable to a broad spectrum of areas.

At the core of Einstein’s unmistakability were curiosity and a commitment to see the possibilities of tomorrow as opposed to the limitations of today. That same trait is needed among today’s entrepreneurs and leaders.

Being a high-performing leader comes down to effective communication, and Einstein perfectly sums up how to do this in 12 words:

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Being a genius and a leader doesn’t lie in using fancy jargon, big words, or explaining things in complex terms. Being a high-performing leader requires a ruthless commitment to simplicity.

Simplicity is where true genius lies. Knowing a fact is different from understanding a concept. I can recall that the speed of light is 299,792,458 meters per second. But I can’t explain why, nor can I begin to give a breakdown of quantum mechanics.

As a leader, being able to recite facts means very little if you can’t explain it to your team and persuade others to follow your vision. To adopt this commitment to simplistic communication, here are two keys to keep top of mind.

1. See the world through the eyes of your target audience.

When I was first getting started as a consultant, I had a tendency to speak in industry jargon and roll out words that only a peer would understand. The only issue (and it was a big issue) was that my target audience wasn’t a peer. My target audience was the general public.

When I realized I wasn’t very good at my job, I reached out to some veterans who were consistently getting positive results. The difference wasn’t in the factual knowledge–it was in the communication channel.

Using precise language that your target audience understands is pivotal for achieving results. When seeing the world through the lens of your audience, you’re better able to craft a message that is more on the level of their understanding. 

As you prepare to talk to your teams, prepare for a speech, or work with clients, take a moment to pause and pretend you’re them as you prepare what to say.

2. Would your parents or a fifth-grader understand your message?

Providing the best information in the world doesn’t mean a thing if it isn’t absorbable. Keep that in mind that as you prepare for a speech, interview, or client session. Make your foundational message so clear and simplistic that even your parents or a fifth-grader would understand it.

This exercise forces you to remove the fluff and reduce your ideas down to their core essence. Of course, now that you have the foundational message ready to deliver, you can go back and throw in some sizzle to expand upon it.

When you’re an expert at your particular craft, it’s tempting to demonstrate this through eloquent wording and industry-speak. However, this usually entails making the message more complicated than it needs to be, and that bleeds over into the audience not taking action nor getting value.

A big part of committing to simplistic communication and becoming a high-performing leader is the removal of the ego.

This article appeared first on INC.com and was written by Julian Hayes II.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

Key Insights from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Book

Always wanted to read The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People? Get the main takeaways in just 3 minutes with this great round-up.

1. Sharpen the saw.
Don’t work yourself to death. Strive for a sustainable lifestyle that affords you time to recuperate, recharge and be effective in the long-term.

2. Be proactive.
You have a natural need to wield influence on the world around you so don’t spend your time just reacting to external events and circumstances. Take charge and assume responsibility for your life.

3. Begin with an end in mind.
Don’t spend your life working aimlessly, tackling whatever job is at hand. Have a vision for the future and align your actions accordingly to make it into a reality.

4. Put first things first.
To prioritize your work, focus on what’s important, meaning the things that bring you closer to your vision of the future. Don’t get distracted by urgent but unimportant tasks.

5. Think win-win.
When negotiating with other, don’t try to get the biggest slice of the cake, but rather find a division that is acceptable to all parties. You will still get your fair share, and build strong positive relationships in the process.

6. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
When someone presents us with a problem, we often jump right to giving a solution. This is a mistake. We should first take time to really listen to the other person and only then make recommendations.

7. Synergize.
Adopt the guiding principle that in a group, the contributions of many will far exceed those of any individual. This will help you achieve goals you could never have reached on your own.

This post was originally seen on Blinkist, and was written by Sarah Moriarty.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

Top 10 Elon Musk Productivity Secrets for Insane Success

Here are the top 10 productivity secrets of Elon Musk and how you can apply them:

1. Start the Day with Critical Work

As the CEO of three companies — TeslaSpaceX, and Neuralink — Elon Musk has a lot of things to stay on top on a day to day basis.

That’s why he starts his day with his most critical work. For Musk, this meansdealing with important emails that he needs to address in order to unblock other people’s work and progress.

He typically starts the day at 7:00 a.m. and replies to critical emails for at least half an hour. Musk is careful to filter anything that is not deemed critical, focusing on only the most important items.

In his own words at the USC Commencement Speech:

Apply This Productivity Secret

Find your most important task (MIT) for the day and tackle it first. Your MIT should be the one thing that creates the most impact on your work.

2. Use Feedback Loops

Musk has a very tight schedule, often working at different locations on any given day. That’s why he’s constantly trying to optimize his time.

Musk incorporates not only his own feedback but also of others: he urges entrepreneurs to seek preferably negative feedback. While it might be hurtful at first, you normally end up getting a lot more out it.

He also focuses on hiring the best people in any field that can provide consistent and truthful feedback.

Shortening the feedback loops lead to increased efficiency, faster implementation, and a better-finished product.

Apply This Productivity Secret

The great thing about this particular Elon Musk productivity secret is that it works for both your professional and personal life.

Gather your team and solicit feedback about a particular product, feature, management style, business process, or anything that you are currently trying to improve.

“Don’t tell me what you like, tell me what you don’t like.” – Elon Musk

You can do the same exercise with friends. And while the negative feedback may be wrong, you know they are simply trying to help you and it’s well-intentioned.

3. Reason from First Principles

first principle is a basic assumption that can’t be deduced from any other proposition. It’s the only sure thing in a complex problem.

Musk reasons from first principles, rather than by analogy (such as previous experiences). This way you build your reasoning from the ground up:

“You look at the fundamentals and construct your reasoning from that and then see if you have a conclusion that works or doesn’t work. And it may or may not be different from what people have done in the past. It’s harder to think that way, though.” – Elon Musk

Here’s an example of first principles reasoning, from Musk himself: “What is a rocket made of? Aerospace-grade aluminum alloys, plus some titanium, copper, and carbon fiber. Then I asked, what is the value of those materials on the commodity market? It turned out that the materials cost of a rocket was around two percent of the typical price.”

Instead of buying a rocket for millions of dollars, Musk decided to purchase the raw materials for cheap and build the rockets himself in his own own company.

And SpaceX was born.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Reasoning from first principles forces you to think differently. First Principles is about getting to the root cause of the problem. You have to break down the problem into its basic elements.

There are three main steps to apply this thinking framework:

  1. Identify and define current assumptions: when faced with a problem, write down your current assumptions about it
  2. Break it down into the fundamental principles: find the most basic truths or elements of the problem. Is Musk’s words: “Boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say ‘okay, what are we sure is true’…and then reason up from there.”
  3. Create new solutions: if you deconstructed the problem following the first two steps, you are now ready to create new solutions from scratch

4. Use Asynchronous Communication

The first productivity hack gave you a slight hint for this one: Musk prefers to communicate on his own terms. That means defaulting to email and texts, both asynchronous ways of communication.

He also makes himself hard to reach for people outside his company by using an obscure email address.

This lets him focus on actual work for his companies.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Progress comes from being focused and performing Deep Work. This means living as asynchronously as possible and with minimal interruptions from coworkers.

Here are three solutions to start working on your terms (in order of difficulty):

  • Turn off notifications: shut all notifications down on your phone, computer, and any other gadgets you use. If it’s truly important, people will call
  • Decline meetings: don’t agree to a meeting unless there is a clear agenda and you know the expected outcome; if possible, use email instead
  • Work remotely: a noisy office means distractions, whereas working from home is done in silence. If that’s not a possibility, ask for a private office

Minimize distractions in your daily life in order to make progress in meaningful work.

5. Master Communication

When Musk is not building rockets or revolutionizing the automobile industry, there’s one place you can always find him: on email. He joked on a conference: “I do a lot of email — very good at email. That’s my core competency”.

He is extremely clear, concise, and direct on his emails. As an example, read the email sent to his entire staff about the use of acronyms aptly called “Acronyms Seriously Suck”.

He frequently emails his entire company with updates, how to communicate, company visions and mission, and being more productive at work.

He is also a master at public speaking, converting complex concepts into easy to understand language using an authentic voice. Musk often uses the present tense when talking about visionary topics, a language trick that excites the listener into feeling the future is now.

Apply This Productivity Secret

According to a study of Carleton University, a third of the workweek of the “typical’’ knowledge worker is spent on email. That’s why mastering communication over email is an art form.

You want to be succinct but also get your message across. In an email, every word counts. Here are some tips on how to master communication over email:

  • Keep it short: don’t write ten sentences when two suffice. To practice, take an email you’ve already written in normal fashion and edit it down to half the words
  • Avoid squishy words: avoid writing “I feel”, “I’m not sure”, “perhaps”, using the passive voice, or any adverbs that waste time for both you and your recipient and create confusion and misunderstandings
  • Know what you want: think about the intended outcome of the email and outline it first in plain-spoken language. With practice, this outline IS your email
  • Bold the important: if you need a reply from a particular person on a thread with multiple people, put their name in bold with action items and timeline
  • Forwarding code of conduct: never forward along a massive email chain without a few bullet points as a quick summary at the top explaining why you’re sending it and action items you need from the other person

6. Batch Tasks

Musk multi-tasks strategically. Whenever possible, he combines several tasks together in a productivity hack known as batching. For example, he answers emails while eating or having a meeting over lunch.

Here’s a quote from Elon on the subject:

“But what I find is I’m able to be with [my kids] and still be on email. I can be with them and still be working at the same time… If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to get my job done.” – Elon Musk

Another example is going through emails and invoices while on phone meeting or interviews.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Studies have confirmed that multi-tasking is normally less efficient than single-tasking. The brain needs time to adjust when navigating different tasks, also known as task switching. Switching makes you tired and unproductive, not the tasks themselves.

But if you batch similar tasks that call for similar mindsets you can efficiently work on multiple tasks without losing your workflow. In other words, your brain is focused on one type of task at a time.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Outlining all your blog posts for the upcoming week in one sitting
  • Processing all emails, Slack, phone calls, and other communications at once
  • Updating several related worksheets at the same time

To find more activities you can stack, write down all your general activities for the day and week and identify the ones that can be batched together. Try the batch a couple of times and rearrange tasks if necessary.

To process batches even faster, use the Pomodoro Technique.

7. Scheduling

Running three companies is no small feat, which means time is of the essence for Elon Musk. He is constantly trying to optimize his time using feedback loops.

Like many other ultra-productive and successful people, he follows a very detailed and specific daily schedule. He breaks his calendar into five-minute slots and finding your way into one of those openings is tough work.

He prioritizes engineering, design, and manufacturing, spending 80 percent of his time at work on those areas.

By splitting his day into 5-minute chunks, Musk manages to get more tasks scheduled into his work.

Apply This Productivity Secret

The most productive people work from their calendar instead of a to-do list. Calendars are finite and give you a better sense of time, making it easier to determine how much time you have to complete projects during your week.

Breaking your days into small chunks and scheduling tasks on your calendar can boost your productivity. But you don’t have to use 5-minute chunks. I found that the most efficient way of organizing my work is to break the days into 30-minute slots. Find a timing that works best for you and your work.

And make sure that you schedule everything: checking email, calling clients, lunch, and meetings. Everything goes on your calendar.

Rip to-do lists and instead work from your calendar.

8. Embrace Stretch Goals

Perhaps one of Musk’s most notorious character traits is his tendency to set incredibly ambitious deadlines for his companies’ projects. He uses stretch goals as a way to change perception:

“The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.” – Elon Musk

Here’s a story from a former SpaceX executive: “It’s like he has everyone working on this car that is meant to get from Los Angeles to New York on one tank of gas. They will work on the car for a year and test all of its parts. Then, when they set off for New York after that year, all the vice presidents think privately that the car will be lucky to get to Las Vegas. What ends up happening is that the car gets to New Mexico — twice as far as they ever expected — and Elon is still mad. He gets twice as much as anyone else out of people.” (emphasis mine)

The last sentence illustrates the power of stretch goalsEven in the face of failure, your goal was so outrageous, so impossible to achieve, that you celebrate the small achievements you made because you expected that nothing would come out of it.

The initial plan of Tesla was to start shipping the Roadster in 2006. The company pushed that deadline back several times until the car actually became available in 2008. Even though they released its car almost two years after the deadline, Tesla delivered the first completely battery-powered electric car.

In his own words:

“I say something, and then it usually happens. Maybe not on schedule, but it usually happens.” – Elon Musk

Musk’s stretch goals have given us a world where one of the best cars you can buy is electric, and where we finally have reusable rockets“When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars, people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.”

Setting goals that maintain the status quo doesn’t get you reusable rockets.

Apply This Productivity Secret

The intention of setting stretch goals is to push yourself outside the comfort zone. Growth doesn’t happen when you keep doing what you’ve already done in the past. It comes from failing while trying to make progress. If you aim to achieve five great things and only succeed at two of them, you are outperforming all the people who never tried in the first place.

Stretch goals demand more quantity and quality of work and forces you to innovate more often than ordinary goals. And in the pursuit of it, you grow your skills to where they need to be in order to get it done.

At first, you won’t know how ambitious your stretch goals should be. Using trial and error, understand how much past your limits you should push. But the most important thing is to start trying and then adjust as you go.

Next time you are making plans for work, take a few extra minutes to include a stretch goal. Try to push yourself to perform 50% better than your normal goal requires. Go big and see if you can surprise yourself with incredible performance. Using this strategy is the first step towards smashing goals and reaching targets you didn’t even think were possible!

9. Develop a Growth Mindset

In 2004, Musk called a supplier to get the price of an electromechanical actuator. The supplier quoted $120,000.

Reasoning from first principles, Musk broke down the components needed and asked an Steve Davis, now SpaceX’s director of advanced projects, to build one from scratch for under $5,000. Davis spent nine months designing and building the actuator for $3,900, which flew to space inside the Falcon 1 rocket.

Elon Musk is never satisfied with where he is now. His companies have had enormous achievements, but Musk knows that there’s always room for improvement — in every area. There’s always a better, faster, or cheaper way to do things.

This is what is called a growth mindset, an important skill that separates successful people from everyone else. When you have a growth mindset, you know you can learn anything if you put enough effort into it. And if you fail, you approach the problem from a different angle until you find a solution that works. You iterate until you get it right.

In Musk’s words:

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

The opposite is known as a fixed mindset, where the status quo is rarely challenged. Things will always be the way they are because “that’s how we do things around here”. Preconceived notions are taken as universal truths, instead of being questioned. Thus, people stagnate.

On the other hand, developing a growth-oriented mindset brings progress to both our personal and professional lives. And even if you manage small gains each day are small, they compound over time. A 1% gain every day compounds to almost 38% increase over a year.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Growth comes from tackling difficult problems, questions, and challenges. In order to succeed, you need to train the brain to look at failures and struggles as progress, as getting closer to the solution.

Here’s how you can start developing a growth mindset:

  • Continual learning: expand your knowledge with books, learn from your personal challenges, and from others; loading your brain with fresh knowledge enables it to come up with new ideas and solutions that add value to your job and life
  • Be persistent: shift your perspective to look at failures as minor setbacks and learning experiences in the great scheme of things; adapt and iterate your ideas so you can be successful on the next try
  • Live for challenges: if you have two choices, choose the harder; look at challenges as an opportunity to expand your skills and grow
  • Embrace failure: at some point in life, everybody fails; learn from failures by understanding what went wrong and how it can be improved and use that experience in the next try
  • Open to feedback: effective and timely feedback on areas to improve is a critical component of success; be more open to receiving feedback, even the non-constructive one
  • Celebrate others: “no man is an island”, so start supporting other people successes because they won’t dampen yours; when it’s your time to shine, they will celebrate with you

10. Develop a Wide Knowledge Base

According to his brother, Musk used to read 2 books a day at his early age. In other words: he devoured knowledge. This led to a wide understanding of many sciences, such as physics, math, engineering, and computer science.

Even when running his companies, Musk constantly tries to learn from the people around him that have more knowledge on a specific topic. Here’s a passage from the book: “He would trap an engineer in the SpaceX factory and set to work grilling him about a type of valve or specialized material. “I thought at first that he was challenging me to see if I knew my stuff,” said Kevin Brogan, one of the early engineers. “Then I realized he was trying to learn things. He would quiz you until he learned ninety percent of what you know.”

Over the years, Musk developed T-shaped skills: a lot of knowledge in one particular field and a substantial amount of knowledge in many other disciplines and topics. This allowed him to be world-class in one field (business) but also use his broad knowledge to innovate, find different solutions, be more creative, and collaborate with experts in other fields effectively.

Apply This Productivity Secret

Let’s start with a practical example: you want to be healthy. In order to be healthy, practicing just one sport isn’t going to cut it. You need to know a whole lot of skills: you need to learn the basics of a good diet, how to develop muscle, flexibility, different cardio, condition, etc. While you have deep knowledge in a particular field — the sport — , you also developed broad knowledge in many other areas which are the basis on being healthy. This is the T-shaped skills approach.

Let’s look at someone who works in Marketing or Growth: deep knowledge in acquisition channels such as PPC, SEO, and viral loops, while also having broad knowledge over other topics such as statistics, some programming, design principles, and copywriting.

Here’s how you can develop T-shaped skills in your area:

  • Draw a T and list the main skills, secondary skills, and base knowledge. If it helps, model a successful person in your field and their range of expertise
  • Now see where you stand in each of those areas
  • Improve your deep expertise by reading books, taking courses, reading about your industry, and learning from other people
  • Continually reevaluate yourself in the areas and adjust your learning to become T-shaped

This article was originally seen on The Startup and was written by Dan Silvestre.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

Guy Kawasaki On The 11 Lessons That Changed His Life

“Take the high road…you’ll find out there’s not much traffic there,” shares Guy Kawasaki.

Those years have been full as he’s worked at Apple twice, started several tech companies, became an investor, keynote speaker, thirteen-time author, brand ambassador, and “chief evangelist” for Canva.

In his latest book Wise Guy, Kawasaki shares what he calls “miso soup for the soul”, a wide-range of stories that have helped him grow.

He pulled out the top eleven lessons he’s learned that have helped him achieve success in work, play, love, and family in hopes that it will inspire and encourage you, too.

1. Find people who challenge you

Kawasaki advises that we should seek out and embrace people who challenge us rather than those who hold us to lower standards, much like Steve Jobs did for him. “The bottom line is always to put yourself out there, not to take the easy path, to stretch yourself, and then those people will appear in your life naturally,” he explains.

2. Know when to quit

Quitting isn’t always bad. But how do you know when it’s time to quit versus keep pushing? Kawasaki shares, “I’m an Asian-American, and in the mid-70s, I quit law school. Back then, it was an honor and a strike of lightning to get in. I got in and I hated it. My parents had only gone to high school. My father was a State Senator in Hawaii and there’s all this pressure of 2000 years of my ancestors working for me to get to this point. And in the midst of that, I had to quit. To my utter amazement, my parents did not disown me. In fact, my father said, ‘It’s okay. Just make something of your life before you’re 25.’ So that’s the Asian-American version of cutting you slack.” Kawasaki trusted his instincts knowing that it was time to quit, against all odds.

3. Question everything

“Challenge the known and embrace the unknown,” is a famous quote from a commencement speech Kawasaki made at Menlo College. The unknown is typically something we fear, but he elaborates, “When somebody tells you something’s for sure, you should question that. And when somebody tells you that something absolutely is not true, you should question that, too. Basically, you should always be skeptical. I think that’s what leads to breakthroughs in life. Life is kind of counterintuitive. Of course, I encountered this time after time at Apple where people said, ‘No one needs a new operating system. What’s wrong with MS DOS and Apple II?’ My observation is you should basically question everything.”

4. Never stop learning

We are often socialized to believe that learning stops when school ends, but that isn’t true. Kawasaki explains believes that “ If you’re not learning, you’re dying. Learning is not an event that ends. It’s not the 100 yard dash where you cross the tape and it’s done. It’s more like a marathon. At 62, I decided to take up surfing. Let’s just say that at 62, you’re about 58 years too late to take that up.”

5. Prioritize Relationships

“I think the statement that I’m so busy I have no time to develop relationships is a total cop-out. Nobody is that busy. Maybe a single mom with four kids is that busy. In the venture capital business, companies get funded not because of the quality of the pitch. It’s because a venture capitalist knows a corporate finance attorney, for example, who knows a CEO. The corporate finance attorney says, ‘I just incorporated these two gals. They have the most exciting company I’ve seen since Google.’ This is all about personal contact. It’s not because you have the best digital PowerPoint or keynote pitch. The irony is that many digital technologies make analog relationships better, faster, and broader. Now, I could also make the case, somewhat contradictory, that what’s important is not only whom you know, but also who knows you,” encourages Kawasaki

6. Customers can’t tell you how to innovate

During his tenures at Apple, the top lesson he learned was, “Your current customers cannot tell you how to innovate. They can’t tell you about the next curve, the revolution, the next category, because a current customer is always boxed in by what you are already providing them. If I’m buying film from Kodak, all I can think is better film, deeper colors, cheaper. But you wouldn’t go to Kodak and say, ‘I really don’t want to use film. I want to use a digital sensor.’ Of course the irony of this is in 1975, Kodak did invent digital photography, but they defined themselves as a chemical company that puts chemicals on film. What they should’ve done is define themselves as being in the business of preservation of memories. If you’re in that business, you don’t care if it’s film, instant development of pictures, or if it’s a digital sensor. You just want to preserve memories.”

7. Learn how to sell, even if you’re not ‘in sales’

Not in sales? Doesn’t matter. Everyone is selling something. Here’s why: “It comes down to two fundamental skills in life: you’re either making it or selling it.  Even for someone who can make, you’re going to be selling to get approval, to get funding, to get people to buy what you’re making. And in a day-to-day context, you’re selling to get a seat upgrade on a flight or to get the ocean view at your hotel. The assumption that your awesomeness is so inherently obvious that you don’t have to sell is a very, very foolish assumption. Everybody has to sell.”

8. Say ‘yes’

“Fundamentally, I believe you should default to ‘yes’ unless people give you a reason not to do something. My experience is by defaulting to ‘yes’, you open up opportunities that never would have happened. The perceived downside of this is, ‘What happens if people take advantage of you?’ But my experience is that truly very few people try to take advantage. The upside of helping people all the time far exceeds the downside of being screwed a few times. Having said that, this doesn’t mean I say ‘yes’ to everything. I’m thinking ‘yes’ all the time, but if somebody says, ‘I’m having this conference in Croatia, would you fly over and give a one-hour talk for free?’ The answer is ‘no’ and it’s because the limiting factor on me is having four children. I’m not going to spend four days going to Croatia for free so that you can have a better conference that you’re selling to people.”

9. Don’t take things personally

A lot can shift when you don’t take offense. And, it can be a lot more challenging to enact than it sounds. Kawasaki shares his experience: “I was once in front of my house in San Francisco, and I was cutting the hedge, and an older white woman came up to me and said, ‘Do you do lawns, too?’ because I’m Japanese-American. That’s a case where you can easily be offended. That was my first reaction. A couple weeks later, my father comes to visit me and I tell him the story, fully expecting him to go off. And instead, he says to me, ‘Son, where you live, she was right to assume you were a yardman. Statistically, she was right. So get over it.’ And I learned a very valuable lesson: Don’t look for problems. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t be so easily offended. If not, you’re going to be angry your whole life.”

10. Be yourself

Ever nervous to be your true self in professional environments? Kawasaki suggests, “Just be who you are because it’s so hard to maintain a façade. It’s easy to be honest because typically there is only one truth. But if you are trying to be dishonest to make something seem true that isn’t true, you’re going to have to remember your lie.”

11. Ask for help

Asking for help can be challenging, but can pay dividends both in your relationships as well as in your own advancement. “One of the ways that you can start and strengthen relationships is ironically, maybe surprisingly, to ask for help. In my optimistic view, the reason for this is that, generally, people are helpful. It’s satisfying to help people. So, asking people for help is a way of starting a relationship as opposed to the thought that, ‘They’re going to hate me because I’m asking for something right up front.’ Of course, you have to follow up asking for help with gratitude and reciprocation. It’s not a one-way street. But I think the concept that you should never ask someone for help because you’re going to ruin the relationship or never have a relationship is false,” he explains.

This article was first seen on Forbes and was written by Darrah Brustein.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

51 Quotes to Inspire Success in Your Life and Business

Listen to the greats with proven track records.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

What is success? There are many definitions, but there’s one thing all the greats agree on: Success only comes by persevering despite failure.

Here are 50 quotes to inspire you to succeed in the face of failures, setbacks, and barriers.

1. “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”– Winston S. Churchill

2. “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”Herman Melville

3. “The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

4. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”Henry David Thoreau

5. “Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.”– Chris Grosser

6. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”– John D. Rockefeller

7. “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”– Thomas Jefferson

8. “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.”– Ray Goforth

9. “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”– Jim Rohn

10. “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

11. “Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”– Winston Churchill

12. “Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.”– Tony Hsieh

13. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”– Winston Churchill

14. “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”– G. K. Chesterton

15. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson

16. “If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”– Jim Rohn

17. “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.”– Anonymous

18. “Do one thing every day that scares you.”– Anonymous

19. “All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.”– Michael John Bobak

20. “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”– Tony Robbins

21. “Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.”– Robert Kiyosaki

22. “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”– Steve Jobs

23. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”– Barack Obama

24. “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”– Franklin D. Roosevelt

25. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”– Helen Keller

26. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”– Walt Disney

27. “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”– Bruce Lee

28. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”– Colin Powell

29. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”– Conrad Hilton

30. “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”– Jim Rohn

31. “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–It is: Try to please everybody.”– Herbert Bayard Swope

32. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”– Albert Schweitzer

33. “Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do.”– Unknown

34. “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”– Japanese Proverb

35. “Some people dream of success while others wake up and work.” – Unknown

36. “If you can dream it, you can do it.”– Walt Disney

37. “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”– Unknown

38. “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that other throw at him.”– David Brinkley

39. “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”– Bill Cosby

40. “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”– Nikos Kazantzakis

41. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”– Thomas Edison

42. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember–the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you.”– Zig Ziglar

43. “The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well.”– John D. Rockefeller Jr.

44. “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.”– Oprah Winfrey

45. “There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that, once unleashed, can make any vision, dream, or desire a reality.” – Anthony Robbins

46. “The secret to success is to know something nobody else knows.”– Aristotle Onassis

47. “I failed my way to success.”– Thomas Edison

48. “I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.”– Estee Lauder

49. “I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come indirectly through accident, except the phonograph. No, when I have fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go about it, and make trial after trial, until it comes.”– Thomas Edison

50. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”– Vidal Sassoon

51. “Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”– Charles F. Kettering

What’s your favorite success quote?

This post originally appeared on INC.com. Written by Jayson DeMers.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

Best Websites for Entrepreneurs to Follow in 2019

Do you know the feeling of flicking through a thousand websites to find a relevant piece of information? Or, when you’re looking for inspiration, and after hours all you’ve got is lack of motivation?

Yes, we know it too.

As an entrepreneur, you are more than aware that time is money. And you’re aware that you have to stay up to date with the latest trends to be on the top the game.

For your convenience, we prepared an overview of websites that you may wanna bookmark right now.

Out of thousands of websites, here are the ones, that we consider great sources of information for entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts.

Best websites for entrepreneurs to follow in 2019


This is one of the most trusted resources for senior business executives, providing them the real-time reporting, analysis, uncompromising commentary, relevant tools and community they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

Entrepreneur Magazine

Offering real solutions to the challenges entrepreneurs face, including tips, tools and insider news to help build and grow your business. It’s a must for startup founders and entrepreneurs.

Wall Street Journal 

The go-to resource for breaking news, investigative reporting, and business coverage.

FORTUNE Magazine 

A global leader in business journalism with an international circulation of more than 1 million and a readership of nearly 5 million, with major franchises including the FORTUNE 500 and the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Inc Magazine

Led by Eric Schurenberg and is one of the most popular and reputable websites in the world. This is a resource that will help you find everything you need to know to start and grow your business.


Influencive is an online publication that was founded in 2016 by Inc. 500 Entrepreneur Brian D. Evans that shares unconventional wisdom around entrepreneurship, success, and the blockchain. Influencive is managed by a lean team located around the world. Plus hundreds of incredible writers.

Harvard Business Review

The leading destination for smart management thinking.

Through the flagship magazine, international licensed editions, books from Harvard Business Review Press, and digital content and tools published on HBR.org, Harvard Business Review provides professionals around the world with rigorous insights and best practices to lead themselves and their organizations more effectively and to make a positive impact.

The HBR blogs are also a fantastic source to learn from the best.

Business Insider

A fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals. Launched in 2007 by former top-ranked Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget and DoubleClick founders Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan, the site is now among the largest business news sites on the web.


A global community, welcoming people from all disciplines and cultures who seek to gain a deeper understanding of the world.

They passionately believe in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.

Are you following these sources? Which website is the most useful for you? Let us know in the comment section below!

The post Best websites for entrepreneurs to follow in 2019 appeared first on AlphaGamma.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

How Positive Work Environments Create a Competitive Advantage for Business Success

KERV Interactive Ping Pong Tournament 2019

A company’s work culture is essentially the personality of the organization. As I wrote about in my previous article “What All Successful Startups Have in Common,” culture is how employees interact with each other and clients within the business environment. Values, ethics, mission, expectations, communication, collaboration and atmosphere are all things that make up a company culture.

Given that the average person spends one-third of their lives at work, employee satisfaction and company moral is important for the overall success of your business. A good work environment creates employee satisfaction which leads to loyalty, dedication, increased productivity and improved quality of work.

As an entrepreneur or business owner, thinking of ways to improve productivity is always top-of-mind. Operating at maximum efficiency is the goal, but it can get it tricky to keep the momentum going as teams expand and company’s grow.

I have started many companies throughout my career, and a positive, encouraging company culture is always something I always prioritize. My current company KERV Interactive, a multi-award-winning interactive video company in Austin, Texas, is successful not only because of the outstanding, patented video technology, but is set apart by the employees that are fueled by a common passion where company success is linked to personal success.

KERV’s company culture was built on three core principles: effective communication, mutual accountability and mutual respect. In a positive work environment, employees should feel encouraged to get to know team members and colleagues. When people get to know each other, it creates better work flow and allows individuals to feel more comfortable to ask questions and share ideas. Positive and inclusive work spaces encourage collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Here are some factors that can contribute to a great work environment:

KERV Interactive office dog, Macho


When setting the tone for your organization, try to put yourself in your team’s shoes. If you’re a leader that people look forward to working with each day, you’re on the right track to success. Having a positive outlook is contagious, and your team will follow the energy of the office. I like to fuel the KERV office with positive reinforcement, reminding everyone how far we have come as a company and focusing on highlighting successes and achievements.

Open communication.

Open communication and transparency establish trust, and greatly contributes to any organization. The energy at KERV is great – you can walk down the hall and talk to anyone. Leadership is accessible, questions are encouraged, and everyone works together toward common goals.

Some of the KERV Interactive team picking up trash in Austin, Texas


A few fun things KERV offers to promote team-building among employees is monthly potlucks, ping pong tournaments, daily food trucks, philanthropy outings and an open workspace.  

Work-life balance.

KERV doesn’t have your typical 9-to-5 schedule – employees have flexibility to maintain a happy work-life balance which significantly reduces workplace stress. Based on a core principle of mutual accountability, each person is trusted and respected to be accountable for their work.

KERV Interactive office in Austin, Texas

Workplace wellness.

At KERV, each employee has a standup desk, healthy snacks are stocked weekly in the kitchen, ping pong breaks are encouraged, and our office is located near many walkable shops and restaurants.

Appreciation and recognition.

Highlighting employee successes and focusing on company “wins” creates excitement among teams and encourages individual development. When people feel a sense of pride, they invest in their future in the organization and work hard to create other opportunities for success. Recognizing the value of hard work fuels team members to want to continue achieving greatness.

Marika Roque, EVP of media and tech (left) and her mom Nora Whitehurst, data science manager (right)

Additional perks.

Many forward-thinking companies have implemented pet-friendly policies in their offices. Austin, Texas has the third-highest rate of pet ownership in the United States, so it’s common to see our KERV office dog Macho sitting in a meeting from time to time.

Jon Flatt is the CEO of KERV Interactive, which produces award-winning interactive video technology that is revolutionizing visual storytelling for brands and advertisers. Before KERV, he was CEO and founder of Red McCombs Media, which was acquired by LIN Media.

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