“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”
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“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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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.

Marketers Are Split on How They Define OTT

Marketers are having trouble agreeing on a set definition of over-the-top (OTT) video.

In an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Advertiser Perceptions poll, half of US marketers defined OTT as streaming video other than live TV that appears on any screen (mobile, PC, TV, etc.). And 48% of respondents defined OTT as streaming video other than live TV that appears exclusively on a TV screen.

We define OTT as video that’s delivered over the internet independently of a traditional pay TV service, irrespective of device. We forecast that 61.7% of the US population will use OTT services this year.

Connected TV, by contrast, refers specifically to video watched on a TV set with internet connectivity. The video can be served via smart TV or another device such as a Blu-ray player, game console or set-top box such as Roku or Google Chromecast. Connected TV refers to a device— rather than a service—making it a subset of OTT by these definitions. We forecast that 57.2% of the US population will be connected TV users this year.

IAB’s study shows how marketers use OTT and connected TV interchangeably. Similar to how marketers are split in their definitions of the term “in-housing,” the meaning that marketers assign to OTT varies considerably.

Imprecise jargon adds a communication barrier. For instance, the subset of OTT for live programming is referred to interchangeably as skinny bundles, linear OTT or vMVPD (virtual multichannel video programming distributor). The lack of agreed-upon definitions for OTT and its subsets adds another layer of complexity for marketers as they aim to merge their TV and digital video strategies.

While it’s possible that confusion over definitions could impede investment, OTT ad spend is growing quickly. In September 2018, IPG’s research unit Magna Intelligence forecasts that $2 billion would be spent on OTT ads in the US, a 40% year-over-year increase. But in April 2019, Magna revised its figures to show US OTT ad spend grew 54% year over year to $2.7 billion.

Under Magna’s adjusted forecast, US advertisers will spend $3.8 billion on OTT this year and $5.0 billion by 2020.

This article was originally seen on eMarketer.com. Written by Ross Benes.

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.

Startupfest 2019: Thousands of Techies. Infinite Possibilities.

Dates: July 9-12, 2019
Prices: starting from CAD 249
Location: Montréal, Canada
Register: Click here

Startupfest 2019

Small enough to meet who you need to meet, big enough that everybody’s there. More than just world-class content and a global attendee base, Startupfest is known for rethinking the standard event format.

Crowned “a music festival for startups” by Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian, you’ll have tangible opportunities to make the connections you need, in one of the world’s most iconic festival cities.

Over $750,000 worth of prizes and investment up for grabs

Startupfest is An event built for founders. Besides world-class content across 8 stages, the event is designed to offer concrete investments and networking opportunities throughout the entirety of the Tent Village.

  • Garner Attention: Top tier media in attendance
  • Acquire Knowledge: Over 125 speakers across 12 tracks
  • Secure Funding: Prizes and Investment opportunities
  • Build Connections: Over 7,000 attendees from 20+ countries

Introducing the Startupfest 2018 Inclusion Initiative

In 2018, the Inclusion Initiative was launched; a program dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs from underserved, and underrepresented communities to the opportunities they need and deserve.

This year, the Inclusion Initiative is back, with a focus on women in technology. Startupfest, BDC Capital, and all of our partners are pleased to be offering passes to Canadian women working in the technology sector at a 90% discount.

Set in one of the world’s most iconic cities

Montréal is the cultural capital of Canada, and as soon as you get there you’ll understand why. The city has an unbeatable festival vibe, and is second to none in the summertime! It’s also been home to the largest series A round in Canada, and the most VC dollars invested in any Canadian city in 2018.

Interested in attending the Startupfest 2019? Register your participation by following the registration link and taking the suggested steps.

The post Startupfest 2019: Thousands of techies. Infinite possibilities. 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.

15 Mind-Blowing Stats About the Future of Advertising

Pictured: KERV Interactive patented video technology

The future of advertising will be personalized, automated, immersive, experiential, and measurable. It won’t feel like advertising.

We have the stats to back it up. 

1. During an Adobe Think Tank panel discussion at Advertising Week 2017, Phil Gaughran, U.S. chief integration officer at agency McGarryBowen, made a bold prediction: By 2022, he said, 80% of the advertising process will be automated, “a threshold that will never be surpassed.” The remaining 20% will comprise such elements as brand value, storytelling, and other more experiential tactics that will always need a human driver.

2. Video is now one of advertisers’ greatest opportunities, with 90% of consumers watching online or mobile video at least weekly. As a result, video advertising spend in 2017 reached $9 billion in the United States in 2017, up from $5.47 billion in 2015. That spend is expected to continue to grow. 

3. There’s no questioning the fact that advertising will become more immersive. A recent study by YouMe found that VR ads, for example, aid in same-day recall for 70% of users.

4. Advertising will also become more personalized. A study by Rocket Fuel found that 80% of Millennials see value in brands engaging them with personalized advertising and offers.

5. Gartner says that by 2019, 20% of user interactions with smartphones will take place via virtual personal assistants. 

6. Also by 2019, eMarketer predicts that 83.6% of U.S. digital display ad dollars will transact programmatically. 

7. A global study from Freeman found that more than one in three CMOs expect to spend 21% to 50% of their 2018 budgets on experiential advertising. 

8. Social media will continue to be an important advertising vehicle for brands. Zenith predicts that social media advertising will be worth $50.2 billion in 2019 and will overtake newspaper advertising by 2020. 

9. By 2020, over a billion people worldwide will regularly access AR and VR content, IDC predicts

10. Juniper Research says digital advertising spend across mobile, wearable, and online devices will exceed $285 billion by 2020, up from an estimated $160 billion in 2016. This will be driven by an average annual growth of 22% in mobile and wearable advertising spend, as brands and retailers continue to invest in mobile consumer engagement. 

11. Advertising technology revenue is set to grow over 300% by 2020—up from $30 billion in 2015 to $100 billion by 2020, according to Technology Business Research

12. As companies continue to make big investments in infrastructure, marketing technology spend will continue to grow. CMOs will drive $32.3 billion in marketing technology spending by the end of 2018. 

13. 5G networks are projected to reach 1 billion subscribers by 2023, accounting for approximately 20% of the global population, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. This will impact the mobile advertising experiences (such as VR streaming and virtual assistants) that brands are able to provide to both prospective and current customers.  

14. BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Advertising Forecast 2018 projects total local advertising revenue in the U.S. will reach $151.2 billion in 2018, up from $143.8 billion in 2017 and representing a growth rate of 5.2%. Traditional media will comprise 64.7% of the revenue, with online/digital securing 35.3%. BIA/Kelsey defines local advertising as all advertising platforms that provide access to local audiences for national, regional, and local marketers.

15. According to eMarketer, digital will represent 51.3% of total U.S. ad spending in by 2021, up from an estimated 40.5% in 2017.

This article was originally seen on Adobe.com and was written by Giselle Abramovich, senior and strategic editor at CMO.com.

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.

6 Trends for Every Salesperson in 2019

Every profession goes through changes, especially sales.

A certain sales technique may have worked in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work today.

To be a top-performing salesperson today and in the future, you must continuously adapt to both market and social conditions.

There are several new business trends taking place—all of which affect salespeople in every industry. Understand what the trends are and how to maximize them so you can maintain a successful sales career.

6. Your past success will hold you back

People who are in sales long-term tend to be successful.

However, success is your worst enemy. Being at the top and doing well means you’re just trying to keep up and meet demand. You’re not looking at future opportunities because you’re busy reaping the rewards of current ones.

The old saying “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” should be reworked today to state, “If it works, it’s obsolete.”

If you just bought the latest device, odds are that the newer, better version is already in existence and about to be released to the public. We must evolve to stay ahead of rapid obsolescence in business.

5. Technology-driven change will dramatically accelerate  

While it’s human nature to protect the status quo, you have to understand that technology is changing the future, customers’ behavior, and your company’s reality.

If you don’t change, you’ll be out of a job. As a salesperson, you need to embrace change wholeheartedly rather than resist and hold tight to the past.

Spend some time thinking about where these impactful changes are headed. Change causes uncertainty in customers’ minds, so you bring certainty to them when you display confidence in change.

4. Time is increasing in value

Time is becoming more important to people, because we have an aging demographic of Baby Boomers in the United States.

Time gets more valuable as you get older because you have less of it. The world is more complex, with much more for people to do with their time.

With so much going on, everyone is increasingly strapped for time.

As a salesperson, make your customers feel that talking to you is actually saving them time. The list of time wasters is virtually endless, and these hurt your sales and profits.

Prove that you’re a time saver and people will choose you over the competition.

3. We have shifted from the information age to the communication age

Many salespeople rely on static marketing tools like company websites, flyers, and sales letters. These methods are a one-way interface.

The better way is to have your sales messages be dynamic.

For example, you could have a contest that encourages people to go to your site and enter. Instead of just telling people to buy your snack product, you can encourage customers to go online and vote for the next new flavor, getting them involved.

The key is to generate communication, engagement, and involvement through your sales and marketing efforts.

Don’t just hand out information; you want to listen, speak, and create dialogue to capture your prospects’ interest.

2. Solutions to present problems are becoming obsolete faster

Almost every salesperson has been told to be proactive by taking positive action.

Unfortunately, you must wait and see to know if a certain action is positive. Instead, be pre-active to future known events.

You need to look at your customer segment and identify what types of events you are certain they will experience, and focus your actions on what will be happening rather than on what is happening.

Being pre-active also means that you change the way people think. When you put out a new product, it takes a while to catch on because you’re not actively changing the way people think about how the product can be used.

Constantly educate your customers on the value you and your products or services offer.

1. The value you bring today is forgotten faster

Sell the future benefit of what you do. Most salespeople sell the current benefits to customers who already know what they are.

Your goal as a salesperson should be to establish a long-term, problem-solving relationship with customers, not a short-term transaction.

Your most profitable customer is a repeat customer, so help them realize the long-term benefit of your partnership. Show them how the products and services you offer will evolve with their needs by selling the evolution of your products and services.

Sit down with your fellow salespeople to create a list of future benefits that you have for your customers, and then get an idea of where the product and service developers are heading to think of future benefits preemptively.

Sales success for the future

The more you understand and adapt to today’s current business trends, the better your sales will be—today and in the future.

The post 6 trends for every salesperson 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.

These Are the 20 Best Cities to Start a Business

Austin, Texas

You can start a business just about anywhere, but some locations might lend themselves better to your company’s long-term prospects. Personal finance website WalletHub looked at 100 cities in the U.S. and compared them based on three different categories: business environment, access to resources and business costs.

The top 20 top cities are:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Oklahoma City, OK
  3. Miami, FL
  4. Austin, TX
  5. Tampa, FL
  6. Charlotte, NC
  7. Durham, NC
  8. Raleigh, NC
  9. Atlanta, GA
  10. Denver, CO
  11. Fort Worth, TX
  12. Jacksonville, FL
  13. Houston, TX
  14. St. Petersburg, FL
  15. Dallas, TX
  16. San Antonio, TX
  17. Irving, TX
  18. Laredo, TX
  19. Oakland, CA
  20. Irvine, CA

The survey found that number three on the list, Miami, Florida, is home to the most startups per 100,000 residents at 234.72, which is 3.2 times more than in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which is the city with the fewest at 74.40 per 100,000 residents.

If cost of living is a top concern, you might consider number 18 on the list, Laredo, Texas, which has the lowest cost-of-living index according to the study. It’s probably not a surprise that tech hub San Francisco has the highest cost-of-living index.

San Francisco has the highest annual rent for office space at $80.22 per square foot, while Toledo, Ohio, has the lowest annual average rent at $11.93 per square foot.

Lincoln, Nebraska, has the most accessible financing while San Bernardino, California, has the least. Detroit, Michigan, has the lowest labor costs with a median annual income of $27,838, which is 4.4 times lower than in Fremont, California, which has the highest labor costs with a median annual income of $122,191.

What were your biggest concerns when starting your business?

This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

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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