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Think Like Musk. The Mindset Shift your Missing

Think Like Musk. The Mindset Shift your Missing


October 2, 2014 >> The Engineer to Founder book is out. – Check it out, here.

5 years ago I began a journey of self education in business. As an engineer I was inspired by leading innovators like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk.
My hero’s were game changing innovators who have made an undeniable impact on the world and they all balance their technical abilities with cunning business skills…
It was then when I realised that I was going to need some business skills to one day live my dream.
I didn’t have the time or money for an MBA course or the connections to gain a mentor. So instead I began to search for the answers myself.
I read 100’s upon 100’s of books on business, success, personal development and biographies of the greatest thinkers that ever lived. I meet with leading business owners, researchers and coaches.
I built a number of businesses in different industries and travelled the world to interview and speak with the leading technical minded entrepreneurs.
After learning from the top I noticed the success and business principles that matter and also the mistakes many technical entrepreneurs make when they first go into business.
Top innovators do not only seek to solve a problem they also look at strategies to effectively scale and implement the solution.
To do this requires a different set of skills than those that were initially required to create the solution in the first place and because of this, I saw that even the most innovative technical entrepreneurs must learn startup business and success skills if they wish to make a larger impact on the world.
So the question remains….

How can you start to learn the Startup Skills you’ll need as an engineer.

I’m going to share with you an exert from my new book “Engineer to Founder” – which is a 90 day guide to craft your engineering career for startup success.
In this post you’ll learn how the basis of entrepreneurial thinking. This is the foundational difference between engineer and engineer startup founder. It’s not so much a technical skill but more of a mindset shift that technical entrepreneurs need to make in order to succeed in business. It’s also a great concept to start your journey to startup founder. In the book you’ll be learning about the three levels of thought that an effective entrepreneur is required to engage in. This may seem like a strange concept but bear with me.

What exactly does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

ccording to Peter Drucker “the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” The basis of this statement is that entrepreneurs look externally for opportunities rather than internally. Entrepreneurs aren’t looking at sales and marketing as an aftermath to creating a product or service they are looking at sales and marketing as the core of their creativity. This means that the focus of the entrepreneurial thinking hat is much larger than the technician. While the technician focuses on the details and features of a product or service. The entrepreneur looks at the entire market landscape and the larger context of the product or service. This is one aspect that many engineers and scientists struggle with when entering the world of business. Large picture strategy is not something that comes easily to technical minded entrepreneurs.

The main thing that trips up entrepreneurs going into business from a technical background is the assumption that if you know the technical work of a business, then you know how to run a business that does the technical work*. However, it takes a different set of skills to actually run a business that does technical work.  One of these skills is being able to envisage the larger future of a business.

 When building a new venture it is extremely important to have a vision. To have a clear vision is way to steer the direction of the business. Without direction many ventures fail. It is common for technical entrepreneurs to skip this stage and focus purely on management and the technical aspects. However all great companies were founded from a clear purpose or vision, which later helps to steer the decisions that need to be made as the company grows.

The most successful entrepreneurs started with the end in mind. Including those from technical backgrounds, like Elon Musk.

“Going from PayPal, I thought well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity? Not from the perspective, ‘what’s the best way to make money,’ which is okay, but, it was really ‘what do I think is going to most affect the future of humanity.’” – Elon Musk, June 2014.

The idea of the entrepreneurial thinking hat is to think of the larger context of your business and it’s role in the global economic landscape. It is to look at what the world wants and to provide a solution. As an engineer or technician you must remember to focus on the larger impact of your technology and design your business around that vision.

Beginning with the end in mind is extremely important if you want to build a lasting company. IBM founder Tom Watson Sr was said that “IBM is what it is today for three special reasons. The first reason is that, at the very beginning, I had a very clear picture of what the company would look like when it was finally done. You might say I had a model in my mind of what it would look like when the dream, my vision, was in place.

The second reason was that once I had that picture, I then asked myself how a company, which looked like that, would have to act. I then created a picture of how IBM would act when it was finally done.

The third reason IBM has been so successful was that once I had a picture of how IBM would look like when the dream was in place and how such a company would have to act, I then realized that, unless we began to act that way from the very beginning, we would never get there.

In other words, I realized that for IBM to become a great company it would have to act like a great company long before it ever became one.

From the very outset, IBM was fashioned after the template of my vision. And each and every day we attempted to model the company after that template. At the end of each day, we asked ourselves how well we did, and discovered the disparity between where we were and where we had committed ourselves to be, and, at the start of the following day, set out to make up for the difference.

Every day at IBM was a day devoted to business development, not doing business.

We didn’t do business at IBM, we built one”*

Part of the entrepreneurial thinking hat is having a firm vision and acting as you would if your business was like the company you envisage. This comes from the very first stage of business development and choosing to make decisions that make sense in the long term.

 * Gerber, M. (1995). The E-myth revisited: Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it. New York: CollinsBusiness.

Engineer to Founder my New Book is out today! Learn how to gain an education in entrepreneurship… and the best thing is - you won’t have to quit your day job!clean tech marketing

In this book, I’ll be revealing the crucial business skills you need to balance your stable job and grow your passion project.

Here is a Sneak Peak of what it will include…

  • 3 Hat’s of a Startup Founder
  • Fatal Mistakes Most Engineers Make in Business and How to avoid them
  • Essential Startup Skills you can gain on the side

So that you can start learning now – go to this page

P.S. For the first 50 I’ve got it as a pay want you want – so if your quick you can get it for free. Also – for a limited time you can use the coupon code “subscribers” and receive a $10 discount.

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