Tag: advice

A star Morgan Stanley banker shares her best career advice for women

Carla HarrisCarla Harris doesn’t normally give gender-specific advice to young people.

But there is one point that the Morgan Stanley dealmaker, who is now vice chairman for global wealth management, emphasizes specifically when mentoring women.

“What I say, especially to young women, is, ‘Yes do a great job, put the points on the board, make sure that’s clear,'” Harris recently told Business Insider.

“But you must as quickly as possible start investing in the relationships around you. Don’t just put your head down and work, because you should have a relationship with every seat that touches your seat.”

Harris has landed some major deals throughout her 28 years on Wall Street, including the initial public offerings of UPS and Martha Stewart Living.

She has also built a career as an accomplished singer and published two books, in which she lays out her advice for young people.

Harris described two types of “currency” that employees can use in the workplace: performance currency and relationship currency.

“What I’ve found is that women tend to keep gravitating towards the performance currency, and what happens is, as you get more senior, the relationship currency is the more important currency,” Harris said.

The currency is generated by investing in the people in your work environment.

Harris said that as you rise through the ranks in your career, people start to assume that your performance is equal to that of your colleagues. You’re less likely to be ranked based on that currency the further you progress.

“What will make the difference for that next big assignment are the relationships that you have,” she said.

“Because that next assignment is going to be based on somebody’s judgment — judgment about whether or not you’re ready, judgment about whether or not you’ll be successful, judgment about whether or not the team or whoever else you need will actually follow you — and judgments are directly influenced by relationships.”

SEE ALSO: A Morgan Stanley exec says this is the one personality trait she looks for in every job candidate

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A victim of the dot-com bust shares five pieces of advice for startups caught in today’s ‘bubble’

Full Circle CRM Founderand CEO Bonnie Crater

You can still hear the wince in Bonnie Crater’s voice when she talks about Zelerate, the ecommerce software company she ran between 1999 and 2001. 

During the dotcom boom, the company raised about $15 million and burned through most of that money on growth, fully expecting that it would easily raise another round. 

But then the bubble popped.

“I’d hired these 100 people, and then I had to fire them all,” Crater tells Business Insider. “It was devasting. I felt like I ruined their lives.”

The company officially shut down not long afterwards. 

Crater says it took her years to come to terms with what had happened and her role in it. She worked at several companies, including Salesforce, before she decided to plunge back into the startup world by founding a customer management company, Full Circle Insights, in 2011. 

But when Crater looks at today’s tech climate, she says she’s starting to see signs of the next pop.

She’s particularly worried about some of the sky-high valuations and the subsequent pressure for rocketship growth. For a recent example, consider Zenefits, the troubled startup that has attributed some of its recent issues to cut corners and an unrealistic thirst for expansion. 

As someone who did it wrong the first time, here’s her biggest advice for today’s startups:

1. Really understand the numbers and do not run out of money

“Whatever you do, don’t run out of money,” she says. “I know that sounds very simple, but it’s a common issue.”

For an idea of how widespread that particular problem is, check out this recent chart from CB Insights:

The top 20 reasons startups fail – I particularly love the imagery of a “pivot gone bad”https://t.co/wrEsqgy0hI pic.twitter.com/bUTB5ibW3L

— Chris Maddern (@chrismaddern) March 6, 2016

2. Taking too much money is bad 

“When startups raise a lot of money, they often waste a lot of money,” she said. “Taking too much money is bad.”

The unicorn companies make her very nervous.

“When young people come to me and my company and say, ‘Wow, we just raised $50 million!’ I’ll be like, ‘Yup, beginning of the end,'” she says. “Because investors are expecting a 10x return on that valuation. So say a company’s valuation is $100 million. You have to be a billion-dollar company to be successful! And that’s really, really hard.” 

3. Be intentional about your company culture

Turnover is incredibly expensive, Crater says. 

Finding candidates and onboarding them takes time, effort, and money. If a startup isn’t clear from the get-go on its culture and what kind of people will flourish while working there, it is more likely to have a lot of employee churn. 

Although she thinks that company culture is incredibly important, she doesn’t think that expensive perks are necessary. Perks are nice, but most people just want to work somewhere where they feel like their contribution is valued. 

“We have a ping-pong table and happy hour and free lunches once a week, but that’s not what the company is about,” she says. “We want people passionate about helping marketers get better at their craft.”

You need to find people who believe in the mission of your company. 

4. Make sure you have an annual plan that everyone understands

“Everyone should understand what your values are and what you stand for as a group,” she says. 

Because Crater and several other employees are Salesforce vets, they’ve adopted Marc Benioff’s “V2MOM” model at Full Circle. The acronym stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles, and methods. There’s a question tied to each — for example vision: what do you want to do? and values: what’s most important about that vision? — and answering the questions tied to each of those keywords has driven Craters new company ever since. 

Employees should know the company’s big picture goals in order to best manage their time and priorities and stay aligned.

“Everybody should be working on the same page,” she said. 

5. Hire your sales team at the right time

“A big mistake I’ve seen people make is hiring their VP of sales too soon,” Crater says. “Before they’ve fully figured out their product-market fit. And then that person is wasted.”

Startups who hire a senior exec before they’ve concretely answered questions like ‘who needs this product and why?’ will ultimately end up misspending a lot of cash.  

SEE ALSO: Meerkat is quitting the live video streaming it pioneered, admitting defeat to Twitter and Facebook

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Bill Gates offered the best advice on how to not feel overwhelmed when taking on huge projects

Bill Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates released their annual foundation letter on Tuesday in which they revealed the superpowers they wished they had: more time, more energy.

Yes, even the richest people in the world desire things they can’t have. Bill and Melinda were thinking about superpowers after being asked a bunch of stuff by some high school students in Kentucky, they explained in the letter.

To talk about the letter, and the upcoming goals they have for their foundation, the couple did a live Q&A on YouTube with author and YouTube star, John Green.

Green had an even bigger question for the Gates: who were their favorite superheroes? 

Melinda’s superhero is Wonder Woman. “I loved that she had those big, huge, bracelets. And she had this lasso of truth. Any man that she lassoed with her lasso of truth who was a bad guy, he had to tell the truth. I thought that was pretty great.”

As for Bill, he’s all in for Superman because “he had a lot of powers. He wasn’t one that could do just one little thing and tried to fit that in. He could fly, he could see through walls, he was very strong guy.”

But there’s a bigger moral to the story.

Later, an audience member asked the Gates how they don’t get overwhelmed by all the people in need and the difficult problems their foundation takes on — for example, how do the Gates cope with not having enough time or energy.

Gates had a great answer: think about what you can and are doing, not about what you can’t do. 

He said:

“If you only think of it in the negative sense of ‘oh, you should feel bad about this, and why do you have so much when people don’t have these other things,’ that kind of puts people off. And yet if you say, ‘hey this is improving and you can accelerate that change,’ then they get a sense of, ‘I want to be part of that.'”

Gates says the foundation also has focus, mostly on health, and it does a lot of measurement of its programs.

Equally importantly, Gates makes many trips to visit the people they are helping, and the ones he couldn’t help.

For instance, he “met the last kid in India that was paralyzed from polio. It’s a very sad story, because that kid growing up will have a lot of limits. But this was the last kid in India who got polio. Now, we’re down to the last countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and hopefully, either this year or next, the last cases in the world,” he said.

So having “bold goals” with a sense of “progress and optimism. That helps you not despair at knowing there’s so much to get done.”

Gates is using this combo (optimism, measurement, a focus on progress and reality checks with the people impacted) to cure the world of polio. But the same advice can be applied to any area in our lives where the goal is big and hard and it’s easy to get discouraged.

SEE ALSO: Malcolm Gladwell explains how to get someone to make the right decision when they don’t want to

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Daymond John’s Story & Advice To Entrepreneurs

Daymond John at a young age had a vision for his passion of hip-hop and fashion, as he planned to create a brand-line of attire for the culture of hip-hop. It all started with placing his t-shirts into videos. The public believed that FuBu was a huge company, even though he only had 10 t-shirts made up, while working at a restaurant as a day job. His motivation for FuBu was his love and passion for Hip-Hop even though he considers himself a poor rapper and dancer. His connection for working with LL Cool J as a sandwhich runner and his productivity and ambition to get his product out was the beginning to something greater than he realized. Daymond John sees “Entrepreneur” as “somebody who is responsible for every single failure that stops at them. They are somebody that needs to figure something out and they are not going to figure it out right away, but sooner or later it will unlock a way for them to be productive. An Entrepreneur is about taking responsibility  for your own actions and realize that there are many people that will help you in regards to your success, but only you will be the one responsible for your failures.” For Daymond it was easier at the start of his business for him, but now he says “It is easier now to fail”. At his level he feels he has too many options and not enough information. He tends to throw money into projects and 80% – 90% of them don’t work out. But in contrast he also has plenty of resources which allows him to wait and look at other opportunities that some wouldn’t take on. As an entrepreneur “you never stop learning”. Even though he failed way more than succeeded, he can see his strengths and weaknesses from his failures, that allows him to grow in areas he’s passionate about and thrives in. Advice On A Worthy Project For Entrepreneurs Set your goals in order to achieve milestones. Even if you have a side project with a minimum of 7 hours a week, set affordable steps and goals that you feel you can hit. This may help you discern your priorities to apply continual effort towards your project. Is your priority to make thousands of dollars a week? Or to make a change in the world, in service to someone’s life? What are you in it for? “At the end of the day, you’re the customer. What are you going to get out of it? My quest right now is to change people’s lives, have one at the same time, and challenge people.” – Daymond John The Joy In His Workmanship “I wanted at first to empower a culture and I was fortunate enough that many people helped me.” says Daymond John, “I felt bad when I was making a lot of money and I had a lot of people around me but they were around for the wrong reasons” When business spiraled downward, he started seeing how people were. This made him realize that he wanted to have fun, but also make money with people he admired. The passion for his FuBu project in his early days was about having fun, and bringing something to those around him. To Daymond, it’s more about the lifestyle. The family, friends, health and people around him that can experience his service. Profit of money to him comes after. It’s Business, Nothing Personal A line is to be created between business, and personal. Don’t believe that other businessmen are out to cut you down. Daymond himself has fired many friends and humorously said “Are you coming to the barbecue tomorrow?“. The only problem is that they can’t do business together. Business and personal both require a covenant that must be kept. for example, to a customer, if you’ve made an agreement to provide for that customer, and you break the agreement. That customer will move elsewhere. It’s the same with friends. If you give your friend a number of hours to work with you. He agrees, but then only works 5 hours a day. The covenant is broken. Both parties must be functioning cooperatively. Daymond from experience has had to let go of many friends in hard positions. Daymond John personally does not work on something new often, but instead continues striving at what he knows he’s good at, and continues to improve.There are no shortcuts when it comes to attaining goals and results. You either learn the abilities in order to grow, or find someone in that area of expertise. “I try to partner up, and strategic partners are way more important than money. I’d rather split a dollar in half with somebody and make way more than go try and learn it myself and lose trying to learn a whole other industry.” – Daymond John Learning From Failures Even though Fubu’s exposure was globally extensive. There were many mistakes and fall-backs that the company endured. Creatively Daymond John understood his business. But he didn’t know “the business behind it”. They lost about $5 million on an album they were working on with an artist. At that time he learnt that there is no shortcuts. He didn’t hit a record executive and he wasn’t keeping track of numbers. “Did we get a lot of exposure? Yes! But from the business model, we died.” Daymond also learned that unless you have goals set, you don’t know what you’re doing. When it comes to salaries, create a formula. “Surround yourself with a mastermind group. What are your liabilities and assets? Take affordable next steps and keep growing and growing.” What have you learned from Daymond John? What is your favorite quote from Daymond John? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

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