Words of Wisdom from 2012 Innovators

So what are some of the lessons from 2012?   I found a really cool recap on Fast Company, that I share as food for thought.

“Don’t grow attached to what you have built. We had to let go of our identity as a web company to follow our users into mobile.” Travis Katz. CEO. Gogobot. 

I so share this phrase, you see so many people get attached to their success and that comfort zone dooms them.  This beginning of 2013 is a good time to review if there is anything that we need to let go and anything new that we need to take up. I guess Susan Lyme. Chairman. Gilt Group really summarizes this: “Change is the new status quo.  No matter how good your business is today some young entrepreneur is working hard to disrupt it.  Next year, I will spend more time soaking up inspiration anywhere I can find it.”   Well, this is a common thread for most of us, Clara Shih, Hearsay Social puts it this way:  The best ideas come from unexpected places.  Next year I am going to take one day a month to visit non technology companies to get inspiration from other industries and organizations.” And yes, change has become a way of life, it seems things will never settle, so the time has come not just to embrace change but also to own it.  “As start up founders, we often wait for things to stop changing, to get to stability.  Instead, live in the moment, and enjoy change as it happens. “

So, what if things are going great for you and you have an amazing growth rate?  I tend to agree with Ben Lerner CEO Thrillist:  “We grew like crazy in 2012, but we had growing pains.  Make sure your structure is efficient before piling more people on top of it.”

Aside from the people who populate the company structure, there is the attitude that should come with it.  I tend to align with Eric Ries, author of the Lean Start Up:  Entrepreneurship is a job title.  “Entrepreneurship is a new corporate function if companies are looking to have teams build new disruptive innovation, each team should have a leader whose business card says “entrepreneur”.  What a great idea!  Account Director-Entrepreneur, for example.

And of course, for everyone who is a communicator, Dennis Crowley FourSquare CEO has the message to give out to all clients:  “Ideas go nowhere if they stay in your head.  Everything has to be communicated to the people who execute on ideas.”

Finally, some tips from Mr. Angry Birds, Mikael Hed, Rovio’s CEO.  The first is patience, Angry Birds is Rovio’s 52nd. Product…talk about persistence!!! Find an exemplar and do something different. Whereas Disney parlayed cartoons into theme parks—Mr. Disney himself inaugurated Disneyland in 1955, almost 60 years ago—Rovio is pushing cartoons into everyday life.  And leave a few dollars on the table, it might prove to give you great returns.    Free upgrades of Angry Birds created an army of loyal fans.

So, enjoy the journey and rethink the rules.