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The Most Underrated Skill That You Need To Be Successful

This skill is so underrated that you can get pretty far in your career without anyone really noticing that you don’t have it or can’t apply it well. I’m talking about effective decision making. All sorts of people get through years of working; they even make it all the way to the C-suite without anyone ever even discussing this. But lose half a million in a quarter, cause a $50 million disaster, create a major service quality deficit or hire the wrong people for the wrong jobs too many times and people surely start to take notice.

The powers that be will surely notice that decision making – a skill you were likely never evaluated for – is suddenly getting in the way of your success and causing the organization to suffer.

Education Can’t Outrun Poor Decisions.

No amount of education or experience can outrun or outweigh poor decision making in the long run. The costs of bad decisions always surface and find a way to make you and the entire organization look bad. Observe the top ranks in any organization, and you will likely find highly qualified, educated and experienced executives and directors, but you’d be well advised not to assume that they can or will apply effective decision making when the moment requires it or the situation demands it. By the time leaders are exposed as deficient in this area, the organization has already taken huge hits and the culture and employees surely feel it.

Let’s look at what effective decision making is and what it isn’t as well as why it’s a necessary component of career and organizational success.

Effective decision making is a necessary but most underrated skill.

The higher up the career ladder you go, the more responsible you are for decision making. You become responsible for your own ability to make good decisions and accountable for the decision making – or lack thereof – of others on your team. If you find your career progression has struggled or stalled or that you are not getting the respect you seek, consider whether or not your decision-making methods could be hindering your success and how.

Decision making is underrated because people tend to credit others as competent in it without making any meaningful observations or assessments. Yet, a skill deficit in this area can create disastrous results for employees and organizations. Its importance is most appreciated after organizational leaders try to reactively remedy a catastrophe rather than when they should have been proactively trying to prevent one in the first place.

Today In: Leadership

Very smart people can (and do) make very bad decisions.

Some of the smartest – and most accomplished – people in the world have been in rooms when some of the worst decisions have been made (think Enron, the 2008 financial crisis, the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the 2019 Boeing 737 Max FAA disasters). Then there are the decisions that organizational leaders make every day which lead to staggering operational inefficiencies, unnecessary redundancies, poor quality output, ineffective and contradictory policies, bad customer service and flawed hiring. How can this be?

There are myriad reasons for bad, unethical or grossly negligent decisions including poor leadership, the lack of decision-making processes, ego, peer pressure, etc. But the top reasons would be resistance to critical thinking and analysis as well as the lack of an established decision-making process that accounts for human biases and ethical gaps.

Effective decision making is not synonymous with decisiveness.

Organizations go to great pains to recruit and reward decisive leaders when they should, instead, be working harder to secure effective ones. Certainly, decisive leadership has a proper time and place, but decisiveness is not synonymous with effectiveness. Further, when applied improperly or excessively, it can be a detriment to effective leadership and an impediment to effective decision making.

Sometimes being decisive can work against you.

These four perils to decisive leadership can create long-lasting harm to organizational and career success. You’ll want to avoid this kind of decision making whenever possible.

  1. Ready-shoot-aim. A decisive leader could have a shoot-first mentality whereby he will make a decision and ask questions later (if ever) with little regard for short or long-term consequences.
  2. Acting is more important than thinking. A decisive leader could believe that he’ll be rewarded for quick decisions even if those decisions may do greater harm in the long run. The goal becomes to just do something, and do it as fast as possible.
  3. Decisions aren’t connected to data. A decisive leader can become driven to achieve some predefined outcome regardless of whether the data supports the outcome or not. What is best for the outcome overrides what is best for the organization or the internal or external stakeholders.
  4. The ego can get bigger than the organization. A decisive leader may not tolerate or encourage dissent. In the worst cases, people are punished for disagreeing and rewarded for perpetual agreement. Hence, the decider creates – rather than reduces – higher levels of organizational risk.

Effective decision making requires analysis.

The best decision makers understand that regardless of which decision-making model they use, they must be strategic about it. Effective decisions are well-thought decisions with the results or consequences being weighed and considered beforehand.

Effective decision makers are often better strategic thinkers too because their processes start with better questions like these:

  1. Why do I/we need to care about this issue? Or, what prompted the need for this decision to be made?
  2. What happens if I/we don’t decide on this issue? Is the status quo acceptable? Why or why not?
  3. What outcomes are we trying to achieve? Who cares about them and why?
  4. What are my/our biases, prejudices, interests or values? Are they congruent with the defined decision options?
  5. Whom will this decision mostly affect? How?
  6. What are the positive and negative consequences of this decision? What is this based on?
  7. Who are the short-term and long-term beneficiaries? Who gets to define them?
  8. What is the worst result this decision can bring? Can I/we live with that?
  9. What are forces for or against this decision? Do I/we care? Why or why not?
  10. What is the second choice/option or fallback position? Is it viable, and how do I/we know?

Effective decision making is necessary for professional and career success.

Decision making is indeed a skill, and it is critical for personal, professional and career success. It applies to all areas of the business including hiring, operations, marketing, finance, etc. And it is most helpful when contemplating and deciding on your next career moves.

Those who are able and willing to apply effective decision making to their career will better understand which job opportunities to accept and which ones to decline and which career risks to take and which ones to pass. They are better able to gauge which extracurricular projects to accept and which ones to turn down.

Ultimately, by making better decisions, you will take more calculated risks to advance your career, and you will know where to focus your time and efforts for career building and networking so you can realize the greatest benefits over time.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am a strategist, management consultant, executive coach and international speaker and have delivered meaningful results for executives and leaders in 42 states and 6 countries across 3 continents. I serve as CEO for ARVis Institute, a strategy, change, performance and human capital consulting firm. I have committed my research, education and professional talents to transforming governments, corporations, nonprofits and educational institutions and develop leaders and managers who have the capacity to create high-performing organizations and the competence to affect positive change.

Source: The Most Underrated Skill That You Need To Be Successful

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Paula Golden philanthropist — amalgamator Broadcom Foundation, Executive Director “Successful philanthropy unites good people with the right cause and insures that the relationships are long-term, productive and gratifying.” As executive director of the Broadcom Foundation and director of Broadcom Corporation Community Affairs, Paula Golden is responsible for all aspects of the Broadcom Foundation, which includes funding education and research initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) worldwide. She also oversees the volunteer activities of 13,000 employees at Broadcom, a global Fortune 500 company and leading innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. Paula earned her undergraduate degree in English and education from Wellesley College and was assistant dean and instructor of law at New England School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude. She also served as executive director of the Engineering Center and Engineering Center Education Trust, director of development for University of California, Los Angeles Neurosciences, and vice president of the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation. She partners with progressive nonprofits, government entities, formal and informal learning programs, and Broadcom employee-volunteers throughout the world to develop STEM learning processes and teacher training that will assist young people from all strata of society to become scientists, engineers and innovators of the future. This work includes developing the Broadcom MASTERS® and the Broadcom MASTERS International, signature programs of Society for Science and the Public. The Broadcom MASTERS® is the premier international middle school science and engineering competition designed to engage students between the ages of 11 and 14 in project-based learning and inspire them to continue studies in math and science through high school in order to achieve college and career goals. Paula also oversees Broadcom Foundation’s university research funding that reaches more than 64 renowned universities worldwide and directs the prestigious Broadcom Foundation University Research Competition. – – – – – – – – – – In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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Getting To Know The Man Who Did The Most To Nourish Free Enterprise In China: Jack Ma

Most everyone has probably heard of Jack Ma and Alibaba. But, few understand the true immensity—and importance—of what Ma, the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, has done. We had a fascinating conversation at the Forbes Global CEO Summit in Singapore, where we discussed what he did at Alibaba, one of the most formidable e-commerce companies in the world, and his future plans and aspirations.

By providing people in China with a powerful online platform to market their products and services with Alibaba, he nourished millions of small businesses — and the cause of free enterprise. Thanks to Ma, countless numbers of Chinese businesses and individuals can obtain loans and other financial services that would otherwise be unavailable from traditional institutions within China. He also enabled small enterprises everywhere, including the US, to easily trade with entities in China.

Having recently stepped down from Alibaba, Ma is moving into philanthropy, big time, to promote entrepreneurship and education, among other things.

Struggling students will take heart at the fact that Ma was a poor student, frequently flunking his exams. Furthermore, his success was not immediate; numerous employers turned him down when he first entered the workforce.

Ma’s story validates Adam Smith’s truth that commerce benefits us all, and free markets are the best poverty fighters ever created.

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Steve Forbes is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media.
Steve’s newest project is the podcast “What’s Ahead,” where he engages the world’s top newsmakers, politicians and pioneers in business and economics in honest conversations meant to challenge traditional conventions as well as featuring Steve’s signature views on the intersection of society, economic and policy.

Steve helped create the recently released and highly acclaimed public television documentary, In Money We Trust?, which was produced under the auspices of Maryland Public television. The film was inspired by the book he co-authored, Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy – and What We Can Do About It.

Source: Getting To Know The Man Who Did The Most To Nourish Free Enterprise In China: Jack Ma

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The One Uncomfortable Feeling You Must Experience In Order To Be Successful

Contrary to conventional wisdom, success depends less on the virtues of talent and drive than it does one’s ability to withstand fear and uncertainty. Many people display inclinations toward one skill or another in their early lives. Many champion the title of best in the school, team or town – but talent is only a part of the equation. What separates the outliers from the rest is not the amount of discomfort they are willing to bear – the difference is whether or not they can withstand uncertainty.

Uncertainty is the fertile ground of your life. It is the grey area in which anything is possible. The wisest person in the room is the one who never believes they are the smartest – genuinely intelligent people live in uncertainty, they know that there is always more to learn, see and discover. Uncertainty is the first step of any worthwhile endeavor. It requires a fearlessness. Because for as powerfully transformative as it is, it is also the human emotion we are least inclined to tolerate.

When nothing is certain, anything is possible. – Bianca Bass

The word comfort is laced through so much advice that we share: step out of your comfort zone, make enough to be comfortable, don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. But this doesn’t account for the ways in which our feelings often betray us. Emotions are the way the brain pieces together sensory stimulations with its perceived environment. It’s easy to see why we can become anxious when our chest tightens and we associate the feeling with being disapproved of by friends. From this, an association is created.

Today In: Leadership

In their life’s work, most people want to be successful without having to sacrifice their comfort. That’s why so many people perceive “success” to be synonymous with risk reduction (think of things such as stable housing, a guaranteed job, etc.) It befuddles them, then, to discover that after 10 years living this kind of life, they are unfulfilled, drained, and thoroughly dissatisfied.

Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow. ― Tony Schwartz

Human beings do not chase happiness, they chase comfort. They pick partners that re-create familiar relationships in their childhood. They choose jobs that they believe will earn them either a place in society, or the merit of being “safe” in some way. Most things that we do are with the intent of generating more comfort, and so it is counterintuitive at best to recognize that actually accomplishing something worthwhile requires enduring that which we have spent most of our lives trying to avoid.

You’re not supposed to know what the future holds. If you know where the path leads, it’s because you’re on somebody else’s.

Human beings crave certainty in the way they crave comfort – because life is an inherently uncomfortable and uncertain thing. But instead of trying to manufacture an abundance of those emotions, perhaps consider that life is uncertain for a reason. There are so many virtues of letting things be open-ended, in admitting that you don’t know what you don’t know. People often believe that when they’ve lost their “plan,” their knowing of what’s next that all has fallen apart. They look back often to realize that their lives were really just beginning… and in embracing what they didn’t know, they found a life that was greater than what they could have previously imagined.

Source: The One Uncomfortable Feeling You Must Experience In Order To Be Successful

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How This Founder Learned to Trust Her Gut and Grow Her $3 Million Probiotics Company

When it comes to business, Harris would rather listen to her own instincts than to advice from well-meaning MBAs: “If they knew exactly how to do it, they’d be doing it,” she says. “We’re learning as we go, and trusting our gut has been the best lesson so far.” Here, Harris holds a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast–scoby for short–which ferments kombucha.
Amy Lombard

After Ashley Harris and her family began experimenting with probiotics at a doctor’s recommendation, they saw digestive issues clear up, eczema disappear, and moods improve. She wanted to help other families overcome similar ailments, so in 2015 she founded LoveBug Probiotics, a New York City-based supplements business that grew its revenue 2,621 percent in three years, and landed deals with major retailers like Target and CVS. Despite having limited business experience, here’s how she pulled from her previous career as a 19th-century European paintings​ specialist at Sotheby’s to get LoveBug started. –As told to Anna Meyer

We launched selling our products on Amazon and on our website. But those early days were tough. The space is competitive, and my startup didn’t have the kind of budget for marketing that other probiotic companies have.

With my art background, I focused on creating bold-colored packaging and tongue-in-cheek branding messages like “Feel good from the inside out” and “Yeast is a beast.” It helped us stand out among competitors that had very clinical marketing and branding. Our approach resonated with customers, and incoming positive Amazon reviews helped more and more eyes land on our page. By the end of that first year, my startup took in around $115,000 in revenue.

Amy Lombard

In 2016, my instincts and art background served me again: I traveled to Anaheim, California to an industry trade show, Natural Products Expo West, to create an over-the-top display booth with Ikea furniture and bookcases that I put together on the spot. Throwing a corporate banner over a folding table wasn’t going to cut it. Compared to the bland, run-of-the-mill corporate booths around us, we stood out and buyers from national retailers all came looking, and after hearing my story, became interested in doing business.

Fast forward three years, and by the end of 2018, I grew the brand 2,621 percent, landed deals with national retailers like Target and CVS, put product through the doors of more than 10,000 retail locations, and brought in over $3.1 million in revenue in 2018.

Courtesy Company

As a first time founder with a background in art and literature, a lot of well-meaning people with MBAs told me how I should run my business. I felt pressured to listen to them, but I learned to trust my own instincts. If they knew exactly how to do it, they’d be doing it. My team and I are learning as we go, and trusting our gut has been the best lesson so far.

In addition to growing my business, I like to experiment with fermenting probiotic-rich foods in my own kitchen. From wild yeast in a homemade bread starter that produces an insanely satisfying sourdough bread, to lacto-fermented pickled vegetables that add the needed balance to a dish, or to the yeast and grape fermentation that makes a varietal of wines–fermenting has been a joy to experiment with.

Fermentation requires balancing acidity, temperature, and time, and I’ve grown to view my business the same way. It’s not just about how fast you can scale, it’s about putting the right things in and letting it grow.

 

By: Anna Meyer

 

Source: How This Founder Learned to Trust Her Gut and Grow Her $3 Million Probiotics Company

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After the review, check out our list of the 10 Probiotic Supplements! http://www.probioticsguide.com Want to know what I think of this probiotic? This is an in depth review of Lovebug Probiotics. See what real experts and actual users have to say about this probiotic supplement! People are always asking me which probiotic is best. In this review I’ll go over everything you need to know about this one. Here’s a breakdown of what I’ll cover: First, I’ll give you my overall rating of the product based on how it compares to all the other probiotics I’ve tried. You don’t want to miss this part! Then, I’ll tell you how easy or difficult it is to use. This includes the size of the pills, the taste and what form they come in. There are so many options nowadays, so I break it down for you. Next, I talk about the ingredients and strain profile. There are many strains out there and they all target different things. At the end of my Lovebug Probiotics review I’ll go over any side effects I got while using the probiotic. These include both positive and negative things I experienced. To sum it up, if you want to learn all about this probiotic, I’d recommend checking out the full video. Here’s our list of the 10 best probiotics! http://www.probioticsguide.com/best-p…

 

5 Things Wealthy People Invest Their Money Into

I never had access to money during my childhood, or even as I grew into a teenager and young adult. Both of my parents lived paycheck-to-paycheck and struggled with debt, so that’s really all I knew.

As a result, I was never really exposed to the investing world, nor did I learn to think of entrepreneurship as a viable career option. My parents were busy trying to keep the lights on and food on the table — the thought of having extra money to invest and build wealth would have been completely foreign to them.

Eventually though, I got my first introduction to the concepts behind investing and building wealth. I majored in finance in college, learned about mutual funds and ETFs, and found out how the stock market really works.

As I began my career as a financial advisor and transitioned to entrepreneurship, I was always looking for ways to increase my base of knowledge. I read books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Crush It: Why NOW is the Time to Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk. However, books like these didn’t teach me how to invest my money. Instead, they taught me how to invest in myself and my personal growth.

5 “Non-Investment” Investments Rich People Learn to Make

The thing is, these are areas where rich people really do invest time and time again. That’s because they know something most people don’t — they know that growing wealth is about more than throwing money into the stock market, becoming an entrepreneur, or taking big risks to fund a promising startup.

Building wealth is just as much about becoming the best version of yourself, staying in constant learning mode, and building a network of like-minded people who can help you reach your goals.

Want to know exactly what I’m talking about? Here are some of the most common non-financial investments rich people love to make:

Accelerated Learning

Most rich people read a lot of books written by people who inspire them in some way or have unique experience to share. I’ve always been a big reader too, diving into books like The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss and The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard.

Reading is such a smart and inexpensive way to fill some of your free time and increase your knowledge, which is something the wealthy already know. If reading a few hours per week could help you stay mentally sharp while you learn new things, why wouldn’t you make that decision over and over?

But there are other ways to accelerate learning that don’t involve reading or books. You can also take online courses in topics that relate to your career. As an example, I’ve personally taken courses on YouTube marketing, productivity, search engine optimization, and affiliate marketing.

Going to conferences to learn new skills from others in your field is also a smart move rich people make. FinCon is a conference for financial bloggers I attend each year that I can attribute making millions of dollars from — mostly from meeting brands, learning new skills, and networking with my peers.

Personal Coaching

Personal coaching is another smart investment rich people make when they know they need some help reaching their potential. Morgan Ranstrom, who is a financial planner in Minneapolis, Minnesota, told me he wholeheartedly suggests a high-quality coaching program for anyone who needs help taking that next step in their business.

Ranstrom has worked with various life and business coaches that have helped him understand his values and clarify his goals, become a published author, and maximize his impact as a professional and business owner.

“For individuals looking to break through to the next level of success, I highly recommend investing in a coach,” he says.

Personally, I can say that coaching changed my life. I signed up for a program called Strategic Coach after being in business for five years, and this program helped me triple my revenue over the next three years.

The thing that scares most people off about coaching is that it’s not free; in fact, some coaching programs cost thousands of dollars. But wealthy people know the investment can be well worth it, which is why they’re more than willing to dive in.

Mentorship

Mentorship can also be huge, particularly as you are learning the ropes in your field. One of the best mentors I had was the first financial advisor that hired me. He was a million-dollar producer and had almost a decade of experience under his belt. I immediately gained access to his knowledge since his office was just next door and, believe me, I learned as much as I could.

Todd Herman, author of The Alter Ego Effect, shares in his book how he mentored under the top mindset coach in his industry when he couldn’t really afford it. He lived in a Motel 6 for almost a month to make the program fit in his budget though. Why? Because he knew this investment was crucial for his career. And, guess what? He was right.

Over the last year, I’ve participated in mentoring with Dr. Josh Axe, an entrepreneur who has built a $100 million health and wellness company. Just seeing how he runs his business and his personal life have been instrumental to my own personal growth.

The bottom line: Seek out people who are where you want to be, ask them to mentor you or sign up for their mentorship programs , and you can absolutely accomplish your goals faster.

Mastermind Groups

It’s frequently said that Dave Ramsey was in a mastermind group called the Young Eagles when he first started his business. Entrepreneurs such as Aaron Walker and Dan Miller were also in the group, and they leaned on another for advice and mentorship to get where they are today. Ramit Sethi, bestselling author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, is in a mastermind group with Derek Halpern from Social Triggers.com and other successful entrepreneurs.

I also lead a mastermind group for men. Believe it or not, one of our members has been able to increase his recurring annual revenue over $300,000 because of advice he has received.

These are just a few examples of masterminds that have worked but trust me when I say most of the wealthy elite participate in some sort of mastermind group or club.

Mastermind groups are insanely helpful because they let you bounce business ideas off other entrepreneurs who may think differently than you but still have your best interests at heart. And sometimes, it’s a small piece of advice or a single statement that can make all the difference in your own business goals — and your life.

Building Relationships

When it comes to the top tiers of the business world, there’s one saying that’s almost always true:

“It’s not always what you know, but who you know.”

According to Alex Whitehouse of Whitehouse Wealth Management, successful people forge relationships that catapult their careers.

“The right connections can help land better jobs, accelerate promotions, or start lucrative businesses,” he says.

But it’s not about cheesy networking events. To get the most value, focus on meeting people at professional conferences, mastermind groups, and high-quality membership communities, says Whitehouse.

This is a strategy most successful people know — meet other people who you admire and build a relationship that is beneficial for everyone.

But, there’s a catch — and this is important. When you meet someone new who could potentially help you in your business, you can’t just come out of the gate asking for favors. I personally believe in the VBA method — or “Value Before the Ask.” This means making sure you provide value before asking a favor from anyone.

In other words, make sure you’re doing your share of the work to make the relationship a win for everyone. If you try to build relationships with other entrepreneurs just so you can ride their coattails, you’ll be kicked to the curb before you know it.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

 

I am a certified financial planner, author, blogger, and Iraqi combat veteran. I’m best known for my blogs GoodFinancialCents.com and LifeInsurancebyJeff.com and my book, Soldier of Finance: Take Charge of Your Money and Invest in Your Future. I escaped a path of financial destruction by being a college drop out and having over $20,000 of credit card debt to eventually become a self-made millionaire. My mission is help GenX’ers achieve financial freedom through strong money habits and unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit. My work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Reuters and Fox Business.

Source: 5 Things Wealthy People Invest Their Money Into

Warren Buffett is the godfather of modern-day investing. For nearly 50 years, Buffett has run Berkshire Hathaway, which owns over 60 companies, like Geico and Dairy Queen, plus minority stakes in Apple, Coca-Cola, and many others. His $82.5 billion fortune makes him the third richest person in the world. And he’s vowed to give nearly all of it away. The Oracle of Omaha is here to talk about what shaped his investment strategy and how to master today’s market. I’m Andy Serwer. Welcome to a special edition of “Influencers” from Omaha, Nebraska. It’s my pleasure to welcome Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. Warren, welcome. WARREN BUFFETT: Thanks for coming. ANDY SERWER: So let’s start off and talk about the economy a little bit. And obviously, we’ve been on a good long run here. WARREN BUFFETT: A very long run. ANDY SERWER: And does that surprise you? And what would be the signs that you would look for to see that things were winding down? WARREN BUFFETT: Well, I look at a lot of figures just in connection with our businesses. I like to get numbers. So I’m getting reports in weekly in some businesses, but that doesn’t tell me what the economy’s going to six months from now or three months from now. It tells me what’s going on now with our businesses. And it really doesn’t make any difference in what I do today in terms of buying stocks or buying businesses what those numbers tell me. They’re interesting, but they’re not guides to me. For more of Warren Buffett’s interview with Andy Serwer

click; https://finance.yahoo.com/news/influe…

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He Built A $2.5 Billion Business At Age 50 That Is Disrupting A 7,000 Year Old Industry

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Dr. Joe DeSimone took his own path to entrepreneurship. His latest venture, Carbon, is changing the way things are made.

He’s assembled one of the most impressive Board of Directors and line up of investors to transform the $300 billion manufacturing industry.

Joe recently appeared as a guest on the DealMakers Podcast. During his exclusive interview, he shared how his team is transforming how the world makes things, the fundraising process, what it’s like building a nearly 500 person company in less than 6 years, and many more topics.

From Academia to Entrepreneurship

Joe DeSimone was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Ever since high school, Joe found he had a knack for chemistry. For both understanding it and for teaching it.

He attended Ursinus College, and then Virginia Tech for his Ph.D. On a tip from a faculty advisor, he went to check out the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill—-one of the top 10 chemistry departments in the country.

If he would teach organic and polymer chemistry, then they would give him $500,000 to start a research program. He was convinced. At UNC, he enjoyed a highly successful career as a professor for 25 years.

Joe taught a lot of students chemistry and mentored many researchers. He learned that people have very different learning styles. From his perspective, if you want to be a great teacher, you have to take responsibility for explaining complicated topics in accessible ways.

It turns out that is a really important trait for entrepreneurs too. It’s a valuable skill whether you’re doing it in a classroom setting, talking to VCs or investors, or your own employees. The importance of bringing people along with you.

His position in academia enabled Joe DeSimone to pursue a handful of interesting startups based on his research before he launching his newest venture, Carbon, in 2013.

His first company was BioStent. A partnership with an interventional cardiologist at Duke University. They developed a coronary stent that is polymeric instead of metal-based. It dissolves in the body after 18 months, once blood vessels can operate on their own again. The company was acquired by Guidant, and then Abbott.

Next, it was Liquidia Technologies, a partnership with one of Joe’s Ph.D. students including Jason Rolland, now SVP of Materials at Carbon. Liquidia went IPO last year.

They developed technology that leveraged tools from the computer industry to make precision nanoparticles. It spawned new and more effective ways to deliver medicines to the airway.

It has proven valuable in improving treatment approaches for diseases like pulmonary arterial hypertension, and in creating next-generation vaccine platforms for infectious diseases and certain cancers.

After spending 25 as a faculty member at UNC, the opportunity to go to Silicon Valley and take on a new entrepreneurial challenge was something Joe couldn’t pass up.

UNC agreed he could take a sabbatical to pursue his idea. That was five years ago.

Departing Academia for Silicon Valley 

When Joe left North Carolina for Silicon Valley to found Carbon, he didn’t know what the future would hold. Carbon is now one of the world’s leading digital manufacturing companies.

Based in Redwood City, Carbon’s mission is to enable companies to make breakthrough products that can improve human health and well being, transform industries, and change the world.

Joe launched the company and its groundbreaking Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS) technology on the TED stage in 2015.  DLS fuses light and oxygen to rapidly produce products from a pool of resin. Using DLS technology, Carbon is enabling companies like Adidas, Riddell, Ford and Johnson & Johnson to create breakthrough products at speeds and volumes never before possible, finally fulfilling the promise of 3D printing.

Joe believes that empowering product teams to make breakthrough products and bring them to market faster will change the way we live.

Carbon has cracked the code on 3D printing at scale. The manufacturing industry is a $12 trillion market and manufacturing polymers is a $330 billion market. There is enormous potential here for Carbon to lead the digital revolution in manufacturing.

Creating a Company Differentiated by its Technology, Business Model and Team 

With a team of nearly 500 employees around the world, Carbon has also assembled an impressive team of board members and investors while raising $680 million in the process at a $2.5 billion valuation.

Carbon’s board includes former Chairman and CEO of DuPont, Ellen Kullman, former CEO of Ford Motor Company, and former CEO of Boeing’s Aircraft Division, Alan Mulally, and Sequoia’s Jim Goetz.

Some of their investors include Sequoia, Google Ventures, GE, Adidas, BMW, Johnson & Johnson, and JSR. They’ve also got Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, and Madrone Capital Partners as well as investment from additional international sovereign funds.

Storytelling is everything in fundraising and Carbon was able to master this. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Critical Ingredients for a Successful Company

During the interview, Joe shared three of the most important components of building a successful company as being:

1. The importance of IP and patent-protection

2. Building highly differentiated technology

3. Assembling a world class team of people that are committed, passionate, and talented

DeSimone also shared his thoughts on the similarities between academia and entrepreneurship such as the importance of bringing people along with you and painting a vision for the future and how the world can be different.

Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

  • Joe’s advice for starting your own company
  • How he created a purpose-led company
  • Building a successful business model
  • Putting your customers first
  • Future-proofing from obsolescence

Alejandro Cremades is the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising, co-founder of Panthera Advisors (M&A and fundraising advisory), and creator of Inner Circle (fundraising tools & resources)

 

I am a serial entrepreneur and the author of the The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs. Most recently, I built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online. Prior to CoFoundersLab, I worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where I was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake). I am an active speaker and have given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business. I have been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide my stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online

Source: https://www.forbes.com

Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and Other Tech Leaders Share Their Favorite Summer Reads

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  • When they’re not busy ideating in Silicon Valley, tech execs like to settle down with a beach read.
  • NBC reporter Dylan Byers rounded up book recommendations from tech CEOs in a summer reading list for his newsletter.

For folks seeking an elevated beach read this summer, NBC reporter Dylan Byers asked six tech executives for summer reading recommendations in his newsletter.

Read on for book recommendations from Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Tim Cook, and more.

Mark Zuckerberg — Facebook, CEO

Getty

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore.

A novel about who really invented the lightbulb by the screenwriter behind the Oscar-wining film “The Imitation Game.” It features the intertwining stories of Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and George Westinghouse.

Sheryl Sandberg — Facebook, COO

Reuters

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

Philanthropist Melinda Gates writes about the importance of empowering women, and how that action can change the world.

Tim Cook — CEO, Apple

Getty

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When a young Stanford neurosurgeon is diagnosed with lung cancer, he sets out to write a memoir about mortality, memory, family, medicine, literature, philosophy, and religion. It’s a tear-jerker, with an epilogue written by his wife Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, who survives him, along with their young daughter.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

A memoir by the creator of Nike, Phil Knight.

Dawn Ostroff — Spotify, CCO

Richard Bord/Getty Images

Educated by Tara Westover

Westover, raised in the mountains of Idaho in a family of survivalists, didn’t go to school until she was 17. She would go on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. This memoir chronicles her path towards higher education.

Evan Spiegel — Snap, CEO

Mike Blake/Reuters

Mortal Republic by Edward Watts

A history of how ancient Rome fell into tyranny.

Jeffrey Katzenberg — KndrCo

Getty Images / Larry Busacca

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Written in 2018, Harari addresses technological and political challenges that humans will have to tackle in the 21st century.

White Working Class by Joan C. Williams

Williams, a law professor, writes “Class consciousness has has been replaced by class cluelessness — and in some cases, even class callousness.”

Rebecca Aydin Business Insider

These Founders Started by Feeding a Few Hungry Doctors–and Turned It Into a Billion-Dollar Catering Business

Online catering marketplace ezCater is not your typical unicorn–if the fact you’ve perhaps never heard its name doesn’t make that readily apparent. Stefania Mallett and Briscoe Rodgers noticed how much catered meals helped sales reps who were trying to woo clients. That realization evolved into ezCater, a 750-employee company that’s now going international.

 

For one thing, the company is based not in Silicon Valley, but rather in Boston. Its founder isn’t a young man armed with an MBA, it’s Stefania Mallett, a veteran executive who is now 63. Nevertheless, ezCater–an online marketplace for catered meal delivery–is valued at $1.25 billion following a $150 million funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners in April. The business has doubled sales eight years running–and if it does so again in 2020, it’ll hit $1 billion in orders.

 

Mallett has run or been a board member of nearly a dozen organizations, bringing engineering skills–she has degrees from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science–and a customer-focused approach. By the mid-2000s, she was working with co-founder Briscoe Rodgers as CEO of PreferredTime, a company that helped pharmaceutical sales representatives get face time with doctors to pitch their products. One of the most effective ways of doing that, they found, was helping the reps order food to a hospital or doctors’ office.

 

“Doctors are extremely busy. But what we found was they are also a little too polite to grab the food and run, so they will stand there while you give your pitch,” Mallett says. “It buys you 90 seconds to talk while they are stuffing some food in their face.”

Mallett and Rodgers couldn’t help wondering if a catering platform, one that would help sales reps across industries make delicious meals appear at their would-be clients’ offices, could scale. In 2007, they abandoned PreferredTime and founded ezCater, without a staff or proper office. They each had a Boston-area home; they chose to work out of Mallett’s because her dining-room table was larger.

 

The founders also envisioned that a platform that connected local restaurants to offer large, shared trays of food–rather than, say, individually packaged sandwiches–would have applications beyond just sales calls. “Turns out, the formula also works for feeding hungry Millennials at tech companies,” Mallett says.

 

EzCater launched quietly in two test markets, its home of Boston and Greensboro, North Carolina. (The latter was a large enough city to be a legitimate test bed, but small enough that it could let the company fix problems without causing a huge flap.) It wasn’t magic at first, because Mallett and Rodgers needed both sellers–restaurants willing to fulfill large orders–and buyers. “We tried at first to push both those rocks up the hill at roughly the same rate,” Mallett says.

 

An aha! moment came in the first year. To find customers, first they needed to offer more catering options. They worked fast, and went from just more than 1,000 restaurants on ezCater to some 20,000 in three months. Customers followed. “If you are selling things people want, they will find you,” Mallett says. 

 

National expansion started in 2011, fueled by venture capital investments. To date, ezCater has raised nearly $320 million. The funding also has allowed the company to begin to expand internationally, thanks to acquisitions of a software firm in Vancouver that also ran a catering platform, and a corporate-catering firm in Paris.

 

Now the company has 750 employees, with about 450 in Boston, 200 in Denver, and the other 100 split between Vancouver and Paris. “We’ve outgrown my house–though I still go home to that house every night and think, yup, it started here!” Mallett says.

Despite the fast growth, the company has tried to develop an easygoing culture based on camaraderie and experimentation. EzCater orders breakfast on Monday and lunch on Thursdays for its Boston staff, using its own platform of course. New hires and interns are tasked with placing the orders, to learn how to use the system–and potentially spot pain points or to help come up with new features.

 

Growth is still the top metric on Mallett’s mind. She says ezCater is somewhat hesitant to make another acquisition, though, because “virtually all of the companies we are looking to acquire are growing slower than us–so they would slow our growth.” Mallett, who has taken companies public in the past, adds that ezCater could be ready by 2021 to consider an IPO–but with plenty of money in the bank from its past two venture rounds, there’s no pressure to do so.

 

“Success breeds options,” she says. “We’ve gotten to a place we can make our own choices.”

 By: Christine Lagorio-Chafkin Senior writer, Inc.@Lagorio

Source: These Founders Started by Feeding a Few Hungry Doctors–and Turned It Into a Billion-Dollar Catering Business

How Did The Owner and Builder Of The Newly-Completed 450-foot-Long Superyacht Flying Fox Keep It A Secret For So Long?

The short answer for such a massive superyact is, they didn’t really. But that doesn’t mean the experienced owner—who worked with the red-hot superyacht exterior designer Espen Oeino, interior designer Mark Berryman and the highly experienced, megayacht builders at Lürssen in Germany—couldn’t at least try. So, the 450-foot-long, 67-foot-wide yacht was built in the relative secrecy of Lürssen’s enormous manufacturing facility. And the yacht that took several years, and $100’s of millions to build (and probably more than a few non-disclosure agreements) was always referred to by its code name: Project Shu.

But then again, it was extremely hard to keep a yacht that’s much longer than a football field a secret when it finally emerged from the builders covered facility earlier this spring. And even harder once her sea trials on the Baltic began earlier this summer.

And as you can see in the few photos that have finally emerged (it’s now called by its real name—Flying Fox) Espen Oeino has designed an elegant yacht exterior that that looks sleek in spite of her massive over-all volume.

The balance and proportion of the exterior allows for generous deck space that offer a range of options for owners and guests to enjoy. Numerous terraces and platforms open out over the water to provide fantastic access the water. While every other exterior element, from sun decks and open entertainment areas to more shaded and intimate spaces, has been designed to provide the highest level of luxury.

For example, all superyachts have swimming pools, but Flying Fox is special in that its enormous swimming pool that runs from side to side on the main deck. The exterior also is equipped two helicopter landing pads, one on the bridge deck and another on the sun deck aft, that makes it possible to for owners and guests to use multiple helicopters.

Meanwhile, advance reports about the interior (no photos of the interior have been published yet) say interior designer Mark Berryman’s has interior has a calm and spacious feel featuring soft neutral tones and tactile finishes.

And as you can see from what the builder and project manager of this massive yacht said when the yacht was launched earlier this spring, they kept the “secret” going for as long as they could.

“Project SHU represents a major milestone for Imperial.” says Julia Stewart, Director at Imperial Yachts who brought their vast experience and knowledge to their supervision of the massive build project. “Being involved in impressive superyacht projects like these show our capacity and experience in superyacht and megayacht management, with regular deliveries of 80m+ projects supervised and operated by our team since 2015. Our strong and very dynamic links with Lürssen, Espen Oeino and Mark Berryman helped to achieve one of the most impressive vessel of the next decade”

Shipyard Managing Partner Peter Lürssen proudly states: “SHU fulfills the requests of a very experienced owner in an exceptional way. The owner’s input within all aspects of the yacht’s design was clear, strong and exacting. Building SHU was a significant challenge and we are very proud of this achievement. She represents another remarkable milestone in our history.”

But the secret is out now, and tuned for much more from Lürssen and Espen Oeino. The German yard, and Norwegian designer have been very, very busy.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

During my previous life as an editor at several American yachting magazines, I was lucky enough to sail thousands of offshore miles on a wide variety of boats. My job as yachting scribe has brought me on adventures from the Arctic Circle to the equator, and to nearly every tropical destination in between. I’ve dodged high-speed hydrofoils on the brown waters off St. Petersburg, Russia, anchored in impossibly blue water off uninhabited islands in the Seychelles, Scandinavia, the BVI, and the Bahamas, and even flown aboard a Jayhawk helicopter with the US Coast Guard on training missions. These days, when I’m not travelling or writing about the magic that happens at confluence of superyachts, offshore adventure, luxury travel, and technology, I sail my ultra-simple, ultra-fast dinghy, ride my gorgeous and gloriously-expensive carbon fiber bike, and push our little one in a baby stroller all over New England.

Source: How Did The Owner and Builder Of The Newly-Completed 450-foot-Long Superyacht Flying Fox Keep It A Secret For So Long?

He Was Employee Number 7 At Tesla And Now Has Built A $1 Billion Business That Makes Your Phone Or Car Run Longer

Gene Berdichevsky was one of the early team members at Tesla. Now he’s building his own unicorn startup, Sila Nanotechnologies, which is valued at over $1 billion. One which looks like it will fuel every way you travel from the road to being in the air.

Berdichevsky recently appeared as a guest on the Dealmakers Podcast. During his exclusive interview, he shared his journey, building his first solar car, and how he’s raised hundreds of millions of dollars for his own technology startup that is growing at an incredible pace.

Thousands of Miles & Designing Your Own Education

He was born on the Black Sea in Ukraine, spent time in St. Petersburg, Russia, and even lived north of the arctic circle for five years. All before landing with his family in Richmond, Virginia, and attending college in California.

Gene was fortunate to grow up in an entrepreneurial family, and see his father start his own small businesses. Both of his parents were software engineers and worked on nuclear submarines.

So, the one thing he says he knew was, “I definitely wasn’t going to be a software engineer.” He did enjoy math and science a lot. That led him to study mechanical engineering.

Within his first year at Stanford, he got involved in their solar car project. Students would compete to build a solar-powered car and race it across the country, 2,300 miles, from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Gene’s team built the car chassis from scratch, built a carbon fiber body, and powered it with a battery with about the same strength as the toaster in your kitchen.

That was it. He fell in love with energy, problem-solving and building, and was really energized by having really built something from the ground up.

Mastering Energy

Berdichevsky went on to get a Master’s in energy engineering from Stanford. There was really no such program in existence at the time. So, he put together his own curriculum. He dove into materials, semiconductor physics, quantum mechanics, and solar.

Many people are already struggling with the decision to go to university. So, why go, and even create your own studies, when you can piece everything you want to know together online these days?

As with many of the other highly successful startup founders I’ve interviewed who have come out of Stanford, Gene found the network you gain access to very valuable. Some of those people still work for him at Sila today. He also credits the value of learning from your peers there.

Tesla & Battery Issues

At the end of his junior year, Gene became the seventh Tesla employee as a tech lead for battery system architectural development.

It’s no secret that there were plenty of early challenges for Tesla. They started out literally supergluing laptop batteries together to make the battery pack.

Then with safety the main concern was avoiding random failures. They happen in batteries. Even being rare, when you are using 10,000 batteries to run a single vehicle you really have to expect this to happen and preempt that.

Tesla grew from around 10 people when Berdichevsky started there, to around 300 when he left. About 30x in just four years. Tesla now has over 45,000 employees with a market cap of $40 billion.

His big lesson from Tesla was that as a startup founder, you want to go after really big problems. Ironically, Gene says sometimes it is easier to solve a really big problem, than a smaller one. For a start, it enables you to attract incredible talent. It is also both incredibly rewarding and reduces your competition.

From Tesla, he saw that you need to be willing to do things the world doesn‘t think are possible. This requires a mindset and a culture that is self-reliance where you are willing to do a lot of things in house.

Entrepreneurship In The Making

From the day he walked into Tesla, Gene says his brain was already fixated on “How do I start my own company? How do I build something like this?” He had even previously written a business plan for making electric cars in the U.S. market in his junior year at Stanford.

He then did a stint at Sutter Hill Ventures where he understood the VC lens when identifying entrepreneurs that have the potential for success. The key ingredients and how the lens is used to identify patterns includes the following:

1) Great markets defined by a great distribution

2) A strong product that captures the value

3) Founding teams equipped to resolve complex technical problems

Gene was traveling the world meeting many founders. During his time with Sutter Hill Ventures, Gene met his future co-founder, Gleb Yushin. Shortly after, Gene’s former Tesla colleague Alex Jacobs joined them as Sila Nano’s third co-founder.

After multiple conversations and understanding the value that each one of them brought to the table, they got started with a 1,000 sq. ft. lab in a basement at Georgia Tech and Sila Nanotechnologies was born.

Financing The Next Big Thing

Right after forming the team they went out to raise financing. They had a big advantage and that was the intellectual property Gleb had amassed which included six patents and four years of technical data around the problem they wanted to resolve.

They knew the technology was fully compatible and had a clear understanding of the road ahead given the years of experience at Tesla from Gene and his co-founder Alex.

They went out and raised a Series A round with Sutter Hill and Matrix as co-leads. Both of whom have continued investing in every round.

Sila’s most recent round of financing was a $170 million round led by Daimler. So far they’ve raised around $295 million.

The business positioning was critical as a lot of people had lost money in battery companies. From day one they were very clear they were not a battery company, but a technology company that makes materials for batteries. Batteries are a low margin market but the materials have a very healthy market as the better the product the higher the sales.

They are valued now at over $1 billion where storytelling played a big role. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Sila Nanotechnologies

During the early days, the cofounders were able to recruit a group of talented engineers to join them and from there started to build the business.

Their business model revolves around inventing, developing, manufacturing and selling their product.

In this regard, their product is a powder that replaces graphite powder in existing lithium-ion batteries. The more efficiently you can store lithium, the less material you need for the same amount of energy. Sila Nano’s material can store energy more densely, giving you more energy at similar volume and weight.

Sila can reduce battery weight by approximately 20 percent or increase energy stores by approximately 20 percent with it’s material. Meaning vehicles have the potential to go 20% further than anyone else’s.

Consider that every electric vehicle will need around 15 to 20 kilos of this material. Think forward to a few years from now when all vehicles are electric. You’re talking about a market of 100 million new vehicles per year. At 20 kilos per car, you’re talking about 2 billion kilos of this entirely new-to-the-world material that has to be produced, every year.

This material could also be used to fuel new air taxis, and change the way we travel, and the aerospace industry.

Sila has been growing by around 40-50% every year for the past five years, and there are no indications of that slowing down anytime soon.

Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

  • The essential ingredients for raising money
  • Gene’s top piece of advice for his younger self and new founders
  • How to grow as a leader when your team is growing at 92% in two years
  • His approach to solving strategic problems

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am a serial entrepreneur and the author of the The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs. Most recently, I built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online. Prior to CoFoundersLab, I worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where I was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake). I am an active speaker and have given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business. I have been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide my stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.

Source: He Was Employee Number 7 At Tesla And Now Has Built A $1 Billion Business That Makes Your Phone Or Car Run Longer

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