“I Don’t Know” Is The Wrong Answer

Remember a time when you wanted to do something but you didn’t have the knowledge to execute the task? This occurs to many people throughout their lives. The common response is something along the lines of “Oh well….I wish I knew how to do that.” But successful people decide to overcome the obstacle and accomplish the task through learning.

These people who do not let a knowledge barrier get in their way are usually the same people who become famous for their accomplishments. Mark Cuban spent every night reading computer software manuals because he figured no one else had the discipline to do it and he would become the most knowledgeable software salesman in the industry. He turned out alright. Bill Gates is notorious for spending so much time reading that he has begun to do it in odd places (even spotted reading and driving!). What I am trying to get at is that “If you don’t know something, go learn it!”

While most people dream of a day when they can pay someone to carry out a task for them without having to try to accomplish it themselves, many will never see this day. About four years ago I decided I was going to begin to take the route least traveled. Each week I pick one subject or area of expertise that I am unknowledgeable in and try to learn as much about it as I can. It can be anything from business to education to science or even sports. This weekly challenge has been step one in my program to acquire knowledge. Step two is to read two different books a month. I must admit that step one is much easier than step two!

The bottom line is that if you don’t know an answer or don’t know how to do something, it is very beneficial to go learn about it. Not only will it help in the current situation but many times you will run into the same issue in the future. In order to apply knowledge you must first gather it. If you can foster a love for learning you will accomplish many things in life. The foundation is crucial, don’t be lazy and wait for someone else. Your future is in your hands, what will you do with it?

Persistence Eventually Pays Off

One of the big stories last week in the tech world was that OMGPOP was bought by game-developer giant Zynga for a reported $210 million. Anyone involved in the deal should have been ecstatic, but new information in the last 2 days has revealed just how timely the deal was.

The founder of OMGPOP, Charles Forman, admitted that the day before the sale of the company he only had $1700 in his personal bank account. Furthermore, before the viral success of Draw Something (the hit game that had 35 million downloads in 6 weeks) OMGPOP was on pace to run out of money in May. Luckily for Forman and his company, Draw Something saw an unparalleled, meteoric rise to success. In the first 6 weeks, 35 million downloads had led to over 3 billion pictures being drawn and led to OMGPOP realizing DAILY revenues in excess of $250,000.

So this sounds like a story of a company who developed a great product and started to make a lot of money and was acquired through a strategic acquisition by the largest game developer in the industry, right? Wrong. This story screams of persistence and an uncanny ability to face risk, while succeeding. I don’t know too many people who could be 60 days away from going bankrupt with only 2 months rent in their personal bank account, that wouldn’t be a little worried. While I am sure Forman had some restless nights, he took the cards dealt to him and made himself an overnight multi-millionaire. (I am sure he used a little hard work and good luck too!)

My point here is that even when things seem like they could not get any worse, remember that the big break you so desperately need could be right around the corner. Never give up without going down fighting. As a young entrepreneur you must kick, scratch, bite, and bully your way to success. It’s not easy and it’s not for everyone. Those that can handle the pressure and thrive in times of uncertainty will be rewarded handsomely. Do you have what it takes to be successful? Could you make life-altering decisions while your world was crashing down around you? Dream big, work hard, and play the game as if you have nothing to lose. Your success in life is depending on it!

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College Entrepreneur’s Perspective (Guest Post by Justin Rodriguez)

Below is a guest post by a good friend of mine. Enjoy!

For all of you who don’t know who I am, my name is Justin Rodriguez. I am a Soldier in the PA National Guard with Mr. Pompliano or Pomp as I call him and a full time college student at Lock Haven University pursuing my Degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Management. I was asked to write a blog post, and when I asked what to write it on, he said anything.

I thought back to the hours of conversation Pomp and I have had about business models, price schemes, future business ideas, beating the system, the system itself, and of course friendship. Now for the two of us we live in different states, see each other once a month, and although it’s called “Drill” we are essentially being paid by the military to talk about what we can do to better ourselves, and succeed as young entrepreneurs with college degrees.  Now comes up an interesting conversation, a College Degree and what it gets you. I am still looking forward to my anticipated graduation date in the Spring of 2013. So I have yet to find out, but I know where I have come from to this point. I have always wondered the term entrepreneur and what it meant. Obviously by definition it is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” Well I cheated and stole the definition from Merriam- Webster, but that’s the nice way of putting it.

Realistically, what this means is you chose to play your cards against the house. You put your life’s stake in many cases on an idea, passion, or project that you hope will prove valuable to the masses. I continue to think of many new ideas, and in many cases they run through my brain just looking for a way to hit the table and run. Many people have what Pomp and I call the “Million Dollar Idea,” but just don’t know how to implement it. This is me telling you, I don’t either. But with such products as Legal Zoom and many colleges having Small Business Development offices to help, you can find a way. Most of us hope to be sitting on the Ace, something that can provide us with a financial safety net to retire on at a young age.

Don’t give up!! We are also in the same boat, we kick, pinch, slap, yell, and claw our way towards these ideas as well. Everyone always wants to know what should I invent? My answer to you is what could help people move on a daily basis, what aids can you think of in our life to continuously simplify our daily routines? What idea runs through your mind to improve our economy, to provide people with a governmental system to live comfortably within our means? For those of you that may read this, you just as well as any of us hold that power. The only question is; how bad do you want it?

Running For Wounded Warriors

As I promised, here is the big announcement. On April 15th I will be running the Run Raleigh Half-Marathon to spread awareness and raise money for wounded warriors. This cause is something that is very important to me.

Being a military veteran, I have seen so many soldiers return injured from wars that are thousands of miles from home. These warriors are the most heroic and courageous men and women you will ever meet in your life. My goal is to ensure that they are not forgotten as the wars end, and that they are provided with the resources they need in order to continue to enjoy life.

All donations through my campaign will be given to the Wounded Warrior Project in one large check. I am looking to raise $5,000 in 26 days so I need your help!! This is my second half-marathon and third race overall to raise money for this cause. Please spread the word and share my campaign with your family and friends. Together we can all come together and help make a difference in the lives of these soldiers who have sacrificed so much for us!

To donate visit my IndieGoGo campaign at http://www.indiegogo.com/Running4WoundedWarriors. Repost the link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with emailing it to those that you know. Help me say “Thank You” to these amazing people and show them that they will not be forgotten!

 

Young America is Hardly Working Hard

There is an old saying that “no magic pill exists other than a little hard work and sweat.” This is still true today. The tragedy of the technology revolution is that the idea of hard work gets lost within the race for a quick fix to any problem. Most individuals see Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple as companies that just appeared one day. This could not be farther from the truth.

Our country was built on the foundation of hard work from a collection of great entrepreneurs. The key to their success was that they worked hard, every day. Society did not have this belief that you only worked from 9-5 for 5 days a week. These men and women worked as many hours and days as it took to get the necessary work done. Neither Henry Ford or Steve Jobs drove home at 5pm to get some dinner and watch television.

The more I work with and am surrounded by individuals of Generation Y, the more I realize that this notion of hard work has been lost. I am not saying that nobody works hard, nor am I saying that I am not guilty of some of these same things. This is purely my analysis of the current culture that surrounds 16-28 year olds. When a task needs to be accomplished you can usually here things like “I will do it later” or “We should hire someone to do that.” This lack of hard work can also be found in entrepreneurs as well. They work hard, but do they work as hard as they can?

My experience is that the answer is no. Those that outwork their competition are usually the ones that you read about in magazines and books. The successful entrepreneurs are the individuals willing to go beyond the “limits” of the common man. No task is too hard or too daunting, and nothing will stop them from succeeding. Take a minute every 2-3 days to reflect how you have been performing. Are you outworking your competition and peers? Are you working as hard as you possibly can?

Hard work is not a magic pill by any means but it is an essential ingredient to success that is currently lacking in many young people today. In order to have the iPhones, iPads, sports cars, and jewelry you must work hard! One thing you can do to cultivate this thrist and hunger for success is to read the biographies and stories of the entrepreneurs who came before you. Many of these stores exist such as Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs, Sean Parker, and Scooter Braun.

Do you have the intestinal drive to succeed in a global economy? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve success? How bad do you actually want to succeed? Ask yourself these questions and get refocused on your goals so that you can ensure you are taking the efficient path to success!

Most Impressive Technology I Have Seen This Year

Today I walked into a coffee shop and got knocked off my feet by a piece of technology. This NEVER happens. I find things impressive or cool, but today I was like a child in a candy store. My eyes were opened to the possibilities of technology like they had never been opened before.

I am talking about Square and their new software/hardware for monetary transactions. The coffee shop had an iPad with the register application on it, along with the Square hardware to swipe credit cards. While I expected the register app and the credit card swipe, I was impressed by another nuance in their service. The owner showed me how a customer has the ability to remotely (while at the shop) open a “tab” through their personal iPad, and the business can charge them from the “register iPad.” Basically, the customer can open a tab, order, and close the tab without ever having to interact with the employees of the business in a face-to-face manner.

The owner of the coffee shop absolutely loved the service and said that he can’t remember how he operated without it. As I told him, my fascination was not so much in the actual Square service, but more in the thought-process and innovation required to get to the current platform. I am excited to see what they can develop next!

Imagine a world without credit cards or cash. No checks. Every transaction that occurs (Business to consumer, consumer to consumer, business to business) is all done digitally through remote services that do not require person-to-person interaction. Some good, some bad to that proposition.

What do you see being possible in the next 5 years? 10 years? Will digital transactions ever cause us to get rid of cash?

5 Reasons To Hire Veterans

Most people agree that military veterans have done a great deed for our country. They voluntarily signed up for the greatest fighting force in the world. Many young veterans joined with the knowledge that they would be deployed and sent off to fight a war thousands of miles from home. After each of these veterans are commended on their service, they are often overlooked and forgotten about. The label “veteran” is used to define them; almost as if a veteran is only good at fighting in wars. While vets are very good at fighting, they are quickly becoming some of the most highly sought after commodities in the corporate world as well.

Harvard Business School is making an effort to accept more veterans. The federal government has introduced veteran employment expos and programs. Grants are becoming available for veteran entrepreneurs. With all of this attention being placed on veterans entering the job market, what is the basis for it? Why do veterans make good employees?

1. They start with a great foundation.

Some employers would be happy just to have someone show up to work on time, in the right attire, and prepared for the day. To veterans this is second nature. Things like punctuality, dress code, preparation, and accountability are all taken for granted in the military. They are not something that is preached or stressed about, merely expected. When vets take these expectations into the corporate world, they initially set themselves apart through appearance, politeness, and punctuality. 

2. They work well in teams

To survive at war, a veteran must be willing to work in a team environment. They must be dependable and able to depend on other people. They are use to eating, sleeping and fighting alongside peers. These skills transfer over to business. Veterans are able to take direction well and listen to advice from others. When it is appropriate to provide input for the betterment of the team, they are able to do so. Small, tight-knit teams are essential to the success of any organization and veterans excel in this area.

3. They have maturity beyond their years.

After going through basic training and oversea deployments, most veterans have life experiences that can not be re-created anywhere else. These experiences are able to introduce them to a unique perspective of the world, while also providing experience in stressful situations. From training and combat, these individuals are able to handle stress well, remain calm during chaotic times, make timely decisions, and keep a level head throughout the ups and downs of business. 

4. They possess the best skills and training.

When your life and the life of your comrades are on the line, only the best training is acceptable. The military spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on state-of-the-art training. For technical skills, the training can not be compared to anything else. For non-technical skills, each soldier is trained and trained until they demonstrate a high level of proficiency. When entering the business world, most veterans possess an unusually high skill-set that prepares them for success.

5. They are well-versed in leadership.

To me, this is the most important trait. Put a veteran in any situation and you can expect them to step into a leadership role. This is engrained in a vet. “Lead from the front, be a leader.” In the business world, many people are paralyzed because they are afraid to make decisions or refrain from stepping into leadership roles when the opportunities are presented. Employers want employees who are willing to stand up and lead. They want employees that can fill-in for others when needed. Veterans offer this skill to businesses, which is why they are usually successful in the corporate world.

Now that you know why veterans are so highly sought after, how can you learn from their skills? What can you do to help develop them? If you have weaknesses, make them your strengths. If you think you have good skills, make them better. No matter what your situation is, learn from those with proven successful traits. Thank you veterans for your service to our country, and thank you for continuing to serve as great examples to the people you protected.

Follow me on Twitter @APompliano and let me know what you think of this article using the hashtag #HireVets