Increase your odds of winning by ‘Getting Out of your Own way!’ With a show of hands how many people can say they have never gotten in their own way in business? If you raised your hand then congratulation you’re a part of a select group of people who have probably never done anything. As I look back over my brief entrepreneurial career I have recently spent time reflecting on what hasn’t worked. There was one consistent theme that I keep seeing and it was this: I was making life harder than it needed to be.
I ran through a list of projects that never made it through the battlefield of my mind. For example, in 2009 I had a great book idea that I never published because I got busy working on other cool projects that never saw the light of day. The idea aligned with the financial crisis that was taking place from 2008-2009 which would have been extremely helpful for the community of people that found what I was talking about interesting. I am now working on that book after sitting on it for 3-years. How many of you have projects that you have been sitting on?
Perfection is the Enemy of Complete
What separates me from everybody else I believe is that same thing that gets on my nerves and drives me out a wall which is my design taste. Historically, I have spent so much time trying to make things perfect because I like well designed products that I don’t ship ideas as often as I should. I have allowed ideas to be backlogged that are waiting to be produced because I want everything to be aesthetically perfectly. My pursuit of perfection has forced me to realize there this a difference between ‘Excellence’ and being ‘Perfect’.
Perfection causes you hold on to projects longer than you need to and operate in fear and not bring things to market because you are overly concerned about what others will say when it hits the market. Excellence is more about creating stuff that you are proud to attach your name to that can impact a world beyond you.
Case Study of the Slinky
The Slinky was invented by Richard and Betty James in 1943 it is an idea that most VCs, CEO’s of Major companies, and bean counter today would have shut down and never launched because the idea seemed pretty dumb. There have been over 250 millions Slinky’s sold to date because Richard James saw a piece a spring coil fall off a table and he and his wife saw an opportunity.
Getting out of your own way is about seeing opportunities when others see nothing and acting on it by faith!
I am very excited to announce that I have been selected to join Engine and Hattery in Washington, DC 02/26-02/27 for Startup Day on the Hill for the second year in a row. Startup Day on the Hill is a mashup of startups, government, policy, and technology.
The focus of Startup Day on the Hill is to help forge an understanding and collaboration between the tech and policy communities. Startups from around the nation will meet with lawmakers to discuss and share how tech innovation and the startup economy is spurring economic growth in the economy and in communities in various cities around the nation.
Mission of Student Ventures
Student Ventures is 1 of 29 about companies selected to participate in Startup Day on the Hill. Our mission is to expose middle and high school students to the world of entrepreneurship, mobile app development, digital technology and STEM education. Student Ventures is an initiative that was launched in Fall of 2012 by Brand Camp University to help address the technology gap that exists between mainstream America and black, Hispanic, females and other underrepresented groups.
The event will be highlighted by a trip to the White House to meet with Todd Parks, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the White House and assistant to the President. While in DC we will be sitting down with Senators and Congressman to discuss: immigration reform, creating tech jobs, and educating politicians on how technology is driving economic growth in the new economy.
For More Information:
Startup Day on the Hill Website: http://engine.is/startupday
Student Ventures Website: http://studentventures.co
For my updates follow me on Twitter: @HajjFlemings
Are you looking for a speaker to talk ‘Tech’ or ‘Entrepreneurship and transform your next event or ‘Inspire’ your audience to live their dreams? Well Hajj is your guy! Hajj has spoken on the White House Economic Forum stage, he has been on camera with Soledad O’Brien and with U.S. Senators speaking on a variety of topics ranging from startups, entrepreneurship, technology and entrepreneurship.
The Workplace of the Future
The Startup You Economy: It’s Time to Think Like a Startup
Technology + Disruption
Living an Inspired Life
How to Develop a Brand (Personal or Business) that Matters
Personal Branding 101
Social Media for Small Business Owners/Entrepreneurs
Previous Speaking Engagements
American Marketing Association
American Marketing Association
Black Enterprise Entrepreneurship Conference
CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien
Congressional Black Caucus
Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
Detroit Regional Chamber
Faith Christian Center – Phoenix
Iowa State University
Michigan State University
National Urban League – National Conference
National Society of Black MBAs (NBMBAA)
National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA)
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
Ross School of Business
TED Fellows Collaboratium
University of Detroit – Mercy
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Paralympics Leadership Conference
Wal-Mart/Black Enterprise 20/20 Vision Job Forum
White House Urban Economic Forum
Contact Hajj Flemings:
So what did we learn from the 2012 Presidential Election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on November 6th? The past 24-hours was a social media frenzy with 327,452 tweets per minute being posted about the election. The campaign was a year long national debate about job creation, social class, values and race. In my opinion it was one of the most interesting presidential elections that I have witnessed in my lifetime.
It is now November 7th post-election. Most Americans spent time the day after reflecting on what they saw unfold the night before. I personally thought about the parallels between the election and the startup ecosystem. The election felt like a ‘Tipping Point’ for our nation and our economy. It was clear that the election wasn’t about blue states or red states but the sobering reality that the world is starting to ‘Become More Brown’. Let me define what I mean by, ‘The World is Becoming More Brown’. We saw how the Latino vote impacted 11 battleground states and was critical in Obama becoming a two-term president. According to the U.S. Census by 2040 Hispanic and African American will represent the majority of the U.S. population. These two facts show how the demographic of the U.S. changing and is going to impact small business, politics, product design and every sector of life.
The Four Lessons I Learned from the Election
1. The World is Changing: The homogenous world that we grew up in is changing; it is ‘Becoming More Brown’. The new economy won’t look anything like it did a few decades or for that matter a few years ago.
2. What Use to Work In the Past Won’t Work In the Future: What has worked for the last 30-years won’t work for the next 30-years. Change or be disrupted!
3. We Have to Think Like Immigrants: Immigrant entrepreneurs represent nearly 50% of the venture backed startup founders in the U.S. they are job creators in this economy. They come to the U.S. with the believe that this is the greatest country in the world (which it is). They work hard, value education and focus on ‘Creating Jobs.’
4. Market Size Matters: In the industry that you serve you have to appeal to a broad enough market to be able to get your ideas launched, get elected or get people to invest in the idea you are working on.
Here are a few startups founded by people of color and women that are doing amazing work: Aglocal, Code2040, and Women 2.0.
In the final analyst, creating an environment that attracts diverse minds can produces creative solutions and amazing startups, but I leave you with this question? Will the election be a catalyst of change in diverse thinking?
No one has an infinite supply of money (unless you are the Federal Reserve) and we all have 24 hours in a day. Which is more important, ‘Money or Time’? Without getting into a long philosophical discussion of defining money I will use the following definition. Money is a medium of exchange that can be used to purchase products, services, access and opportunity. The purchasing power of money can buy you access to the right network of people, expose you to ideas, resources and put you in circles and zip codes that create wealth. Those who don’t have it, have to work much harder to get it.
Everyday we exchange our time for money and the value of your minute determines what projects, assignments or things you invest your time into. As I travel around the country and talk with people I realize most individuals have great ideas they would like to work on but need the resources. As I personally look to change the world I have tossed around this question over and over. What is more important the chicken or the egg, money or time? Money can buy you time to work on ideas! Time can enable you to work on ideas that generate wealth!
So in a vacuum if I ask you how much time you needed to launch your startup, side project or idea what would your answer be?
How would you define an unstable environment? Today we would call it the workplace or the new economy! What was true yesterday could be replaced by new information and big data that shifts an entire industry or how you launch a new business.
A new business idea or the framework for a startup can be built in 8-weeks and in 18-months the business could be sold for $1Billion. This is the story of Instagram a mobile app that is worth more than the New York Times (NYT), which was established in 1851 and has a market valuation of $950 million! Now lets compare NYT and Instagram: NYT has 450K digital subscribers, a circulation of 1.6M weekly print subscribers and 2M Sunday print subscribers while Instagram has 50M followers. In a world where the consumption habits of people are more digital which company is more valuable or more relevant?
The New Economy Data
Now some data about the workplace in the new economy!
- 34% of employers have rejected a job candidate because of their social media activity.
- 36% of employers plan to hire contract or temporary workers in 2012.
- 54% of people under the age of 25 with bachelor degrees are unemployed.
How are you are going to compete in an unstable environment where everything is changing fast? You have to prepare yourself a workplace and economy that is in a state of flux where people are underemployed and unemployed? It is time to re-think how you define work! It is time to re-think your business model, the way you generate revenue! Whether you are an entrepreneur or an intrapreneurs you have to being thinking entrepreneurially! It is time to harness chaos and instability and turn it into opportunity!
With the JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) of 2012 being signed into law on April 5, 2012, startups and government are two communities that need to know more about each other. Engine.is is taking the first step in bridging that divide by selecting18-startups selected from across the nation to participate in the inaugural, ‘Startup Day on the Hill’.
Gokit will represent the Detroit startup community as part of this ground-breaking event. Wayne Sutton, Gokit Advisor and myself (Hajj Flemings CEO/Co-Founder of Gokit) will meet with influential Members of Congress on Capital Hill at the U.S. Capitol Building, June 19-20th.
It is a tremendous honor to represent the Detroit startup community, share my startup story and demo our product. The main focus of the 2-days is to discuss and create action items of how the government and startups can work together.
You can follow my journey via:
Google Plus: http://gplus.to/hajjflemings
Instagram: Hajj Flemings
The 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference, held May 29 – May 31, will spur a comprehensive dialogue on innovation, collaboration and the 21st century global market. Speakers and sessions will focus on creating a globally competitive, financially attractive business environment in Michigan. The 2012 Conference will bring together more than 1,500 attendees including Michigan’s top business professionals, government leaders, corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs and veteran regional champions.
How important is it for young professionals to have a voice at the Mackinac Policy Conference? I believe it is very important! One of the goals of the state is to attract and retain young professionals and how will this be addressed if we are not at the table.
This year there is a very small young professional presence at the Mackinac Policy Conference. In an effort to amplify the young professional engagement I am taking the following steps:
- Adding a Young Professional Hashtag: #yp. I added this additional hashtag so that you can track my updates, tweets, and pics.
- Aggregating a list of Questions: I will be aggregating all of the tweets with #mpc12 and #yp and posting this questions.
- Online Media Coverage: I will be posting to Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Mackinac Policy Conference Updates
For Conference Updates Follow:
Conference Hashtag: #mpc12
Conference Twitter Account: @DetroitChamber
For updates please follow me on:
Google Plus: http://gplus.to/hajjflemings
Instagram: Hajj Flemings
I will see you online!!!!
On Thursday, May 17, 2012 the White House Business Council, in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the City of Detroit and the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, will host an Urban Economic Forum to specifically address the needs of urban entrepreneurs in the Detroit area.
The forum in Detroit is part of a multi-city series designed to bridge the President’s economic vision with needs of urban entrepreneurs by connecting them with the local and national resources and networks to grow their businesses and create jobs.
I am excited to share that I have been selected to speak on the topic of, ‘Using Technology – Social Media to Expand Your Business’
Location: Cobo Convention Center 1 Washington Blvd Detroit, MI 48226
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2012 8:00am-3:00pm
I look forward to seeing you on Thursday, May 17th!
I am very excited to announce that I will be speaking at the U.S. Paralympic Leadership Conference in Colorado Springs, CO, April 26-30, 2012. It is an honor to have the opportunity to be speaking at the official U.S. Olympic training facility where some of the top athletes in the world train.
The topic of my 1.5 hour session will be on branding.
I will be sharing my experiences here . . .
Google Plus: http://gplus.to/hajjflemings
You can also follow the U.S. Paralympics Twitter Account as well: @usparalympics