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Entrepreneurship Archive

Tuesday Talks: My Biggest Failure As An Entrepreneur | A Marketing Keynote Presentation

Some great ideas don’t work because of bad strategy.  Others fail because of bad timing. And some fail because of both.

This talk is about an idea like that.

In the second installment of my Tuesday Talks, I wanted to share a story from a presentation from about a year ago that I delivered at a Tech Cocktail event around the time of launching Likeonomics.  The talk ranged on a bunch of topics – one of the rare chances when I’m asked to just get on a stage and talk without preparation.

The story featured in this talk is about my first and biggest failure as an entrepreneur … trying to start a directory website for restaurants in the DC area back in the late 1990s; failing and then moving to Australia and building a new career there:

THE BACKSTORY: Every entrepreneur has his or her fair share of failure and in this irreverent talk Rohit shares his story of founding the first ever restaurant directory website for the DC area back in 1997, why it failed and how it led him to his first big break living in Australia. The full talk was under 20 minutes, and delivered as part of a cocktail networking event to several hundred startup founders and social media enthusiasts.

WHAT IT SHOWS: While most events Rohit speaks at are large business audiences, he is equally comfortable entertaining an audience having cocktails at an evening networking event. The casual style of this talk (with scratchy audio and low video quality to complete the effect!) is filled with stories and delivered without visuals. It is a different style Rohit sometimes uses when serving as a host or emcee for an event along with delivering a more traditional keynote talk to connect with audiences in a less scripted and more human setting.

How Cat Videos Are Killing Your Credibility

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Real experts don’t talk about cat videos. There is a strangely troubling trend I have come across recently that seems to be once again afflicting presentations at business events around the world. It comes down to the ubiquitous cat video – and its closely related cousin, the animated cat GIF.  Don’t get me wrong. I like a cute kitten as…Read More >>

The 300 Year Old Female Entrepreneur Story You’ve Never Heard

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“Started by a woman, in a time when women didn’t start companies.” These are the powerful first words that introduce the story behind a brand you probably forgot you have in your kitchen right now. Kikkoman is the #1 best selling soy sauce brand worldwide, in a category filled with syrupy competitors that can rarely lay claim to any sort…Read More >>

How I Launched A Startup, Failed, Moved To Australia, Got Fired And Wrote A Best Seller

Someone asked me tonight what my “story” was – and I always wish for a better answer to that question.  After all, I spend a good part of my life telling stories and helping companies to tell them as well.  Tomorrow I will be spending an entire day at an event called the Future of Storytelling.  Every night I read…Read More >>

How LinkedIn, YouTube & Others Could Finally Cure Stupidity Online

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The greatest collection of human stupidity ever amassed sits on the Internet … and you probably encounter it every day. When you go online today, there is some great content – and a deluge of bad, useless or otherwise idiotic content. It is common knowledge that content creation online is exploding and that much of it is not very good….Read More >>

How To Write An Open Letter Like Jeff Bezos

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The open letter is an art form that not enough companies have learned to use effectively. This morning after the announcement that The Washington Post would be taken over by Amazon – one of the first commentary pieces to emerge was an open letter from Jeff Bezos to Amazon employees (published on The Washington Post website, of course). In it,…Read More >>

7 Tips To Win A Business Competition Or Pitch Contest

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There’s a few things they don’t tell you about being on The Shark Tank. One of them is that every pitch on the popular reality business TV show starts with a silent 10 second staring contest. I spent an afternoon talking to a former (winning) contestant from the show, and one of the the insights he shared was that the…Read More >>

The Norwegian Art of Strategic Waiting

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Choosing not to preserve a 1000 year old Viking ship doesn’t really surprise anyone in Norway. For Americans who are used to their own country putting mere 75 year old documents behind bullet proof glass, though, nothing could be more confusing than the longstanding debate about the fate of the Oseberg ship – a remarkably well preserved 1200 year old…Read More >>

How To Earn Respect … By Giving Up

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Today was a big day for the Netherlands. Back in January, the Dutch Queen Beatrix decided to abdicate her throne to pave the way for the next generation of loyalty to take over. Today was her final day as queen, as her son Willem-Alexander became the new King and youngest monarch in Europe. As it turns out, Dutch royalty have…Read More >>

How Dyson’s Winning Strategy Depends On Who They DON’T Hire

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The “Ballbarrow” was never really a product destined for greatness. Replacing a wheel in a traditional wheelbarrow with a ball hardly qualifies as a groundbreaking technological innovation. But it does solve a problem. Great inventions usually do. And when James Dyson first created and produced his Ballbarrow, it was a hit with gardeners seeking an alternative that wouldn’t leave wheel…Read More >>