Sea-Fever blog


Richard Branson Answers My Questions About Adventure Sailing and Business by Peter A. Mello
October 29, 2008, 10:39 am
Filed under: Experience, life, sailing, social media | Tags: , , , , ,

Richard Branson

Several days ago I posted about Virgin Money’s failed attempt to set the transatlantic crossing record under sail. Interestingly Sir Richard Branson was taking questions about this adventure via his blog, Richard Branson: Business Stripped Bare, and Twitter. Along with 20 other people, I submitted 3 questions via both media channels and Sir Richard answered 2 of them directly and all 3 in 2 his responses. Here they are:

  • How do you and the crew feel being outward bound ahead of a storm that causes most other mariners to look for safe refuge?
  • How do you balance the exhilaration with the concern about undertaking this type of high risk adventure with your son and daughter knowing that if something catastrophic happened to the boat there would be slight chance of rescue in the weather in which you choose/have to sail?

  • How does Virgin get away with you undertaking these high risk adventures when Apple stock goes in the tank when Steve Jobs sneezes?

Take the time to listen to all of Sir Richard’s answers, he’s quite an unique leader. I plan on posting more on that later on Weekly Leader, but for now I hope you enjoy this social media exchange.

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The Good Pirate Brogan Charts a Social Media Course Over the Horizon by Peter A. Mello
October 15, 2008, 2:02 pm
Filed under: maritime, social media, work | Tags: , , , ,

Chris Brogan logoMaster blogger and social media Commander Chris Brogan has hopped aboard the good ship of maritime metaphors in business with his recent post, The Beauty of Pirate Ships. This sighting was reported by lookout and Triiibes.com friend, Dawn Carter, who blogs over at Chronicles of Dawnia.

Okay, many Sea-Fever readers might not be comfortable with pirate metaphors but Chris ends his post with a Quick Disclaimer that he knows the history of pirates so don’t “crap” on his analogy. Agreed? Aye, aye! Anyway there are some good pirates out there right? Aye!

Swalllows and Amazons Forever If anyone reading this is not familiar with Chris’ work, get yourself underway and sail over to his blog. He has the incredible knack for taking business, marketing and social media concepts and simplifying them so that anyone can see the light. Like Seth Godin, he’s a masterful storyteller who entertains while he teaches. .

The point of his post that the beauty of pirate ships is that the ship (aka infrastructure) is much less important that what you do with it. Chris writes:

You see, they (pirates) weren’t as worried about the details of the operation and maintenance of their existing infrastructure. Instead, they had a fierce passion for their goal of acquiring a living from other vessels on the seas. How does this apply to what we/you do? This game is going to get crazy (has already become crazy). We need to focus harder on the goals than we do the infrastructure, the excuses, the labels, and everything else that gets between us and a goal.

He goes on to say:

This isn’t about chaos. It’s not about throwing everything away. It’s about knowing which parts are vital to moving through the waters, versus the pieces we keep around because that’s what we always did. I wouldn’t always advise something of this nature, and it’s not the right plan for everyone. But me? I’ve got the Jolly Rogers heading up the flag pole soon, and will fire all the guns as soon as my target is in sight.

The Good Pirate Brogan followed up with another briny post, Finding Treasure in the Comments. I’ll let yer scurvy dogs discover that one for yerfelves.

So take the Good Pirate’s advice and batten down the hatches, stow the anchor, point your nose to the wind, keep a steady hand on the tiller and sail toward your business goals full and by.

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Management Gurus Are Human Too! by Peter A. Mello

wsj_logo In today’s (May 5, 2008 ) Wall Street Journal, Erin White wrote several interesting pieces about current business management thought leadership. New Breed of Business Guru Rises: Psychologists, CEOs Climb in Influence, Draw Hits, Big Fees and What Influential Business Thinkers Focus On: Top Guru’s Ponder Managers Worries, New Approaches. (subscription required)

Popular business thinkers can reap big rewards. Speakers’ bureaus say most of the top-echelon business speakers charge between $50,000 and $75,000 a pop. Among the most in-demand are “Good to Great” author Jim Collins, “Death by Meeting” author Patrick Lencioni, Dr. (Gary) Hamel, Harvard’s Prof. (Michael) Porter, and “Our Iceberg is Melting” author John Kotter, speakers’ bureaus say.

Fees are rising, notes Ron Christman, who runs executive-development workshops for nGenera Corp. and frequently hires gurus. Speakers “who five years ago might have been at 25[,000] are now at 50,” he says; less-prominent names can command $15,000. Throw in book royalties, and a top-ranked guru can reach at least $1 million a year.

Thomas H. Davenport, PhD and management professor at Babson College, compiled a ranking of influential business thinkers for the Wall Street Journal using the same methodology he used in his 2003 book, What’s the Big Idea? At the top of the 2008 list is Dr. Gary Hamel whose website is headlined by “Fortune magazine has labeled Gary Hamel “the world’s leading expert on business strategy” and The Economist calls him “the world’s reigning strategy guru.””

Unfortunately even gurus are not infallible. The first edition of Dr. Hamel’s 2000 book, Leading the Revolution “lionized” Enron Corp but thanks to some nifty editing, they were removed from subsequent printings. It’s not the first nor last time that this type of thing will happen. Seems gurus are human too, only just a little better paid.

For another view of influential business thinkers check out Thinkers 50 where Dr. Hamel currently ranks #5, up from #14 in 2005.

Cross posted in Center for Leader Development and Sea-Fever blogs.

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