Notes - Stanford's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast - Joshua Reeves founder of SaaS Startup Zen Payroll

March 9, 2015

I've been listening to a lot of Stanford - Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcasts lately. These are amazing free podcasts where successful entrepreneurs talk for 30-60 minutes about that the difference that makes them success is.

You can check them out here if you want. Stanford - Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

Do you Actively Listen?

Don’t waste your time just to tick a box. With all books on tape, podcasts, etc I like to make sure I actively listen.

What does this mean to me?

I find that a lot of people will read or listen to a book just to tick the box and say “I read that book”. I’d much prefer to read one book slowly and suck as much of it up as possible. Vs. read a ton of books and not incorporate the learnings into my life and belief system.

How I Actively Listen...

Listen through it one time without taking notes or looking for huge take aways ( this is hard to do, I always want to write down distinctions). I like to listen while running or at the gym where I can’t really stop to take notes every few minutes. I feel this gives me the whole picture of the message that the entrepreneur is trying to convey.

Once I’ve done this I listen through it a second time hitting pause CONSTANTLY while jot down quick take aways. I make sure I pause because I want to have a stream of thought for that thing and not feel like I have to write quick while the speaker says something I may miss. I found myself going back and re-listening to parts over and over again because I feel like I missed something while I was writing.

Joshua Reeves - Zen Payroll - Notes

Now these notes aren't necessarily in any order. Just my stream of consciousness af takes aways from his talk on entrepreneurship. So here goes...

Mentorship doesn’t need to be a structured thing. It can be parents, friends, books, network of people. Don’t box yourself into thinking a mentorship is about meeting with someone every X period of time and going through a list. A lot of mentorship happens via just on going conversations.

I’ve never had a desire to create a business. I’ve had a desire to be curious, solve meaningful problems.

It’s not just about accomplishing a goal. It’s being proud of how we achieved a goal. He talks about the Journey a lot!

What are the main puzzles in our business. What are we prioritizing? Are we maintain the culture. Way we communicate, hire and celebrate.

How do you empower people in a startup to treat them like owners? How do you make employees feel appreciated for what they have done? It’s usually much more about appreciation then compensation.

Not about a task but a common mission.

When you hire or raise money. What are their values, motivation and skill set. Do they fit with your values, motivation and skill set?

What is a values founder? What do you stand for? What’s your identity? It impacts hiring.

As CEO what should you focus on?

1. Set good direction and strategy for the business
2. Optimize how you organize and communicate.
3. Finding good people that fit your culture & values. That have a skill set that fills a hole. 50% of the time networking and interviewing people.
4. Lead by example.

As long as there are problems to be solved there are businesses to be created.

Find something that really bothers you and seems solvable. Then focus on that.

Idea of entrepreneurship is to take the impossible and make it real.

Interviewing is a very important skill. Should focus on becoming great.

1. Ask why how for things they accomplished. In that chapter of their career what was and wasn’t working. How did they personally make a change to overcome?
2. In this next chapter what do you want and what are you looking for? Understand values, motivation and skill set.
3. How did their last job change their view of the world for the better? What take aways did they leave with?

Make sure you take time to step away for introspection. Structured. What’s working what’s not working and how I spend my time.

As a person decide who you want to be like and study them. Find a few traits that make you admire them and work on building those into who you are as a person.

When starting any business ask yourself if you’ll still be excited to talk About it after 10,000 times. If you’re not don’t start.

Trade offs of mission tie to prioritization.

Prioritization is the key to success. In any great business there’s always many things you “could” do. The test of a truly great CEO is know what you must do for the next steps.

I know this may not make sense to a lot of you. If you have questions please just post them in the comments and I’ll be happy to elaborate.

P.S. If you haven’t figured this out yet. This blog is basically my notes to myself 😀


Want More? The more people listening the more I’ll write.
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