The Fifth Discipline: A Global Movement

I have been reading “Four Days with Dr. Deming.” His genius ideas helped Japan transform their economy after WWII. Today I opened up “The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization.” I found this incredible quote by Dr. Deming on page 2: “Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlers—a...
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The Coach You Need

When you need a helping hand in life or at work you might decide to hire a coach. There are many amazing executive, career, leadership, and life coaches out there. How can you possibly find the right one for you? Which of these following 4 factors is most important to you? 1. Experience (years, hours coaching) 2. Reputation 3. Professional Training and Credentials 4. Your Personal Rapport/Feeling of Connection With the Coach Please rank them...
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Beware of Taking Advice

Next Friday I get to deliver a keynote at Phoenix’s biggest startup event. But beware of taking advice from me–or anyone else. Startup events are great. Successful founders, executives and investors share war stories, keys to success, lessons learned. But when I give advice to entrepreneurs, I’m hyper conscious of what I might call my Advice Receptivity Theory. 90% of the advice you get is wrong. For you. It works for the person giving the...
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An Entrepreneurial Superpower

One of my entrepreneurial superpowers is asking questions at scale. Before I started Ancestry I went to libraries and conferences and asked questions. I learned why and how people do genealogy, best books and tools, etc. When we had 1M monthly users I ran surveys to learn more about them. I learned our visitors spent $528 per year on genealogy. They bought more than 20 things including family tree software and data CD ROMs. Multiplied...
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The World’s Most Interesting Man

Forget the beer commercials. Ray Dalio is definitely the world’s most interesting man. On the one hand, he wrote an amazing book “Principles” to help other humans discover the principles that will help them be successful at work and in life. It describes his life journey and the principles he learned from making painful mistakes. It’s incredible. Some of Ray’s best principles are truths others great thinkers (Peter Drucker, Don Clifton) previously described. For example:...
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Celebrating America’s greatest active entrepreneurs

Gary Hoover, who is arguably America’s foremost student of business history and entrepreneurship (he has 57,000 books in his personal library!), asked this fascinating question: “Who is the greatest active American entrepreneur?”   Spoiler alert. Gary selected someone who still runs the company he founded 46 years ago. This company has revenues of $50 billion, has 335,000 employees, and is listed on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work. You should read Gary’s article on
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CEO Dilemma: Invest in People or in Automation?

Prominent CEOs often say something like “Our people are our greatest asset.” I saw this on the back of a diesel truck while driving through Colorado recently. Is this just lip service? I wonder how many CEOs actually believe it. How many CEOs consider their employees their single most important asset–a resource to be valued, protected, developed, invested in, and rewarded? To be prioritized above everything else, and preserved at all costs? On the other hand,...
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StrengthsFinder and early stage investing

I visited the other day with the FIRST INVESTOR IN ANCESTRY.COM. He is an amazing man, a retired entrepreneur, a mentor to hundreds of entrepreneurs, and a very successful investor. He was not only the first investor in (which is worth billions), but also in 1-800-CONTACTS (probably worth $500M) and in Omniture, which sold to Adobe for $1.8 billion. His top 5 includes Futuristic, Activator, Maximizer and Significance. I told him his Futuristic/Activator explains why he was...
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Life-changing books

Tomorrow I’m speaking at the BYU College of Humanities. I need your help. As I finalize my remarks, I’m looking for help from a few people who can tell me about a book that changed their life for good. Please visit my Facebook page and post your story here: Dear Facebook friends: Please answer this question: (Outside of scripture), What book changed your life for the… Posted by Paul Allen on Wednesday, October 12, 2016  

Honoring My Mom and Yours

My wonderful mom recently celebrated a special birthday with her twin sister. These are two special ladies, with 17 kids and more than 60 grandkids between them. There is nothing my mom loves more than a phone call from one of her kids–except a long visit from one of us. She has lived her entire life putting her family above everything else as her most important priority. She was a grade school teacher before meeting my...
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