Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

Free Online Photo Editor

Okay Photoshop costs an arm and a leg and microsoft paint just sucks!

Here’s the that is fantastic.  Its free and its online.

aviary-tools.jpg (819×399)


November 5, 2009 Posted by | Art, Business, Creativity, Open Source, Photography | | Leave a comment

How to writing a Mission Statement that Works

Mission statements to me are like greeting cards from my lawyer who just signs his name underneath the generic message.  It seems like an unneeded formality where no real thought or meaning was put behind it.  Mission Statements just come across more as great vision statements rather than actually being mission driven. This crazy language is stamped all over the place, from business plans to brochures and websites.  If it’s any consolation to people in the private sector, I’ve spent the last three years working for a non-profit organization (NGO) doing economic revitalization and I’ve noticed that NGO’s might just be the biggest culprits of bad Mission Statements.  Most seem cheesy and sometimes just plain difficult to really comprehend.

It’s always difficult for me to think of bright intelligent people come up with such dry material.  Have a look and compare the following 4 examples directly below and then compare it to the other examples further down to get gist of what I’m getting at.

Two are from real organizations and two are made up from the comic site

  1. “It is our job to continually foster world-class infrastructures as well as to quickly create principle-centered sources to meet our customer’s needs.”
  2. “Our challenge is to assertively network economically sound methods of empowerment so that we may continually negotiate performance-based infrastructures.”
  3. “To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.”
  4. “Respect, integrity, communication, and excellence.”

Numbers 1 & 2 are from the Dilbert website. Numbers 3 is the mission statement of the NGO the United Way, and number 4 believe it or not used to belong to the beloved Enron.

Now have a look at the phrase “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” (BHAG) which is a very interesting theory form the book Built to Last.

BHAG: “Clear and compelling it serves as a unifying focal point of effort, often creating immense team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal …. A BHAG should not be a sure bet… but the organization must believe ‘we can do it anyway.”

Now check these so out:

Microsoft:  “A computer on every desk and in every home, all running Microsoft software.” The guys don’t want to just sell computer software, they wants their software on every computer, in every home.  (I run Ubuntu an open source operating system based on a Linux platform so it’ll never really happen…  we all know someone with a Mac computer as well.  But its a nice goal for Microsoft to set as it easily and simply defines the standards and objectives for everyone in the organization)

BHAG’s can be used for products as well, like Amazons Kindle: “Every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.” Amazon not only wants you help you buy any book, it wants to help you do it in less than a minute.

Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world’s information” That’s as big as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal can get!

Google’s unofficial one is to “do no evil.” That’s just cool!

Even if you’re a grass routes organization starting out of someones living room, its important to have “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” (BHAG).  It helps everyone know your groups direction and purpose.  As the strategic planners and thinkers you have the important duty of laying a solid foundation for the future of the organization and guiding principles for any new faces joining the team.

Son of Five Rivers.

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Entrepreneurship, Great Ideas | , | Leave a comment

What it feels like to be an Entrepreneur

I love this video, it just put a huge smile on my face… It perfectly describes what an Entrepreneur goes through from starting on an initial idea to finishing with a successful business.

Here’s ,my translation of the video:

Start-up (Initial 20 seconds): The idea phase, you don’t know if it will work let alone be successful. You possibly doubt yourself, but all you know is that it excites you!  You take the risk and dance with the idea… Even though you may look like a fool and your reputation is on the line… You think, oh well, I did the initial calculation on napkin… it should work!  I’m an entrepreneur!  I’m a visionary lol.   Plus didn’t someone say its not how many times you fall down, its about how many times you get up…

Development (One  minute into the video) You’re still doing what feels good. Its getting a bit tougher. You’ve got few friends and family that are  grooving with you and are showing their support, but they’re a not totally sure, but you appreciate that unconditional love and support.  You do doubt yourself for a moment, maybe I’m taking the wrong approach? I should have got a partner, someone who actually knows how to dance to this song, who has some experience… Then you just decide too keep going, because you’ve already come this far and it just feels so good. You’ve forgotten all the physical and mental wear and tear, and that you’ve had to work twice as long as you did before…  You have everything on that excel spread sheet, your ready to keep pushing your idea and take it to market.

The Dream(The next 30 seconds) All of a sudden, things start to speed-up.  The days of you counting what you’ve sold hoping to break even is long gone… You see strange new faces, smiling, dancing with your idea. They feel good, you feel good.  These people have names… and number reference numbers, job numbers or client numbers.   This is Tom, Dick & Harry! This is great

The Realization (One minute and 45 seconds onwards) The point that every entrepreneur lives for. The part where you’ve got people that truly believe in your idea, your vision! All those past  reservations you’ve had are starting to disappear.   A huge weight has just been lifted off your shoulders.   People want to be part of your movement.

The End You did what needed to be done… Your happy, you’ve proved things to yourself.  You’ve made some change in this world, but you also begin to realize that this isn’t your idea anymore, its bigger then that…  So you exit stage left… quietly and  humbly  thank those folks that helped you, all while saying to your self  “you did it!”  Now its time to move on… its time for another journey. This is what every entrepreneur lives for.

We can all make this happen… My hat goes off to the gentleman in the video…

Please leave a comment if you enjoyed the video.

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Entrepreneurship | | Leave a comment