True Disruption

As founders we all want to be successful. I wanted to take a few days to download some observations I have made over my last 20 years as a leader, founder and student of business. My hope is that this will help you find wild succession your endeavor. 

When you are building a startup of any kind there are certain buzz words that seem to still capture the attention of others. For nearly a decade now the market space has been flooded with the concept of disruption. If you’re a founder, co-founder or startup team member my guess is that you are using this word far too often. In fact, I would venture to guess you aren't truly sure what it even means in practicum. 

When entrepreneurs use terms like disrupt I think most of them miss the true meaning and application of disruption. So, what do I mean? Let me explain. 

Most think that by tapping into a niche' spot in a large pipeline of commerce they have "disrupted" something. They have discovered a new buyer, a new method for attracting buyers or a more “sexy” way of presenting an established market place. This has lead to MANY incredible startups and companies who are truly growing and successful. But they have merely engaged more commerce if their only success is creating more transactions, without causing ripples in the market place that actually disrupt the business of other leaders. Because my focus lately has been in FinTech I can give you a an example. 

Robinhood is a company, an app, which has helped introduce many people to the world of buying and selling stocks by removing a friction point for most novice investors. They charge no trading fees for the buying and selling of those securities. For a young investor or a veteran cynic of the big banks they have attracted a big group of users. They have found a niche’ in a large and expansive market place. These guys have done well in growth and execution of tapping into a niche’ in the market place. 

Most look at Robinhood and call it a disruption. But, I challenge that is not the case. They have simply created a new storefront for the same products with a better price tag. The products in their market place exist in the same form as before. And, they are not challenging a cultural shift of the product and “manufacturers” in their market space. They have simply and successfully engaged a customer base for an unchanged market place. 

True disruption happens when you shift cultural, creative, manufacturing and operative norms for an industry or market place. In disruption you enter an existing market space, you identify a niche’ for entry, but build a “product” that causes multiple ripples across the entire market space. Those who disrupt cause entire industries to stop and pay attention because those ripples disrupt the norms. 

Disrupting in an existing market space is a complex recipe. The ingredients include creating a new way of transacting, new expectations for results and new demands on products which cause the industry leaders to innovate or exit. Disruption reaches its opus when an existing cultural base, customer base and industry leaders begin to accept, adopt and appreciate the disruptive idea or product. 

The best example in recent history is Facebook. Sure, when Facebook came along there were plenty of similar ideas in that market place. MySpace, Friendster and more had a good market share. I know, I had tried them all. Facebook was ingenious in it’s disruption. It began with a scarcity model, by only being accessible to select university students. Then as the scale expanded it began to reach the college graduate, GenX audience. They adjusted the product to become a communication super power for the world to connect by adopting some of the legacy ideas in the tech world. They took time to honor the last wave of leaders. This is a CRUCIAL ingredient in disruption, because without honor, there can be no integrity in disrupting! 

Facebook changed the way people transact relationally, they created a new wave of demand from the social media world and they caused the other industry leaders in social media to change their practices if possible. But, as we have seen, they reached the opus when the product became useful, desirable and common among traditional leaders and general masses. What started as a tool for 18-22 year olds has become the largest accessible, adaptable and usable form for social interaction in the world. 

Apple followed a similar path. Amazon followed a similar path. And the list can go on and on. 

Of course, everyone wants to know what the “secret sauce” for this kind of success happens to be. First, realize there is no replacement from hard work, hustle, learning, growing and pushing beyond their preferences to new territory. But at the center there is one reality in every disruptive company or movement in the world….

That reality is that disruption ALWAYS starts inside the company leaders themselves! It starts with the vision, passion, mission and values of the founder(s). Every company takes on the personality of it’s founder(s). At the core, companies like Apple, Facebook, Amazon and more, had founders who’s personal convictions, DNA and values were the driving force behind execution. But it goes deeper than than. Those traits must shape, inform and guide the culture of the entire company. This is the key to success. 

If you are going to tackle this idea of disruption, start by making sure you have been disrupted as the founder. Be sure your passion is born from a disruption in your soul. Then build a team who understand this, believes in this and will sacrifice personal preferences to uphold the disruption. After all, disruption will always be the hardest sell, the hardest to fund and the most criticized idea in your early days. 

This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for my coming posts to help you take the next steps for success… 

  • Creating Mission, Vision and Values with your team
  • Creating and Championing Your Common Language and Culture
  • Celebrating your culture

5 Traits of Great Leaders

Over the last 20 years (yes I really am that old), since beginning my career and trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up, I have had a hunger to learn from the experience of others. I have tried to connect with, listen to and learn from the best leaders in my areas of work. As a result I have discovered a few crucial traits that I believe set the innovators and way-makers apart from the rest of the crowd. 

Let me take a few moments and briefly share these with you in hopes it inspires you, encourages you and challenges you to grow. 

  1. Always Learning…. This ends up on every leadership list on the planet, so let me lead out by saying I realize this is not profound or new. But, I have learned that when something is repeated with frequency and emphasis, it must be important. The reality is that great leaders, innovators and culture-shapers truly are students. They never stop learning. They find time every day to learn something new, sharpen their skills and improve their minds. It’s not always about their specific job or industry, its just learning. It is about keeping the mind sharp and their reasoning in a nimble and flexible state. One thing I have noticed with great clarity, great leaders learn from everyone, not just the people who make them feel comfortable. 
  2. Relentless Passion…. The best leaders, and especially the ones who change culture and impact the world, are the ones whose passion runs to their very core. They truly care about what they do, why they do it and how they do it. They are content to stay in their position and company indefinitely because they truly love what they do. These leaders are not motivated by money and status, they are motivated by fulfilling their passion and sharing it with others. This kind of passion is contagious, and it is somewhat of a “secret sauce” to the success of their ideas, products and brands. 
  3. Embrace Fear…. When you lead something big or impactful, fear is part of the process. You will find yourself becoming fearful of failure, fearful or challenges and fearful of the opinion of others. But, the greatest leaders embrace that fear and harness the energy as motivation to push beyond fear and step into courage. Some call this becoming stubborn, but I know the truth is this is courage! So, when they are told their ideas is too big, or their ideas will never work or that they aren’t the right person…. They push beyond that fear and become courageous crusaders for their ideas and their passion
  4. Great Teams…. The best leaders NEVER stand alone. The best leaders are surrounded by men and women who share their passion and are often smarter than the themselves. Great leaders are wise enough to build a team that will stand behind the vision and will compensate for the leader’s weaknesses. No one can create success alone, everyone has areas of weakness and inability. The best leaders know this, and they build teams of people who fill in the gap.
  5. Empower People…. The greatest of all leaders empower others. They discover the strengths of people around them and activate those strengths. They support the passions of the people around them and cheer them on. They invest in the skills of the people on the team. They allow others to succeed and never need to have credit for being part of the process. Great leaders build up and empower others to take their place and continue building a better future. 

I am still learning and growing as a leader. I certainly have a very long way to go. But, I hope that many of these same traits are present in my life. My motivation is not about being a successful entrepreneur, founder or innovator. My motivation is about setting an example for my children who will become the next generation of leaders in the not-so-distant future. For me this is about legacy. 

What motivates you to become a better leader?

You and I Are Not So Different!

I wanted to take a few minutes and tell you why I believe in what we are doing at One Pebble. As the CEO and Co-founder I wanted you to get a peek into my thoughts and my heart. 

For most of my life I have been in a position of helping others and serving others. There is no better place to be, as it has been a fulfilling and beautiful journey. I have held many jobs and led many movements focused on helping others find joy, hope, peace and love. Whether selling diamonds that were the marker of future marriages and families, feeding orphans in developing nations or creating resources to help addicts overcome their struggles… they have all been incredible experiences. As a public communicator I have spoken to and encountered hundreds of thousands of people across the world, which has given me perspective on the needs, desires and passions of others. I have also traveled to dozens of other countries and personally encountered the human experience from so many perspectives. I am also a father who desires to see his children have a better future. As an adoptive father of orphans from various countries, I understand exactly what giving back means for those who are in need and under-resourced. All of this has taught me something important about human beings. Here’s what I discovered…..

Everyone I know wants to experience success and everyone wants to experience the joy of helping others. 

The vision behind One Pebble is simple. We want to give you hope for your future while you give hope to the world. 

So how do we do this? We help you invest your finances in resources that will ensure your future financial stability. And, we give you the peace of mind that those investments are placed in companies who are doing good for the world. We do this through impact investing, socially responsible investing and impact divesting. Traditionally these objectives have been accomplished with the help of an advisor who charges substantial service fees. The result is that someone with a smaller account, under $10,000, is unable to use such services. One Pebble has created a simple, very accurate and virtually free way to engage in impact investing whether you have $50 or $50,000,000. We also have a vehicle for the rollover of your 401k and Roth IRA as well. The fees we charge are nearly 99% less than a standard financial firm. This is the beauty of the FInTech movement which works to accomplish the disintermediation of the big banks… Instead of making the big banks and executives richer, we enable you to experience hope and change the world with as much of your personal finances as possible. 

Best of all, we take 50% of our service fees or commissions and give them away. We give them to charities and groups who are serving people in need and protecting our environment. Not only are we giving the money away, we give it in your name and enable you to be the hero of the story. This happens without a single additional cost or fee to you in any way! We do this through our proprietary system of Charity Bundles™. Through the Charity Bundles™ you are able to give to the cause that matter most to you. And, in the end you even get the tax deductible benefit on your individual taxes! We are the only investment broker in the world to offer this service! This is our unique patent pending creation that we believe will change the world and revolutionize our future called the Financial Impact Method®™. 

Your investments at One Pebble are set up for success. You will be prepared for your future through wise investments for retirement and a stable financial future. Your investments produce resources that can and will help to feed millions of starving people around the world. Your resources will help provide medical care, education, jobs and much more in the developing world. Your resources help provide protection for both the environment and our precious wildlife. Your resources help to strengthen families, communities, ecosystems and so much more. And, when you are part of a larger community doing this together, your impact is greater than you can imagine. With One Pebble you are empowered to experience a better future, while giving hope of a better future to people all around the world… a legacy that will last longer than the life you live! 

One Pebble has the vision to help you impact the world through making it possible to responsibly invest in your future, your family’s future and give back in ways that matter most to you. Our greatest vision is to help you find hope and empower you to give hope to others. 

We invite you to join the movement at One Pebble and be part of revolutionizing the future for everyone.