In depth post 8
I am realising that I am slowly running out of fuel in the tank. With school in general, in-depth included. I have noticed that while I am still reading and listening to my audio books, I feel like I am just doing it to check it off my list of things to do. Instead of the way I feel it should be, which it reading to improve my skills and myself as a person. The same thing as been happening in my general school work and even as I write this blog post. At the start of the school year everything was new and I was motivated to get everything done well and I would do it with a passion, but I feel that recently I have been doing these things just do get them done, not putting as much effort as I feel I am capable of and have in the past. I brought this up with Jacob and he told me that I need to find some way to get myself back into the rhythm of doing work with passion. Do whatever it takes to motivate yourself, a suggestion he gave me is to give myself positive affirmations. This is a suggestion that he has made in the past to help me avoid this exact problem, I kind of brushed it off the first time, thinking “positive affirmations, what can that do for me”, but at this point I am ready to try it as stupid as it may sound.
On the DeBono side of things I have decided to talk about a combination of the things mentioned in blog post 7 and 8 firstly I will touch on diversions. I have noticed that one of the things that Jacob does is that he never gets straight to the point, so there are a lot of diversions in our conversations and we never seem to stay totally on topic, but I feel that it always seems to keep the conversation interesting. Because we don’t spend too long on each topic we seem to move back to the topic at hand relatively quickly and I cannot think of a time when I have not had enough time to ask any questions I had during one of our meetings, I also cannot think of a concept that Jacob has not had enough time to describe to me to the point where I fully understand it.
The next thing I want to touch on is interruption, because the setting in witch is with only one other person there is little need to interrupt the other. There are still times when for example, I will not understand something that Jacob said I can interrupt at the right time to ask for clarification, or if I have something I want to add it is very similar to step three that is mentioned in deBono’s book, “Interrupt at the right point and state you will elaborate later.” But as I previously mentioned it is not something that is an issue very often because it is such a small setting in which we meet that it is your turn to speak half of the time.
Okay, so I understand this post is extremely late and I aplogise, but here it is:
This last week since spring break has been a fairly uneventful one. I interviewed a banker from Dominion Lending Centers. Though I have discussed with Jacob, getting financial aid and he believes that it is important to be able to fund your business aspirations without going into debt. A lot of the entrepreneurs that I have talked to so far disagree with this for a wide variety of reasons. Things like “you need the funds, it is nearly impossible to fund a business out of your pocket alone”. But Jacob noted that the people he knows that have achieved financial independence did not get into debt in the first place. Because the banks are not in business to help you, they are in business to help themselves. None the less I thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of a banker. I actually met him in an interesting way, we sat beside each other at a Vancouver Canucks game, we started talking and we talked about business, afterwards we sat down for coffee and had a more official interview 2 days later. Other than that interview it was a pretty uneventful week, I continued to read my books and listen to my audio.
On the De Bono front, when Jacob and I meet it is almost entirely about me understanding concepts. There is a new concept every week! I think understanding concepts are vital and the quote used in De Bono’s book, “When you believe you have extracted the concept from what is being said, you can check on this by asking a question: ‘It seems to me that the concept here is…Is that correct?’” (p. 111). I think applies perfectly, this is a method I use very frequently to make sure I fully understand exactly what is being taught to me. Because it is one on one is especially easy for me to ask any clarifying questions or say anything that I feel might contribute to my learning. Some of the main concepts have been: Being able to approach people, not being afraid or rejection in communication with others or, how to conduct an effective interview.
On the topic of alternatives, I feel like that is how Jacob will disagree with you, he never does so directly, it is always indirect as if he offering an alternative. In my last post I talked about one of the lessons that he taught me about input and output, if you look back to that you will see that there is an entire step dedicated to coming up with alternatives, or making substitutions as Jacob put it. I notice as I get further and further into the in-depth project, how most of Jacobs lessons fit in perfectly with what is being said in the De Bono books, mostly because they are all books that he has read and believes in, but it is still engaging to see the lesion that I read on paper, convert into a real life situation.
I wrote this on a 6 hour plane ride, it is going to be long. You have been warned
It has been a relatively quiet two weeks except in one aspect, I have started working for the company “College Pro Painters”. I am going door to door seeing if people are interested in getting any paint work done in the near future. I applied for this job because both Jacob and I felt that it would be extremely beneficial for me to be in a workplace setting, especially where I am now. As I am actually getting a taste of selling things and being put in an entrepreneurial setting. Another skill that I am picking up at this job is my ability to take rejection. As counterproductive as it may seem, having doors slammed in my face is something in the world of business is going to happen and that is just a fact that I should be able to deal with.
The second thing that in have done this week is that I have reflected. One of the things I have noticed is how hard my in-depth is going to be to present. I have gathered so much information, so quickly! I find that I am barley even scratching the surface of what goes on in my meetings with Jacob, so because this blog post is supposed to consist of recording a conversation with my mentor and I have done something different I decided to talk more about, exactly what went on in our session this week between me and Jacob. The biggest thing that I have realised is that I am really not just doing my in-depth project on the world of business and entrepreneurship, but I am also working on self-improvement.
As my “why” refers to making myself the best person I can be for the people in my future, Jacob has tailored the mentoring sessions to focus equally, maybe even more towards improving my social skills and overall bettering me as a person. So back to our meeting Sunday, it focused on a four step process focused around taking advice from people. In a prior meeting we briefly covered the fact that it is best to only take advice from those who have had the advice work for them firsthand and are in a position you want to be. Sunday he followed that up with a flow chart of self-improvement. Step one is your “why”, that I have already covered. Step 2 is input. Input are the things that you observe, books, magazines, the conversations that you have with the people that you surround yourself with. You want your replicate the input of someone who has what you want. Step three is substitution, steps 2 and 3 are similar but both equally important. You need to look at it like a diet, you need to modify your input to get the specific result that you are looking for. An example of steps 2 and 3 would be, say for example you want Hugh Jackman’s arms. You will need to replicate Hugh Jackman’s “input”. His eating habits, his exercise regimen, everything! You need to realise that if you are going to modify this you cannot expect to get the same result. Be very careful when taking other people’s advice and turning it into actions. This can be a bad idea especially if that person does not have what you are looking for.
Now I will move into the transcribed interview part, because I have already talked about my chat with Jacob I wanted to share some of the actual business aspect of my project. I try to conduct 1-2 interviews with successful entrepreneurs every week. In mid-February I attended a career fair for in-depth and one of the Keynote speakers really grabbed my attention, her name was Toni Desrosiers. Toni runs a business called Abeego, you can read more about the company on their website, but it is a green company, there main product is an ecofriendly beeswax food wrap. To give some background, I was first introduced to Toni through the Green conference that I attended. She was one of the two keynote speakers and I talked to her and arranged an interview. She had discussed many of the things that I am looking at with Jacob, such as the ted talk “start with why” by Simon Sinnek that I have mentioned in many previous blog posts and even my essay.
Another reason that I wanted to include this interview is because I think that Toni has a lot of things that I am looking for and I would be looking to try to replicate her “input”, though I am not as interested in the green aspect of her work it was interesting to get a new perspective. Because it is a 20 minute phone conversation I am not going to transcribe it all but here are the first 5ish minutes, I have in italics Toni’s part of the conversation and in normal text is mine. I have also included the link to an uploaded version of the interview below.
In terms of the hats that I wore in this conversation, I think it was mostly the white hat, mostly me gathering information, but internally I think I was using other hats. The black hat and yellow hat interrupted the information, though it was not expressed to her I was analysing the effectiveness and applicability of the information to my situation. I think Toni was mostly using the red hat, as she was mostly talking about her personal experience and thoughts.
Me = regular text
Also please feel free to look into Toni’s website and company at abeego.com
I asked to interview you because I was really interested in the point you brought up with the “why thing
Yeah good I am glad to hear that
Yeah, so I revisited the ted talk by Simon Sinnek… actually let me rewind a little bit and give you some backstory into what got me into the conference in the first place
So I am at Gleneagle secondary school in Coquitlam, and we are doing this project called the “in-depth” project where we go in-depth on one specific area of interest. My specific area of interest is entrepreneurship. So I took that and I evaluated what I would want a company to look like. I am working with a mentor named Jacob and he was the one who introduced me to the ted talk in the first place. One of my biggest focuses so far in this project has been creating a “why” and working around the process of creating business plans and what have you.
So the why that I have is to become the best man that I possibly can in the future, this protains to being a father, son, brother that I can be and I think that one of the most important aspects of that is being able to provide for them financially, I think the best way to do that is starting a business.
Okay, it’s good to have a personal why. That’s great! So you have already been introduced to the concept so that’s good.
Okay so do you have a particular business that you were thinking of starting or do you have particular questions for me?
Yea of course, I just wanted to share my “why” with you and to see if you had any thoughts on that, but was also curious as to what you’re “why” looks like?
Hmm. Okay well my “why” is that I am very much a believer in nature and I believe that nature provides an abundance of food so it would be intelligent enough to be able to find a way to preserve that food, so that’s the process for me. Or the reason “why” I make the product Abeego is because it is nature taking care of nature. I think that can be applied in many concepts but that is what is behind Abeego.
Okay cool, so something I am still a little confused about, because I was introduced to the concept fairly recently is the difference between the “how” and the “what”
The “how” and the “what”?
Well the how for you would be to start a business but the “what” would be simply what kind of business? What does your business do? What does it look like? What are you offering? And then if you apply that to your personal life that is one thing but then you have to apply it to the business that you start. It is going to be easy to identify what you do, because what you do is tangible, but you have to work in “why” you do it. The what, I mean for us is that we make beeswax food wrap, the how is the materials that we use and the why is because we have a strong belief in nature.
Okay awesome! So I guess my next question here touches on how did you get this business started? How did you get the funding and where did that come from?
Okay so I funded it myself. I funded Abeego when the recession started and there was no funding. There was certainly no funding for a business like mine, that was completely unproven and I didn’t even know what it was. I suppose that it is the difference of, maybe because I invented Abeego, I invented the concept, that means I have to understand exactly what it was before it had any real value of what it did how it was going to solve people’s problems and more than that, if it was going to solve people’s problems because I really didn’t know that it would. I didn’t know, I mean it was more than just a gut feeling, there was tonnes of research of natural preservatives that really helped me come up with the concept. For me in terms of funding there was a very low start-up cost because, I made everything and I also had made prototype equipment to make Abeego. This has helped us take an approach where, instead of putting up a huge capital investment on equipment that while may be available, costs $100,000, we have done it in a saleable fashion where we can introduce new pieces of equipment as we need it and continue to grow.
In depth post 4
It has been a relatively quiet couple of weeks in terms of my in depth, I met with Jacob two weeks ago and I am going to meet him again today (Sunday). I am continuing to immerse myself in the world of entrepreneurship by continuing to read, listen to audio books, and conduct interviews. But over the last couple of weeks I have even attended a conference and looked into getting a job in sales.
Firstly a recap of the last couple of weeks; I am continuing with reading the book “How to Make Friends and Influence People” and listening to the Steve Jobs biography. But there are a couple of new things that I am trying, firstly I attended the Green Bricks Futures Conference last Sunday. The conference was all about exploring possible career paths and talking to people in those career positions. I spoke to several different entrepreneurs about their job and my interest in entrepreneurship. Mainly I spoke to two entrepreneurs: Toni Derosiers and Troy Glasner, they have both started their own businesses and both were very interesting people to talk to and I think they both benefited me greatly in terms of giving me insight into the world of entrepreneurship.
In my meeting today with Jacob we discussed how we can use the fact that I am 14 to my advantage. We are looking at how I can start saving money and working at a young age, I am looking into a position at college pro painters would be doing cold calls because both Jacob and I agree that it will be extremely beneficial for furthering my communication ability and generally readying me for being an entrepreneur in the “real world”. The other thing we talked about in our meeting was being a better communicator in general. Jacob takes pride in being able to uplift as many people as he can and he is trying to get me to do the same. He said that just starting conversations with people can get you very valuable contacts in life, he added that good things happen to good people but you should not be a good person because you are expecting good things to happen to you. But in our meeting Jacob wanted me to be able to get contact information of people that I meet to further my social network. With this I used a large portion of what is in the De Bono book such as asking for clarification, I did not fully understand what he meant by that so he thoroughly explained what he meant. He explained to me the importance of being able to expand your social network, having contacts, and knowing people that are where you want to be. That it would be good if I was able to effectively communicate with people I interact with in everyday life.
In my meetings with Jacob I feel as if I am using fishing and shooting questions very effectively, now that we have moved farther into the project it is becoming less of Jacob talking to me and more of a conversation that we can both contribute to. Though I did not realise it previously everything I have learned in last month or so have been completely foreign concepts. The reason I did not realise this is in the way that Jacob is able to relate what he is teaching me to previous experiences. But now that I have an understanding of exactly what I am going to be doing for the next few months, it has become more of an ongoing conversation. I have developed many new points of view like De Bono talks about, In terms of my social interaction with people on a day to day basis. A point of view that I think I developed is that meeting people are not means of getting something but things are means of meeting people. The way Jacob put it was, “People are not means to get to your end, people should be your end”.
In depth post 3
The last two weeks I have developed my in depth project considerably. Now that I have started to establish my “why” I can start to look at my “how”. Though I feel that I still need to work on developing a clearer “why”. As of the last two weeks I have broadened my area of interest by looking into investment as well as creating my own business. I don’t know how seriously I am going to take the investment aspect of economics in this particular module but it is something to consider in the future.
Over the last two weeks I have been starting to look into my “how”. After high school I want to develop a plan to reach my financial goal. What this is starting to look like at this point, is probably attending post-secondary education to study business and economics. Soon after I would get a full time job to start being able to invest on either my business or my investments. Slowly as my business or investments grow I would be able to rely less on my job and more on the assets that I have created. Eventually my assets will be able to support me completely and this is called “financial independence” and that is my end goal.
My mentor Jacob has given me some reading to do over the course of my project. So far I have been greatly inspired by the book I have just finished a book called “Rich dad Poor dad” by by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. The message that it really drove home was the importance of financial literature. Skills are not enough to be successful, according to by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter you need to fully understand how to deal with money. This message was also enforced by the Steve Jobs bibliography which I am listening to on audiobook, the reason I am listening to it on audiobook is because Jacob believes that learning comes through reading, but belief comes through listening. After finishing my book and listening to the bibliography I could not agree more. The ideas were first introduced to me on paper, I understood them but they were still simply words on a page. With listening to the audiobook I am having someone tell me stories of how these ideas are being implemented, giving me a sort of firsthand experience.
I have also made advancements in other areas of my in depth. On Thursday I was given the opportunity to interview Andre Coetzee the director of a an I.T. company called I-Workz . The main topic of the interview was focused on creating a business plan. He explained to me the process of creating a successful business plan and gave me advice based on his firsthand experience. I have also been speaking to Gleneagles career resource teacher to help me develop my plan to reach financial independence. What I am trying to find is a full time career I can pursue. I spoke to Ms.Devlin last Thursday and she has been working with me to find my strengths and weaknesses and a career path that I can pursue.
Something that is important to me over the course of my in depth project is to be able to benefit Jacob in some form. Obviously he is teaching me an incredible amount and adding a great amount of value to my life, but what I want to do is in return add value to his. While it probably not be in the form of teaching, I want him to feel that I am worth his time and effort to teach me. I feel a good way to work on this is to try to make our interactions interesting, I want to be able to be able to discuss what he is teaching me with a full understanding and passion. This will make it easier for me to add value to our conversations.
My mentor Jacob is a really easy person to talk to, he is really good communicator. I like to think that I am as well. This makes our conversations interesting and fluent. Both Jacob and I are very comfortable with asking for clarification when needed. Ultimately having an effective conversation is something that I can do naturally and don’t need to analyse the conversation to make it effective.
Over the last two weeks I have read the book “Rich dad Poor dad” and listened to the Steve Jobs bibliography on audio book. I have also conducted an interview and talked to Ms.Devlin. As well as my weekly meetings with Jacob. I think I am making good progress on my in-depth, check in two weeks from now to see my next post!
*I have included this on my blog because it talks about something that i have focused on so far with my in-depth.
“Knowing your purpose may compel you to take on challenges that will stretch you as much as they inspire you. Just as a boat under power can handle any size wave if perpendicular to it, when you’re powered by a clear purpose, there is little you cannot do.” – Margie Warrell.
My in-depth is learning how to create an online business. My mentor Jacob Gebrewald directed me towards an inspiring Ted Talk by Simon Sinnek called “Start with Why.” I took three main questions out of that ted talk: What is asking “why,” how do you find your “why”, and how does asking “why?” relate to creating an online business.
My “why” is to keep myself and the people that I love happy. I want to be able to provide financially and have free time that I can spend with my family.
The first step towards finding your “why” is to understand what that question “why” really means. When asking “why” you are looking for a destination, “how” and “what” are methods of transportation to get to that destination. For example if your destination, or your “why” was: I want to get to Surrey. Your “how” is finding the best method to get to Surrey, in this case it might be public transit. Finally “what”, in this case the best method of public transit might be the Skytrain. But what we are told in school is to find a “what”; if you look for a method of transport without having an end goal in mind, you are lacking purpose. Though Simon Sinnek put it really well why profit is not a “why”: “To clarify a “why” is not “to make a profit.” That’s a result, it’s always a result. A “why” would be something like: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause?
What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?”
The second step is finding your “why”.Statistically 98% of people don’t know what thier “why” is. If you want to become part of the 2% that does, there are four key things that will lead you towards your “why”. It is more than just what gets you out of bed every morning, according to Margie Warrell: “What makes you come alive? What are your innate strengths? Where do you add the greatest value? How will you measure your life?” All of these questions are ones that need to be considered carefully. Combining your areas of skills, values, and passions to set a clear goal for what you want to complete in your life. The question of “What makes you come alive?” Refers to what keeps you going in life, what keeps you motivated and gets you out of bed every morning. There is no concrete path that can lead you to the answer, you need to reflect on yourself as a person and your motives. Though it is not just what motivates you, it is important to consider how you can implement your strengths; as Margie Warrell states: “What are the things you’ve always been good at (sometimes wondering why others find it so hard?)” Everyone has these specific skills, finding your “why” involves combining your skills motivation and your morals to find a “why” that you can peruse for the rest of your life.
The third and final step is relating your “why” back to your business. As a business owner you need to have a goal in mind. For example, deciding between being a small business owner or a big business owner? A small business owner works long hours to satisfy consumers personally. A big business owner works on making money and building an empire. Jacob Gebrewald said “Essentially a small business owner works on a product and a big business owner works on a system”. Deciding what kind of business you want to own would be clearer if you had already developed a “why”. The reason this information is so valuable is because it is applies to everyone. Everyone should ask themselves “why”. Simon Sinek’s entire Ted Talk is directed towards business owners and entrepreneurs. The most effective method of marketing is targeting the “why” part of the brain. Technically this is called your limbic brain, the part of your brain that controls “gut decisions”. In the words of Michael S. Gazzaniga: “The limbic brain then responds emotionally and asks, “Is this my friend? Can I put my trust here?” This is the essential brand level stuff that generates loyalty”. This statement explains how if you have a clear “why” you can market your purpose to consumers in a way makes your product stand out. I think Simon Sinnek put it best “You know, sometimes you can give somebody all the facts and figures, and they say, “I know what all the facts and details say, but it just doesn’t feel right.” Why would we use that verb, it doesn’t “feel” right? Because the part of the brain that controls decision-making doesn’t control language. And the best we can muster up is, “I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel right.”
Finding your “why” should be an important step in your life. You need to start with “why” not “how” or “what” like we are taught to do in school. You’re “why” is your purpose; your end all-be all. Everything you do in life should help you get closer to your “why”. 98% of people don’t consider why they are doing things, they just know what and how they are doing them. There are four questions asked by Margie Warrell:”“What makes you come alive? What are your innate strengths? Where do you add the greatest value? How will you measure your life?” These are all questions that will assist you greatly in finding your “why”. Especially if you are considering a path into the world of business, as I am.
I left off on my last post by saying that I was going to contact Jacob Gebrewold. He responded last Tuesday and we chatted for about an hour that night on the phone. We talked about my project and what I am looking to achieve. Then he asked me “why”, he wanted to know the route cause for me doing what I am doing. He said “I want you to start with “why” not “how” or “what” (paraphrased). That I need to have a ‘be all end all’ in mind when as I go through life. Instead of wanting to go into law, business, or economics; he asked me to consider why I wanted to go into a profession. Essentially he asked me what my goal in life was in our first phone conversation.
As the conversation went on he said that, he didn’t think he had the time to mentor me but would still be able to help me out with the project and even help me find a mentor. As he continued to help me find my “why”, he directed me towards a ted talk called ‘Start with why’ by Simon Sinek and his book by the same title.
Over the next week I watched the ted talk and looked into the book, though I have not yet purchased it. I talked to him again last Saturday and seeing that I had done what he asked he decided that it was worth his time to mentor me for this project. He has assigned me numerous books to read and we have agreed to meet every Saturday. I am really excited to work with Jacob over these next six months!
Thus far in my project I have not had to disagree or differ with anything that Jacob has said. Though we have only talked twice everything seems to make sense to me. But it took some thought to understand; many people in the past have tried to get me to read leadership books, or think about where I want to go with my life. But I have never really taken them seriously, I would just kind of shrug it off and lose interest. But so far in the in-depth project has been different. I assume that it is because of his passion on the subject. Actually I remember him saying something about this he said: “The only information that you can guarantee as practical is something that someone has applied that caused a specific result. It also cannot be specific to them”. I think this applies to this situation, Jacob has personally applied the knowledge in the leadership books.
There are going to be times when I do disagree with something Jacob sais over the next 5 months and I think it is important that I know how to appropriately differ in any situation. I think it is important for me to be able to word any disagreement in a positive and constructive way. I need to think about how I can disagree while keeping an open conversation and an open mind. I would say something along the lines of “I am curious to know your reasoning behind that”. I think this is good because it gets the other person to help me understand what they mean without shooting down their idea.
So far my in-depth is going really well. I have arranged to meet with Jacob this Sunday to talk about some strategies of building my connections to business personnel. I feel that we have had very similar opinions over our last two conversations and the things that he has taught me I have agreed with. But there will inevitably be times when I do not agree with something that he sais and will have to find a way to express that without shooting down any ideas. I think that is a very important skill to have in any given situation. Not just for my in-depth.
My In Depth project of starting an online business is will be a project that will end in one of three ways: I become a billionaire, I am forced to file for bankruptcy, or it never ends up making it onto the internet. This year for my In Depth I am going to make a plan that would carefully show the steps of making an online business. I am not actually starting the business for two reasons: I don’t know if I am biting off more than I can chew trying to get the entire business model planned out, and I don’t have the $100,00 + to get the business of the ground.
What I have so far for a plan, is to create a business where artists would make their music available for purchase on my website and customers would be able to go through and buy their music from my site. I realise that there is already lots of competition, monster companies like Apple and Sony, but I have a twist that makes my company superior. Unlike with other major companies, with mine the artist will receive 100% of the profits generated by sales. Apple and Sony only gives the artist as little as 10% of the profits. At first this would not be profitable for me as the host but as my website picks up momentum I would charge other companies for advertising on the webpage to make a profit.
I think the biggest thing I need for this project is someone who knows what they are doing, I have contacted Jacob Gebrewold hoping he can mentor me or recommend someone else who can. Because this is something that I have never done before and have little knowledge on the subject I want to have someone who has successfully ran an online business. Another thing that is difficult about starting a business is that you can’t practice; there is no 100% guarantee the market will buy your product regardless of how skilled you are and how much money you invest into the business.
I am not sure how much work this is going to end up being, I want to talk to a business professional first and get their input. It is for that reason that I don’t yet know how much I am actually going to end up completing. It may be that I have a plan to complete the entire website and even start a Kickstarter fund to get the site up and running, or that I only plan out one aspect of the company. That will be decided as I continue on in the project.