Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Foundations of Business Strategy

Foundations of Business Strategy

Learn how to analyze an organization's strategy and make recommendations to improve its value creation by building your strategist's toolkit.

About the Course

In this course, we will explore the underlying theory and frameworks that provide the foundations of a successful business strategy.  We will develop your ability to think strategically by providing you the tools for conducting a strategic analysis. Strategic analysis is critical for analyzing the competitive context in which an organization operates and for making reasoned and reasonable recommendations for how that organization should position itself and what actions it should take to maximize value creation.  Aspiring managers, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, analysts, and consultants all may find value in mastering these fundamentals.

Subtitles for all video lectures available: Portuguese (provided by the Lemann Foundation), English

Course Syllabus

Week One: We will introduce the concept of strategic analysis plus explore the impact that competitive markets have on business success.  Will include a case discussion of Google.

Week Two: We will explore how industry structure impacts competitive outcomes and learn how to analyze industry forces.  Will include a case discussion of the microbrew industry.
Week Three: We will learn how to analyze firm capabilities and how they may provide competitive advantage. Will include a case discussion of Apple. 

Week Four:  We will learn how to analyze competitive dynamics; the interplay between businesses as industries evolve. Will include a case discussion of the game player industry.

Week Five: We will combine our learnings to date to determine how an organization best positions itself competitively to create value.  Will include a case discussion of Piaggio.

Week Six: We will extend our analysis to consider how businesses compete in multiple markets and will learn how to analyze firm scope.  Will include a case discussion of Disney.

Recommended Background

No background is required; all are welcome!

Suggested Readings

We will be referencing readings in the book The Strategist's Toolkit, which was created specifically for this course by the instructor.   Course participants will be given complimentary access to select chapters from the book. You may purchase the book in its entirety from either or Amazon.com or Darden Business Publishing. The book is available in both print and electronic forms. 

Course Format

The class is divided into weekly modules.  Each weekly module consists of an introductory video, a reading from the strategist's toolkit, a series of video lectures, a quiz, and a case where will apply our toolkit to a business to illustrate points in the lectures.  The course will culminate in your submission of a strategic analysis of an organization of your choosing.  This will serve as your final exam.


  • Will I get a certificate after completing this class?
    Coursera will issue a Statement of Accomplishment if you meet the grading policy course requirements.
  • What resources will I need for this class?
    For this course, all you need is an Internet connection, copies of the cases (which will be provided for free), and the time to read, discuss, and analyze business strategy.
  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?
    The ability to think strategically about leading businesses as well as organizations that you may be involved. 
  • Camelbak

    Oxygen Choices

    Land Vehicles

    Life Changes

    Too Late To Start? Quarter Life Crisis and Late Bloomers


    Doctors Suggest That Marijuana Can Protect You From Ebola

    Doctors Suggest That Marijuana Can Protect You From Ebola.

    Not a day has gone by in the last few weeks without a mention of Ebola. Having made its way into North America, Ebola has become reached the top of the “to fear” list, making many worry that it will only be a matter of time before the disease dominates the continent. Effective vaccines and treatments for Ebola have yet to be discovered, though one may be hiding in plain sight: cannabis.

    Cannabinoids in marijuana have gained more and more of a reputation as a way to control and aid one’s immune systems, specifically with diseases that target a body’s natural defense measures against viruses, like HIV. Dr. David B. Allen, medical director of Cannabis Sativa, Inc, and Brad Morehouse, founder of NewCure.org, both believe cannabis can combat Ebola in the same way.

    First, a rundown on what Ebola is and does, so everyone understands the argument. Ebola is a virus that targets the RNA (which creates proteins) in cells, takes over, then begins to replicate itself. The virus is able to hide itself from virus killing cells by creating indivisibility cloak-like surface proteins, which makes fighting Ebola especially difficult for the body.

    Another consequence of Ebola being an RNA virus is that it makes each strain unique to the individual infected, thus making the creation of a widely applicable vaccine incredibly difficult.

    What makes Ebola deadly is the way in which one’s immune system reacts as time goes on. Aside from creating hemorrhaging and leaking between cells, Ebola primarily kills when a person’s body releases a massive amount of enzymes (a cytokine storm) and an overabundant, and fatal amount, of immune cells being activated.

    That’s where marijuana comes in as a potential saving grace to those afflicted with Ebola. As Joe Martin points out, cannabis is contains natural antiretrovirals and is also an anti-inflammatory able to reduce the harm to the body caused by a cytokine storm.

    Dr. Allen also notes that cannabis has already become a legitimate regulator of immune system processes for those infected with HIV, with the same processes being applicable to Ebola. Being a natural virus killer, Allen also notes how cannabis can prevent the other harmful consequences of Ebola, namely hemorrhaging and cell leaking.

    Strong evidence suggests that cannabis can be a positive treatment for those suffering from Ebola, but all of which should be taken with a grain of salt. These are hypotheses, based on research involving other viruses, and not proven fact. Still, the argumentation is enough to warrant a clinical trial. Worst to worst, Ebola sufferers will smoke a bit of weed, which won’t make things worse…we hope.

    Read the entire article at http://www.mtlblog.com/2014/10/smoking-marijuana-can-protect-you-from-ebola/

    Wednesday, October 01, 2014

    15 Amazing Islands

    Amazing Islands I need to see

    Coffee Routine

    15 new coffee drinks I should try

    But Before You Quit Your Job..

    In his new book Smart People Should Build Things, the founder of Venture of America Andrew Yang offers up advice on how aspiring entrepreneurs can begin getting their startup dream off the ground.

    Source : http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231130

    Quit Your Job

    Quit Your Job and Find Your Work

    Common Characteristics of Entrepreneur

    Some 25 common characteristics you can find on Entrepreneurs

    Full article at : http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/200730

    Startup (How to start) - Sam Altman

    Sam Altman and Dustin Moskovitz start off the How to Start a Startup Course. Sam's topic is "Ideas, Products, Teams and Execution, Part I" and Dustin's is "Why to Start a Startup".

    See the slides, readings, and more, at startupclass.samaltman.com

    View the annotated transcript, and add annotations of your own, on Genius: http://tech.genius.com/Sam-altman-lecture-1-how-to-start-a-startup-annotated and http://tech.genius.com/Dustin-moskovitz-good-and-bad-reasons-to-become-an-entrepreneur-annotated.

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    Between work and life with Nigel Marsh

    How to make work life balance work - Nigel Marsh

    Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

    Source : http://www.ted.com/talks/nigel_marsh_how_to_make_work_life_balance_work

    Spreading Ideas by Seth Godin

    How to get your ideas to spread - Seth Godin

    In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

    Source : http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_sliced_bread


    Why We Do What We Do - Tony Robbins

    What gets you out of bed every day? Is it money? Is it fame? Or is it an insatiable internal drive that you can’t quite put your finger on?

    Tony Robbins discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

    Source : http://www.ted.com/talks/tony_robbins_asks_why_we_do_what_we_do

    Productivity Apps

    Apps that turn productivity up

    Source : http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237875

    Estimate numbers

    How to estimate numbers

    Have you ever tried to guess how many pieces of candy there are in a jar? Or tackled a mindbender like: “How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?” Physicist Enrico Fermi was very good at problems like these -- learn how he used the power of 10 to make amazingly fast estimations of big numbers.

    Source : http://ed.ted.com/lessons/michael-mitchell-a-clever-way-to-estimate-enormous-numbers

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Don't be a failure

    Mind of a Winner

    Doing what you love

    Be happy and not be poor

    Startup Laws

    I thought there isn't any

    Via http://notes.fundersandfounders.com/post/95299199552/how-to-succeed-in-startups-13-laws


    Just for when you had a fight with your significant other


    Some outerworldly video


    My kind of office.


    Have been busy collecting satoshis in faucets.

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    if you find this blog is useful.

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    Haven't updated with any post lately. Sorry was busy with Ramadan and Eid.

    Probably depicts my struggle right now

    Via http://www.incidentalcomics.com/2014/08/the-shape-of-ideas.html

    Monday, July 21, 2014

    Why Do People Actually Quit Their Jobs?

    Is money everything in the workplace? Not according to this recent survey, which found that the biggest deal breakers at work are issues related to advancement and work-life balance.

    Via http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235651

    Wednesday, July 09, 2014

    Roger Bryan Interview - 6 Wise Lessons From A Multi Million Dollar Business Man

    1. The most common thing most people are wasting their time and money on in business

    Everyone is building instead of selling.
    95 – 99% of the entrepreneurs out there that are struggling, are trying to build the perfect product, sales funnel or ad copy when all they really need to be doing is getting out there and selling.
    With the statistical results they generate from the attempt of selling, this will tell them everything they need to do so that they’re not wasting their time building something that’s never going to work.

    2. If a great startup is hesitating to launch

    If a startup truly believes in their product, and that their product will work, then the reality is that it will.
    It’s like Henry Ford saying:
    “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
    If you really believe in your product and you go out and sell it, the market will help you build it into the perfect product. Sitting back and trying to thought process, survey and all of these different things on an initial product is just a waste of time.
    You’ve got to go out and make the money. The more money you make in selling, the better you can develop the infrastructure of your product. The mindset has to be “You know what, you’re never going to make every one happy.” But if you go out into the market and you start working your product, people will supply you with the feedback and will appreciate the improvements as the product gets closer to becoming “the perfect product“.

    3. Where real success in business comes from

    The real success in business comes from the ability to find out what you are good at, and stop trying to find out everything yourself and find a partner that can do it. Whether that be an outsource worker, whether that be a partnership vendor, or whether that means having an equity partner in your business.
    When you’ve transitioned from the 1st level of success to that HUGE level of success and fulfilment, partnering is really the only way that I can see people becoming successful in doing that. Not only will you get back your time, which is your most valuable asset, you will also give your clients and customers a much better user experience when you have the right person doing the right thing every time instead of you trying to do it all yourself and only getting to that 70-80% level. Why not give it 100%.

    4. The importance of working on your inner-self to better your business

    It’s funny, when I first started coaching others I really ignored the mindset, the emotional triggers, the NLP from the stage, “The Law of Attraction” and that “Napoleon Hill” model. I was always a “hard headed“, “heads down” “nothing’s going to stop me” type of Entrepreneur. And that works, up until the million dollar a year mark but after that, if your mindset isn’t right, you’ll get lost in what you’re doing, and that’s something I ignored up until about 2 years ago and I have dedicated a lot of time and a lot of studying on understanding myself more over the last 2 years. It’s really transformational when you start to accept that.
    I can honestly remember being at an event in front of 500 people with a group of other speakers and an NLP coach or Life Strategist would get on stage and I would walk out of the room, and I was ignorant to it. I would say “I don’t need that, I’m good at what I do, I’ve got a lot of clients, I’m making a tonne of money“, and it took a friend to say “Roger, here are the reasons why you’re life isn’t exactly how you want it to be, and the reason is because you aren’t accepting that certain things exist.”
    At one point you have to just choose to accept certain things. You’re not going to be able to statistically prove it, but you are going to have to accept it and when you do, it’s almost like you’ve become 20 pounds lighter and the freedom of your capabilities finally get to explode in the world.

    5. Advice for anyone who has been offered a large amount to sell a business they love

    You have put all of your passion into building this thing that someone is now trying to put a dollar value on. Now there is a lot of statistical formulas and business brokers that can figure out whether or not that is the right price point, but the one thing that no one told me, when it came time to sell my company in February 2012 was, ask yourself this question…..
    “what are you going to do next?”
    Money is amazing, but it’s only worth what you can do with it. I spent over 6 years building my passion, and that was having a marketing agency that raised a lot of money for Non-Profits. We made Inc Magazine’s fastest growing company 3 years in a row, we where getting calls from investors constantly. Finally the numbers got big enough to let it go. The problem was, I sold my Passion. I was one of the top Non-Profit fundraisers in the United States. Everyone came to me for advice or services, and when I sold that I didn’t just sell my business, I sold my identity, I sold my passion and I really got lost for a while.
    The numbers are great, but if this is the first big business you have built, really spend some time pondering first:
    “What will I do next? What will my passion be?”

    6. How to duplicate Success in any Industry

    Success is scientific and when you accept that there will be specific stages you’re going to go through, there will be a specific gradient you will have to follow, and there is an exact statistical review process to every single thing you are doing, and when you know those steps and you know those stages and you know that process, Success is guaranteed. I can say that success is guaranteed if you follow the exact formula for success.
    It starts with mindset, and once you have the right mindset you move out of the poverty mindset and into the wealth mindset and everything else becomes very very easy. You just put in the time, you reach the stages and when you reach a specific stage you know exactly what to do when you reach the next stage. And it’s a model that continues on into perpetuity, so knowing that scientific formula is all you need to know to be successful, once you have your mindset right.

    How I can motivate myself to work hard?

    When I find I am not motivated to begin a project, I first spend a few minutes thinking what is the first thing that needs to be done if I were to start. No matter how small a task it is, that is where I start, and I will do whatever is necessary to accomplish it. 

    For example: I needed to go through three years of legal papers, receipts, tax stuff, a huge, mixed bag. It accumulated due to an illness from which I recovered. It all needed to be looked at and either filed away or discarded. 

    After thinking about it, I realized I needed a file box and file folders; an indelible pen to label them and a highlighter to call out dates on forms; and a stapler. I took a ride to the stationary store and bought everything except file folders. Those I knew I had and after a 10 minute search in my back room, I found them. I also got out the shredder while I was up there.

    I made a project out of just setting up. It was something I did not mind doing. But once I had everything I needed, shredder, trash can, recycle bin, file boxes, blank files, the copier, the stapler, marking pens, I was able to start. I set everything up in front of the TV, tuned in to the ball game, and opened the first shoe box of receipts. After identifying the item it represented, I created a file for that subject, stuck the receipt in it, stuck the file in the file box, and picked out the second slip of paper. Suddenly, I was on a roll, and finished this enormous job in two weeks. 

    In summary, my suggestion is, break the job down into smaller, easy to accomplish tasks.

    Read Quote of Nathan Ketsdever's answer to Motivation: How can I motivate myself to work hard? on Quora

    Life: I am 35 and I have not achieved much in life. Is it too late?

    Read Quote of Michael Vanni's answer to Life: I am 35 and I have not achieved much in life. Is it too late? on Quora

    Read Quote of Rick Klugman's answer to Life: I am 35 and I have not achieved much in life. Is it too late? on Quora

    Read Quote of Kirk Bishopp's answer to Life: I am 35 and I have not achieved much in life. Is it too late? on Quora

    Seven Steps to Become Financially Independent

    Seven Steps to Become Financially Independent

    By Laura Woods

    With Independence Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to finally set the goal of financial independence for yourself. Whether you’re trying to break free from your parents’ financial assistance, switch jobs or finally pay off that seemingly never-ending stream of debt, becoming financially independent is one of the most fulfilling goals you can set.

    Although achieving financial independence is undeniably satisfying, it definitely takes a lot of time, effort and motivation to achieve. Use the following seven steps to work toward your dream of gaining complete financial freedom:

    1. Cut Expenses

    If you’re able to minimize your expenses, you’ll be able to save money much more efficiently. It’s important to know exactly how much money you have coming in and where you’re spending it. Make a budget listing all your sources of income on one side and all your expenses on the other. Review what you’re spending money on to see if there’s anything you can cut to add more money to your savings account each month.

    2. Spend Less Money Than You Earn

    For a budget to be effective, you have to stick to it. It might seem obvious, but for many Americans, spending within their means is a real problem. In fact, according to Debt.org, the average household with a credit card carries more than $15,000 in credit card debt. Make it a personal goal to never spend more money than you have in your bank account. It might be helpful to carry cash in your wallet instead of credit cards, as this makes it impossible to overspend.

    3. Create an Emergency Fund

    Unexpected money emergencies always seem to happen at the most inopportune times. If you don’t have the money to pay for expenses like car repairs, medical bills or the cost of living if you lose your job, you’ll probably end up putting them on a credit card. Rather than letting unplanned expenses put a dent in your finances, create an emergency fund to tide you over. Most experts recommend having at least six months’ wages saved up for this purpose.

    4. Pay Off Debt

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2011, 69 percent of households had some form of debt. Whether your debt is in the form of credit cards, student loans, a mortgage or auto loans, it’s important to work hard to pay the balance off. At the very minimum, be sure to make your required monthly payments (your credit score will thank you) — but you should also do your best to pay extra on the balance each month.

    5. Save Aggressively

    Set aside as much money to put into savings as possible — always remember to “pay yourself first.” Try to save at least 20 percent of your gross income. If that isn’t possible right now, do the best you can — strive to deposit at least 10 percent into savings each month. If you get a raise or find a little extra room in your budget, use this to increase your contribution.

    6. Initiate Automatic Deductions

    Let’s face it — putting extra money into savings or toward paying off debt can be difficult. Even when you desperately want to gain financial independence, it can be hard to resist the temptation of spending the money on something frivolous. Combat this problem by setting up automatic withdrawals from your checking account to your savings and loan accounts. When the money is taken out automatically, you don’t even have the option of making irresponsible spending decisions.

    7. Invest Wisely

    Supplement your income by making sound investments. Consult a trusted adviser to help you create an investment plan designed to fit your needs. While it’s important to have a savings account, you’ll also need to invest funds in stocks, bonds and other financial assets.

    Achieving financial independence takes a great deal of hard work — and, often, a long time, so try your best not to become discouraged. If at any point you find yourself veering off track, take the time to realign your strategy and pick up right where you left off.

    Original Article : http://www.investopedia.com/partner/gobankingrates/articles/personal-finance/070314/seven-steps-become-financially-independent.asp

    Thursday, July 03, 2014

    10 Rules Of Success from Andrew Carnegie

    10 Rules Of Success Andrew Carnegie Used To Become One Of The World’s Richest Men

    1. Define your purpose. Create a plan of action and start working toward it immediately.
    2. Create a “master-mind alliance.” Contact and work with people “who have what you haven’t,” Hill says.
    3. Go the extra mile. “Doing more than you have to do is the only thing that justifies raises or promotions, and puts people under an obligation to you,” writes Hill.
    4. Practice “applied faith.” Believe in yourself and your purpose so fully that you act with complete confidence.
    5. Have personal initiative. Do what you have to without being told.
    6. Indulge your imagination. Dare to think beyond what’s already been done.
    7. Exert enthusiasm. A positive attitude sets you up for success and wins the respect of others.
    8. Think accurately. In Hill’s words, accurate thinking is “the ability to separate facts from fiction and to use those pertinent to your own concerns or problems.”
    9. Concentrate your effort. Don’t become distracted from the most important task you are currently facing.
    10. Profit from adversity. Remember that “there is an equivalent benefit for every setback,” Hill writes.

    Young Entrepreneurs: Under 30 and On Fire

    Young Entrepreneurs: Under 30 and On Fire

    Stanford University
    Cemex Auditorium | Stanford University
    655 Knight Way
    Stanford, CA
    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    VLAB is back with one of the most anticipated events of the year: Young Entrepreneurs - Under 30 and On Fire. We are tapping into the minds of some of the most successful innovators under 30 in the heart of Silicon Valley. They are doing it all: raising money, leading talented teams and steering their vision forward.

    Five young entrepreneurs, all under the age of 30 will share their stories as they inspire us with the power of their ideas and their relentless passion to execute.

    Moderated by Adam Draper, CEO and Founder of Boost Incubator, our panel will feature:

    Michael Carter, CEO at Game Closure, raised $12M to tackle the hardest problems in mobile gaming and is recognized by W3C for his initial design of the HTML5 WebSocket real-time technology that is used in all modern web browsers

    Melody McCloskey, CEO at StyleSeat, a woman entrepreneur recognized in 2010 by Business Insider as a Silicon Valley 100

    James Tamplin, CEO & Co-Founder at Firebase, a co-founder of a realtime application platform that allows developers to synchronize data instantaneously

    Lat Ware, Founder at Crooked Tree Studios, a game developer who successfully launched a game with telekinesis like powers on Kickstarter

    Marcus Weller, Ph.D., CEO & Chairman of Skully Helmets, the CEO of a heads-up display motorcycle helmet which won the coveted DEMO God award at their 2013 launch

    Legendary investor Tim Draper

    Some of the superstar companies that are ventured and funded by Tim Draper:

    1. Tesla
    2. Skype
    3. Path
    4. Box
    5. Baidu (China's Google)
    6. and others (400 companies)

    Even have his own Draper University of Heroes.