As co-founder at Radical Ventures and Singularity University’s chair for entrepreneurship and open innovation, Pascal is focused on creating new business models for success and positively embracing disruption. So, it follows that—like many EO members—he believes the problems of the world will only be solved by social entrepreneurs: Individuals tackling age-old challenges with fundamentally new innovations and different perspectives. He invests in these pioneering solutions through his nonprofit organization, Mentor for Good.
Known for his direct, no-nonsense approach to work, he also founded the “GyShiDo” (Get Your S%#& Done) movement and publishes the self-proclaimed opinionated newsletter and blog, The Heretic.
Words to live—and learn—by
From The Heretic, we have compiled three of Pascal’s top nuggets of wisdom for fellow entrepreneurs.
1. It is not complicated.
I hear way too many entrepreneurs pitch stuff that I don’t understand—and I’m sure they don’t understand either. I get it. It’s a competitive world out there. We need to stand out. Even so, I can’t stand people talking a great game without delivering, making things more complicated than they are or weaponizing language to make themselves sound smarter.
Here is a radical and heretical piece of advice: Stand out by being the one person who doesn’t make things sound complicated. Instead, use simple, plain language. Try it. You will soon see that you are one of the few people others actually understand, and you will be forced to clearly communicate (and, therefore, completely understand) the essence of what you are recommending—which is an incredibly powerful way to become well known for your clarity and integrity.
2. Meet with your customers, not your colleagues.
Sure, some meetings are necessary. Most meetings, however, suffer from a series of deficits: having too many people, running too long, lacking clear follow-up and (maybe the most egregious fault) leading to more meetings.
But instead of advising you on what’s obvious (prune your attendee list, create an agenda, define clear next steps at the conclusion of every meeting), I’ll offer a radical thought: For every additional or unnecessary meeting, make all participants spend the same amount of time as they spent in the meeting actually talking and problem-solving with a customer. I bet you money that you will have fewer, shorter and more focused meetings. Plus, your company performance will go up as everybody focuses on the one thing that really matters: The customer!
3. Less is more.
Allow me to rant for a moment (you will see why it matters in a moment). While exploring the old town of Chiang Mai, Thailand, I sat down at a cafe and observed a family of four staring at their mobile phones. The only interruption from the family members mindlessly scrolling through their social media feeds was when one of them shared a particularly funny posting. It was a sad sight to behold. However, I’m not focused on our rapidly deteriorating social interactions. I’m talking about business. To be more precise: I’m revealing the most powerful business habit of highly successful people.
I am fortunate to be around very accomplished folks. And one thing they have in common? Spending hardly any time on social media—or on any other low-value activities.
I’m not telling you anything new here. You’ve heard it before: Focus on what matters. Yet, too many of us are still spending too much time on things that don’t serve us. Consider Dieter Rams’ design philosophy: “Less, but better.”
If you are feeling stuck in the current paradigm (don’t fret, I was there, too), may I suggest reading Cal Newport’s book, Digital Minimalism? Read it with an eye toward your productivity. And remember: Your productivity is what lies between you and building the things that matter!