Category: Business Advice

Entrepreneur Wisdoms: Kevin O’Leary

Here are some excepts from Kevin O'leary's book: Cold hard truth on Business, Money and Life.

I was not built to be an employee but that does not mean I am better than the people I employ

...As long as my employees interests align with mine, we'll be fine. The minute they don't, they're gone, whether I like them or not

What are you willing to do, in order to be?

What level of rejection, fruitless meetings, disheartening developments and failed phone calls are you willing to make in order to get the 1 or 2 clients that will start or continue to grow your business.

You need to be ruthless and have heart and commitment to your ideas.

If you can't monetise a skill, it's a hobby

The key to growing wealth is not only having the skill but owning the place where that skill / skills are applied

The was no doubt in my mind that I would never be happy being an employee. But my goal at the time wasn't happiness - it was experience. En route to working for myself, I was fully aware I was going to have to work for other people from time to time.

There will come a time where you will need to leave the nest and make money on your own terms

Use your time working for others to figure out what team you need

How to Spot Winners

  • They have proof of money making and a plan to secure new ways of generating money
  • Money requires face time
  • Don't candy-coat screw-ups, demonstrate the lessons learned.
  • Winners lack defensiveness and have a relaxed humility

You need to solve a problem first

Distribution channels are key. Don't let great ideas die because you are too scared to face rejection. Pick up the phone. You will be rejected, Plenty of times. That is how entrepreneurial calluses are formed. The only people that mattered are those that accept the deal. If they don't, they are dead to you.


Don't do mundane shit, that other companies are experts at.  If they have perfected that part let them do that work and you focus on what you are good at.

To grow a company you have to live, breathe and sleep your business

Have multiple clients and investors, don't rely on one. It gives you options and leverage and ensures you are not on the short side of the equation.

Everyone is replaceable

I'm not making friends, I'm making money

Perfect Team

  • Have a business partner that compliments skills you don't have
  • A numbers expert

Code writers were a dime a dozen. It was like a game of Whack-a-Programmer

Rules for sucesssful Partnerships

  • Find someone whose strength are your weaknesses
  • Leave your ego at the door
  • Establish a common goal
  • Never undermine your partners in public, even when you think they're wrong
  • It's always about the company

Focus on the Best, Dump the Rest

If you want to buy a company don't talk to the president of CEO. He or she is often just an employee. Go straight to the shareholders.

People are infinitely greedier than they are competitive

Adapt or Die

Money is the motivator, plain and simple.

How to be a Star Employee

  • Pace Yourself
  • Take stock if offered - It is impossible to get rich without owning stock
  • Think more than your company, think what competitors are doing
  • Don't brown nose the boss




Minimum Viable Product (MVP), A Pragmatic Approach

MVP, in the software development context does not stand for Most Valuable Player it actually stands for Minimum Viable Product. It is the road less travelled in South Africa, especially in corporate and consultant firms. This is partly because it is not understood, even partly.

So now we have a...

Pragmatic Approach to Minimum Viable Product

Forget the theory and words. Let us use Minimum Viable Product in a real life example and possibly produce a Most Valuable Player.

So let us start with the idea, the thing that is the spark behind all software projects hopefully.

The Ideaminimum-viable-product-boiled-egg

I have always had trouble determining how long I should boil an egg for to create a perfect soft boiled egg. So in the Eating your own Dog Food mindset, I want to create a mobile app timer for this purpose.

There is also a caveat that at different atmospheric pressure/altitude (Cape Town vs Centurion) the egg requires less or more time.

Now Let your Inner Client / Corporate Get Excited and Think of Ideas

... and I'm going to be the one to shut them down later

  1. Lets Get the Location from GPS on the Phone/Device, use that to get the altitude then work out cooking time perfectly based on that.
  2. The app can be used world-wide so we will build to the app for all possible users.
  3. We can crowdsource the ratings of how good the timings are, by giving a rating system after the timer has run so other users/us can see if in a specific area if timing is slightly off.
  4. There should be a slider of soft to hard of how hard/soft you want the egg and timing should adjust
  5. We will build an app for Android and iOS natively

Wow! This really is sounding like an amazing feature-filled app! - Client/Corportate Clown


Now the Pragmatic MVP Approach

What is the Minimum we need to get this app into the app store and getting users? Or rather what is the minimum the app store / play store user needs? The answer should be a single thing.

An App that has a timer for the "Perfect Soft Boiled Egg" that indicates to the user to start the timer when the water is boiling. A Notification or Sound should play when the timer ends.

That is is, that is the minimum we need for the product to be viable to a typical user.

But something that I feel should be added to the  MVP (Minimum Viable Product) philosophy is that it should target the most amount of users. That is the ultimate goal for most good apps is: Lots of Users. As once you have the users, you can drive changes and make more informed decisions about the future of the product/ project.

So for me the MVP Process is Creating the Most Valuable Product with the Least Amount of Features to attract the Most Amount of Users.

Criticism of the Inner Client/Corporate Ideas

  1. NO! No! No! No GPS...theres too many things that can go wrong and integrating with the service is a nightmare. Then cases where people have turned off GPS and incorrect locations. As a developer I don't want this shit. Instead we will add options for: Coastal, Inland and Highveld, a selection list before the timing.
  2. Building the app for all possible users is good as we want more users but think of the effort required for this...internationalisation and testing local eggs in different countries. I think this is a case where keeping it local feels more worthwhile. The local experience will allow for a faster development process.
  3. Crowd Sourcing Ratings sounds an excellent idea. But it is another screen that has less value than the main feature. Leave it alone. Also we don't have any Users yes. So the feature is of 0% use right now. That way if no one ever uses the app we won't have created another useless feature.
  4. A slider for soft to hard, sounds like a lot more dev work and calculations. But having a selection of soft, medium and hard is an idea that might work.It is quick to develop and as a guess I would say it may open up more users (The hard and Medium Crowd). Good Idea.
  5. Building the app natively. Yeah Hell no! Never build apps natively unless it is 100% unavoidable. Why build two apps when you can have a single code base managed by a single developer when using a Hybrid App Builder

It is better to have a working product out as soon as possible and continue tinkering and making changes based on what the user actually wants, than guessing what a user wants an spending too much time creating it finding that you were wrong in the first place.

Minimum Viable Product

So that is the gist of it...

Concluding the Pragmatic MVP Approach

Sure your client and your shitty Project Manager won't be happy. They want Chandeliers and Persian Carpets with a Massive Release. But why do that to yourself as a business owner of developer. That is all guesswork, it's bullshit.

Remember MVP (Minimum Viable Product) fits right into most proper agile methodologies like letting users guide the work and features on the app, less is more, continuous integration

Do the minimum to get the most users and once you have a decent number of users its harder to make your product worse and easier to make it better.