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I just finished a great Joel-recommended book

called Growing a Business, by Paul Hawken.

The basic premise of the book is how to build a business "organically": sustain manageable growth, bootstrap in order to develop creative solutions and learn about your business and market, value your employees above all, build a company that YOU would want to be a customer of, and don't BS on marketing; honestly is refreshing and disarming. Develop a rapport with and responsibility to the customers to engender loyalty.

Some things I liked:
"A certain degree of cynicism will come in handy. Cynicism has an undeserved, bad reputation...however, cynicism can add tensile strength to your idealism and your sense of good. With a smattering of cynicism, you will not be swept aside by displays of human venality, and you will be enriched by seeing the world as it really is."

"We do great damage to our businesses, large and small, when we judge them almost exclusively on their rate of growth. Do we even have a concept that a slower growing company may be more successful than a fast-growing company? Can we even conceive that speed does not equate with quality, steadfastness, maturity, or even ultimate growth and size? Nothing in nature tells us that rapid growth is our own bodies, the most rapid growth in cancer. Are commerical systems so sacrosanct that they are exempt from the logic of morphology as we now see it in all systems?"

"Your business is creating satisfaction for the customer, and the means to do that is your new product or service. Technologies, products, and fashions change, but with long-term goals you still have a business."

Worth reading, even if just to gain a different perspective on how a (read: your) company might be run.

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Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer


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