Whenever I'm about to do something new, I try to minimize expectations. That allows me to keep an open mind and be pleasantly surprised.
I am thrilled to be going to New Orleans on Wednesday as part of the NOLABound program, and I know it will be a trip of a lifetime. Even so, I'm trying not to get carried away with "expectations" and simply remain open to new experiences and ways of thinking.
One of my professors recently taught that Happiness = Reality - Expectations, so hopefully my method will bring some happiness too.
But if I said that I hadn't been thinking about my trip for weeks now, I'd be a liar. Anyone who's spent some time around me must have heard me saying "Nawlins," "crawfish," "alligator," and "gumbo" an inappropriate number of times. I'm really curious to hear the accent (if any) for myself and maybe pick up a phrase or two of local slang. I want to know which New Orleans stereotypes are true and which are overhyped. It's true that as a francophile I'm looking forward to checking out the French Quarter, the French food, and the French music. Bien oui! And it's true that as a newbie jazz fan, I'm looking forward to some real musical education and hearing what music the locals are into.
I'm also really looking forward to seeing how I can personally help the New Orleans entrepreneurial scene grow and thrive, using perhaps some lessons I've picked up from my time in Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach to help Silicon Bayou (still not sure how I feel about all those names). I know what trends have been hot in California, and I'm curious to see what the scene and people are like in New Orleans.
Specifically, I'm curious about what the lean start-up trend has meant for New Orleans start-ups and how the general entrepreneurial process compares. I'm curious about what industries/spaces/problems are hot, which start-up resources are plentiful, and which are missing. I'm also very interested in how New Orleans views the (tech) world, and if it suffers a little of the same Silicon Valley envy that Los Angeles unfortunately suffers from (constantly comparing itself to its northern cousin). I think each city should emphasize its strengths and unique taste of entrepreneurship, and I hope to discover what that is in New Orleans (and what Los Angeles stands learn from New Orleans!).
Most of all, I'm looking forward to bonding with my NOLABound tripmates and exchanging ideas and experiences. We're all so different and come from such diverse walks of life, and yet I can already tell from our conversations over the past week (on Twitter) that we all share something common to entrepreneurs: a positive attitude and a desire to learn, explore, and help others. I can't wait for Wednesday!
Week 6 was about a lot of the touchy-feely stuff which makes a big difference in getting a brand's ideal to ring true with customers. The speaker from GSD&M was extremely eloquent and taught about the importance of leadership to run a business that makes an important difference in people's lives; this message definitely jived with me, and the talk was quite engaging.
Grow: Must do #3: Communicate the ideal to engage employees and customers
After reading the Steve Jobs biography, I heard about a similar book but one that delves a lot more deeply into the company's processes and culture, as opposed to the life of the founder. This was Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works by Adam Lashinsky. Lashinsky is a Fortune magazine journalist who interviewed many current and previous Apple employees for the book.
It was a very interesting read, especially in that the author was revealing what he claims are truly secret details about Apple's internal discussions and processes (and their culture of secrecy). My biggest learning was that the image Apple projects and its brand ideal are very different from its corporate culture and processes; that leaves me wondering how important Steve Jobs was to the company and if its processes, which are not based on the ideals of creativity and connecting people and in fact are the opposite (secrecy and closing people off), are truly sustainable. How much longer can the world love a company which it perceives is small, entrepreneurial, rebellious, and creative, but which is really gigantic, walled off, secretive, and ultra-controlling? Why do people occupy Wall Street but not Apple?
Ch. 1: Rethink Leadership