First Friday Book Synopsis

"…like CliffNotes on steroids…"

Where do big ideas come from?

Albert Einstein

Here is an article written by Steve Tobak for CBS MoneyWatch, the CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the website’s newsletters, please click here.

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I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching a football game where the kicker is about to attempt a field goal to win the game, my hands grip the chair, I hold my breath, and I wonder what’s going through the guy’s mind.

When Michigan’s Brendan Gibbons nailed a 37-yard field goal to win theSugar Bowl in overtime, guess what was going through his mind? Brunette girls. No kidding, that’s what inspires the guy. And it works.

We can’t all be great athletes, so some of us have to “win the big game,” so to speak, with our intuition, our ideas. Which brings us to a subject of much confusion and debate in the business world. What inspires “big idea” people? Asked another way, where do big ideas come from?

Actually, many so-called “left brain” or analytical people I’ve known over the years, including an awful lot of managers and executives, think the whole concept of some people being more intuitive or inspirational than others is pure mythology. Well, maybe it is and maybe it’s not. But scientists say that intuition can be a powerful factor in human decision-making and idea creation.

For what it’s worth, I agree.

Following your Intuition can be as simple as listening to a little voice in your head, trusting a feeling or sense of warning, or following your own internal “focus group of one,” against the “better judgment” of many.

Where does it come from? Good question. It’s probably a vestige of an evolutionary survival mechanism. An “intuitive” caveman sensing danger, for example, would hide in his cave and avoid being eaten by some blood-crazed saber-toothed tiger. Since he survived, he’d pass that instinct on. At least that’s the theory.

In any case, human intuition has probably been on the decline for some time, owing to an increasing dependence on our overdeveloped neocortex, logical reason, and technology, and not to mention a significant decline in people living in caves with bloodthirsty predators around

Don’t even get me started on our newly found addiction to gadgets, social media, and instantaneous communication. You can’t sense or intuit anything when you’re distracted. Personally, I think that’s sad, considering there’s at least anecdotal evidence that intuition plays a significant role in scientific, technological, and business innovation.

For example, against all logic, Albert Einstein was obsessed with light. That passion for light and his famous thought experiments where he pondered what he would see if he rode on a beam of light led to the special theory of relativity and E=MC2, one of the greatest discoveries in the history of physics.

In his book Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen says he came up with the big idea that made Microsoft more money than just about any business in history: Charging per-copy royalties for the IBM PC operating system instead of a flat license fee.

And what possessed entrepreneur Mark Cuban to sell to Yahoo for $5.9 billion in stock and then immediately hedge that stock against a market crash at the very peak of the dot-com bubble? All the so-called experts rode the market down and lost trillions in investment capital.

Now, I’m no Einstein, but I have worked together with a large number of innovative entrepreneurs, engineers, and executives over the decades. In my experience, there are five relatively common factors that inspire intuitive people and ultimately lead to big ideas.

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To read the complete article and share Steve’s thoughts about the “five relatively common factors,” please click here.

Steve Tobak is a consultant and former high-tech senior executive. He’s managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a management consulting and business strategy firm. Contact Steve, follow him on Facebook, or connect on





Tuesday, January 10, 2012 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mark Cuban Led the Way in CEO Blogging

Books that  predict the future are interesting, although perhaps preparing for it, and creating it, usually provide greater returns.

Nevertheless, a new best-seller does just that.  Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd recently published an HR-focused book, The 2020 workplace:  How innovative companies attract, develop, and keep tomorrow’s employees today.  (New York: Harper, 2011).  I presented a synopsis of that book at the October First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, and it is now available at

Among the many predictions in the book is # 7 – “Job requirements for CEO’s will include blogging.”  They state that:  “The level of authenticity and concern that can be communicated through a CEO-level blog can’t be matched by press releases or blogs written by the public relations department….Hearing the voice of the CEO through his or her own writing, when it feels authentic, helps foster trust in an organization” (p. 220).

They suggest there are three major styles of CEO blogging:  (1) deeply personal, (2) highly opinionated, and (3) product messaging.

If you live in the DFW area, you are well aware that the greatest example of the head guy being highly opinionated through blogs is right under your own nose.  Mark Cuban is the Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and popularized blogs before, during, and after his team’s basketball games.  You could read his views on his players, the action, and his favorite target, the referees.

These blogs were highly popular, some of which demonstrate the problems associated with putting opinions in print.  A number of the blogs led to huge fines imposed by the NBA, especially those that criticized referees.  Ironically, in 2008, Cuban banned blogging from the Mavericks’ locker room.  According to Deadspin:  “Mark Cuban dislikes bloggers who aren’t him.”

None of that matters.  I think that Cuban led the way.  His blogging is highly visible. controversial, provocative, and interesting.  Go to a game, concert, or even corporate meeting, and see how many people have at least one cell phone or other mobile device in their hand.  Some are texting, some are sending e-mail, but some are also blogging.  Cuban was the first of his type to do this.

And, if you believe this new best-seller, Cuban was ahead of his time.

What do you think?  Let’s talk about this really soon!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011 Posted by | Karl's blog entries | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Boatload Of Value – The Fun And Value Of Rework

My blogging colleague Bob Morris has written a number of posts from one book: Rework by Jason Fried and  David Heinemeier Hansson.  I am presenting it at the May First Friday Book Synopsis, and have now read it for myself.  Now I understand why Bob keeps blogging anew from the book.   You find something to comment on and highlight on practically every page, starting with Mark Cubans’s endorsement of the book:

“If given a choice between investing in someone who has read Rework or has his MBA, I’m investing in Rework every time… a must-read.”

It will be difficult to boil down into a synopsis.  It is multiple subjects, very fast-paced observations, and very comprehensive – yet very focused.  Try this for a partial summary:  “get to work, now; don’t hire too many people; you don’t have to work 100 hours a week, just focus and get something done – now!; design products and services that you want and need, and an “audience” will find you;” and the list goes on and on…

Here’s just one quote from the very, very many:

“You should get in the alone zone.  Long stretches of alone time are when you’re most productive.  When you don’t have to mind-shift between various tasks, you get a boatload done.”

This is going to be a fun synopsis.

Friday, April 9, 2010 Posted by | Randy's blog entries | , , , | Leave a comment

“Every minute of the day is selling time” — Mark Cuban on selling

Here’s one I found while preparing to move… (you know, one of those scraps of paper, long forgotten)  It is actually a tweet, published in a sidebar on an airline magazine, ripped out for some later use), from Mark Cuban, owner of the Mavericks, a maverick, and a very sharp business mind:

“Every minute of the work day is selling time.  Thinking is for night time.  7am to 7pm + is selling time.”

So – I think he is telling us, we all need to get out there and sell!

Monday, December 7, 2009 Posted by | Randy's blog entries | , | Leave a comment

At this moment, Free is either Free, or Full Price — take your pick (a short post)

You’ve heard the controversy about the new book by Chris Anderson (author of The Long Tail), Free:  The Future of a Radical Price.  A lot of people have weighed in.  (See my earlier post).  Add to the list of critics Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban  He blogged about it here and here and a few references in a couple of other follow-up posts.  At this moment (early morning, July 23, 2009), Free is # 183 on’s best seller list, and # 74 in non-fiction.  Very healthy numbers on Amazon.

But here’s the curiosity.  Amazon is selling Free at full price (at this moment).  I don’t remember the last time I saw a business book on Amazon going for full price with no discount.  But you can get Free for free as an audio book on iTunes (which I have done), read by Chris Anderson himself.  And Anderson is offering Free for free in Google books and offered it free on the Kindle (for a limited time).  (check out his web site for details).

What an intriguing approach…

Thursday, July 23, 2009 Posted by | Randy's blog entries | , , , | Leave a comment



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