How to Think About Design With John Maeda

Design is more than pretty pictures. Today I speak with John Maeda, Design Partner at KPCB. John frequents the TED talk scene, and writes some pretty interesting books, so I wanted to get him on the podcast to break some of his insights down for me. Just how important is design in 2016?

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Here is what I learned:

  • The design is no longer an afterthought. It was easy to get away with throwing design on later when the tech industry was filled with mostly “geeks.” Now tech is mainstream, and early adopters look like your next door neighbor. You have to think about the total experience much earlier in the process than before. This also is a bonus, because it allows you to iterate faster.
  • Not every designer is made equal. Designers are easy to find, but just because a designer is good doesn’t mean she is a good fit for your startup. Use the same carefulness to find a designer that you would use when looking for an engineer.
  • Design for the after wow. This is perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from John. Learn how to design for trust instead of eyes. Why? We live in the age where logos are abundant and everywhere. A cool logo is no longer what it takes to stand out. Companies now stand out for providing a cool experience. The product just has to be better than everything else.
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    Announcing My 1st Book: Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness

    I saw a quote last year that said, “Write the book you want to read.” I’ve decided to take on that challenge. What inspired me the most was the lack of good advice out there for young black entrepreneurs. I’ve been in countless schools and black neighborhoods across the country, and many of the questions are the same.

    lllI found a graduation picture of myself from the 8th grade. I wrote what it was I would tell my young self. How would I prepare him for the things he is going to experience? The failures? The heart breaks? How would I even tell him how to handle success? This book doesn’t have all the answers, but it has all the ones the young me needed. Things I had to learn the hard way. I want to make it a bit easier for someone else. Read more >>

    Should Entrepreneurs Only Date Other Entrepreneurs With Justin Gerrard

    The most common way people meet these days is now online. As a special Valentines day episode, I wanted to help make those who are having a hard time meeting someone lives a bit easier. I’m joined by Justin Gerrard, co-founder of BAE, a new popular dating app. He gives tips on how to not fumble in the online dating world and some solid entrepreneur relationship advice.

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    Here is what I learned:

    • Most people meet online these days. So if you’re single there is a 1 and 3 chance you will find your significant other through a dating app or a social media network.
    • Pictures online, especially dating sites should tell a story. It should be somewhat of a conversation starter. Don’t do things like putting a wedding ring in a picture, or taking shots with other women/men. Instant rejection.
    • Don’t write novels on your profile description. People don’t need to see your life story, dating sites are not blogs. Interesting concept though right? Make your intentions known about what you are looking for, and keep it drama free.
    • You should find someone who wants to see you win. Usually that’s someone who understands the lifestyle of an entrepreneur. Even if that person isn’t an entrepreneur, there are ways they can contribute to your grind (and vice versa). Find that person, and you’ll end up much happier.


    Justin’s Twitter

    Intro Music by: Downtown Music

    Unintentional Tech Start-Up Lessons From a Drug Kingpin

    The following is a guest post by Gene Caballero Cofounder of GreenPal

    Joaquin Guzman Loera, better known as El Chapo, has been all over the news lately – from a dramatic prison break, to a Rolling Stone interview with Sean Penn, and then being recaptured by Mexican Marines. The Sinaloa Cartel that he has run since 2003 enjoys an annual revenue comparable with the earnings of Facebook and Netflix.  After hearing this, you have to ask what lessons could tech entrepreneurs learn from the leader of the most successful global drug trafficking cartel in human history.   Read more >>

    How To Build A 200k Social Media Army With Alex Wolf

    Instagram is the ‘wild wild west’, is what one of our past guests Ross Simmonds proclaimed. So I had to go get someone who has figured out the social media game, to come and school us on how to dominate it. Alex Wolf is the founder of BossBabe Inc., a network of young business women online. Alex has built a dedicated and passionate tribe of over 200k women. BossBabe provides monthly training and master classes that help these women become business owners and self-aware.

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    There’s No Success in Business, If There’s Failure in Family with James Lopez

    I come with bittersweet news. We have decided to shut down The Phat Startup. Why? The keyword for this post is family. I decided to move all the operations under my name and continue the work of empowering and inspiring new innovators from diverse communities. My co-founder James Lopez has a different passion he wants to focus on and that’s raising his kids. So he is working on a new platform that can buy cheap valium.

    In this episode, we discuss the “failure” of The Phat Startup, and what drove us down that path. You will hear us talk about the good ole days and how much fun we had. But, just in case you want to skip to the end, I gathered two strong lessons from this particular interview below. Read more >>

    The 12 Laws of Success According to Diddy

    You ever ask someone for advice, and it’s just way too simple for you to believe it works? Sometimes things aren’t as complicated as our minds would like us to believe. Enter Diddy, who gives out pretty basic tips on how to succeed. I published a very small ebook a few years ago with James Lopez about Diddy. We spent an entire day & night consuming as much Diddy content to find the clues to his success. Our goal was to copy his state of mind and hustle.

    There were a few topics and quotes that just kept coming up. So we packaged it up in 12 very simple fundamental keys to his success. We put it at the end of the book, and listed them as “diddyisms.” Here they are for your enjoyment and road to being a mogul. Read more >>

    How to Create and Host a Six-Figure Tech Conference – 10 Step Guide

    With the success of The Phat Startup’s Tech808 conference, many people have been emailing me to learn how to host a tech conference for themselves. I don’t blame them, nobody gave me and my team the answers we were looking for when we decided to finally host one.

    The first Tech808 did so well we did 3 more in major markets such as Washington D.C., Oakland, and New York City. We have received praise from large publications such as USA Today, and our speakers are so great, they get press as well. We created a platform that major brands were proud to sponsor. Read more >>

    How To Win The Lottery Using Content With Ross Simmonds

    The best way to market anything these days is by using attractive, engaging, useful, resourceful, and entertaining content. Content marketing is not only the best way to market your service or product, it’s the most cost effective way if you are an independent bootstrapping entrepreneur like myself. Ross Simmonds is a genius when it comes to content marketing. So I had to tap him and see what we could learn and start using today.

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    Here is what I learned:

    • Distribution is king. Many people used to say content is king, but times are different now. Once you create your content, you have to spend way more time pushing it than you did writing it. If you applied the 80/20 rule then the 80% would be distributing, 20% writing. So find places online where you can link back to your article, or even in some cases re-post entirely.
    • Don’t write for robots, write for people. You will encounter many articles talking about how to do great SEO. The problem with following these things religiously is your content starts to lack feeling. You spent so much time writing to attract Google search bots, that you missed out on attracting people. A title that’s attractive to a search engine will be less attractive to real people on social media.
    • Pay attention to the trends. New platforms and toys are popping up on the internet every day, make sure you know about them. You want to pay attention to how your market is interacting on these new platforms, and how you can leverage that. One example is Gary Vaynerchuk and how he is leveraging new apps like Snapchat.
    • Leave your ego at the door. Content marketing means you have to stick your neck out everywhere your market is. You have no time to worry about haters or what people will think of you. You may be a little shy, but you’ll get over it
    • Create a wire down day. This is one day a week where you completely cut yourself off from everything except your to-do list. Put on your favorite headphones and a dope playlist and get busy.

    Things we talked about:

    How to Create a Business From Your Passion With Chris Guillebeau

    Every young entrepreneur I meet is obsessed with living a life of financial freedom. They want to build a business around a passion, travel the world, and not have to worry about anything. Chris Guillebeau wrote a book for that type of dreamer called The $100 Startup. So I pinged Chris to be the first guest of my Disruptor podcast.

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    Here is what I learned:

  • Now is the best time to jump in and build a business. Why? Because so many people are doing it. The more people building, the more examples of success and failure we have. You can learn from just observing your favorite entrepreneurs. Learn how to spy. What you will notice is the best entrepreneurs are openly sharing “how to’s” anyway.
  • Stop focusing on trying to “focus.” If you are a creative person like me then you have 100 things that you want to do at one time. The key is to stop trying and do what comes naturally. What you will notice is that the things you love the most and have the most passion for will always come at the top of your to-do list. You’ll always be successful this way.
  • Create more process goals. I talk about creating those here. For Chris, it was “I’m going to write 1,000 words a day, if I’m going to be a great writer.” So think about what actions you need to take daily+weekly that gets you closer to your main goal.
  • It’s never too late to start. Just because someone is ahead of you, doesn’t mean you can’t win. I remember when launching my first app, I found so many competitors and got discouraged. Then my mentor Wayne Sutton reminded me that competition just means that the market exists. So if there are other people out there doing what you want to do, it justs means there are people that are looking for you. You don’t have to be first, just try to be better.
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