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The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets by Eric Ries, Patrick Vlaskovits, Brant Cooper

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Vision and Values

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Most successful endeavors start with a big Vision, capital V. The end success rarely matches the initial vision exactly, and sometimes the end result is hardly recognizable at all. The vision simply becomes part of the ex post facto narrative that makes us feel good about the visionary-turned-billionaire.

When corporate consultants and coaches insist you write a vision statement, they want you to project where you will be in five years. This is the sort of thing that leads to those horribly mundane opening lines in “about us” statements—“Industry leader in blah, blah, blah.”1 Those are the businesses with the management teams full of pre-billionaire visionaries.

The vaguer the vision, the more likely it will be true. “A broken watch is right twice a day” and all that. Did you know that the number 11 has special powers? If you open yourself to its energy, you will be drawn toward looking at a clock precisely 11 minutes after the hour. This is one way to become a visionary.

Irwin Jacobs, founder of telecommunications giant Qualcomm and certified billionaire, purportedly once told a room of skeptics (in other words, venture capitalists) that the brick of a cellular phone he was holding up would one day be used for credit-card transactions. Based on our own experiences with a room full of business experts, investors, and rotary-phone users we can well imagine the ...

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