7 Fun Slack Apps For Your Team

7 Fun Slack Apps For Your Team

As many teams continue with remote work, leaders are looking for new ways to ramp up office communication and team morale. We suggest adding some fun Slack apps.

Slack has become an important productivity tool for many remote teams. But, Slack can be more than just common communication and charts. It can be a source of fun team-building engagement if you have the right Slack apps. We’ve previously reviewed the Ten Best Slack Apps for Your Team and shown you Slack for Project Management and Slack for Reminders and now we’re reviewing seven fun and engaging Slack apps to keep your remote team engaged. These are some of the best ways to make Slack fun.

1. Trivia By Springworks

Trivia is one way to bring the social aspect back to your social-distancing workspace. 

Trivia is a team-building tool that hosts interactive quizzes. Reviews on their website rave how hilarity ensues among teams when played – a must for breaking the monotonous daily routine. If working from home has your coworkers feeling down, try some Trivia. It’s a fun Slack bot everyone needs.

Trivia features:

  • Over 30 categories and 1000s of quizzes available
  • Leaderboards are posted after every quiz 
  • Custom quizzes coming soon 

2. Giphy

Work conversations over messaging can be quick but impersonal. Transform and brighten any conversation with crowd-pleasing GIFs.

Giphy uses GIFs to inject some personality into otherwise routine communication. If a picture says a 1,000 words then a GIF can speak volumes. Just don’t ask us about how to pronounce “gif.” That’s a debate for another day.

Giphy features:

  • Easy to install into your workspace and use – type the command “/giphy + term” to quickly add a GIF
  • Library of hundreds of animated GIFs 

3. Tic-Tac-Toe

While working remote it’s hard to establish time to take a break to connect with your team. Little games such as the classic, tic-tac-toe, will give your team a much deserved break and promote team bonding. 

Once installed, Tic-Tac-Toe lets you challenge a teammate to a friendly game of tic-tac-toe. Just type the command “/ttt @mention” and the game will pop-up in your chat. You can also play secret games in direct message channels with /ttt. This might be one of the most fun Slack bots available. It’s light, quick, and easy to use for a fun brain break.

4. Rock-Paper-Scissors

Made by the same engineers of the chat pop-up game Tic-Tac-Toe for Slack, Rock-Paper-Scissors is available for some friendly competition.

Challenge a teammate to a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with the command “/rps @mention”, you and your teammate will receive a pop-up in the chat and you’re ready to play!

5. Slacker

Still looking to spice up your Slack convos and want to go beyond GIFs? How about posting replies to messages as fan favorite characters! 

Slacker adds some pizzazz to conversations by letting you post as your favorite characters such as Darth Vader, Elsa, James Bond, Beyonce and many more. Because who wouldn’t want Darth Vader to respond to your coworker when questioned if you sent out the marketing email yet again?

6. Plop

Putting a face to the name can be quite the challenge nowadays as teams are forced to work separately from one another and interact with employees they’ve never met in person. But with Plop, you can make sure you get to know coworkers even when far apart.

Plop is a game that quizzes you to see if you can recognize coworkers based on their profile picture.

7. GameMonk

Working remotely can create lots of communication challenges and it can make it difficult to understand just how your team is doing. However, GameMonk works to gauge morale and preferences.

GameMonk is a great Slack bot to give your team either a quick break or much-needed feedback. Polls and anonymous surveys help with understanding how your company is feeling and the provided 90-second games will boost interaction with GIF guessing games, trivia, and way more.

How it works:

  • Add @gamemonk to your slack
  • Add @gamemonk to a channel (like #random)
  • In the channel, @gamemonk: play
  • Try:
    • @gamemonk: play trivia
    • @gamemonk: play categories (protip: try saying ‘hint’ during a game!)
    • @gamemonk: play giphy


As teams continue with remote work, it’s important to keep communication working and morale high. Using these bots and applications for Slack will assist in building team culture, communication, team bonding, and ultimately boost morale. It’s important that as your business grows that your team does as well — adding some fun into the mix will go a long way.

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How Profitable Should My Startup Be?

How Profitable Should My Startup Be?

What does it mean to be ramen profitable? In this blog post, we’ll explore what that term means and how to execute that concept in your startup. Let’s dive in!

Profitability. Burn rate. Runway. All these terms get floated around when building a company. Some may think there are two options for a company: either lose as little as possible or make as much as possible. But, like many things in life, there is more complexity to the issue.

There are companies like WeWork who lost nearly $2 billion of cash between 2018 and 2019. But there are others like Juul who have increased revenue from about $200 million to nearly $1 billion in just one year. They also attained about $12 million in profit during that run.

For any startup, there is a balance between profitability and growth. This doesn’t mean, though, that the only two options are burning billions or making a few million. A third option is making just enough profit to cover the founder’s expenses. In doing so, your company is sustainable. Many call this ramen profitability.

Ramen Profitability Defined

Ramen profitability is a term that was popularized by venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur Paul Graham and since he is the man responsible for bringing this term into the lexicon of the business world, he is undoubtedly best equipped to define it.

In his words, ramen profitability “means a startup makes just enough to pay the founders’ living expenses.” This is a different form of profitability than startups have typically pursued. For entrepreneurs, profitability typically means a big bet is paying off in big ways. The main importance of ramen profitability is that you make just enough and it buys you time.

Ramen Profitable Startups vs Typical Startup

Startup guy writing on a white board

During the early days of a startup, striving to achieve ramen profitability is an excellent way to ensure that a company will survive without raising a lot of capital. In Nebraska, it can be difficult to find venture capital even with a growing network of angel investors. Often, when operating in Lincoln or Omaha, founders struggle to find meaningful investment at early stages like they in larger markets on the coast.  A company that has attained enough profit to survive without growth capital can assure it will stick around long enough to find the right investors.

Traditionally, startups have sought out investors in an effort to raise capital that is then spent on building the company. This approach might mean that a business does not see profits for many, many years to come but, when profitability is reached, millions of dollars may be generated. In and around Nebraska, investors are more attracted to stability, profitability, and control. Because of this, ramen profitability is a great approach in the early days of new ventures.

With ramen profitability, a startup can achieve profitability much earlier since investment debts aren’t draining the company. With this approach, the goals are simply to eschew raising capital while focusing on achieving a high enough level of profitability to at least pay for the salary of any founders. Once that benchmark has been reached, the company is profitable.

Related: Guide to Finding Angel Investors in Omaha

Ramen Profitability Is an Excellent Indicator of Viability

For startups looking to delay raising capital, the time spent working with a goal of ramen profitability in mind can bring about a few benefits.

One very big advantage is the fact that reaching this goal perfectly indicates the viability of a startup. That’s because, once profitability is achieved, three things can be inferred:

  • People are happy to pay for the product, which means that the market exists;
  • The founders solved a pain point in the market
  • The startup’s founders were able to control spending and successfully manage cash flow to achieve profitability

All of these indicators are important benchmarks to achieve when the time does come to start talking with investors.

Advantages Inherent to Ramen Profitability

Choosing to govern a startup with the goal of ramen profitability in mind can have many advantages with some being more obvious than others.

  • You can often negotiate better terms with investors, banks, or landlords when you are profitable as a company.
  • A startup’s profitability will also work to the advantage of its founders when approaching investors because profit, no matter how small, will prove the viability of the business.
  • Finally, because ramen profitability allows founders to delay the process of raising capital, they are better able to focus their time on the business instead of dealing with endless meetings and negotiations with investors.

Ramen Profitability Is Not a One-Size Fits All Approach

While ramen profitability certainly has its advantages, it isn’t the perfect fit for all entrepreneurs. That’s because, for some startups, such a large infusion of cash is needed right from the beginning that raising capital is virtually unavoidable. It really depends on your end goal. If you’re more concerned with blitz scaling and are okay with burning through money quickly, then ramen profitability isn’t for you. On the contrary, if you’re more interested in long-term growth and becoming a profitable company, ramen profitability is the route for you and your business to take.

Ramen Profitability is the Solution Your Business Need

Once all of the advantages and disadvantages inherent to ramen profitably are considered, it’s easy to see why it’s such an attractive option for founder on the Silicon Prairie. In places like Nebraska, capital is difficult to find and often takes a much longer time to secure than it might in larger metro areas. Most investors in the Omaha and Lincoln area are more risk-averse, especially in the early stages of new businesses. Ramen profitability assures founders they can stay afloat while they work to secure funding.

Office space can really chew up startup cash fast. That’s why we built Populus to be flexible and cost-effective office space for teams of 2-20. Check out ourcoworking spaces in Omaha and let us support you with an amazing and affordable workspace.

Related: LLC or Inc: What’s Better for a Startup?

How To Work Remotely in a World of Distractions

How To Work Remotely in a World of Distractions

We live in an economy that monetizes our attention. Businesses will capture as much of our focus as possible. The economic value of many things lies in the ability to retain consumer focus. It hasn’t always been this way – for a long time, our attention wasn’t so hard to grab. Today, every digital channel and street corner is saturated with content to grab your focus. Make no mistake – your attention is the prize every company is chasing.

The Attention Economy 

The Attention Economy is what we call the current economic climate in which companies desire to capture more of a customer’s focus. For decades now businesses have understood the value of advertising and brand building. This is nothing new. Today, though, capturing a customer’s attention, and keeping that attention, is more difficult than ever before. On the internet, we are bombarded with content and advertisements at every turn. Anyone can be a creator, and at times it seems as though everyone wants us to pay attention. An entire economy has developed around the ability to grab your attention and hold it as long as possible. 

How Does The Brain Focus

It is human nature to struggle to turn off our minds and devote our attention to important things. Consider how the brain is wired: The frontal lobe of the brain controls our focus. More specifically, according to research from McGill University, attention is controlled by “a complex of neurons in the lateral prefrontal cortex of the brain, an area involved in many aspects of executive behavioral control, including selective attention, strategic behavioral planning, short-term information retention and action selection.” These neurons act as a filter for the noise around us. That is, your brain is trying to filter through all of the advertisements and content that is screaming for your attention.

There are a lot of advantages to gaining information at the high volume we can today. But when our attention is constantly demanded, we get Decision Fatigue and burnout. Our brains become tired of filtering, sorting, and structuring data. It literally takes real energy and eventually, we run out of steam. Our brain starts throwing out more and more while focusing on less and less. Eventually, we burn out and make mistakes, poor decisions, or simply numb out on Netflix or the news. We give in to the demands of everyone around us. They win, and you lose that ability to be effective. You scroll social media, binge Netflix, and go down the YouTub rabbit hole. None of those are valuable to you, personally, but are very valuable to those who want to sell you things. 

How do we operate in an Attention Economy? 

The answer: structure your personal environment with boundaries to protect your focus and attention. This is significant for those who work remotely and those who work from home. It will become increasingly important that you have specific environments and processes in place to help complete work tasks. When you optimize the environment in which you work, then the work itself becomes more effective and takes less energy to accomplish. Reducing distractions allows you to put all of your mind and energy towards your work instead of towards trying to focus.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Here’s What We’re Missing About the Future of Work

Establish Work Boundaries 

Develop a quiet space 

According to a recent survey, 65% of creative people need quiet to do their best work. It’s critical that you develop quiet spaces in your work rhythm to accomplish focused tasks. Find a room or spot within a room that is dedicated to working. This should be free from outside sounds, preferably has a door, and has sound masking capabilities. Quiet doesn’t simply mean auditory noise. Your workspace should be visually quiet as well, free from distractions that demand attention like TV or anything that bothers you. Are you distracted by a cluttered room? Don’t work near one. Are you drawn towards cleaning a dirty kitchen? Be sure it’s not in view while you work. You don’t always need to isolate in your work, but the goal is to intentionally control your focus. It’s good to interact with others and experience new environments, but do this on your terms instead of having your attention stollen.

Define what keeps you focused

Set aside time to understand your work rhythm. Whether that means working in silence or maybe playing music in the background. If you play music, you may be more productive with a specific genre. There was once a study in which researches played heavy metal music loudly while mice tried to move through a maze. None of the mice completed the maze. Instead, they ended up killing each other. Heavy metal music might not be the right option as music has the ability to change your mood. Try energetic beats to conquer that afternoon slump or some smooth jazz for focused evening work. Here are a few albums we think make the perfect soundtrack for work.

Understand Your Current Rhythm

Developing a great work rhythm starts with understanding your current process (or lack of process). For two or three typical days, use a notebook or app to track your time and tasks. Get some data on how and what you’re doing. With this data in hand, take stock of your work rhythms and give yourself honest feedback. Even better, walk through your schedule with a trusted colleague or your assistant. Have them help you block out your day.

Take Breaks

It’s important to take breaks throughout your workday. Get coffee, get a snack, eat lunch. Set a timer on your phone and once the alarm goes off- get back to work. Focus is like a muscle in that you can train it to become stronger but it will get fatigued. It is speculated that many high powered CEO’s make horrible decisions in their personal life because their work drains all of their decision making energy. Taking a break at work prevents decision fatigue, increases energy, and restores motivation.

Work in Sprints

It’s important to be fully present so you can accomplish tasks effectively. To do this, create dedicated sprints of time to complete tasks. Some are more productive in the morning while others may enjoy the afternoon or evening. When you figure out which part of the day is easier for your focus, add dedicated “Work Block” times to your calendar for uninterrupted sessions. Establish and list out what specific tasks you need to complete during that block. It is best to keep these times consistent throughout the week, for example, if you work best in the mornings, block off time from 8:30 am – 10:30 am to complete a specific task. A common mistake is to sit down for a block of work and spend too much time thinking about what you should work on instead of actually doing work. With your sprints and tasks planned, you can reserve energy and time for getting valuable things accomplished.

Success Requires Balance

Developing boundaries is an essential part of operating in this new Attention Economy. Work boundaries are not the only key to your success, though. Going too far down the road of optimization will bring nothing but misery. The goal isn’t to hack your schedule and find yourself with a full agenda, but rather to open up your schedule to elicit more time for important and meaningful work. Anyone can squeeze more work in if they try – you’ll end up with our original problem of fatigue and frustration. The real magic is being more efficient and effective with the right work so you can boost your confidence while taking much-needed breaks.

Success depends on your ability to own your attention and protect it from distractions. 

Here’s what we’re missing about the future of work

Here’s what we’re missing about the future of work

“Man is by nature a social animal … Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”

-Aristotle, Politics

There are many predictions on the future of work. People have predicted the end of e-mail, but that seems to be hanging around. Time Magazine predicted, “By 2000, the machines will be producing so much that everyone in the US will, in effect, be independently wealthy.” Of course, one of my favorites is from Thomas Watson at IMB in 1943. He said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

Most of the discussion about how work is changing revolves around technology and culture, which is not wrong. These two dominant trends are driving massive upheaval for commercial real estate.

“Being successful in this industry means being on the front end of trends, thinking about what those trends mean for the long-term,” said Robert Bowman, chairman of the Urban Land Institute’s Residential Neighborhood Council. “Those who understand major demographic changes will have a competitive edge.”

Technology Is Changing the Way We Work

You’re likely aware of how technology is changing the way we work. Faster internet connections, wireless, cloud storage, cell phones, and software are making remote work more viable than ever before. It was not that long ago when all work had to take place within the walls of the office. The contribution of technology to a worker’s productivity is nearly five times greater today than it was in the 70s, according to a study by the Centre for Economic and Business Research. Today, a significant amount of work can happen more effectively and from anywhere.

Culturally, technology has created a generational shift. Millennials, as well as Generation Z, have grown up in a hyper-connected world. They have a completely different view of how the world connects and operates. Some of their close friends are people they play games with online but have never truly met in real life. Many have had smartphones since they were very young, and communication methods like text and social media have formed their views of social interactions. A recent McKinsey & Company study calls Gen Z a “hypercognitive generation very comfortable with collecting and cross-referencing many sources of information and with integrating virtual and offline experiences.”

Today, there are entire companies built on remote work. One of the original members at Populus is Jaya, a software development company. In just 18-months, Jaya has built a global team with employees in Omaha, NE, as well as Miami, Fl, New York, NY, Bogota, CO, and Medellin, CO. Connected via the internet and using software like Slack and Github, the can effectively work across multiple timezones and continents.

It can be easy to look at the trends in technology or culture and make predictions about the growing decentralization of work. Might all work soon be remote? Will every company provide total flexibility? Perhaps the whole idea of office space is dying.

There’s more to the future of office

Or, perhaps, cultural trends and technology are not the whole picture. Maybe we’re missing one critical factor in the future office space: humans.

Are virtual connections the same as a physical community? A recent Science Magazine article argues virtual and physical communities are quite different. “The answer,” writes Etzioni, “at least according to several leading students of virtual communities, is that human relations in computer-mediated communities cannot be as intimate, strong, and affect-laden as in social communities.” That’s probably no surprise to many of us, though we might wish it wasn’t the case. Humans are wired for physical community and social interaction. Research says that as much as 93% of our communication is via body language. Over thousands of years, humans have learned to notice small details about spacing, movement, and tone when it comes to communication and community. Details that can’t come across via technology.

Technology may allow us to be more flexible in the way we interact, but there is still no replacement for in-person interaction. Humans need a community to be happy, productive, healthy people. Without a physical community, we literally start to get sick and die.

“Being socially connected is our brain’s lifelong passion,” writes UCLA professor Matthew Lieberman, “it’s been baked into our operating system.” There is a lot of emerging research showing how much our brains are not just wired to connect with people, but built for in-person community. It’s the key driver behind things like accountability and empathy, which are critical pieces of business today. It’s because of this basic human need for physical connection that office space is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

The future of work is flexibility

The future of work is all about flexibility and community. It’s about creating a density of people, though not all of them may work for the same company. Workspaces must create places that allow people to interact and connect, as well as leveraging the best that technology has to offer. But these workspaces are becoming more diverse, hosting multiple companies instead of just a single tenant. This is why coworking has a very bright future. The human need for physical community is fundamental, and technology or culture will not eliminate that need – at least not anytime soon. While companies can employ the best talent from anywhere in the world, the distributed workforce will still require some form of human community to thrive.

“Someday, we will look back and wonder how we ever had lives, work, and schools that weren’t guided by the principles of the social brain,”

-Matthew Lieberman

Read more about the future of commercial real estate

A Real Guide on How to Find Your Passion

A Real Guide on How to Find Your Passion

Follow your passion. Do what you love and never work another day in your life. Sounds nice. Is it possible? Kind of.

I’ve always been fascinated by book titles like the “4 Hour Work Week” and the idea that you should pursue your passions in life. “Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you,” says Oprah. It’s not that I don’t want that power – it sounds exhilarating. But I’ve never felt I was doing it right. I’ve been doing things that I love for a long time. Things that I would call passions. But doing what I love wasn’t showing up with easy work weeks, simple days, and nerf gun wars. To be clear, I’ve had a lot of fun doing the things that I love. But it’s not easy, and it does feel like work. What gives? Is following your passion supposed to mean endless joy? And if so – what’s wrong with me?

The meaning of passion

Let’s go back a few years. Maybe a few thousand years. To understand this whole idea of following your passion, we have to reset our understanding of the very word itself. The root of the word passion is the Latin word pati, which means suffering. Passion is a word that initially meant enduring or undergoing a challenging experience. You may be familiar with the Passion of the Christ, which was a way of describing the sufferings of Christ on the cross. For centuries, the term was attributed to religious martyrs who died for their beliefs. It wasn’t until the late 16th century that it took on a meaning associated with love or anything too positive. For a long time, the idea of passion was associated much more with struggle than freedom and energy.

Today we speak of passion very differently, defined as intense love, emotion, or desire. In doing so, I believe the word has lost its depth. We idolize the positive emotions, stripping away what we all know is true of the things we love most. For the things we love most, we sacrifice. Like a martyr who gives his life for a cause he is passionate about, we are willing to struggle and endure for things that have our affection. We dedicate ourselves to those things naturally because of their meaning, not merely because of how they make us feel.

You may also be interested in Takeaways from the Worlds Top Innovators

Success is…

James Clear has an excellent book called Atomic Habits. You should read it. He writes in that book, “the greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom.” Success isn’t as much about finding your zen as it is about focus, discipline, and a willingness to endure. This is not to say that work has to suck. It doesn’t. But when you work your passion – your true passion – the fun is in success and achievement. 

Have you ever studied any great athletes’ training program? Ther are incredible. There is little margin. It was the great Muhammad Ali who said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” At the peak of his career, Michael Phelps would train – hard training – 6 hours a day, six days a week. I guess that’s how you win 28 medals at the Olympics. “Even in high school, I’d tell my mom I was sick of swimming and wanted to try to play golf,” says Phelps. “She wasn’t too happy. She’d say, ‘Think about this.’ And I’d always end up getting back in the pool.”

If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.

Thomas Jefferson

Passion v hobbies

So passion isn’t merely about having fun and never working a day in your life. Those moments may happen, but that’s not the focus. Following your passion means suffering for the thing you love. Identifying your true passion in life is all about finding the stuff for which you’ll endure challenges and struggles. 

Don’t look for the fun thing – we call those hobbies. From time to time, your hobbies can make you money. Too often, though, we try to monetize our hobbies, and we end up hating them. It’s because we don’t want to suffer for our hobbies, we want to enjoy them. Your passions in life – those are the things for which you’ll endure the mundane and the low points. 

Build your endurance

Work on your endurance and the ability to stay committed when things get hard. Then find your true passion – the things you’re willing to fight for. Find the people, causes, and ideas for which you’re eager to put everything on the line.

The world needs your unwavering commitment.

You may also be interested in The Complete Entrepreneurial Syllabus

10 Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read

10 Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read

Being an entrepreneur is a continuous journey of learning, applying, and iterating. Whether it’s trying to raise capital or finding the perfect coworking space, entrepreneurs have a lot on their plate – at all times. Plenty of entrepreneurs have been down the same path and, luckily for us, have jotted down their learnings and unique perspective on what makes an entrepreneur successful. 

Whether it’s inspiration or advice on how to be a better entrepreneur, we’ve compiled the ten best books worth reading. Check them out below:

Related: 10 Best Slack Apps for Your Team in 2019

1. Spin Selling

 By Neil Rackham

For anyone looking to learn how to improve an organization’s sales strategy when it comes to high-value accounts.

Spin Selling by Neil Rackham is a classic business book focused on sales. It’s all about practice makes perfect, and Neil after going through over 35,000 sales calls in his career decided to share his most key learnings in this book. 

The book dives into helping entrepreneurs develop a differentiated sales methodology that’s appropriate for their business known as the SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff) strategy.

It elaborates on the right questions to ask when it comes to selling, and how this helps determine the right sales approach to take – all depending on the value of what is being sold. 

With deep expertise in sales, Rackham has advised organizations such as IBM and Honeywell when it comes to their sales approach and delivered dramatic increases in sales volume. All of which are explored in this book. This one’s a must-read for anyone looking into high volume sales strategies that require a differentiated approach vs. the one applied with small value consumer sales used by most businesses.

“Successful people ask a lot more questions during sales calls than do their less successful colleagues. We found that these less successful people tend to do most of the talking.” 

Neil Rackham, Major Account Sales Strategy

2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things

By Ben Horowitz

For anyone thinking of starting a business or currently running one. This book is packed with key real-life learnings on how to successfully build, manage, sell, and invest in businesses.

Serial entrepreneur and co-founder of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (which has an amazing blog), Ben lays out critical advice on building and running a startup in this book. Taking a unique angle, he skips the business school advice and dives into real-world practical learnings – all the while using his favorite rap song lyrics to reinforce his insights.

Throughout the book, Ben Horowitz addresses commonly held beliefs from seasoned business builders – that there is no perfect approach to launching a business, but being prepared for the screw-ups and quickly learning from them is key.

In this book, Ben shares the many mistakes that were made while leading large billion-dollar corporations and how his team acted to turn things around. He shares the difficult decisions he’s had to make, and all the while reveals his learnings using his trademark dry humor and no bullsh*t approach.

This book is on every successful entrepreneur’s shelf as it perfectly highlights the highs and lows of startup life, the resilience one builds, and the rewards at the finish line.

“’Life is struggle.’ I believe that within that quote lies the most important lesson in entrepreneurship: Embrace the struggle.” 

Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

    3. Daring Greatly

    By Brene Brown

    For anyone who fears the critics and the risk. Daring Greatly is a manifesto about stepping out into the unknown and trying something new, different, or hard.

    In this book, Brene Brown explores courage and vulnerability. She shows us that vulnerability is not weakness, but a key to innovation and leadership. It is by embracing our fears that we become more courageous to explore the unknown.

    Brene expertly identifies the feeling all entrepreneurs experience because of critics. She helps us understand how to deal with those that sit on the sidelines and are full opinions. There is no better book to understand the feelings of fear, uncertainty, and risk that come along with building something new.

    “Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.” 

    Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

    Related: 10 Best Time Management Apps for Startup Founders

      4. The High Growth Handbook

      By Elad Gil and Kevin Stilwell

      For anyone looking for advice in turning their thriving startup and navigating it’s high-growth towards becoming a unicorn.

      Tech executive and investor Elad Gil has worked with many startups that have now grown into large global organizations. With experience driving growth at Airbnb, Twitter, and the likes, Elad breaks down common growth strategies that have played out across these companies and shares a repeatable playbook.

      Focusing on providing advice for startups that have achieved product-market fit, Elad covers key topics required to successfully manage growth such as recruiting a stellar team, handling aboard, and setting up your business for a successful merger, acquisition, or IPO.

      Not only does Elad provide direct advice and insights, but he also shares interviews with successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley such as Reid Hoffman and Marc Andreessen to share their perspective on how to handle the high-growth startup phase.

      An insightful and highly recommended book focused on navigating the complexities of turning a startup into a thriving global brand. This one’s a must-read for anyone seeking strategies to blitz scale their business.

      “All startup advice is only useful in context, and I am a firm believer that the only good generic startup advice is that there is no good generic startup advice. So take what is written here with a grain of salt—it is very much one person’s experiences.” 

      Elad Gil, High Growth Handbook

      5. Zero to One

      By Peter Thiel

      For anyone looking to understand how to develop ideas that can change the world, and how to take those ideas from conception to real businesses. 

      Peter Thiel is considered a legend in the entrepreneurial tech space so it’s no surprise this book makes the cut on many startup founders’ bookshelves.

      In Zero to One, Thiel focuses on the tech industry and provides practical advice on tackling big challenges, and navigating the tricky road of turning an idea into a company.

      Although the book is from a tech veteran, Thiel talks about how innovation can be done in other industries, and how innovation isn’t building on other ideas but doing something entirely new that can have a huge impact on the world. Crafting new industries instead of starting businesses in existing ones. 

      Beyond sharing insights on what he deems as useful entrepreneurial ventures to take on. Thiel also reflects on American progress so far in innovation, and the questions leaders in the space asked to come up with the ideas that have changed the way we go about our lives.

      A fantastic book that opens up your perspective on what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to chase billion-dollar ideas that can make a lasting impact on the world. 

      “You’ve invented something new but you haven’t invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business—no matter how good the product.” 

      Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

      6. The Messy Middle

      By Scott Belsky

      For anyone who is somewhere between the beginning and the end of any project or startup. This is a masterpiece on what is required to work through the uncertainty of entrepreneurship.

      The Messy Middle is a book that reads more like a manual. It’s a book that you’ll likely reference over and over again, turning to a specific chapter on a unique topic. It’s written in very short pieces of content which makes it very easy for entrepreneurs to engage. The Messy Middle covers optimizing your team, self-awareness, competitive advantages, embracing the long game, and other crucial topics for startup leaders.

      There is a lot of discussion about how to start something new and the success that comes at the end. There isn’t nearly as much content about all the messy work that happens in the middle of building a startup. Entrepreneurship is volatile, risky, uncertain, and unpredictable. New ideas are a rollercoaster and this book is a manual on how to deal with all that comes with the ride.

      “If we have a good quarter, it is because of the work we did three, four, five years ago, not the work we did this quarter.” 

      “You can get the important stuff right and still lose by not enduring long enough.” 

      Scott Belsky, The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture

      Related: Guide to Finding Angel Investors in Omaha

      7. Rework

      By Jason Fried and David Hansson

      For anyone looking to start a business but is overwhelmed by the tasks involved. Rework dispels the notion that launching ideas require careful planning and lots of capital, and instead shows you how to launch ideas in a lean way.

      Rework is all about changing perspective and removing a lot of the biases in how ‘work’ should be done. Rework explains the new world we live in, where anyone can start a business over a weekend given the inexpensive tools at our disposable. It looks at the commonly held beliefs such as developing a business plan and researching the competition before beginning a business, and advocates to do the exact opposite. 

      That is, to act first, be lean, and analyze later.

      Jason shares a whole new framework and system for achieving your entrepreneurial dreams. With a strong emphasis on learning by doing, he helps guide one through the thinking to start a business on the side while working their day job. To achieve traction with very little upfront capital, and use that momentum to scale side hustles into fully-fledged businesses.

      With simple language and a clear playbook, this book is full of actionable steps that can help one take their ideas to execution.

      “Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is home because she figured out a faster way” 

      Jason Fried, Rework

      8. Die Empty

      By Todd Henry

      For those on the fence about whether or not to pursue their dreams and passions. This is a book about doing your most important work every day, because we only have so many days available. The world needs your creative work and fresh ideas. 

      Die Empty is a book by author and speaker Todd Henry. He is also the voice behind the popular creative podcast The Accidental Creative. This book is all about the importance of launching your best work right now. It urges creatives and innovators to resist the lull of comfort and familiarity to launch their ideas and build new things.

      This isn’t simply a book about following your passion. This is a book about identifying the unique value you bring to the world and then going all in on that opportunity. This book encourages you to be fiercely curious, step out of your comfort zone, wisely define goals. 

      There is no better author to help encourage you to step out and take the risk you know you must take. This world needs your best work today. You don’t know how many tomorrows there will be, so stop waiting for tomorrow.

      “Passion” has its roots in the Latin word pati, which means “to suffer or endure.” Therefore, at the root of passion is suffering. This is a far cry from the way we casually toss around the word in our day-to-day conversations. Instead of asking “What would bring me enjoyment?” which is how many people think about following their passion, we should instead ask “What work am I willing to suffer for today?”

      Todd Henry, Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day

      Related: LLC or Inc: What’s Better for a Startup?

      9. The Lean Startup

      By Eric Ries

      For entrepreneurs looking to take ideas to launch rapidly, this book walks you through lean principles that can help you build companies that can adjust and adapt to achieve product-market fit, and beyond.

      The Lean Startup is usually the first book recommended by any startup founder to those looking to join the entrepreneurial world. In this book, Eric shares how one can apply ‘lean’ principles in rapidly testing and validating business ideas. 

      Eric shares techniques that allow companies to be flexible and pivot quickly to achieve product-market fit. With a focus on the notion of ‘adapting and adjusting’, this book teaches companies regardless of size how they can adjust to changing consumer and market needs, and as a result, adapt and thrive.

      Using lessons from ‘lean manufacturing’, the book emphasizes a scientific approach. It encourages rapid experimentation, to ignore vanity metrics and measure what matters, as well as various other counter-intuitive strategies. 

      This book is great at illustrating how to build dynamic companies that can adjust to market movements before it’s too late. 

      “Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.” 

      Eric Ries, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

      10. Measure What Matters

      By John Doerr

      For leaders and entrepreneurs looking to learn how to define clear organizational goals, and measure progress in real-time. Measure What Matters lays out the playbook on how to implement OKRs in an organization, and shares various case studies on the benefits it delivers.

      Measure What Matters is a best-selling book about OKRs, objectives and key results. Company OKRs are metrics that have gone on to help countless brands such as Google define and focus on their goals. 

      John brought this technique of applying scientific measurement to management strategies to Google in the 1970s and has since shared how this can be developed for any organization through this book. 

      Using multiple case studies, the book walks one through how to define such goals, implement ways to track progress and translate the goals into clear actions that can be executed on by pre-set timelines. 

      The book shares the various benefits this achieves from boosting employee morale, improving retention, and has chapters narrated by Bill Gates and Bono on how OKRs have helped them in leading high performing teams. 

      “Leaders must get across the why as well as the what. Their people need more than milestones for motivation. They are thirsting for meaning, to understand how their goals relate to the mission.” 

      John Doerr, Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs


      These books are exactly what every entrepreneur needs in their library. They provide critical information and advice. Each one of these books mentioned will benefit you and your company. There are so many entrepreneurs that have come before you and don’t want you to make the same mistakes that they did, so take advantage of the knowledge they give and avoid unnecessary errors. If you’re a business in Omaha, Nebraska, be sure to check out our coworking spaces. Working alongside other entrepreneurs is another exceptional way to learn and grow.

      Related: Unique Benefits of Shared Office Space 

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