at NWEN EU
His talk centered on eight principles for entrepreneurial success:
- Have a mission. This provides the big picture guide that informs everything you do and every decision you make.
- Change the rules. Tait related how at Cranium they missed the biggest national toy show, rolling the product out a few weeks too late. Sitting in a Starbucks, he hit on what became their winning go-to-market approach: becoming the first non-coffee product sold at the Mermaid. "We decided to take our games to where are customers are, rather than to toy stores."
- Know what you're good at. In a serendipitous slip, Tait originally wrote this as "know what you're god at." Same thing--focus where you can be world-class and commit to nothing less.
- Make hiring priority #1. Lagniappe: "Hire smarts and rent experience." (Several others including SparkBuy's Dan Shapiro made similar observations.) Also: "Hire for experience and fire for style" as good company culture matters: "We weren't a product company, we were a culture."
- Your customers are your sales force. Tait gave several anecdotes of how Cranium so delighted customers that they became "Craniacs" who passionately and broadly extolled the company.
- Avoid hairballs. Tait gives his highest recommendation to Gordon MacKenzie's book "Orbiting the Giant Hairball" which extols "being in the avoidance business, not the the reaction business."
- Do good as you do well.
- Lead with passion, a sense of discovery, and speed. "Speed is your friend."
I expect Tait's new endeavor, Golazo Energy, will also be a creative and financial success.