Quieter types can be super charismatic too. Here’s how.

Photo: Joshua Rodriguez

By Jessica Stillman

If you’re not sure introverts can be charismatic, then I have two words for you, and those two words are “Keanu Reeves.” Not as irrationally obsessed with Point Break as I am? Then how about Barack Obama? Or Michael Jordan? Or Meryl Streep? Or Jimi Hendrix? Or most grunge era rock stars?

There are plenty of quieter types who know how to cast a spell when they want to. What’s their secret?

Magnetic introverts are as diverse as magnetic extroverts, and as such their strategies are as varied as they are. But authenticity, self possession, and passion…

Focusing on selling the benefit of your idea first reduces risk

Photo: Kumpan Electric

By Stephen Key

Most people believe that in order to become successful at inventing, they must simply patent, prototype, test, and then market their inventions. But this advice is incomplete and outdated, at best.

Let’s review the facts. The vast majority of patents never generate enough income to cover the cost of getting the patent in the first place. Prototypes are great for establishing proof of concept, but they don’t sell.

Testing and marketing a product before you know there’s demand can be expensive and time-consuming. When you don’t know if anyone will ultimately purchase your invention, patenting, prototyping, testing…

Big tech firms may be big competition, but for many startups, they also provide a big opportunity to compete and make millions — if not billions

Photo: Brett Jordan

By Kelly Main

Founders are often faced with the question of whether their startup could survive if big tech turned around and released a competing product or service. And, for those that are entering a market where big tech already resides, you may get worse: the dreaded comment questioning why you would bother to even try to compete against household names and competition that are sitting on millions of dollars — or, in the case of Google, over a trillion dollars.

What you don’t hear a lot about is how startups can not only successfully compete — even if, say…

“Charisma” is often just narcissism in disguise

Photo: Pablo Varela

By Jessica Stillman

Business sites like Inc.com are jam-packed with tips to become more charismatic, profiles of charismatic leaders, and excavations of their habits and tricks. The implied message is crystal clear — charisma is a valuable tool to get ahead in business and life and you should do everything in your power to cultivate it.

That message is also wrong, according to a huge number of experts. Charisma, they argue, is often just narcissism in disguise, and while it dazzles in the short term it usually leads to destruction for both companies and individuals in the longer term.

The case against charisma

What…

Both companies are working on a future that doesn’t involve remembering where you wrote down the password to dozens of websites

Photo: Micah Williams

By Jason Aten

The web is a fascinating and wonderful place. At the same time, it can be scary and dangerous, at least when it comes to your personal information.

Every time you go online, there are dozens, if not hundreds of threats to your privacy and personal information. There are apps that scoop up and monetize your data by selling it to the highest bidder. There are websites that track you and do the same. Even some of the extensions you install in your browser are spying on you.

And, of course, there are the hackers who would love…

The company doubled down on its effort to require developers to be transparent about tracking users

Photo: Jeremy Zero

By Jason Aten

Onstage at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), the company’s Senior VP for Software Engineering, Craig Federighi told the audience that “at Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right.” It’s not the first time anyone watching would have likely heard that from an Apple executive. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has made it a point of repeating the phrase publicly almost every chance he gets.

Usually, it’s when he talks about the difference between Apple and other tech companies that track users and monetize their personal information. It’s how they explain features like App Store’s Privacy Nutrition…

These literary greats solved the riddle of work-from-home productivity decades before the rest of us

Photo: Chris Fuller

By Jessica Stillman

John Steinbeck may have won a Nobel Prize but he still preferred to write at an unstable little desk on his fishing boat. Another giant of American letters, Maya Angelou, liked to rent out hotel rooms and write perched on the bed. Peter Benchley, who wrote Jaws, outdid both of them — he penned the thriller from the clanging back room of a furnace factory.

All of which might make you conclude that writers are a bunch of odd ducks. That might be true, but according to a thoughtful recent New Yorker piece from best-selling author and…

Steph Speirs, co-founder and CEO of solar energy startup Solstice, on why she used to ignore racist and sexist comments — and what changed

Rise Up With Asians Rally & March, San Francisco, CA, March 31, 2021. Photo: Jason Leung

By Sophie Downes

For much of Steph Speirs’s life, talking about her experiences with bias felt like oversharing. Now, she’s leading a company amid a spate of anti-Asian violence, and it feels vitally important. Speirs is the CEO of Solstice, a “community solar” startup based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that aims to bring affordable solar energy to households that otherwise can’t access it. She co-founded the company in 2016 with Sandhya Murali — who is also a woman of color — and expects to raise a Series A this summer. Here, Speirs, who grew up in Hawaii and moved to the…

It’s valuable for your business to create space in your day to do nothing at all

Photo: Jordan McQueen

By Raj Jana

You want to change the world, so you work long, tireless hours, your mind never shuts off, and your body never rests. It feels as if your life is burning on both ends of the candlestick, but you can’t seem to let yourself stop.

I used to live that way, too. The idea of taking a break or resting was unimaginable. And the few evenings when I attempted to unwind and enjoy some free time, all I did was feel guilty about stepping away. I’d wind up returning to work later into the night than usual.

Was…

Turnover is normal. If 30 percent of your staff leaves, that’s devastating.

Photo: Cengiz SARI

By Suzanne Lucas

The great resignation is coming,” says Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University.

This makes it sound like it’s some asteroid or maybe sharks, and all we can do is brace ourselves, get our post-apocalyptic jumpsuits ready, and invest in cryptocurrency. Or something.

Klotz is right to expect a great resignation — turnover is normal, and people postpone leaving jobs in times of uncertainty. We can all say, with a surety, that life has been uncertain for the past 15 months or so. And it makes sense that the response is people resigning.

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