Tropical MBA Notes 2016

Tropical MBA

TMBA318: Mentors – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Date: 2016-01-06

Link: Tropical MBA

It is a very complex relationship.

Mentor is a word that is so used that it is meaningless.

Finding a mentor is an organic process. It is isn’t a handshake deal.

You have to be ready for opportunities as they present themselves.

Don’t maximize for income. Maximize for experience.

Don’t partner up with rich assholes. Just because they have something you want doesn’t mean they are living the way you want.

Mentors can be just as powerful in the middle of your career as they can be at the beginning.

Part of success is taking on responsibility.

Don’t assume that mentors are good at being mentors.

TMBA319: The Mind Game of Making Over $100,000

Date: 2016-01-14

Link: Tropical MBA

If you’re having trouble getting to $1,000,000 in revenue the place to look for the problem is in your marketing.

If you’re having trouble getting beyond $1,000,000 the place to look is your human resources.

Stop trying to turn the Internet into an ATM machine and just build a business. Build something that people want and provide value to them.

The first thing to be successful as an entrepreneur is to create your own structure.

Talking about success can sometimes be taboo.

Everyone needs a competitive advantage.

You can create an organization that doesn’t have a bureaucracy. You can create an organization that people are excited to work at.

TMBA320: How Do You Decide When Enough is Enough?

Date: 2016-01-21

Link: Tropical MBA

You can’t get better at things if you don’t invest more things in them.

If you want to build meaning you’re going to have to give energy to it.

Fire the clients that are difficult.

Ask yourself what you expect of yourself.

TMBA321: Productized #3 – An Expert’s Advice

Date: 2016-01-28

Link: Tropical MBA

It can seem very limiting to stop doing 80% of what you do and start focusing on 20% of what you do but that is what enables you to have something to sell.

One thing that freelancers lose (when starting a productized service) is jumping on the shiny new thing.

Focus until it hurts.

You can get hung up on building the product. You can spend too much time on that before getting in front of customers.

Launching a productized service launches your brand.

One of the things about entrepreneurship as a career is that you are building a skillset that transfers.

Look at who is the customer you are trying to serve and what is a top priority problem they have that you are also qualified to build a solution for.

It is really easy for entrepreneurs to get lost in the weeds.

Entrepreneurship isn’t about knowing the right things. Entrepreneurship is about doing the right things.

TMBA322: One For the Writers

Date: 2016-02-04

Link: Tropical MBA

Work on your keywords for SEO.

Work on your writing.

Putting terrible photos on a post looks crass.

It is all about prioritizing.

What one person thinks and what is important to another are different things.

TMBA323: No Office Required

Date: 2016-02-11

Link: Tropical MBA

It is about figuring out how to communicate with people in remote locations and do it as effectively as you would in person.

A distributed team means that someone can perfectly integrate work/life balance in a way that works for you.

A lot of times your best ideas aren’t your initial reaction.

An office isn’t absolutely necessary to run a business. For some people it is a better way to run a business and for some people it is a non-issue.

People that are really good at written communication do really well (working remotely). for videoconferencing.

In a remote team every meeting has an agenda, action items, and next steps.

TMBA324: The Amazon Gold Rush

Date: 2016-02-18

Link: Tropical MBA

If Amazon damages or loses your goods then they pay you.

Nobody wants to buy anything on Amazon that doesn’t have any reviews.

You have to innovate. You can’t just go to Alibaba and find a product. You have to make a small change and take on a little more liability. Those are going to the people who are going to stick around and make it to the next level.

Amazon is a more sophisticated type of buyer (over eBay).

40% of product searches start on Amazon.

You want keywords that are relevant to everything.

You don’t want photos that look like they were taken out in your garage.

You want to answer any questions a user might have about an item.

15 reviews at a minimum is required.

Conversions get better at 20 reviews.

It is important to not underestimate the amount of capital to get started.

TMBA325: A Conversation With Ribbonfarm’s Venkat Rao

Date: 2016-02-25

Link: Tropical MBA

You start to get much more sophisticated about what every aspect of money means to you when you see the whole equation.

(If you are doing a lifestyle design business) make sure your actions aren’t coming from a chip on your shoulder. But if you are doing the Silicon Valley/VC thing then a chip on your shoulder is an asset.

There is no such thing as passive income.

The calibration of expectations is important.

Book: Seeing Like a State

You have to be intellectually engaged in the problem of understanding your environment.

Everybody should look for fulfillment in work. Work is a third of our lives and half of our waking lives.

TMBA326: To VC or Not to VC, That is the Question

Date: 2016-03-03

Link: Tropical MBA

Most people’s biggest dreams isn’t (starting a company and becoming a billionaire).

People that are running bootstrapped businesses aren’t incentivized to talk about their businesses.

One of the nice things about owning a private company is you don’t have to disclose your financial status.

Book: Maverick

Very, very few things last forever.

It is very hard to be passionate about something for a long period of time unless you are passionate about the cash flow it spits out.

Investors want moonshots.

Raising money doesn’t necessarily mean faster growth.

TMBA327: For Better or For Worse

Date: 2016-03-10

Link: Tropical MBA

The key to courage on some things it to realize you have options and that there are other things you can do.

Each individual decision does not matter as much as the grand vision.

Once a business find a market fit the best thing it can do is start churning out small iterations.

TMBA328: How Do You Manage Your Money?

Date: 2016-03-17

Link: Tropical MBA

At the end of the day you have to do what is right for your client.

You’re not going to survive the market on your own.

25% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved.

50% of Americans have less than $5,000 saved.

90% of people have less than $100,000 saved.

You need to understand the tax implications of assets.

Every decision you make has a consequence.

You always want to look at the underlying investments to make sure you are not exposing yourself to too much risk.

Long-term this country is poised for incredible growth.

Systematically over time put money away and do it wisely. Have a goal in mind.

The average person spends more time planning their vacation than they do their retirement.

TMBA329: The Exit

Date: 2016-03-24

Link: Tropical MBA

One great thing about travel is that you can figure out who you are and hear your own voice.

(When selling your business) work with professionals who know how to market and sell a business.

If you’re selling your business look into the tax consequences of doing that and look at ways to minimize it.

When you want to maximize value on something have multiple bidders helps.

(Be careful) with earnouts.

Do some scenario planning with your lawyer.

Secure your earnouts.

Don’t skimp on lawyers and bankers. Push them.

Once you start viewing entrepreneurship as a creative process you start viewing the in-between periods as when your creative juices get flowing.

TMBA330: Getting the Most Out of YouTube

Date: 2016-03-31

Link: Tropical MBA

Book: Miracle Morning

An entrepreneur has to give yourself structure.

One thing that is important on YouTube is to brand yourself.

Don’t let it be so overwhelming that you don’t get started.

It is important to get a lot of content out there.

Have a call to action at the beginning (of the video as well at the end).

Getting started is the main thing.

If your primary audience is in China then YouTube is not for you.

Your personality and how you come across on camera are the most important.

You have to be able to connect to your viewer and treat them like you are talking to them.

You want to look like you want your brand to look.

Think about what the difference is between what you are putting in your YouTube channel for free vs. what you are putting in your paid materials.

TMBA331: Productized #4 – The Evolution of a Business Idea

Date: 2016-04-07

Link: Tropical MBA

Hire early.

Everybody has a reason not to go to the office.

SwaS is Software With A Service.

Expose yourself to other smart people trying to do a similar thing to you in life.

TMBA332: A Conversation with Mr. Money Mustache

Date: 2016-04-14

Link: Tropical MBA

It is annoying to see your own inefficiencies.

Understand your own weaknesses.

What really makes humans happy is having great, warm relationships with other people where you can be giving and have time to spend with them.

To retire you need to have 25 times your annual income invested in something that generates cash.

Earn a lot and don’t spend a lot.

Never borrow money for a car.

Television is a depressing medium.

Being a leader is a great thing in attracting other entrepreneurial people.

Set the rules instead of follow them.

The most content human lifestyle is one that is simple.

TMBA333: Info Product Talk

Date: 2016-04-21

Link: Tropical MBA

In info products your unique value proposition is your unique perspective.

As a small business owner the best place you can have a return on your money is within your business.

Recurring billing is kind of a hard sell.

When you are selling B2C once you get past $50 it is not an impulse purchase anymore.

TMBA334: Here’s How We Plan to ‘Manage’ Our Money

Date: 2016-04-28

Link: Tropical MBA

Cash gives you options.

Your biggest investment is your time.

Money represents freedom.

There are many investment vehicles being created every day.

TMBA335: The Long View on Location Independence

Date: 2016-05-05

Link: Tropical MBA

“Why are you here?” is a very appropriate question to be asking.

There are certain things that are a really big deal in your life that you don’t realize until you are taken out of your comfort zone.

When you partner up with a person you are also partner up with a passport.

As businesses grow (people) need more stability.

Borders are turning into fences and some day they might be suggestions.

TMBA336: Matt Farah on Breaking Through

Date: 2016-05-12

Link: Tropical MBA

The problem with other video sites is that people go to YouTube. People don’t go to Vimeo to browse around.

CPM is number of dollars per 1,000 views.

Nobody clicks on ads on mobile.

You end up with about $1.80 or $1.90 per 1,000 views.

Don’t make television on the Internet. You need to make Internet on the Internet.

Success is looking at what your talents are rather than having to do it the way everybody else has done it in the past.

TMBA337: The Power of the Pickle

Date: 2016-05-19

Link: Tropical MBA

When you try to do everything under the sun you can’t get good at anything.

Niche down.

If you want to travel a bunch you cannot have a brick and mortar business that requires your presence all the time.

Put down on paper what you want in life.

Think about yourself only (when writing down what you want in life) because if at your core you aren’t satisfied then you can’t be there for anybody else.

Your labor is your biggest line item on any business.

TMBA338: What is the World’s Best Diet?

Date: 2016-05-26

Link: Tropical MBA

Best diet is…real food that grows out of the ground.

There is no cure for dead.

It is never too early and never too late to start eating healthy. We need to start today.

Meat should be a condiment.

It makes sense to center our diet as much as possible around whole plant foods.

TMBA339: Can You Invest in Property if You Don’t Have Much Money?

Date: 2016-06-02

Link: Tropical MBA

Financial freedom is the point where passive income from investments covers your cost of living with minimum input of your time.

As entrepreneurs sometimes you have to go through multiple rejections before you get to the yes.

As a landlord you are in the real estate industry and as an Airbnb host you are in the hospitality industry.

Pursue rewards relative to their risk context.

Cap rate is your next operating income relative to the purchase price of the house.

Don’t rent to a friend.

TMBA340: When Being an Entrepreneur is ‘Meh’

Date: 2016-06-09

Link: Tropical MBA

If you’re going to be a truly entrepreneurial employee–you might get sacked for that.

You have to have confidence. You’re not going to be the best the first day.

People get impressed by things getting done even at a small scale.

Building a scaffolding allows you to be creative for longer.

It is the creative work that is the hardest.

When you’re not doing your job it is easy to blame others around you.

TMBA341: Alex Blumberg on the Power of Podcasting

Date: 2016-06-16

Link: Tropical MBA

You need business sense and a level of artistry.

It is important to not assume anything about people.

Making a home for creative people to do their work is not the same as doing creative work.

TMBA342: Come Down From DCBCN – 5 Things We Learned

Date: 2016-06-23

Link: Tropical MBA

Prequalify yourself (when speaking) and tell what you have done in the past.

Come with ideas (to a conference) and test them out on people. Get feedback.

The best workshops are the ones you get to interact directly with the expert.

You don’t have to wait for the conference organizer to get value.

It is a lot more accessible, especially with some of these web tools, to scale your business faster.

TMBA343: A Look Inside Boutique Japan

Date: 2016-06-30

Link: Tropical MBA

Ask yourself, “what are people already paying you to do?” Can you take that skillset and make money as an entrepreneur doing that?

You have to take (your site) seriously if you want Google to take you seriously.

First do a brain dump then look at organizing it for Google and your readers.

The light is through hiring great people more than anything.

If you can’t take care of your current customers then that is a crisis.

TMBA344: 5 Reasons Not to Sell Your Business

Date: 2016-07-07

Link: Tropical MBA

In terms of returns small businesses are amazing.

It has never been easier to start a business.

Entrepreneurship is a skillset.

You might not want to sell your business because it gives you power.

Visualize what level of money would change your life.

TMBA345: You’re a Resident of Where?

Date: 2016-07-14

Link: Tropical MBA

The system is protesting any change.

Our systems are based on fixed locations because we used to have fixed locations. In the past if you moved or emigrated you would move from one fixed location to another fixed location.

There are some things you cannot influence and if you try and control them you just lose your energy and become frustrated.

It is best to accept a situation as it is and not to think about how it should be or could have been. Look for opportunities and then work for those.

Don’t blame…because that makes you a victim and that isn’t productive.

TMBA346: The Early Story of Bitcoin

Date: 2016-07-21

Link: Tropical MBA

Money is as successful as the number of people using it.

The very fact that people are using (a currency) is what makes it valuable.

TMBA347: Levelling Up Your Podcast

Date: 2016-07-28

Link: Tropical MBA

Getting to know (your producer) is valuable to creating a good show.

It is easy to conflate things in your corporate life with things that were pointless and suck.

It is the discipline of the process that can set free your creativity.

Have a one hour production meeting each week.

When you set down to record you are recording assets for your show.

(Creating a podcast) never really gets easier.

Try to do one interview every week.

Transcribe every interview and segment immediately after having done it. for transcribing.

Production transcripts turn every conversation into an asset. Those assets become the building block for a show.

TMBA348: You’ve Got Mail

Date: 2016-08-04

Link: Tropical MBA


Implement an autoresponder.

If someone is pissed off that you didn’t give them your time then they are somebody that isn’t worth dealing with.

TMBA349: The Technical Origin Story of Leadpages

Date: 2016-08-11

Link: Tropical MBA

If you stick at it, and you know your stuff, you can open yourself up to incredible opportunities.

The more people you have the more high level you go.

If you have a big goal you have to be careful because it might become true.

TMBA350: A Discussion About The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Date: 2016-08-18

Link: Tropical MBA

The first instinct of less experienced bloggers is to write about themselves.

Meet the reader where they are not where you are.

The primary focus shouldn’t be (you) it should be the person that is reading.

Problems are always going to exist. There is no person who can magically solve all of their problems. The question is how good you are at dealing with your problems.

The more you know–the more you learn–the more you realize things are outside of your control.

The greatest truths in life are often the most unpleasant to hear.

(Quality of writing) is monumentally important.

The dominant experience on any blog is a reading experience.

When you have a hundred times the readers you get a hundred times the hate mail.

TMBA351: An interview with “CEO Sally.” Find Out Who Bought Our Business

Date: 2016-08-25

Link: Tropical MBA

If you get an SBA loan your home becomes collateral for it.

A lawyer has the potential to kill a deal.

There is a lot of risk in owning a small business.

You are always going to have some level of pressure and stress and it is choosing where you want it to be.

TMBA352: Symptoms: Sleeplessness, Loneliness, Stress. Possible Diagnosis: Entrepreneurship

Date: 2016-09-01

Link: Tropical MBA

It takes time to make friends. It takes time to earn people’s trust.

TMBA353: On the Bike with Patrick Brady

Date: 2016-09-08

Link: Tropical MBA

Mountain biking is all about the individual experience.

There has to be a relationship to get in the door and talk about (the company advertising on your site) but everybody wants metrics.

TMBA354: Who is Mr. Regular? The Story Behind the Hit YouTube Channel Regular Car Reviews

Date: 2016-09-15

Link: Tropical MBA

Admit to mistakes.

The money is still in television.

When working on something that makes money your emotions should take a backseat to common sense.

TMBA355: How The Dunc’d On Basketball Podcast Became a Business in Just a Year

Date: 2016-09-22

Link: Tropical MBA

Podcast CPMs (in the middle of the show) go from $15 to $25 per thousand listeners.

TMBA356: How Long Does it Take to Learn a Foreign Language?

Date: 2016-09-29

Link: Tropical MBA

You need to change from the idea that you are learning a language (an academic idea) to the idea that you are living the language.

Change your lifestyle so you embrace a lot more (Spanish).

If you want to improve your skills in something you need to work on it consistently. You need to make the time.

Learning about business tactics is not the same as performing business transactions. They are totally different experiences.

TMBA357: A Review of Snowball, a Biography Of Warren Buffett

Date: 2016-10-06

Link: Tropical MBA

Are there companies in your industry or adjacent industry that you can take a stake in?

Have a strong internal sense of integrity.

Try not to compare yourself to the people around you.

Sometimes your own thing might not have a precedent.

Really successful people say no a whole lot more.

TMBA358: Is All Property an Investment Opportunity?

Date: 2016-10-13

Link: Tropical MBA

You want to invest in assets and property that allow you to build up a decent sized portfolio that will pay off down the line.

You need to know why (you are investing in property). You need to have a goal.

You can’t have a property portfolio that takes none of your time and expect to get rich overnight.

Don’t include your own home as part of your investment portfolio.

Where you buy a place to live might not be in the best investment area.

With your own home you make emotional decisions that you wouldn’t make for a rental property.

When you invest you leave emotion out.

Not many people can run and build businesses. Property is more accessible for more people.

With property you can build in value from the start by getting a good deal.

Most really rich people are storing their wealth in property rather than generating their wealth in property.

TMBA359: Our Favorite Books and Blogs of 2016

Date: 2016-10-20

Link: Tropical MBA

If you want a recipe for the next 10,000 startups, take X and add AI.

How Not to Die

Patty Smith: Just Kids

Phil Knight: Shoe Dog

It takes a group of people to build something.

Ron CHurnow: THe House of Morgan

Alice Schroder: Snowball

Good business are going to be worth more overtime. You don’t want to overpay for them so you have to have some discipline about what you are going to pay. The thing to do is find a good business and stick with it.

James Glick: Chaos

David Beniof: The City of Thieves

Ray Dalio: Principles (You can download it free online)


James Laville: Shogun

The groups that bicker are often the ones that are closest together. You often spend your time fighting with somebody who you agree with 90% of what they say.

TMBA360: Clay Collins and The Unraveling Marketing Stack

Date: 2016-10-27

Link: Tropical MBA

Generally over time technology stacks tend to be unbundled.

Each part of the technology stack ends up being dominated by a company focused on that slice.

Metered pricing allows you to infinitely scale your pricing that is in line with the value you are creating.

You need to find one-to-many sales channels and content marketing is a part of that.

TMBA361: Contemplations On Five Years of DCBKK

Date: 2016-11-03

Link: Tropical MBA

The world of people thinking about and executing on ideas is very small.

The reason this conference is unique is that you can come and cut deals.

TMBA362: You Can Start a Business This Weekend, Here Are Some Ideas

Date: 2016-11-10

Link: Tropical MBA

It is just about a real, tangible business.

The first step in creating something meaningful is just doing something.

People have trouble clarifying what an app should do and how it should look because they are not technical.

People who have visually-focused products are using Instagram in a big way.

There is a way to make shoppable Instagram feeds now.

There is a lot of ways you can make difficult transitions easy for people.

TMBA363: The Value of Apprenticeships

Date: 2016-11-17

Link: Tropical MBA

It does not pay to pay for someone with a ton of experience when you can bring someone on and get them to that level in six months.

Performance and responsibility dictate all.

The person with the good enough plan people will defer to.

Stay open and receptive. Be willing to learn from everyone around you.

TMBA364: Sometimes the Best Business Idea is the Most Obvious

Date: 2016-11-24

Link: Tropical MBA

Travelling for work is not the same as travelling on your own.

You can’t change people’s business in two weeks.

When you are starting out as a coach, consultant, or web designer you need a contract for your clients.

TMBA365: Estonian E-Residency: Is It For You?

Date: 2016-12-01

Link: Tropical MBA

For U.S. residents we are taxed anywhere in the world.

Estonia is a blueprint for running digital services

Estonia is angling for digital nomads to call Estonia home.

The frustrating thing about working with a government is that even simple things and simple laws might take many years.

TMBA366: A Conversation with Ricardo Semler

Date: 2016-12-08

Link: Tropical MBA

Book: Maverick

When you are talking to people in similar comfort zones you learn very little.

The freedom to do what you want when you want is a bigger responsibility to yourself than it seems.

A book helps people link up to what they are thinking anyway. It helps to fortify a rational.

TMBA367: The Business Idea Bonanza with Dan Norris

Date: 2016-12-15

Link: Tropical MBA

Every business owner is on Facebook and they see ads for their competitors due to retargeting.

People are going to start hiring videographers to follow them around to do a weekly video.

You can go into BuzzSumo and find out what the most popular blog posts are on sites.

So many books are written by ghostwriters.

With a podcast you miss out on a massive amount of online traction that you get with written content.

You don’t want to create a dedicated lead magnet for every post. You only want to do it for posts that are going to get good traction.

Just because you know (it) is a great opportunity does not mean you have the time or resources to implement the strategy.

Right now there is more money than there are businesses.

Anything that externally validates what you are doing is a good thing.

People don’t naturally have the amount of empathy to know what it is like to be you.

TMBA368: The 12 Days of an Entrepreneur’s Christmas

Date: 2016-12-22

Link: Tropical MBA

For some reason iTunes kind of sucks.

Countries are not setup to have an inner-passport relationship going on.

Everybody wants lower churn.

TMBA369: Tropical MBA’s 2016 Year in Review

Date: 2016-12-29

Link: Tropical MBA

It takes a long time to vet people you don’t know.

Freedom is one of your main assets.

Getting to your first $100,000 in business income is about mindset.

If you are deciding what work to do only do work that you would do free.

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