Andrei Neboian, Dr

How much frugality do you need to build a million-dollar business today?

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It was a fantastic summer day in our corporate lawyer’s office. I had just signed an investment deal securing millions of dollars for my start-up. A heavy thousand-dollar Montblanc ballpen was still lingering in my hand.

You can keep it,” said one of the investors, waving his palm at the pen: “get used to the good things now.”

For six years before signing the deal, I wore a budget business suit and drove to my shabby office in my wife’s screeching old Peugeot every day.

Now, with enough cash in my company’s bank account, the idea to upgrade my lifestyle…

How to get help, support, and favors without starting a negotiation

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

“Everything in life is a negotiation. Life is a negotiation.“ — Chris Voss from The Art of Negotiation.

As a founder and CEO of a recently acquired high-tech startup, I receive up to twenty requests in my inbox every day. Some of these requests end up in a negotiation. But some requests I grant right away for free.

It turns out that if we want things for free, we must follow a distinct set of three social rules — different from those that help us negotiate a deal. …

Skill #1: Use active voice to boost responsibility in your team

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When I published my first non-fiction article, I was just a bored CEO who wanted to share his ideas with the world after selling his company.

But doodling dull prose no one cared about was not good enough for me. I wanted my ideas to reach readers’ minds and hearts. I wanted to write well by mastering the craft of a wordsmith.

So I immersed myself into popular writing guides, such as John Hart’s “A Writer’s Coach,” William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well,” and Steven Pinker’s “The Sense of Style.” Craving to pimp my writing game, I attended writing courses, studied…

How I escaped burnout’s unhealthy cycle of doom

A cityscape viewed from above the clouds.
A cityscape viewed from above the clouds.
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels

Last year I was restructuring my company and eventually selling it.

I obsessed about doing the best possible work I could. I scheduled every minute of my day for anything that seemed useful — anything that would make me feel worthy and help me avoid any shame for being lazy.

But at some point, it didn’t matter how hard I worked anymore.

I was exhausted. My sense of self-worth was dropping, and my motivation plummeted. Once in this cycle of doom, it was hard for me to get out.

I wanted the confidence and clarity of whether I was on…

…without getting slapped by copyright law

Actress Jennifer Lawrence in a red dress
Actress Jennifer Lawrence in a red dress
Jennifer Lawrence at the 83rd Academy Awards Red Carpet. Photo by RedCarpetReport, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Copyright lawyers have this joke: “A picture is worth a thousand words, but a copyright-protected picture is only worth three words: cease and desist.”

I didn’t laugh when I first read it because I am a chicken when it comes to taking legal risks.

But, as a writer, I still have to use images in every article to support my storytelling and to reach my audience. And for my recent post, I needed pictures of five entrepreneurial celebrities: Ben Horowitz, Gary Vee, Seth Godin, Cal Newport, and Darren Hardy.

I could grab some pictures from Instagram, Twitter, or a Newspaper…

…by showing you how to see beyond the “floating triangle”

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Derivative image by the Author licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0. Original image by Oleg Magni from Pexels.

Modern neuroscience provides answers to how our minds work.

But what if neuroscience could teach us to attain our full potential as entrepreneurs and ultimately succeed in any business we want?

Neuroscientist Gregory Berns gives us a glimpse under the hood of revolutionary thinkers. In his book “Iconoclast,” he explains how great minds create unique art, spawn revolutionary inventions, and build successful businesses.

His key secret to thinking like an innovator comes down to an abstract image you see on this article’s front page.

The Kanizsa Triangle, Our Imagination, and the Lazy Brain

When you glimpse over the title image, you will likely notice a floating white triangle in…

Their words of wisdom played a key role in the selling of my company

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Ben Horowitz, Gary Vee, Seth Godin, Cal Newport, and Darren Hardy. Image Credit: Derivative work by Andrei Neboian licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (see full attribution at the end of the article)

After my company survived financial turmoil and eventually got bought in 2019, I realized that hard work and struggle were indispensable in achieving this goal. Not giving up is worth it, and hard work does pay off in the end.

But why bother with inspirational lessons if you can motivate yourself?

I mean, if you work all the hours needed to succeed, never doubt yourself, relentlessly resist all distractions, and always finish your tasks on time, then you made it — you are perfect. Here, have a cookie.

But for all others out there like me, it’s helpful to have…

Empower employees with your curiosity and understanding of what really drives them.

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Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

One of the most popular job interview questions is:

Why do you want this job?

Although we love poking our interviewees with this question, I wonder why we managers don’t ask the same question months or years after hiring them. Your employees grow and develop, and their priorities evolve. So it seems reasonable to challenge their motivation from time to time.

So I started provoking my staff by asking them:

“Why do you work for me?”

To avoid sounding condescending, I try to convey curiosity: why do they get up every morning to work for us and not for somebody…

Step 2: Write down what happened word-for-word.

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Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash

One day, my friend asked me how I managed to remain calm after one hell of a hot-blooded dispute with my boss. The truth is, I was keeping a cool façade, but I was burning on the inside.

A nasty argument with a partner, friend, investor, or co-worker could get under my skin, leaving me irritated and angry for the rest of the day. But I could also get offended by someone just because they did what I thought was unjust or unappreciative.

‘Don’t take things personally’ is the advice I heard many times. Well, I did take things too…

Unleash One Hour of Genius Per Day

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

One day, I watched a sparrow from my office window. The bird would pick bread crumbs from the ground while anxiously hopping around and watching out for predators. Doing several things at the same time was its strategy to survive.

Birds do it; bees do it: they multitask.

But we humans got ahead of birds on this planet, right?

Like every young and ambitious entrepreneur, I wanted to be super productive. But like a sparrow, I was hopping from one meeting into another, while making customer calls and anxiously checking for new emails in my inbox.

I am busy, I…

Andrei Neboian, Dr

Writer | Ph.D. in Management Science | Built & Sold a Tech Startup | Engineer by Training — Character Creator at Heart ☕ Lets chat:

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