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Blueprint to a Mogul: How to be S.M.A.R.T. Like Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg attended one of the most prestigious colleges in the country: Harvard University. For most 19 year olds, studying and socializing would keep them busy enough, but while there, Mark Zuckerberg created what was to become become the biggest social network in the world.

It may be hard to imagine your life without social media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, or Tumblr. What started as a way to connect college students to one another became a way to connect people to friends and family across the world.

Undeniably, Zuckerberg or “Zuck” leads the list as one of the richest people in the world. While he has certainly accumulated a fortune, his goal has never been to make money. His goal has always been to make a great product, and “make money to build better services.” Facebook currently owns more than forty companies, including some of its former competitors, including WhatsApp and Instagram.

Biography
At the age of 24, Mark Zuckerberg  became the youngest billionaire on the planet. As the face and CEO of Facebook, he remains one of the most recognizable people in the world. You would never know the extent of his wealth by his wardrobe (grey T-shirt and hoodie), home (he only recently upgraded from a modest rental home), or cars (most often seen in a VW or Acura). This is a man who lives below his expansive means. What started as a college directory of sorts has amassed well over a billion users.

Mark Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County, New York, where his father still practices dentistry. In fact, one of his earlier successes was a program that allowed his dad’s home computer to communicate with his office computers. While still in high school, Microsoft bid on another program of his, a music player called Synapse Media Player, but he ultimately rejected this offer. Zuck is a man who likes to maintain control; he carries a majority vote, which allows him to be the ultimate decision maker of his company.  He is also not afraid of risk, or of what people think. But Zuck is always thinking and staying true to the mission of the company, which has stayed the same since its inception: to make the world more open and connected.

While at Harvard, Zuckerberg met his wife Pricilla Chan, now a medical resident. They currently reside in Palo Alto, California with their dog, Beast. The Zuckerbergs are huge philanthropists, giving millions of dollars to education and medicine, as well as to other charitable organizations.
Goal Setting

Read, listen, or watch any interview with Zuckerberg, and the word “focus” is likely to come up. Let’s put it this way, this word was stenciled on the bathroom walls of Zuckerberg’s original California office. When asked in an early 2005 interview about the future of his company, then known as TheFacebook, he talks about “focusing intensely” on making a really good product, i.e.,  a college directory. His world at the time consisted of his college, and Zuck succeeded at making Harvard more open and connected. Once he succeeded at Harvard, he expanded this online directory to other universities across America, and soon the world. In later years, his focus on making a great product has not wavered, nor has his mission in connecting people, however, now his goal’s reach is a bit bigger: to connect “every person in the world.”

So, how did Zuckerberg achieve what he did within just a few years? He set a mission or focus, and he decided how he was going to achieve it. Another way of thinking about this is goal setting. If Zuckerberg had set out to connect billions of people together, his mission would surely have failed miserably. However, by having a narrow focus in the college world, he was able to succeed in that particular realm.

Goal setting is so important to him that he has said that the daily habit that has led to his success is “knowing what you want to accomplish each day” and acting proactively, not reacting to things that have already happened. This means that he is always looking ahead, anticipating problems and finding solutions before they actually occur.

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The Entrepreneur Brain: How Is It Wired Differently?

Right or Left?

Brain Scans performed at MIT show that Entrepreneurs tend to use their brains differently than most people, and think in a very specific way.  While we use both sides of our brains simultaneously without thinking about it, people tend to think “more with their left brain” or “more with their right brain” when making decisions.

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“Left brained people” are more analytical and this is the side of the brain that uses logic, reason and critical thinking. They also use information that they already know.  “Right brained people” have been known to be more creative, free flowing, and use emotions when it comes to making decisions, turning outward to learn in order to think.   As it turns out, to handle the decisions of running your own business, it is beneficial to think both creatively, and think logically at the same time, that way you are following your heart and your brain – making emotional yet well thought out choices.

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Nature Vs Nurture

Do people become entrepreneurs because of the way their brains are wired or do entrepreneurs evolve their way of thinking and brain activity as a result of their work? This is a question for further research, whether entrepreneurs’ brains function this way because of the kind of decisions they’re used to making, or whether people with these more interconnected brains are more likely to identify problems in the world and create solutions in the form of a business. “It’s a nature versus nurture question,” said Professor Maurizio Zollo, the lead author of the study.

Working Differently, Together

Despite the differences between either side of the brain, both sides of the brain really do work simultaneously, most of the time.  In one study by researchers at the University of Utah, more than 1,000 participants had their brains analyzed in order to determine if they preferred using one side over the other. The study revealed that while activity was sometimes higher in certain critical regions, both sides of the brain were essentially equal in their activity on average.

“It’s absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don’t tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection,” explained the study’s lead author Dr. Jeff Anderson.

The debate over the differences between the two sides of the brain will undoubtedly continue, and perhaps more studies will shed a clearer light on the relationship between the hemispheres.  Perhaps people who are more left or right brain oriented, and who desire to become skilled in using both more simultaneously will be able to legitimately train themselves in the near future.

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Blueprint to a Mogul: Reaching Goals Like Shonda Rhimes

 

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Shonda Rhimes is one of the most powerful people in television. As the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to get Away with Murder, she is the backbone of ABC. And ABC lets her do whatever she wants. When Rhimes was criticized for refusing to read notes from the executives on Scandal, she simply replied, “What were they going to do, fire me?”

Rhimes wasn’t always a powerhouse. In college, Shonda wanted to write world-changing novels like her hero Toni Morrison. However, she found that there was no point in aspiring to be like Morrison. As she put it, “I couldn’t be Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, because Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up.”

In 2002, she was a B-list screenwriter who had just adopted a child. While looking after the baby, she found herself watching a lot of network TV, including 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel.

Rhimes got where she is by writing what she wanted to see on TV. This makes her style, and even her genre, hard to pin down. Is Grey’s Anatomy a medical drama or a romantic soap? Is Scandal a romance, a political drama, or a conspiracy thriller? No one knows what to say about her work, other than that it’s something that no one has seen before.

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In that spirit, this lesson isn’t about how to become TV mogul Shonda Rhimes, she already has that job. What you can do is put in the kind of work that Rhimes put in, to become a creative mogul on your own terms. This lesson will help you assess what you can offer to the world and figure out what you need in order to build a new creative empire.

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The RLL Podcast: Ep. 6 – Curiosity, Hustle and Fear of Failure with Bilal Zaidi from CreatorLab.fm

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Our mission here is to help you find the path to your goals by sharing the journey others have taken. I sit down with Bilal Zaidi, the host of one of the best new podcasts out there today CreatorLab.fm. We learn his amazing life story from hustling as a kid in London, to working at Google and now getting a chance to interview with entrepreneurs at the top of their game from Brian Wong to the Young Turks. I do my best to try and identify the life skills he’s learned along the way and we discover how curiosity, hustle, self-teaching and even the fear of failure can all serve as stepping stones to success.

Subscribe on iTunes 


Ep. 6 – Show Notes:

Be sure to check out CreatorLab.fm or subscribe to the show on iTunes here.

You can find Bilal on Twitter @BZaidi

Creator Lab is @Creatorlabfm on Twitter, Instagram and FB

Some cool guests mentioned to appear on his show are:
Nico Perez of MixCloud
Scott Harrison of charity:water
Brian Wong – Forbes 30 under 30, youngest person to raise VC money, founder of Kiip and author of the Cheat Code
Esther Tricoche – Forbes 30 under 30, Associate Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund
The Young Turks – Online news icons

Also, gotta give my fam a shoutout, here’s the student leadership organization I mentioned I was a part of along with J. Cole. Haraya, always doing big things and turning students into game-changing leaders.

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How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

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When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

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There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

tumblr_lkli4ogbDR1qionteo1_500

How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

tumblr_lkli4ogbDR1qionteo1_500

How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

tumblr_lkli4ogbDR1qionteo1_500

How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

tumblr_lkli4ogbDR1qionteo1_500

How Street Smart Are You?

We’ve all heard the stories, the kid who couldn’t quite cut it in school but still found a way to beat the odds and become a success. Started from the bottom…well, you know the rest. Being “book smart” and excelling in the classroom is important, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Many successful people like Jay-Z, Mark Zuckerberg and even Katy Perry have reached their goals by making the most of the skills they have learned outside of the classroom, or what we commonly refer to as “street smarts”.

When we think of being “street smart” the assumption is that this pertains to someone who has learned how to adapt and survive in a tough neighborhood or has taken the code of the streets and applied it to the business world. Street smarts is actually a measure of one’s resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, critical thinking and problem solving skills. All of which are key skills for the 21st century.

There are no rules that say you can only be book smart or street smart and not both. Street smarts also has nothing to do with the crime rate in your city and your ability to avoid danger. It is a measure of your ability to problem solve when presented with an unforeseen obstacle. Many jobs of the future will no longer come with instructions or training, computers will take care of most of the routine work. Jobs of the future will be based on one’s ability to react in the moment, think critically and solve problems that computers can’t. Street smarts have less to do with how well you know the streets, and more to do with adapting to change, overcoming obstacles and solving problems with limited resources.

Take the quiz below to test your street smarts and see if you’re ready to take on the world!

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The Economics of Downloadable Content (DLC) in Video Games

 

The video game Evolve just launched with a $70 base game, $100 premium edition, and $60 of additional downloadable content (DLC) features. That’s right, to get the full version of the game, you have to pay more than twice its base cost. Evolve is not alone.

 

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Batman: Arkham Knight will launch later this year as a $60 game with $140 of DLC, going so far as to make the Batmobile an extra. Even smartphone games have this problem. Clash of Clans costs $5 but has $12,000 of extras. We don’t even want to delve into the money traps that are Plants versus Zombies 2 and Candy Crush Saga. For players, these extras are new and strange. Many people think video game companies are not being reasonable. But are they? Let’s look at the economics of the video game industry.

Destiny, currently the most expensive game ever made, had a budget higher than $500 million.

 

The industry takes in over $46 billion a year, about twice as much as Hollywood. However, that number represents revenue, not profit. Profit is the money left over after all expenses have been paid. These expenses are called overheads. Although revenues are increasing, so are overheads. Around the year 2000, when The Sims and Deus Ex hit the market, most major games cost about $1-4 million to produce. In 2014, smaller games cost around $20 million, major titles cost a lot more. Destiny, currently the most expensive game ever made, had a budget higher than $500 million. It’s not only development costs that are increasing. Video games are also getting more expensive per unit, due to the costs of supporting multiplayer. This cost per unit is called a marginal cost. So, the overheads for game studios have increased between 400% and 49,900% in just 15 years. A product could cost up to 500 times as much to make.

 

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When overheads increase, profits decrease. Many businesses try to increase prices to keep profits up. For example, a Ferrari costs a lot more to make than a Chevrolet Spark, so it is priced much higher. Strangely, the same is not true for video games. A $1 million project like Super Smash Brothers sold 18 years ago for $60, and the $500 million Destiny juggernaut hit the stores for $55. Why do game prices always stay the same?

For this, we have to look at something called “elasticity.” Elasticity means the amount that demand is affected by price. Elastic demand means that small changes in price affect sales. Inelastic demand means that most changes in price don’t affect sales. For example, nobody needs to buy Destiny. If Destiny’s creators increased the price to $200, then everyone would just buy Wild Star or Borderlands 2 or the zillion other multiplayer sci-fi action RPGs. This means that Destiny’s demand is elastic. By contrast, the tap water you drink while playing Destiny so you do not die from dehydration after a 15 hour raid is inelastic. Houses need a lot of tap water and have no alternatives. The price of tap water could double, and it would not really affect sales. So, what do you do if your overheads are increasing, but you cannot raise prices because demand is too elastic? You find money wherever you can.

 

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The result, video game companies break up their products into several pieces to turn a profit. Although elasticity controls the price, it does not control the features of the game. By removing features from the game and selling them as DLC, game producers have a way to generate more money for the same product. It is annoying to be sold a product with some features deliberately removed. But is there a solution that works for both consumers and producers?