Oct 23, 2014

More Insights from the Afternoon Keynotes

As I settled into my seat for the afternoon keynotes (are they called plenaries?), I ran into my colleague, John Shapiro, Group Product Manager for QuickBooks Online. The dude came prepared for the show-- with trail mix, an ice cream sandwich, and a drink. Now, why didn’t I think of that?

As the lights dimmed, Bill Rancic once again took the stage as our MC and host for the afternoon ceremonies. His wife, Giuliana Rancic, a fellow entrepreneur and TV personality, joined him on stage and also shared her own story. Not to be outdone by the morning’s speakers, the afternoon featured another star-studded cast of speakers.

Martha Stewart shared the story of her success. After a career on Wall Street, she opted for a more leisurely pace in upstate New York. She started a catering company and grew that business. She turned her passion for cooking and decorating into a design business and personal brand—Martha Stewart Living. She turned this passion into an empire and became the first self-made woman billionaire. What a story!

Arianna Huffington, President of the Huffington Post, shared the story of her business success along with lessons learned along the way. Living in the hustle and bustle of New York City, she provided great advice on how to maintain perspective while focusing on your career and business growth.

Focus on the Critical Few. All too often we take on projects that we can’t finish. You can finish an unessential project by dropping it altogether. Focus on what really matters, and do a great job.

Be Present. Multi-tasking is too often confused with being more efficient. Unfortunately, there’s a lot you miss along the way. She shared a great story about New Yorkers who text and walk—it’s just what you do in the Big Apple. Recently, she put her smart phone away during her walk home, and she noticed a beautiful business next to her apartment building. When she asked her friend if the building is new, she was informed that it was built in 1890.

Pay Attention to the Details. The details in our work and lives do matter.

Take Care of Yourself. The stress of leadership can be all consuming. She shared a story from her own life where she actually collapsed at her desk late at night and fractured her jaw. Find balance in your life and take care of your health. Get into a regular regime of your favorite exercise and make sure you’re getting enough sleep to combat the stress and pressures in your life.

This last bit of advice resonates with me. My morning routine includes either a workout at the gym or a 4-mile run. Since I've been tracking my mileage with RunKeeper, I've improved my average mile time and increased my weekly distance. And a quiet morning run helps me think about the day ahead.

Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman of Intuit, shared the story of how he founded Intuit by observing his wife, Cigny, balance their checkbook. Looking for a better way to automate the mundane task of balancing your checkbook, Quicken was born. A few years later, QuickBooks, helped small businesses tackle accounting and book-keeping. Fast forward 30 years, and QuickBooks Online is helping small businesses and accountants around the world.

Scott later interviewed Marc Andreessen, the inventor of the web browser which ushered in the Internet age. Do you remember the early days of the Internet? I vaguely remember using Mosaic, the first web browser. I do remember using Netscape, the first commercial web browser, along with Eudora for my e-mail. We've come along way since then.

And once again, Sekou Andrews, took the stage and delivered a riveting close to the session. How can we take our business to the next, next level? How can we connect with each other and learn from each other? Great stuff. Hope to see you at next year's QuickBooks Connect!


Carolyn Yee said...

Thanks for sharing, Vinay. BTW, you were the one handing out snacks at GHC, so you have thought of it.

Madhav Nair said...

Great notes, Vinay. Thanks for sharing!