Lessons from Kevin O’Leary

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock
You’ll know one of Canada’s most popular shows, Dragon’s Den

Kevin O’Leary is a polarizing force of capitalism
and has just launched a new book!

The best library system ever, TPL had Kevin in for a sold out event tonight he was in fine form and as usual doled out some great stories and lessons

An early story about how he went into business with Don Cherry and then sold those businesses and shows for a profit was fascinating, explains some of his TV persona and how he knows the secret of TV:

WHY does a billionaire have five TV shows and work non-stop?

Answer: Access!

His shows give him daily access to influencers, government and celebrities
Access he couldn’t buy if he wanted to.
As he said “money is not power. Information is power”

Great story about when ABC wanted him to promote his new show on “Dancing with the Stars” he said yes and flew to LA for 10 minutes work to network with business hero Steve Wozniak. That meeting Steve gave him a stock tip that made him a lot of money…Networking!

He counts John Lennon as an influence but lives by his code
“the pursuit of money is the quest for freedom and happiness”. Not quite “greed is good” but that Canadians needs to stop being ashamed of ambition.

Another great story, he believes “nepotism is a corporate disease”, when his son asked him “Dad when we fly, I sit back here and you go to first class”
Yes. His son flies economy.
His response “but son, you have no money!”Link
He wants him to earn it, no free rides here
“I may give all my money to a cat, I haven’t decided yet”.

Speaking of animals…Kevin’s view on investing? “There is NO place for emotion in investing. You want a friend? Buy a dog”.

When he was a child, his mother gave him powerful advice “never invest in any stock that doesn’t pay dividends. Period”. It’s how he runs his investments. He fires anyone who doesn’t get it.

During questions he explained the three elements that 100% of successful pitches to Dragon’s Den:

1) 90 seconds or less. Period
2) Tell me why YOU are the person who can make it work
3) Be the owner, the leader, don’t shy away from your passion, power or knowledge

Lastly, as a networking tip, I encourage a no ego rule. This Billionaire made time to sign every book – very classy.

A truly enjoyable evening, thanks Toronto Public Library!
Kevin, keep it up.

Readers – enjoy this hilarious primo promo!

Just in case you’d like a play by play the ever-awesome Toronto Public Library just posted the event on YouTube!


Unmarketing by Scott Stratten

This is a book I’ve been waiting for since 2010
It answers three questions I was dying to know:
1. WHY use social media
2. WHY care and engage in 2.0 networking online or off?
3. HOW to engage authentically, strategically but practically

JUST NAILED IT – If you are a social media skeptic,
this is the read for you.

A tiny bonus for much of my personal network, the author lives in Toronto Canada and rather than all the New York, San Fran, LA references of my favourite authors he cites examples I can totally relate to.

Things I loved about this book:

– Tearing up old world marketing: “Buy or Goodbye”
– Gloriously dispelling the tyranny of the “Free Consultation” myth
– 100 tips on better twitter use for results
– The best argument to kill cold calling and what to do instead

I don’t know why but he has a couple mentions about how to market and network for artists scattered around the book, it’s a hard market and I found the stories and examples fascinating. Very business applicable.

I love that he doesn’t focus on one medium for social media, this is a lesson in 2.0 engagement that goes far beyond JUST Twitter.

I got GOOSEBUMPS reading the chapter “Twitter Vs. Facebook Vs. LinkedIn” and truly appreciated that he cites the good, bad and tips for using each.

Me personally, I totally back Darkhorse Coffee and think the author missed their point. Jerks with laptops terrorize the coffee shop business and I for one applaud any business who stands up to them.
Networking masters Starbucks have solved this problem
with new zones for networking, working and socializing – genius!

Are you doing a talk on social media?
The “seven deadly sins of social media” need to work their way into your PowerPoint or Prezi

Discussion of how to use newsletters and the power of pull in 2011 was brilliant and so helpful to much of the business my network engages in for both nonprofit and seeking profit.

I shudder to see that he nailed the marketing essence of the coffee war in Canada, my family and network went through the same experience. I would love to hear from others who read the book if they agree.

His story of why YouTube is NOT NOT NOT the place to go viral is a fascinating business case study, along with his personal story of botched internet stardom is what makes this book a must read.

Also of high value a powerful story, study and recommendations for booth-dwellers at conferences! If you’re an avid exhibitor, get this book.

Lastly, people think that I, as someone who lives and breathes networking is all about face to face events. But I totally agree with the author that 90%+ are terrible and he outlines the people to avoid at them.

Never cold call, never cold network, never go to an event cold. Stay warm and succeed!

This book is something anyone who is curious about what 3-dimensional marketing looks like in 2011. And if you want to succeed in 2012? Get it. Period.

I leave you with a good business interview on UnMarketing


If you are part of my fundraising network, you’ll find great value in this talk at last year’s “Digital Leap” conference organized by the ever-awesome Stephen Thomas team:

Going beyond coffee – networking secret

Howard Schultz, can I call you Howard?
Talks about the “future of Starbucks 
with the change in logo’s this year. 
I talk a lot about Starbucks on LinkedIn and Twitter being the the end all and be all of networking
but it’s time I clear up the confusion of one key thing….
Not the taste, the presentation or price. 

I call Starbucks “my second office” because it’s the environment to conduct business. 

In Canada, Tim Horton’s is not so much coffee as it is a religion ( “double double? Amen” )
I used to drive 100,000km a year for work in the 90’s
It’s what kept me alive ( Extra large, 2 cream, 7 sugars )
And Second Cup, Timothy’s and other brands are good at coffee meets comfort.But Starbucks is to coffee what Lexus is to Toyota, Range Rover to Ford.

Even in the advent of the real “second office” and the laptop gollum’s who buy two cups  and stay 48 hours doling out stinkeyes at anyone who dares have a conversation in their little Lord of the Coffee Rings library/home … but I digress…
Look at this layout, the better locations (and on LinkedIn I use a group to source the best locations for meetings )have a quiet comfortable place to meet.
So, get your coffee from wherever it tastes best to you. Snobbery aside, McCafe and the big M is quickly catching up to my beloved Tim’s as the cup of choice on the runbut when it comes to networking…..

Starbucks Rules.

Ps. Want to know the best way to meet in a coffee shop?

Want to know the BEST place to sit for networking purposes?

Read one or both of these books – they have done wonders for me!

PPs. My last tip is that I give my Starbucks card to the Barista in charge when I’m meeting someone I don’t want to fight over who pays. One nod when I approach the counter – and I win. Every time.

The essence of networking

When I can, I set up small high value events
for small groups in my network, 10 to 15
Like my twitter handle mission states, 
The criteria? 
– Content is of high value to you in work/life
– Made direct contact with me in virtual or reality reality (past six months)
– Used passive networks ( LinkedIn, Twitter, email ) to share goals and needs 
– You seek daily to create prosperity for your network and self
The other day I sent out a highly private invite to 15 people
with only 10 spots at the event
the instructions  were strictly no forwarding 
this was an offer to you only
But one person, sent me a note right back
Paul, I want to come, and this would help me a lot
but I know someone who is working on this topic right now.
It could help them more, could they come in my place“.

That person’s name? Frankie Chow.

He’s a member of the 2011 Class at Humber College’s 
Like a big pizza pie. 
When cold hard value drops in your lap
and you don’t take it and run but instead ask
who in my contacts can benefit from this more than me?”
One day Frankie, you’re going to get what’s coming to you.
I hope to be around for that great day.
Until then, I’m in your corner rooting for you 200%.
I leave you dear network with a wonderful Toronto band
Listen to the thoughtful lyrics about 50 seconds in if you want to think
If you don’t, just enjoy
Either way, happy end of summer.
Fall, that networking powerhouse of productivity approaches…
and I can’t wait – see you there.