From the Author
Why do you need this book? How is it different? Why do people like it? What's all the buzz about? And what are "street smarts" anyway?
Street smarts are what you get from doing it, not from reading about it. Yes, we had college educations so we're reasonably book smart but we're also street smart. Our success was much more a result of what we learned on the street creating and running businesses. Way more important. Way more useful. And, we're two guys who actually did it.
We started one of our first companies with $1,000 and a good idea, nothing brilliant - it was in the magazine publishing business. You'll learn more about that experience as the book unfolds.We think you'll enjoy it because we're regular guys you can relate to.
Very soon we realized that this business could be big if we played it right. We then had to figure out how to not screw it up and how to make it as successful as we could, hoping to sell it eventually and make some serious money.
Which is exactly what we did.
We built the company into a multi-million dollar business and then sold it debt-free to the Meredith Corporation, a large media company. But that's not the point.The point is we identified and followed seven specific disciplines to get there. Our success in this business and the continuing success in our lives have been the result of the flawless execution of every discipline in this book.
This is the first book that explains the how and why of disciplines. We knew that our next career would be to pass on this knowledge and experience to people like you who have the ideas and ambition - but maybe not all the tools and techniques - to succeed. In simple, straight talk we give you an honest look at how things really get done and what it really takes to succeed in business and, yes, life.
So, this is the book we have to give you, and it's priceless. We share it with those who have a burning desire to realize their dreams of success and everything it represents: independence, security, freedom, wealth, happiness, and maybe even fame.
When we finalized the manuscript we sent it to a bunch of people - MBAs, academics, corporate executives, and successful street smart guys like us - who just tell it like it is. They all said essentially the same thing: this is the book that has been missing all these years - a distillation of indispensable business disciplines for success.
The good news is that all the stuff we share with you works. The bad news is that it's not easy. There are no short-cuts, no overnight successes. It took us years to figure out exactly what the disciplines are and to isolate and distill the seven most vital ones that true success demands.
With this book you can succeed pretty fast because you won't waste any time learning how. We know it works and we're going to show you, step-by-step. All you have to do is follow these seven disciplines all the time, no matter what. We still do.
Remember, lots of obstacles will be thrown in your way so you need real world weapons to break through. You're going to war. Understand these disciplines, and most important, apply and master them, and you'll be ready.
John and Mark
From the Inside Flap
It's very clear that the current business environment is rapidly and constantly changing. Speed, flexibility, creativity, and constant adaptation are the mantras of this new playing field. Successful business people work smart and stand ready to reinvent their business strategies, or, if necessary, themselves. Regardless of your age, education, or skill set, reinvention can be achieved with the right attitude and commitment to practice certain disciplines.
When John and Mark first asked me to write the foreword for this book, I thought back to the specific disciplines that guided me through my own life. Working in venture capital for over 35 years I analyzed and helped fund hundreds of companies. That led me to think about the disciplines displayed by the successful leaders at those companies. Everyone who achieved breakout success had one thing in common: a set of disciplines they rigorously followed and, most importantly, executed with great commitment.
I have known John and Mark for over twenty years, and they have raised the bar in isolating the most essential disciplines that true success demands. I've seen brilliant people who operate without these disciplines simply fail, and conversely, I've seen people of average talent who execute with these disciplines become incredibly successful.
The Street Smart Disciplines can be learned, practiced, and perfected. John and Mark have packed these pages with clear thinking, sound advice, and street-smart common sense. Achieving extraordinary success is never easy, but the rewards of unrelenting discipline can be monumental.
Frank Caufield, Cofounder, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers
Frank Caufield has been active in the venture capital field since the early 1970s. He is a cofounder of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers (KPCB), one of the largest and most prominent venture capital firms in the USA. Frank has served on the board of Quantum Corporation, Caremark, Inc., Megabios, Verifone, Inc., Wyse Technology, Quickturn Corporation, AOL, the Council on Foreign Relations and many other private and public companies. He is currently the lead independent director of Time Warner. He also serves as a director of The U.S. Russia Investment Fund and The U.S. Russia Foundation, He is a past president of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists and the National Venture Capital Association. A graduate of the US Military Academy, he holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.