1. Time is the only non-renewable resource. You can make more money, you can even make crude oil given a few million years but you can’t make more time. Use it wisely and don’t waste someone else’s.
2. It’s all about getting along. Doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you can’t engage with people and make them engage with you, you’re doomed. You need people skills first and foremost, especially the ability to listen. No matter what the industry is.
3. The best deals are win-wins. Search out situations where both parties benefit from working together, not just one.
4. Risk is mis-priced by most people. Fear of failure is the harness / deadweight that stops most people from following their dreams or getting rich.
5. Use good lawyers but never outsource the management of a conflict to them. You decide when to fire the missiles.
6. A contract does not guarantee success or govern behaviour. Think of it as a backstop that should not be relied upon in day to day operations. The spirit of the contract can be built at the same time as the letter of it, by talking and ensuring a shared vision (see rule 3).
7. Conferences are a total waste of time, unless you’re putting them on. Networking should be happening every moment you’re awake. Most speakers are just selling their shtick, desperate to be considered a “public speaker” so they can escape their boring jobs.
8. Treat employees brilliantly. They may be harder working than you, smarter than you and are probably giving you the best years of their lives. Demand a lot, but give a lot in return.
9. The month you don’t learn something is the month you start dying, soon to be followed by failure. Beware of arrogance and ‘acting big’, unless you only want a small slice of success, never to be repeated. Insights can come from anywhere.
10. Leadership is moral, and a completely separate matter from management. Leaders always go the extra round in negotiation, protect the weak against the powerful, follow their gut, know what’s right and stand up for it and, when required, clean the toilets. Managers understand what needs to be done, and cause it to happen through good organisation and communication. Never get the two confused.