Office buildings are NOT safe yet!

The US isn’t remotely close to done with the health and economic impact of COVID-19. When I wrote an earlier version of this article about a week ago, the data already told a dispiriting and frustrating story. Not only was the US doing far, far worse than every other developed country, but the trends were going the wrong way and our behaviors driving the trends were changing way too slowly.

Today, the curve still hasn’t bent in the US (though it looked like it had a few weeks ago!) even after lockdowns, stimulus programs and lots of suffering as the…

Driving the bus perfectly off the cliff

Many years ago, I created and delivered training for resellers of LiveVault, one of the first online backup services. At the time, what we were selling was very new and counterintuitive to most of our target customers. We were basically telling them that what they were doing and had been doing for many years (often 10+ years) was not only suboptimal, but fatally flawed.

To demonstrate why it was fatally flawed, I would lead a fun exercise. I would ask the people in my class to help me create the perfectly unreliable process. I set it up like this:


Does the world really need another app????

I’ve heard hundreds of pitches for businesses over the past few years — both as part of my role at Hult International Business School and in my time advising start-ups. I’ve noticed a pattern.

If your pitch starts with “an app/token/coin that…”, your business is almost definitely going to fail.

The problem isn’t that apps/tokens/coins/(other nouns) are inherently bad. It’s not that there won’t be killer apps/tokens/coins that make billions for their founders and investors.

The problem is that if your pitch gets to the what before you’ve explained the why, it usually means that you haven’t figured it out…

To drive or to be driven. Is that the question?

I originally wrote and published a version of this article in September 2016. Since then, quite a bit has happened, further cementing my view that these changes are coming and that the implications will be even more substantial. I decided it was time to update this article with some additional ideas and a few changes.

As I write this, Uber just announced that it just ordered 24,000 self-driving Volvos. Tesla just released an electric, long-haul tractor trailer with extraordinary technical specs (range, performance) and self-driving capabilities (UPS just preordered 125!). And, Tesla just announced what will probably be the quickest…

Emotions drive (all) business

We buy products based on how they make us feel.

Investors invest based on how they feel.

Data (facts) serve as constraints (i.e. what are my actual choices?) and justifications.

It’s easy to mistake constraints and justifications for decision criteria.

The bigger the decision, the larger the role of emotion.

Think about how you choose significant others, friends, work, home.

Marketing and selling bring buyers on emotional journeys — usually about anxiety, aspiration and/or social acceptance.

For some reason, this bothers us.

We want to be more fact-based, more logical, less emotional in our decisions.

We’re very susceptible to stories…

There are books upon books and tons of research on this topic. There are training classes. There are entire graduate programs dedicated to this. But, despite all of this, I would argue that most managers most of the time aren’t very good.

Here is my attempt to simplify how to be a good manager in 5 bullets:

  • Hire great people. Hire with an 80/20 bias towards potential versus existing skills and experiences. People who are growing and developing do better work, are more engaged and more likely to bring novel value. On the flip side, act quickly and decisively when…

A smart, much younger colleague is about to start a new sales job. He asked me for advice on how to hit the ground running. This doesn’t address some of the basics (show up on time, dress well, etc). I boiled it down to three things:

  1. Figure out who is best at the job and spend real time with them. Take them to lunch. Buy them a beer. Most importantly, ask them lots of questions and listen to their answers. …

Shoes Without Heels from Entrepreneurs With Grit

I was introduced to Olguy and his father Etienne earlier this year through a friend of a friend. They’ve been working on a new product for over 20 years.

Their journey has literally crossed 4 continents (Australia beware — they’re coming soon!). Olguy slept on a factory floor in China for weeks to make sure that their first production run was the highest quality. They’ve met celebrities, made a custom shoe (size 21.5!) for an NBA player (who Olguy met in an elevator in China!) and turned down investment and parternship offers that most entrepreneurs would kill for. They’re trusting their own instincts.


After the last few weeks of watching hurricanes tear apart islands, flood major cities and demonstrate the existential threat to coastal living, as I look out my window at a calm (today) ocean, I can’t help but think that something’s gotta give.

We’re on an unsustainable path. We can’t keep living in these vulnerable areas the way we do it today. Storms like Irma and Harvey aren’t going away. Rising sea levels, removal of natural buffers and higher ocean temperatures are a toxic combination. We can’t re-build our way out of this every time. …

Geoff Nesnow

Faculty @hultboston | Concerned about the future of work | Naturally curious dot-connector | Recovering intrapreneur | More at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store