Closers

In their new book “Blitzscaling,” Angel investor Chris Yeh and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman say the first-mover advantage is a myth. It’s all about being first to scale.

Forecasting, it is said, is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn’t. It may be a fool’s errand to predict what B2B marketing strategies will emerge in 2019, but trendwatching is an important skill for business leaders across all industries.

Didier Scaillet, chief executive officer of the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) has worked for more than 25 years in the travel industry — 18 of those in executive positions with Meeting Professionals International (MPI). We caught up with him on holiday recently between hikes in the French Alps to discuss trends in the incentive travel industry. Chief among them is desire from participants to go beyond luxury and have a true lifetime experience.

As CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute, Rich Horwath works with managers at companies such as FedEx, Google and L’Oreal to help them understand the importance of landing on a strategy that everyone in an organization understands and can work to achieve. Now, he has put those lessons into a graphic novel, “StrategyMan vs. The Anti-Strategy Squad.”

Armed with a list of hands her brother scratched out on a napkin, Annie Duke cut her teeth in the world of poker at a daily game with a rogue cast of characters in Billings, Montana.

General Electric executive Beth Comstock called Brad Grossman “human CliffsNotes.” Oscar-winning Hollywood producer Brian Grazer found Grossman to be literally irreplaceable as his “cultural attache.” Grossman founded and operates Zeitguide, a company that uses e-newsletters, custom publishing and one-on-one coaching to keep business executives up to speed on the topics they need to know to stay ahead of the curve and the competition.

You certainly can’t judge a book by its cover. On the bookstore shelf, NYU business professor Scott Galloway’s “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google” appears to offer a reverent look at the giants of the tech industry.

Janet Sperstad, program director of Meeting and Event Management at Madison College in Wisconsin, has spent her career working toward more purposeful meetings.

As the former chair and CEO of the global hotel and travel company Carlson, Marilyn Carlson Nelson has spent a lifetime helping companies enhance relationships with employees and clients through incentive travel experiences. We spoke with her recently about the power of travel to build strong bonds. A lot has changed in the travel industry over the past several decades, but Carlson says in many ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anthony Iannarino believes not only was Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of a sales manager in “Glengarry Glen Ross” brilliant, it was on target - sort of. The author, blogger and sales professor says “always be closing” is a mantra that makes sense when you look at it right.

Downtown Project (DTP) is Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s effort to rebuild Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world. He invested $350 million of his own money, started recruiting entrepreneurs in 2012 and put a five-year timeline on the project.

In 1984, Jim Koch (pronounced “cook”), then in his mid-30s, made the leap from working in management consulting at Boston Consulting Group to start Boston Beer Co. Today, Koch is a billionaire and Boston Beer Co. is the second-largest craft brewery in America. In his 2016 book “Quench Your Own Thirst,” Koch shares tales of that growth and business lessons he learned along the way.

Mike Derezin, vice president of sales for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, says in an era in which social sellers realize 66 percent greater quota attainment than those using traditional prospecting techniques (a Sales Benchmark Index statistic), if you’re sales team doesn't adopt social selling strategies, it may not be selling for long.

Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, has explored the irrationality of people’s decision-making processes in best-selling books. In his latest book, “Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivation,” he explains that what drives people is far more complicated than most of us understand – and why business leaders would be wise to take a closer look.

His father Rick taught a generation of public television viewers how to take in Europe. Now, Andy Steves, 29, has a successful tour guide business targeted to millennials and a new guidebook of his own. We talked about the incomparable value of travel and how his generation likes to go about it.

“If it involves arranging words in rows with occasional punctuation, then I’ve given it a bash,” says Jonathan Crossfield, a Sydney-based marketing consultant. On his entertaining and informative blog, Crossfield sounds off on a wide range of ideas regarding using words to build your brand. We focused our discussion on content marketing.

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