Tag Archives: Business

Fast Company Announces the 100 Most Creative in Business 2015

There are lists for everything.
Most Beautiful.
FBI’s Most Wanted.

But we are truly excited to see Fast Company’s list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2015 where even the “bottom” of the list includes amazing innovators in science, technology, family and global health. It is a beautiful diverse group of men and women alike who have lived lives of intent, followed their passion, and in turn, are currently impacting the world for the better. Continue reading

Jack Canfield & The Success Principles Anniversary


To our Intent.com friends and family:

This week, my good friend Jack Canfield — originator of the famed Chicken Soup for the Soul book series — is announcing the definitive guide for those of us who want to become more successful in our lives, careers, finances and relationships.

It’s the 10th Anniversary Edition of his classic success book, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be — and Jack has assembled a series of unique gifts when you purchase the book online during this initial launch period. Continue reading

One World: The Simplicity in Design and Message with Calvin Klein

Calvin KleinWith New York Fashion Week kicking into high gear, I took this opportunity to highlight one of fashion’s biggest stars and our ONE WORLD guest Calvin Klein. He is an icon in an industry that can make a designer a household name one year and then send them crashing back into anonymity the next. Yet he has managed to maintain prominence since founding his company in 1967.

Influenced by his grandmother, who was a seamstress in the Bronx and his mother’s love of style, Klein knew from a very early age that fashion and design were his passion. In his first runway show Calvin was immediately recognized as a rising star in the industry and was hailed as a young Yves Saint Laurent.

Calvin Klein’s continued success has largely been based on his focus and his ability to stick with his own personal aesthetic. “There has to be a way to communicate to people what you stand for,” he explains in his interview with Deepak Chopra.

“I don’t want to say it was easy, but…if I loved it, and I thought it was as good we could do, then usually the result came out well.” In an industry dominated largely by bold and busy prints, materials and shapes, Klein has maintained his clean and simple aesthetic and it continues to be successful decades after it was originally introduced.

Not one to be constantly in the spotlight himself and agreeing to interviews on a limited basis, Klein generally prefers to let his work speak for itself. The elegance of simple and clean lines is not something that Klein maintains only in his garments but also in his marketing strategies. With simple black and white advertising campaigns, the brand launched many models, including Brooke Shields and Mark Wahlberg into stardom. Today a Calvin Klein ad is instantly recognizable around the globe for its simple and consistent messaging. His body of work and his sizable success are a testament to the fact that sometimes less truly is more.

You can see his whole ONE WORLD discussion with Deepak Chopra here.


Meet the Boy Who Invented Email


Article shared with Intent by VA Shiva Ayyadurai

Celebrate the Power of Intent on the Anniversary of Email’s Invention  

August 30 marked the anniversary of the invention of email, created by a 14-year-old boy in 1978. His name is VA Shiva Ayyadurai, an Indian-American immigrant, and he is the inventor of email.

The power of intent is what allowed that young boy, in 1978, working in Newark, NJ, to create email — the same power that created the light bulb, the phone, the airplane, and everything we see around us.

The journey of that 14-year-old  provides a wonderful example of that power of intent, and what can occur when intent exists, and when it does not. Today, at the age of 49, I want to share that boy’s story, because it is no longer my story, it is everyone’s story who cares to see a better world where all of us have an equal chance to express our power to create and innovate — activities, which I believe are the ultimate expression of the life force within all of us.

Prior to 1978, There Was No Intent to Create Email

Prior to 1978, email did not exist. Email did not exist because the intent to create email did not exist. In fact, most researchers and inventors at big institutions thought it was impossible to create email, so they did not even make an attempt.

This lack of intent is crystal clear, expressed unequivocally in the RAND Report, written on December of 1977, which summarized the state of the art of research in electronic text messaging:

At this time, no attempt is being made to emulate a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system. The fact that the system is intended for use in various organizational contexts and by users of differing expertise makes it almost impossible to build a system which responds to all users’ needs. (Crocker, D., December, 1977)

The “inter-organizational” or the interoffice mail system was the system used by nearly every office in the world to receive, process and transmit paper-based communications.

This was a complex system of interconnected parts consisting of the now familiar Inbox, Outbox, Folders, Files, Address Book, the Memo (“To:”, “From:”, “Subject:”, “Date:”, “Cc:”, “Bcc:”), Attachments, Return Receipt, Forwarding, Composing, Sorting, and much more, we see in modern email systems. CEOs, secretaries, accountants, and a variety of staff with differing expertise used this system, without which any office could simply not operate.

Prior to 1978, dating all the way to the Morse code telegraph of the 1800s, people were intent on creating systems for the simple exchange of text messages, like SMS, instant messaging, early predecessors of Twitter using the “@” symbol. There was, however, no intent “to emulate”, the interoffice mail system.

Intent Leads to the Creation of Email

In the summer of 1978, 14-year-old Shiva had just completed an intensive immersion program at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University (NYU), where he learned seven computer programming languages, including FORTRAN. Following this, he was bored and was planning on dropping out of high school, much to the concern of his parents Vellayappa and Meenakshi Ayyadurai.

His mother, intent to see her son stay in school, realized he needed to be challenged. She introduced him to Dr. Leslie P. Michelson of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), located in Newark, NJ.

Dr. Michelson provided Shiva a challenge: Create the electronic version of the interoffice mail system then in use at UMDNJ. This was something that researchers had found “impossible” and had made “no attempt” to pursue.

This challenge became Shiva’s intent and obsession. From this intent, Shiva envisioned an electronic system, which would contain all parts of the interoffice mail system. He envisioned a system that would be easy-to-use, so people of “differing expertise” could transition from typewriter, paper memos and files, to an electronic equivalent.

Using the FORTRAN language, he wrote 50,000 lines of code to create that system. What emerged in 1978 was the first version of this system. He called this system, “email”, a term that had never been used before, and was not so obvious then.

In 1980, the Copyright laws were amended so software inventions could be protected. Shiva applied in 1981. On August 30, 1982, he was awarded the first US Copyright for “email”, “computer program for electronic mail system.”

August 30, therefore, is the official anniversary of the invention of email.

The Reaction to the Power of Intent

For some, the power of intent can be threatening, for it demonstrates that creation can occur anytime, anyplace by anybody, beyond the control of a few.

On February 16, 2012, Shiva’s papers, computer code, artifacts, demonstrating the invention of email were accepted into the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) at a special donation ceremony.

Following the Smithsonian ceremony, industry insiders, including those who had forgotten they had authored the RAND Report, unleashed a series of vicious attacks. For over 30 years, Shiva neither attempted to profit from nor promote his invention. When the Smithsonian news came out, industry insiders were threatened.


Starting in early 2000, these industry insiders supportive of Raytheon/BBN, a multi-billion dollar defense contractor, had begun to rewrite history that their work in electronic text messaging, created prior to 1978 was “email”. The purpose of this was to ensure their place in history, as well as to create a false brand as “inventors of email,” which would guarantee them lucrative cyber-security contracts in a highly competitive industry.

However, facts are facts. Email, the electronic version of the interoffice mail system, which Shiva created, and the term “email,” he coined, did not exist prior to 1978.

Experts and insiders cannot simply alter the facts by shouting louder, because it is to their benefit.

Celebrate the Invention of Email

As Noam Chomsky reminded everyone during the height of the attacks on Shiva last year:

The efforts to belittle the innovation of a 14-year-old child should lead to reflection on the larger story of how power is gained, maintained, and expanded, and the need to encourage, not undermine, the capacities for creative inquiry that are widely shared and could flourish, if recognized and given the support they deserve.

As we reflect on the anniversary of the invention of email, let us celebrate the facts of that 14-year-old boy’s creation in 1978, which are now here for all us to understand and to reflect upon. For in doing so, we celebrate our children and ourselves.

This celebration is particularly needed in today’s world, where we need to move beyond old and false narratives, that only a few, in big institutions, large universities and big companies, can create.

His journey is ultimately our journey.

Celebrate the anniversary of the invention of email!

* * *

VA Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., the inventor of email, is a systems scientist, inventor, author, and entrepreneur, who holds four degrees from MIT and is a Fulbright Scholar, Lemelson-MIT Awards Finalist and Westinghouse Science Honors Award recipient. In 1978, at the age of 14, he invented email, the electronic version of the interoffice email system, while working as a research fellow at the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), now Rutgers Medical School, in Newark, NJ. In 1993, he invented EchoMail, a technology platform for managing large volumes of inbound customer service email as well as for outbound marketing email. In 2003, he invented CytoSolve for mathematically modeling complex molecular pathways of the human cell, towards providing a new in silico paradigm for drug development. As an educator, he has created Systems Health a new curriculum for medical practitioners that integrates eastern and western systems of medicine, and teaches Systems Visualization at MIT. He serves on the Board of several companies and is also the founder of Innovation Corps, a project of the not-for-profit International Center for Integrative Systems, which aims to provide a new vehicle for youth to convert their ideas to innovations and tangible businesses.

What to Do When Nature Calls

Surprised businesswoman with CoffeeMy last blog was about finding purpose, “5 Essential Questions to Lead You to Your Calling.” In this blog I want to address another calling — nature’s calling. And there is only one answer to that calling: When nature calls, we must honor it.

I was recently at a meeting with a young girlfriend. She’s a passionate entrepreneur, and I was introducing her to some investors for her new venture. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, and it went very well. As we were leaving and going down the elevator to exit, my friend grabbed my arm, crossed her legs and in a panic said, “We have to find a bathroom right away because I am dying to pee.” I looked at her in amazement and asked her, “Why didn’t you go to the bathroom while we were in the meeting?” She responded, “Oh no, I wouldn’t do that. I didn’t want to interrupt the meeting.” We ran to find her a restroom at a restaurant next door and when she came out I said to her, “Here’s a piece of advice. Honor your bladder first, and if you do, you are going to be much more present in everything you do. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, how important the meeting is, who you are with. First and foremost you must honor nature’s calling.”

After speaking at an event recently, I had a similar experience. I was signing books and kept wanting to go to the bathroom, but there was a long line. So I kept going, and an hour later I turned to a girl who was helping me and said, “I MUST go to the bathroom,” and she said, “just go,” as if I needed permission for somebody to tell me it was okay to go. I ran to the bathroom, came back and everyone was of course still in line waiting for me. Since then I have spoken to many friends and they have all shared with me that they often too delay going to the bathroom not to interrupt whatever they are involved in. So it got me thinking: What is the issue?

If we do not listen to our basic needs, eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, stretch when our body is tense, or drink water when we are thirsty, what other signals are we ignoring? What else in ourselves are we neglecting? Why do you think we do that? Could it be that we don’t want to appear normal, vulnerable, or human or that it may cause the wrong impression? Or do we think our meetings are more important than our physical well-being?

Our basic needs to go to the bathroom, to eat and to sleep are completely natural urges, and if we suppress them for the sake of what we consider social correctness, we are paying a price.

It is interesting that Michael Bloomberg, during his radio show this week, stated as one of the keys to success, “Take the fewest vacations and the least time away from the desk to go to the bathroom or have lunch.” I say the opposite. Take as many bathroom breaks as you need, recharge in every way you can and return to work renewed and full of energy instead of dragging yourself, and I promise you you are going to be way more productive and, yes, even more successful. Dear Mr. Mayor: When it comes to the question to pee or not to pee, there is no question. Make the time. Interrupt the meeting. Excuse yourself. Visit the closest bathroom.

Do women do this more often than men and why? You must all have a story or two. Would you share it with us?

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

This 11-Year-Old Makes the Coolest Ties You’ve Ever Seen

grid-cell-4832-1375883264-50His name is Moziah Bridges, and on top of being an 11-year-old boy with an eye for bold prints, he’s an incredibly innovative businessman (businesschild?) on the up and up. Mo – as he is called for short – has been designing and sewing bow ties since he was 9 years old, when his grandmother taught him the art. His ties are beautiful and unique, but also brilliantly placed in a fashion world that until now has seen somewhat of a shortage of this particular accessory.

Explaining his attraction to the art of bow tie-making, Mo told Fox News,

I really was a young dapper man and I couldn’t find any other bow ties that I really like. So my grandma – my lovely grandma – she’s been sewing for over 80 years, or something crazy like that, so I wanted to start my own business making bow ties.

We love that he refers to himself as a “young dapper man” – he certainly is! But his talents don’t end there. Mo of course selects all his own fabrics and sews the ties himself, but he is also invested in giving back to the community. His “Go Mo! Scholarship Bow Tie” returns 100% of the proceeds to the community by helping kids attend summer camp. Mo is also interested in helping other fashion-inclined kids dress well by creating a children’s clothing line, complete with blazers, nice pants, and more.

Mo has already made over $30,000 through his Etsy store and is looking to expand. His recent mention in the Oprah Winfrey magazine is bound to be a major boon to his business, and we hope Mo realizes all the success he dreams of!

Here are our favorite picks from Mo’s Bows:











Images via Mo’s Bows Memphis

4 Laws of Success Any Ambitious Person Should Know

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 2.26.57 PMBy Kaihan Krippendorff

You’ve felt it before: you create an intention – you want to leave your job, start a strategic project at work, write a book, start a new venture – but instead of truly living that intention, you are waiting, like a shy high-schooler at your first school dance, for a reason to jump in.

I felt this myself last week. I was burning to get into the game, to finish my PhD and launch a consulting firm. But the usual mental blocks emerged: can I do it when I’ve failed before? Is this really my calling? Will I see it to the end without getting discouraged or bored? Why start today when there is always tomorrow?

And as I sat there on the edge, contemplating these questions, the game was underway without me.

How do you get out of the stands and get in the game?

To answer this, I studied three books – The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling, Ownership Thinking by Brad Adams, and Strategy Maps by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton – and put myself into the Fortune Magazine Gazelles Leadership Conference where I heard from a powerful line-up of business thinkers including Daniel H. Pink (To Sell is Human), Jim Loehr (The Power of Full Engagement), and Jack Stack (The Great Game of Business). Along the way, I also interviewed two CEOs and a naval captain who oversees a big chunk of strategic execution for the Southern Command.

There were four key themes that these books and speakers repeatedly touched on. They are the closest hints we have to universal laws of success:

  1. Create a game: Remove the seriousness from your decision by conceiving it as a game. You play to win, but if you lose, there is another game coming. This frames the game in a series of sprints and provides a healthy dose of detachment, which will have you playing with more energy. I realized my ambition to start a consulting firm seemed daunting because I viewed my new firm as a permanent extension of me, like the only painting I would ever paint. Instead now I think of it as a game called “launch and build in five years the world’s first true strategic innovation firm … something that will live on without me.” Knowing that this game is not the last you will ever play will liberate you.

  2. Name the game: To win the game, you need to always remember you are playing it. This helps if you have a memorable name. Pick a name that is short, fits a metaphor, rhymes and/or evokes a story. Game names I have seen work include “Win the Lighthouse,” “5 by 5,” and “The 180.” We haven’t named our game yet, but I am going to propose “tent pole” – we need four to five core clients to be the poles to our tent.

  3. Pick one score: My 3-year old son just started playing soccer. Now, he doesn’t know off-sides from out-of-bounds, but he does know one thing – the goal is to make a goal – and that drives him around like a bee in search of honey … “Get the ball in the net!” Similarly, your game should have one score. Sure you will have other KPIs (key performance indicators) to track, but in any given year, in any given quarter, focus yourself and your team on just one goal. The most important goal for my consulting firm is pipeline value. Later on we may switch our score to “client satisfaction” or “intellectual property,” but if we don’t win enough clients now, we’ll never get a chance to play those games.

  4. Monitor the board: Nearly every source I read or heard touched on the need to keep the score top of mind for you and your team by reviewing it in a rapid rhythm. I missed a flight once because I was on the phone and didn’t see the boarding notice. My client was visibly stressed out when an hour before I was set to take the stage, they had 500 people seated, but I still hadn’t walked through the door. Everything worked out. The following flight got me in just in time. But now in airports I check the board every three minutes and I haven’t missed a plane since. My team and I have set up a daily “huddle” and weekly “opportunity call” to track our board.

This all it takes to jump into action: create a game, name the game, pick one score, and monitor the board. Do it now. It will take 20 minutes and the results could pay off for a life time.

3 Ways To Tap Into The Magic of Relationships

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 11.18.35 AM
I’ve always been a big believer in what I learned in school: Work hard. Try your best. You’ll succeed.

But that equation left out something really important: Other people.

The simple fact is: we need each other to succeed or at least succeed in an easier way: whether that’s raising a child or creating a business.

No Need To Sing

I don’t mean this in a schmaltzy “High School Musical-We’re All in This Together” sort of way. I mean, in a real way.

No matter how charismatic Oprah is, she wouldn’t be Oprah without a community to inspire. No matter how brilliant Steve Jobs was, he needed a great team to create Apple. And no matter how powerful you are, it’s likely that at some point, you’ll need an exercise buddy, a reliable babysitter or a great hairdresser.

This Isn’t Just Commonsense

It’s written into your DNA. It’s not just your psyche that feels better in relationships, so does your body. That’s why, when you share your feelings with a friend, your immune system gets stronger.

And you don’t even need to know the other person to reap the benefits of relationships.

One man said he combats his speaker’s nerves by imagining everyone in the audience loves him. Even though he knows it isn’t true, he feels it in his heart, and that’s enough to give him the confidence he needs. And science confirms he’s right. If you nervously step up to the podium to give a speech, and there’s one stranger in the audience smiling at you, your blood pressure immediately drops.

Chagall & Me

I think it’s even possible to harness the power of relationships when you’re all alone. I’ve felt it myself while doing something super-solo: browsing through an art museum.

Chagall – The Birthday

I used to think that looking at paintings was a solitary-thing, but I’ve realized that it’s not. The truth is, when I look at a painting, I’m meeting an artist who’s showing me his ideas. And because of him, I’m inspired to see the world in a new way.

Your Brain Says Hello

For your survival, your brain is wired to connect: with the people you know, a stranger who smiles at you from the audience or someone who speaks to you through a painting.

As you plan your dreams, whether it’s to write your book, stick to your diet or chart a new course in your life, include other people to help move you along your path—those you know and those you’ve never even met.

3 Ways To Tap Into The Magic of Relationships:

  1. Read biographies of people you admire and be inspired by their stories.
  2. Connect with people who want the things you want, like happy kids, a new business or fitness, and support each other in making that happen.
  3. Look for role models who’ve accomplished what you want and learn from them.

How can you bring the magic of relationships into your life? I’d love to know.


Chagall image via WikiPaintings

6 Tips from Business to Make Your Romance Last Forever

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 12.19.40 PMBusinesses that have longevity are well-run. They are constantly updating and growing because if they don’t, they won’t just be standing still, but will be going backward or worse – they’ll be defunct. The same holds true for a loving relationship in your personal “business,” where you are a solid team. If your relationship is less than optimal, it’s time to take your cue from a well-run business.

For most of us relationships conjure up romance. Business and money matters smack of distaste and seem asexual in nature. However, if you want a monogamous relationship to go the distance, you have a lot to learn from strategies of the client-based business world.

Here’s what successful businesses do:

  1. Focus on building and strengthening the bonds of your relationship. Businesses place value on more than a one-time-deal which seeks to get the best out of a client. Instead, they nurture a long term relationship with clients by focusing on their needs. What can you do for your significant other?
  2. Develop listening skills and make this a top priority. Businesses evaluate: What are the problems, disappointments, or the good things their customers are experiencing? Listening helps them achieve solutions to problems or strengthen what is already working. Without interrupting, what surprising bit of information have you learned by truly listening and not merely waiting to speak?
  3. Ask not what the consumer can do for you, but what you can do for the consumer. As a result, businesses will reap a whopping profit. Similarly, try to release the egocentric “I” voice in your relationship and replace it with the “we” mentality.
  4. Make it a priority to keep the consumer interested. This means coming up with new ideas, experiences, and dialogue to keep the client actively engaged in the relationship. Novelty does wonders for a long term romantic relationship; constant communication averts a simmering resentment due to self-suppression.
  5. Keep your message short and sweet, the way businesses use public relations companies to brand themselves. Similarly, the person you live with should be able to identify you by a phrase known to only the two of you, a signature accessory, or a look in the eyes and vice versa.
  6. Make sure to get your rhythm in sync. This means don’t pounce when you are all fired up. A successful manager asks a client, “Is this a good a time to speak?” Similarly, gauge your mate’s mood. Just because you are ready to speak does not mean they are ready to listen. And most importantly, don’t let a disagreement degenerate into a shouting match. Change the location like going to another  “conference” room to change up the energy or revisit the discussion later when both of you are calmer.

Wordplay Wednesday: One In The Same

braided rop
Maybe it was naïve
Of me to assume
It would be safe
To express myself
What I’ve experienced
And felt
Maybe my enthusiasm
Took me too far
The energy and relief
I got
From breaking
The silence
From letting go
Of my desire
To control
What you and you
Knew about me
I was just trying to be
Fully integrated
To hold my head high
And not care
What you think
I didn’t mean to make
Anyone uncomfortable
I was just trying to
And now
To my disappointment
I’m realizing
It’s not quite
That easy
That I need to set
For my creativity
And I wish so badly
That I didn’t have to
And filter
What I say and do
I know I’m not perfect
But how boring
That would be
And honestly
Who is?
I’ve demonstrated
That I find solutions
No matter what
The challenge is
I was just trying to be like
The women I admire
So courageous in their
To speak the truth
But now I feel
Split in two
Maybe it was naive
To think
That people in business
Would understand
What I’m doing
Are one in the same
Pursuing my passion
And trying to help
Now I’m scared
To have my poetry
Attached to my name
And I’m scared
I’ll be punished
For what
I’ve already said
That I’ll shut down
Out of fear
And be silent

I wrote this in September of 2012, after it was suggested that sharing my poetry publicly was a risk to my business pursuits. Obviously, I haven’t gone silent:)

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