As children most of us all grow up, rather naively, with all of our needs met. Food, water, shelter, education, all of these magically come from somewhere, but as we enter adulthood, most of us reach a stage where a gradual realisation occurs; money doesn’t grow on trees. Money comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is generally business.

Up until quite recently, I had little interest in business in my life, but after some introspection I can now admit; my lack of interest in business was perhaps due to fear of the unknown. I feared going into it because, at no real defined point in my past did anyone give me any decent education into business, and hence it was unknown territory. I was always a geek; I enjoyed science, linguistics, the internet, computer games, Star Trek … but never business. And neither of my parents are businesspeople nor are they particularly interested in it.

But then something clicked, I can’t quite place my finger on it. I think it had something to do with the fact that I took on a job where I became aware of the hourly rate that my company was charging clients for my service time, and my time alone. You know — an employee at Macdonalds may reason “man, these burgers are bringing in a lot of money, why am I paid such a tiny fraction of it?” but then the fact exists that behind those burgers is a sizeable infrastructure that makes the final delivery of them possible; farmers, butchers, trucks, warehouses, fridges, electricity, each taking a piece of the revenue — and the list goes on. But in the IT service industry I realised; all that this client is getting is my time. That’s it. The only thing the company provided for me is 1) The company name (and hence “brand”) as a platform, and 2) My laptop itself. But the company is charging the client $140 per hour and giving me $25. 83% overhead costs. B2B rates; something is not right.

From that point onwards I was hooked. I needed to understand business, and I needed it now. I was no longer going to persist in ignorance. I went and read, Build to Last, Good to Great, Great by Choice (Jim Collins), Delivering Happiness (Tony Hseih), The Lean Startup (Eric Ries), The Education of Millionaires (Michael Ellsberg), Winning (Jack Welch) among others. I didn’t and don’t have time or money to go get a MBA, (and may I be so audacious as to suggest perhaps I could gain the knowledge from real life experience and sedulous self-study) — so my business education is self-education.

This section of my blog is dedicated to the discussion of many of the incredibly insightful principles I have encountered in these books, from personal  business mentors, or from real-life experience.

“Because business is exciting ground”

Shawn Powrie

Recent articles I’ve written on business are shown below:

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