Francisco Dao


Francisco Dao is the founder of 50Kings, a private community for technology and media innovators. He is a former leadership columnist for Inc.com, a lifelong entrepreneur, author, and former stand-up comic. He writes every Tuesday and Thursday for PandoDaily.
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  • internet_fairy

    You can’t fix what you don’t understand

    When you look at Walmart, what do you see? A store? Dying brick and mortar commerce? Badly dressed poor people? If you’re an entrepreneur looking for massive opportunities, what you should see is a business empire with almost $500 billion in sales, 2.2 million employees, 8,500 stores, 25 percent of all grocery sales in the United States, and most importantly, a mastery of supply chain logistics that its competitors have been unable to match. How about UPS, a company…
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    For men, “leaning out” just isn’t an option

    While Sheryl Sandberg and the pro-women movement encourage women to “lean in,” what’s never discussed is the relentless pressure men feel to not “lean out.” I came across an article recently that talked about the damaging effects men face from a lifetime of being told to “Be a man. Stop being such a fag.” and “Grow a pair” that made me think about how we assume there’s no downside to the expectations of leadership. In order to be considered…
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    The biggest decision most of us leave to chance

    Recently, a friend of mine told me his goal was to make some “fuck you money.” This was a new development for him, as he had never before prioritized a big score. As we talked about his options, he described several promising opportunities that he decided not to pursue, because they weren’t interesting to him. Despite his proclamation that making money was his new priority, he couldn’t change the fact that he wasn’t strictly wired to be financially motivated. I’ve…
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    Is being an entrepreneur really a viable option?

    Following last week’s post about the importance of establishing entrepreneurship as a self fulfilling cultural norm, several people asked me what I thought was the key to jump starting this process. As I thought about the belief system of entrepreneurs vs. non-entrepreneurs, I remembered a conversation I had with an old roommate that perfectly captured the difference. In 2000, I was starting a new company and trying to raise some angel money. One Saturday afternoon, my roommate “Joe” asked…

    Spreading the entrepreneurial contagion

    In the quest to create new Silicon Valleys there are essentially two schools of thought. The first group considers the ecosystem and tries to replicate it in new locations. They point to elements such as the availability of engineering talent, feeder universities, local incubators, community events, and how much angel and venture capital money are in the area. At first blush, all of this makes sense but it generally hasn’t worked out very well. The second group claims it’s all…
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    The only community you need to worry about

    Social media advocates will tell you it’s no longer enough for a business to just have customers or even fans. They have to have an active community of “influencers,” “brand advocates,” and a designated community manager to keep them all warm and happy. As usual, the smankers have it wrong. They think your community is who likes you on Facebook or who attends your launch party. Such people have no commitment to you and are basically just using you…
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    The faces and heels of Silicon Valley

    If you’ve ever watched professional wrestling you know that the wrestlers are actually characters with story lines that designate them as either “faces,” who play the good guys, or “heels,” who play the bad guys. The best faces and heels do a masterful job of whipping the audience into a frenzy of cheers and boos, playing them like a violin. It can all be very entertaining but also kind of disturbing to see how easily the audience forgets that the…
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    How successful people talk

    I imagine it’s a byproduct of the confidence that often comes with success, but I’ve noticed a difference in the way successful people carry on conversations as opposed to those who are less accomplished. In a nutshell, they pay attention. This might seem like I’m pointing out the obvious or belaboring Interpersonal Skills 101. But in the real world, most people seem to have lost the ability to pay attention and have an actual conversation with the person standing in…
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    The battle for geek culture’s core

    There’s a battle raging for the heart of geek culture. On one side are hardcore geeks who see their world being hijacked by human mannequins. On the other side are pretty faces looking to ride the wave of geek popularity. The front lines are often fought over conference panels where serious geeks are passed over in favor of those more visually appealing. A friend of mine, who is by every definition a hardcore geek, recently posted on Facebook: “Distressed by…
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    When human interaction becomes a luxury

    You’ve all felt the frustration of trying to get a live person on the phone. “Agent” you say into the mouthpiece, and the pleasant but infuriating voice replies, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your request.” You scream, “AGENT!!” and as if to mock you, she (actually it) says, “What are you calling about today?” You stab the zero on your keypad hoping to bypass the phone tree, and, right on cue, the Siri-esque voice fuels your anger with, “Let’s start…

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