If you're not familiar, the New Power Girls series follows the life and times of a group of real-life women as they work to get what they want out of life and business. I don't just mean having the killer careers they want and need, but their own unique vision for every area of their lives: how they shop, what they wear, how they live, relate, date, eat, you name it. They're just not 20-something "wunderkinds," but women of all ages from that age to well past their 60s, representing different cities, cultures, races, demographics, beliefs and faiths, styles and sizes. They're young, vibrant, ambitious, happy, whole, and, most of all, they're living life how they want and envision, regardless of whatever age or stage they are in.
Made of one part past -- from iconic examples like Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Tina Fey and Arianna Huffington -- and one part present, it's a new brand of American female creating her future with an eye on exactly what she wants -- in life, work, love, home, style, shopping, health and family.
It's easy to assume that this means women born with a silver spoon, women with access to special education, or women with men in the background driving their efforts (as we sometimes seem to be, based on article comments). In reality, it's that type, other types, every type and all types. In fact, if there were an average, it would be the average, everyday kind.
They're the well-heeled, self made woman in her 50s, dressed head to toe in Escada and driving a Benz she paid cash on, as she describes the early days just five years before, where she worked part-time on her own business while working full time somewhere else, to the chic 20- and 30-something gang of friends and fellow female entrepreneurs climbing the real route to the top that the New Power Girls series is inspired by. It's literally all types.
We work together, we play together and we do business together. It's like the Old Boys' Club, only this time it's female. It's just as empowering and fun.
"I'm thinking about getting Guy Kawasaki's new book, 'Enchantment,'" a good friend and fellow founder says, as we hustle to the Lululemon store while on a shopping excursion in Santa Monica. I am a serial media and internet entrepreneur working to flip my second project, and she is a media personality and brand. We often hang out along with a handful of other women in the city who own companies. It's a chilly Saturday in the city, as we take a break from business to knock around and grab a little lunch.
"He sent me a copy! I just did an interview with him," I say, as we head back to the car. "Enchantment," if you aren't familiar, is Guy's latest business book, joining his already well-read and celebrated books, "Reality Check" and "Art of The Start," among others. It was released just a few weeks ago, and is already a New York Times best-seller. Guy's not just a great author and investor, but somebody I've met and known. He's one of the best mentors and business minds. As Sayeh and I wheel away to Fred Segal, our conversation shifts to what makes great brands like Apple, American Girl, Starbucks and even Lululemon great. That's the outcome we and countless other women (and men) founders want: to create something that is crazy magical, crazy profitable and most of all, make that magic last a long time.
Guy shares in our interview:
There are three most important things -- not one. Likability, trustworthiness and great products or services. If I had to pick one to start with, I'd pick a great product or service because it's the hardest to achieve. Training people to be likable and trustworthy is easier than training them to be innovative. It's also easy to be likable and trustworthy when you're selling something great than when you're selling a piece of crap.
It's something that most companies do not do, which Guy points to as "management that defines success in terms of short-term financial returns." He also notes that in several cases of highly successful and enchanting companies, like Zappos.com, Apple and Virgin America, the founders still play a major role in the management of the companies. That passion, he says, is a "powerful force to create enchanting companies."
My mind goes to female-owned examples of enchanting companies -- The Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington, Harpo Studio's Oprah Winfrey and Baby Phat's Kimora Simmons. The list goes on and on. Guy is absolutely right.
You can start with removing the barriers to adopting your product or service. For example, putting people though a captcha system that displays illegible words isn't the way to enchant a prospective customer. Nor is asking people to fill out 10 fields of information to register for a free account. Making it easy to do business with your company is a great start.
Or, as I often advise to the internet companies that hire me to help with their businesses, "Focus your product on the reader, user or viewer, not the advertiser."
As we head back to West Hollywood to wrap up the day with lunch at Newsroom, we are talking about just that, and not just how it can apply to business, but in every area of life.
"It sounds like it starts with passion," we agree, as we settle over coffee and a light lunch. Once you love what you're doing, no matter what it is, the rest comes.
"Enchantment" was fantastic! You can get a copy of "Enchantment" here.