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Russ’ top 20 picks for insight and inspiration

June 10, 2020
clock 6 MIN READ

In a world of information overload, how are you staying current? Every morning, I like to start my day with a big cup of coffee and a dose of inspiration or learning. The options for the latter are endless. As a naturally curious learner who is energized by fresh perspectives and ideas, the challenge is not so much finding an article, video or podcast, but finding the right ones. 

With so much in our industry and world changing day by day, it is so important to stay relevant and current. I’m a big believer in making time in your daily routine – even 15 minutes – just to learn something interesting or new. It could be exploring an adjacent industry, hearing out a different point of view, finding ways to become a better leader or even just getting a good laugh. (These days, we all could use something to make us smile or laugh, right?) 

In this post, I wanted to share some of my favorite go-tos and finds with you. Hopefully this brings you a new source of inspiration, insight, creativity or passion. And if you have one to share, I always welcome new recommendations!

Startups and Venture Capital

The Entrepreneur’s Mindset – Gary Vaynerchuk USC Talk 2019
Gary Vaynershuk is an enigma – blunt, no filter, successful and passionate. He’s a true entrepreneur with an intense focus on marketing and social media. In this talk, he provides fantastic insights into what it means to be a successful entrepreneur. 

Y Combinator Startup School 2020 
Do you want to learn from the most prestigious accelerator in the startup ecosystem? If so, this Youtube channel is for you. Y Combinator offers “Startup School,” which steps you through everything from planning your MVP to how to get funding. This is a must-view for any entrepreneur. 

Navigating, Entering, and Thriving in VC 
Harlem Capital’s article highlights six successful VCs across the U.S. who are changing the venture capital landscape today. For anyone just starting out in the space (and veterans too), there are five key lessons you can take away to get a leg up in a highly competitive industry. The article not only speaks to some of the key challenges new VCs face, but also highlights in particular the unique challenges for investors from underrepresented groups. 

What Does it Really Mean to “Act Like a Startup”? 
The mantra that larger firms should act more entrepreneurial has been around for ages. This article brings what that means to life and provides actionable insights. 

Advice is More Important — and Overwhelming — Than Ever. Here's How Founders Can Cut Through the Noise 
As founders grow their businesses, they also build out a bench of highly experienced advisors to help guide their journey and success. These advisors bring invaluable wisdom, but founders often have to learn how to go about taking feedback from different perspectives. This article is both timely (touching on COVID-19) and timeless in helping founders have insight into navigating advice. 

Dreamit Dose 
If you’re a startup and want no-nonsense advice that’s practical, actionable and cuts to the chase quickly, subscribe to the DreamIT Ventures Youtube channel.

Innovation and Design Thinking

Guy Kawasaki - The Art of Innovation - Bizagi Catalyst 2018 
Apple, Steve Jobs and the founding team at Apple embodied the modern definition of “innovation.” As a founding member of Apple, Guy Kawasaki shares 10 key themes on innovation that any organization can embrace in an entertaining, engaging and informative way. 

Diversity Confirmed To Boost Innovation and Financial Results 
If you are still trying to convince outliers in your organization that diverse and inclusive cultures are providing companies with a competitive edge over their peers, this article is for you. Through detailed research and data, this article demonstrates that socially diverse groups are more innovative and productive than homogeneous groups. 

Why Design Thinking Works 
While continuous innovation is the key to long-term growth, design thinking is the execution model that helps you make it all happen. Design thinking provides a mindset and tools that builds business value and this article provides the insights and reasoning behind the success. 

Breaking Down the Barriers to Innovation 
When most companies seek to drive innovation, they often encounter barriers that can inhibit it. Knowing what they are and how to address them can help you push through and ultimately drive growth. 

More Than a Feeling: Ten Design Practices to Deliver Business Value 
True business growth can be measured, and companies that embrace design thinking practices have outperformed the S&P 500 index by 211%. Understanding these ten design practices can help unleash the growth in your company. 

Innovation Thrives Under These 5 Evidence-Backed Conditions 
Once you’ve removed the barriers to innovation in your organization, you need to create an environment and culture to let it thrive. Executing innovative ideas requires creativity, and creativity thrives in a work environment that fits the dynamic needs of modern teams, from hyper-collaboration to heads-down time.


The Three Qualities Leaders Need in an Uncertain Future 
In the present COVID-19 world, the notion of an uncertain future could never be more true. The ability to navigate ambiguity — and to guide people and organizations without knowing what’s ahead — is one of the key leadership qualities of our time. 

Start with Why – Simon Sinek at USI 
Do you know why you do what you do? What your purpose, cause, or belief is? The “Golden Circle” as described by Simon Sinek focuses your story – about your company, startup, or group – on your beliefs or cause. It gets you to start with “why,” as people don’t buy (invest, support, or offer a vote) because of “what” you do, but rather because they believe in what you believe, your “why.” 

The Best Managers Understand Their Employee’s Emotions – And Their Own 
Being a good manager is about knowing yourself just as much as those you manage and lead. This article speaks about what it means to “keep it real” as a manager and leader of people. 

Creativity and the Role of the Leader 
Creativity is what fuels innovation and growth of an organization. I’m a firm believer that as a leader, you need to foster creativity in your teams — to solve complex problems and come up with novel solutions to bring value to your clients. 

How Empathy Can Help You Get Ahead 
Empathy is when you try to see and understand things from someone else’s point of view. Empathy helps us connect with our teams and our customers — but we have to get out of our own way to do that.

Personal Passions

Those who know me know I am passionate about cooking great food for family and friends. This YouTube channel is a great source of inspiration for me as a hobby chef and foodie; it takes an inside look at some of the most interesting restaurants and chefs as they prep for dinner service or prepare their signature dishes. One of my favorite recent episodes is called “Mise En Place.”

Drone Film Guide 
As a licensed drone pilot, I am obsessed with creating unique perspectives and dramatic views of our world. This YouTube channel provides not only piloting and technical tips in creating cinematic views, but shares some truly breathtaking shots. One of my favorite recent episodes is called “Awesome FPV (first person view) Effect for your Drone Footage!

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