Cracking The Code: Turn Small Ideas Into Big Success


Every entrepreneur possesses the capabilities to spot the right opportunities and turn them into multi-million dollar businesses. But what does it really take to turn a small idea into a high-growth business?

“The entrepreneurs that are out there in the world that are really successful – they’re not memorizing or repeating an equation; they’re creating the new equations, they’re building the new models. It’s an impossible thing to do with perfection.”

Amy Wilkinson

Amy Wilkinson has been a White House Fellow for nearly four years doing international trade and economics before she decided to embark on a 5-year research-filled journey of creating a fool-proof handbook to be a creator. Her journey resulted in 10,000 pages of transcripts from interviewing 200 top creators, including Elon Musk of Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal.

She asked a series of questions and then came up with a pattern recognition to figure out what skills they have in common. Finding and tracking down the founders to interview was the hardest thing Wilkinson had ever done – harder even than working in a high-pressured M&A environment.

What she learned through her research was that anyone can create and scale an idea. She came up with five codes that every single creator that she interviewed already possessed:

Decoding your success

1. Drive for daylight. Focusing on the horizon requires moving beyond the familiar. People’s perspectives on their own progress have profound effects on their accomplishments. “To-Go” thinking refers to how much you have left to go, while “To-Date” thinking refers to how much you’ve done to date. To-Go thinking is what accelerates accomplishment when individuals are committed to a goal.

2. Fly the OODA Loop. OODA stands for: observe, orient, decide, act. The OODA loop is a “framework for making rapid decisions that would ensure success in fast-changing environments.”

3. Fail Wisely. Because failure provokes learning, set a failure ratio to maximize your learning. Being prepared for a certain number of failures allows creators to experiment to find the way forward. Place small bets.

4. Network Minds. It’s the difference in how we think, what perspectives we bring to a problem, and the steps we take to tackle difficult challenges that, when combined, unlock breakthrough results. “By engaging with diverse minds, we become more alert to information, more open to reevaluating our own assumptions, and more attuned to solving the task.”

5. Gift Small Goods. “Creators view caring as a competitive advantage and strengthen ties by paying attention to others’ needs.” Generosity can set off a “chain reaction” because “when reputations spread quickly, cooperation increases.”

“You don’t have to be in a certain city at a certain moment in time. You don’t have to have that many dollars. You don’t have to have a certain degree. These ideas can pop up almost anywhere and across different kinds of pursuits.”

Now a professor at the Stanford Graduate School Business, Wilkinson – a graduate herself – passed up many unique and rare opportunities in order to write this book. “At the outset, I believed it would matter, and therefore I pursued it. That’s a very common thing for entrepreneurs – regardless of what their pursuit is – you have to believe that it will matter.”

“One of the really important things that entrepreneurs know and that most people are figuring out now is: there is no right answer in a globally linked and technologically-accelerated world. It’s almost impossible to anticipate where an idea is going to go.”

Listen to our interview with Amy on Entrepreneurs En Vogue Podcast get more exclusive insights from Amy Wilkinson on how to be a creator and to discover more details on the 6 essential skills she talks about in her book, The Creator’s Code.


Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.

In a recent study conducted by, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.

Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of, believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.