Success Lessons From Silicon Valley

Success Lessons From Silicon Valley

I was fortunate to hear Andy Cunningham, Steve Jobs’ personal PR person, speak about her career success and secrets.

Entitled Andy Cunningham in Wonderland from Villa Park to Silicon Valley, her speech revealed her 11 rules for success:Andy Cunningham Photos 040716

  1. Think big and go for it.
  2. If you play the wrong note play it loud — this speaks to confidence. She played trumpet in the high school band, and that was the advice of her band leader.
  3. Lean in time to clean up time — there’s always work to be done as he learned working at the McDonald’s near McDonald’s headquarters and frequented by founder Ray Kroc, who insisted on cleanliness.
  4. If it fits well, it will print – a lesson from a trucking trade magazine job, and while working the new product section and recrafting new product releases to fit in a small space.
  5. If it’s not working, lubricate it – describes her pursuit of her career in the tech business when it was just starting.
  6. 80% of life is showing up – Andy borrows this Woody Allen line and she knows that her good fortune came from being at the epicenter of the tech boom which she compares it to the Big Bang.
  7. Speak truth to power — which she did regularly to Steve Jobs, despite his intimidation. He thought was that he and other pioneers were paying for her expert opinion not to be bullied.
  8. Bubbles will burst — as she learned when losing Apple as a client and yet her resilience and confidence re-ignited her career.
  9. Superpower fuels passion.
  10. Human ingenuity would prevail –this is at her core and she wonder why this hasn’t been used to fight terrorism – compelling thought.
  11. Think different — wonder where that came from?

Believe it or not, Andy’s fascination with science started when she wrote a letter to NASA asking if they hired people at her age of 8.

From Apple, Andy he went on to work for some of the most impressive tech companies including Cisco, Motorola, AMD, Hewlett Packard and Kodak Imaging and many others.

In her work, Andy has learned that the essence of marketing is about positioning and she is finishing a book out next year entitled Mothers, Mechanics And Missionaries And How To Decode The DNA Of Your Brand.

Andy spoke at a Midwest Educational Foundation breakfast at Chicago’s renowned 1871 incubator. Thanks to my host Bob Kornecki for this invitation. Bob runs individual giving for the Foundation that mentors and tutors at risk kids, 100% of whom graduate high school and 100% go to college. WOW!

Andy’s advice works for her career, marketing and certainly for anyone’s success.


What are your success secrets?


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