Why is Goop successful

The secret of Gwyneth Paltrow's success: Smile - and sometimes admit mistakes

There were those moments when she sat in meetings and didn't know what a software-as-a-service business was. Then she secretly googled. Gwyneth Paltrow smiles as she tells this. She has every reason to: Paltrow built Goop, a company that is currently valued at $ 250 million. She didn't have to know what software as a service meant.

Of course, it feels good for anyone who sits in the audience of the SXSW tech festival to hear from this woman how to build a successful company after a successful acting career: You don't have to know everything. Paltrow is basically: "We need more vulnerable leaders." After all, asking a question is not a sign of a lack of intelligence.

This is what Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow's new world is all about: Eleven years ago, she started the Goop blog from her kitchen table. It was a glimpse into her everyday life: recipes, travel tips, a little something about what was in her closet and how she keeps fit. Fans soon subscribed to the newsletter, which was only intended for friends. Paltrow became an influencer before influencers existed. She soon built a shop with wellness products around her blog.

In the charming confession of secretly googling in meetings, there is probably one of her most important recipes for success: smile - and declare the knowledge gap to be a virtue.

As popular as the site is among women in their mid-30s with a generous salary, it is also controversial: some goop products, such as flacons with crystals floating on the bottom and which are therefore supposed to exude a good mood in the truest sense of the word, are just overpriced by the critics. In the case of others, such as jade eggs, which Goop recommends inserting into the vagina in order to balance the hormonal balance and also relieve bladder weakness, doctors even warn of damage to health.

Paltrow has found her way to deal with criticism: she smiles it away. On TV shows. On Instagram. And now on the SXSW stage.

That hardly harmed the brand. But on the contrary.

Paltrow, a beige-colored cashmere sweater with blond hair tied up in a pigtail, recommends entrepreneurs bring humor to the company. “I don't care what people say about me anymore,” she continues. And speaks to many of her fans from the soul.

"We all bring our trauma to the office"

She praises her husband for balancing the ups and downs of her mood over the past four years with his steady and reliable manner. Sheryl Sandberg, responsible for day-to-day business at Facebook and also a heroine for all career women, once said that choosing a partner is the most important professional decision. The moderator wants to know whether Paltrow sees it that way.

The woman, who was once married to Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck and to Chris Martin, singer of the band Coldplay, for eleven years, smiles once more. Even if you find out at some point that you have married the wrong partner, it was still a wonderful time. “And when you part ways, you have at least learned where you want to go.” This, too, should not only be understood as advice for your own relationship - but also for your career.

Dennis Crowley presented his Foursquare app at the SXSW festival a good ten years ago. Back then, it was considered the next big thing. The breakthrough never came. Now Crowley is back - with amazing insights.

All of what Gwyneth Paltrow says that afternoon can be dismissed as good marketing. But there are also important thoughts that fit well into a new business world. A world that has become more insecure as a result of globalization and digitization. A world in which those who have so far been neglected are increasingly demanding their place on the management level with increasing confidence: women and immigrants, people with disabilities and people without a university degree.

Paltrow presents herself as a new kind of entrepreneur. As a boss who shows herself to be vulnerable - and also allows others to show herself to be vulnerable. “People are people. We all bring our burdens and trauma to the office. "

She quotes one of her mentors as saying: "Your culture is your business plan."

In August her company Goop closes for two weeks. “Everyone should get the chance to shut down their computer.” Because of course it is not a real vacation if Slack messages are constantly landing on the smartphone. Anyone who works at Goop can also take as many days off as they want. "So far, only one person has ever abused it."

And Paltrow also presents herself as an inquisitive entrepreneur. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, she once said that sometimes she just wrote to people she admired in order to learn something from them. At the time, the journalists wanted to know whether someone had not called back. Jeff Bezos, replied Paltrow. Soon after, she had an email in her inbox - from Jeff Bezos. The founder and boss of Amazon wrote that he had read in the newspaper that it had a few questions. The two exchanged some messages.

She admires, says Paltrow, that Bezos is constantly pushing his company into new business areas. “I wanted to know what the psychology is, what is the driving force behind it.” Would she also sell Goop to Amazon? The answer comes quickly - and of course with a charming smile: "Yes, why not ?!"

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