Weight Training Your Conversation
Mar18

Weight Training Your Conversation

So tell me what do you want to talk about? The weather? A problem at work you’re having? The Olympics? Wait. Maybe you want to discuss this new killer idea you have that will take the world by storm! Whichever one of these it is that you want to talk about, I am sure that you don’t want to people to just “hear” you but you want them to pay close attention to what you are saying. Just take Paul Jay CEO of the The Real Newsfrom our previous post. His conversation is engaging. It’s passionate. It’s telling you what it is that he is about and what it is he is trying to do in a way that captures your attention. Now whether you are an innovator trying to discuss your new breakthrough idea, networking to find a new job opportunity, or informational interviewing to find out valuable information about a particular field, your success will be determined in large part by how strong your conversational skills are. In many ways conversation is an art and a science. Not many think of it like that but once you shift your thinking about it to this way you’ll definitely see a different world when it comes to talking and discussions. Michael Jordan was a master craftsman when it came to basketball because he  perceived his “job” as an art and a science. Reading about it. Studying it. Practicing it. Performing it – again and again and again until he was proficient and absolutely dominant. He had a “weight training” program to build a strong, effective, and dangerously efficient basketball game that would dominate his competitors. It’s the same thing with Tiger Woods, David Beckham, or Roger Federer. It’s the same with any endeavor anyone chooses to pursue. Be it car design, marketing, or teaching you have to see it as an art and a science and weight train in it so that you build strong and effective strategies to accomplish your goals. Now your objectives  can only be fine tuned when you establish and build a strong foundation. As a sports player that base is conditioning – being in shape. You can have all the dribbling, kicking, passing, and swinging skills in the world but if your body isn’t prepared for the rigor –  you can forget it. In business that strong foundation needs to be conversational skills. You can have the best idea, the best product or the best service in the universe but if you can’t have a great and/or effective conversation about it – you’re done. Now this isn’t to say that you need to be...

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Fearless
Mar18

Fearless

Nothing paralyzes us more than fear. Besides love, sex and the drive to survive no other human emotion is more potent or pervasive. We are all afraid. Afraid of being alone. Afraid of death. Afraid of failure.  Whatever it may be our fears never go away. Just recently I had engaging conversations with two friends of mine who confided in me that where they were in life, if you had told them they would be where they are now, 10 years ago, they would not have believed you. They saw themselves as intelligent, smart and college educated go-getters ready to take on the world. But somewhere between then and now plans didn’t quite turn out right. The jobs they have are dead end, have them miserable, and don’t really allow them to apply their real and true talents. Yet for one reason, and one particular reason only, they stay where they are. Fear. They are afraid to leave their jobs. They are afraid of not getting a paycheck. They are afraid of the unknown. So fear keeps them in a place where they are utterly unhappy and unfulfilled. This story is by no means unusual.  Thousands if not millions of people everyday don’t live the life they want because of fear. What’s the kicker is that fear will never, ever go away. The trick is learning how to embrace your fear and make it work for, not against you.  That, my friends, is not easy though. It takes constant confrontation of fear, daily facing it in the mirror, religiously kicking it’s ass and refusing to let it wrestle you down and then pin you to the ground. It’s an incessant effort to keep it from swallowing you whole – day in and day out. During one of my more recent fear conquering moments I decided to attend the 99% conference by myself in NYC this past April.  Now anyone familiar with NY knows that it can be one the most intimidating cities in the world. Its big. Its fast. Its unapologetic. It doesn’t stop to hold your hands, pat you on the back and help you cross the street. While at the conference I met a phenomenal woman named Ishita Gupta who told me that she was participating in Seth Godin’s alternative MBA program.  I found just the sound of it fascinating.  In the process of informing me about his program, she also told me about the project she was working on – an ebook called Fear.less. I loved the idea. Stories of what fear means to people and how they overcome it. After the workshop we were attending...

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Being right or wrong is irrelavant. . .
Mar18

Being right or wrong is irrelavant. . .

In my previous blog post I talked about being fearless, which isn’t easy. Being fearless means trying something new, travelling the road less travelled, doing what others won’t do, and even putting your ideas and thoughts out there for others to ponder (which leaves your theories open to criticism, to be dismissed or even outright lambasted). Many people don’t like to be criticized, or told their ideas are bogus, or they’re wrong – which is understandable – but at the end of the day, this does you no favors. You can only grow and flourish by knowing that what you believe is good, bad, sound, or weak and then improving upon it. And that means putting yourself out there. Now an excellent example in fearlessness is Chris Anderson (editor of wired magazine and author of the bestseller the Longtail). He is about to release his second book called FREE – The future of a radical price, which posits the idea that in today’s digital marketplace, the most effective price is no price at all. Now Malcolm Gladwell (best selling author of the Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers) swoops in with a review in the New Yorker and says Chris’s whole premise is flawed and that the whole idea of free is actually failing as we speak. Then Seth Godin counters and says Malcolm Gladwell is wrong and states that regardless or what you think about free it’s happening and is changing the world right now, as we know it. Now from my perspective whether Chris, Malcolm or Seth is wrong or right is besides the point. The more relevant issue at hand is that these gents understand being fearless. And they understand being fearless requires proposing new experiments, proto-typing your ideas and postulating your arguments (right or wrong) in our current brave new world that most or many people are simply not willing to be brave enough to do – because people don’t want to be wrong or don’t want to be seen as having made a mistake and proposed the wrong theory or approach.  But as the old cliche says. . . nothing ventured nothing gained. Now the plain reality my friends is that we are human beings, susceptible to not always being correct. Its a reality. The only answer is if you happen to be wrong, ok fine, take you licks and then get right back in the ring. This is the only way. Now if you are serious about wanting to successfully build a 21st century brand, I suggest you get fearless quick and start conducting you own new experiments...

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Why fireworks and brands don’t go together
Mar18

Why fireworks and brands don’t go together

So now the 4th of July celebrations are over. The bar-b-que’s are done. Our get-togethers have ended. The 233rd birthday bash is done. The booms, baps, pows, sparks, screeches, pops and bams have ceased and are now done. See you next year. Same time, same place. On so many occasions today’s brands are just like 4th of July fireworks – exciting, engaging and grabbing people’s attention for a brief moment. . . then fizzling out. Now before all the hoopla dies down this is a pretty good deal because everyone pays attention to fireworks.  People make big plans, invite all their family and friends to come out, then along with hundreds or even thousands of others, gather, look and admire the spectacle taking place in the night sky. Now the problem is that all this buzz and commotion is brief. Extremely brief. Folks, keep your brands away from fireworks. What you want is a business providing value, that’s quietly growing, and initially attracting an audience, customers and/or fans who love what you are doing (not the party people for the one night party-fest). These folks aren’t there just for the one night soiree, they are there for the long haul, the duration. They value what you are bringing into the world and want what you are creating. The objective ladies and gents is sustainability.  Here today. Not gone tomorrow. You don’t want your business idea to take off like a bottle rocket, shoot up into the air, light up the world then turn into smoke and disappear in the course of 45 seconds.  That would be a travesty. Always remember: your brand should be a daily ritual for people. Giving then regularly what they need, want or desire. Not an annual, one night, 4th of July...

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Hello, I’m a producer, now get use to it
Mar18

Hello, I’m a producer, now get use to it

Ok, let’s go on a field trip to ancient times (circa 1998). Before the ipod, before Youtube, before MySpace, before blogs. Matter of fact September of that year Google is actually founded by Sergy Brin and Larry page (so ‘Googling’ wasn’t even a part of our lexicon yet).  So at this point hours upon hours of time spent online had yet to become a huge part of our day to day. And up to this point (and for most of that century) our opportunities to actively participate in the market was nonexistent. The corporations pretty much were the ones with the best opportunities to, create, generate, communicate and disseminate content. So now, just barely 10 years later, we are just about living in another universe. We have a generation of kids who have no idea what life was like without a laptop. Many of us can’t even remember what we did when we didn’t have a cellphone. I mean can any of us contemplate our businesses without a website?!? Now As a result of the last 10 years the role of the consumer has evolved and changed dramatically. The relationship between those who buy, and those who sell has morphed into something different altogether. in 2009 the role of the producer is no longer just for the upper echelons of those in the business and creative world. Every single person with a computer and a camera is now, in effect, a producer. And this constitutes millions of people. The reason that this is noteworthy isn’t just because we can now all produce/create our own networks of people across the world, or that music groups can bypass record companies altogether and can produce their own bodies of work and distribute them directly to their fans, or that individuals can produce personal videos and send theme directly to their friends, families and colleagues. It’s because when you put this all together it is literally changing the DNA of our socio-cultural and business interactions. The even bigger issue is that as these changes continue to evolve big business wants to try to take the old ways of doing things and simply fit them inside the new ways.  Nope.  Not going to happen.  That’s like trying to put a square inside of a triangle. Two different shapes. Two different ideas. Two different realities. The consumer-producer is an idea here to stay. The sooner businesses acknowledge this shift and begin to perform the right experiments that will help them to successfully leverage these new ideas the better position they will be in to thrive in the new...

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