13 posts categorized "March 2009"
March 30, 2009
For the last decade, I've been giving out my email to everyone I meet or speak to. Whether it is from my books (Love Is The Killer App) or from the stage, I'm happy to tell you how to contact me.
As a result, I've received tens of thousands of emails over time. I treat each one as gold, especially the Thank You notes. These are the emails that validate my behavior, and give me gratitude for my vocation. Every one of us could or should get Thank You notes all of the time from customers, colleagues and friends. It's a sign we are doing something right.
Today, working on a new idea, I combed through a few email folders (testimonials, thanks, stories) and the experience was uplifting and motivating. Gone are any Monday blahs, I'm off to create new Thank You experiences.
Are you easy to get in contact with? When you receive a note of gratitude, do you file it away for a rainy day? You are what you read, and often times, you read too much negative information. Think about the last nasty-gram you've read a dozen times, polluting your mind. You could have re-read ten Thank You notes in the same period -- and gone back to work!
March 26, 2009
We need to boost our sense of total confidence.
Over the last few speaking engagements, I've been focusing on this issue. I believe that the reason people get selfish is because they lose their total confidence: themselves, the groups they are a part of and the greater community. Layoffs, cutbacks and scare-stories have infiltrated corporate cultures to the point of freezing them in the headlights of the coming change-train. Practical is now paranoid.
People hoard great ideas, because they fear they'll never have a good one again. If you had several good ideas and confidence you'd come up with more -- you'd likely give them away.
The last year or so has shattered business confidence and personal confidence at the same time. Many of us wonder if we'll ever make the same money as we made in 2004, 2005 or 2006. Many of us wonder if we'll ever get our spare time back. Many of us have 'survivor's guilt', believing that we are partly to blame for our company's recent hardships.
This lack of confidence, manifested in scarcity thinking, is bad for you and bad for the groups you belong to. To help reverse this, I suggest you shift your information diet from negative news to constructive information. Instead of wasting valuable time reading, thinking or talking about the economy, spend the time aggregating some know-how.
Learn more about how things work, especially things that can improve your personal resume. Spend an hour at the bookstore, poring over business books that offer a peek into the future or useful tools for you to boost performance on the job. The more you do this, the more confident you'll get in life and at work. I credit this practice to my personal success during the last recession in '01-'03. I read my way out of the funk and rose up inside my company like a Phoenix when the market came back.
You can also negotiate to take on a mentor that can give you relevant know-how. These days, everyone is taxed for time. Find a mentor that you think would supercharge your knowledge base. Offer to trade time for advice. Be willing to do a 'dirty-work' task for your mentor. When you get one, as I did in '01, you'll find that your confidence will soar.
Confident people believe in abundance: There's enough to go around. There's enough to share.
March 23, 2009
For all you bad-news-junkies -- today was a good news day.
Regardless, a little happy talk might help overcome your recent case of scarcity think. It would balance out all the gloom and doom talk you've subjected yourself to over the last few months.
Me personally, I've turned off the cable talking heads and refreshing stock ticker'd web pages. I'm consuming an information diet of solutions instead of problems. Today, though, I'm turning it all on to bath in some positive news -- if only for today.
You are what you eat, and that applies to the relationship between information and outlook.
March 20, 2009
Yesterday, March Madness kicked off online and offline.
Three groups are competing your your eyes and dollars:
The incumbent, CBS Broacast, offers high resolution, no fast connection required. Good old fashioned Free TV. If a game gets close, they cut to it and return to the scheduled game when it's over. You also have TIVO capability. If your favorite team isn't featured or in a close game, you are out of luck.
Direct TV offers all the games in HD format. It's pricey, but if you are a fanatic (and don't work much), then it's a great way to enjoy the front end of March Madness. But it is 2009, and this is pretty expensive. BTW -- Call them now
and they will prorate charges.
NCAA.com, for the first time, offers all the games on demand. They stole my business from Direct TV this year. Why not? I can watch CBS and have NCAA on at the same time. I can cut to any game (although my internet connection requires me to lower quality settings). I don't have TIVO capability with NCAA.com, but that's ok. I'm sure that Direct TV is bleeding to this upstart offering. Expect millions of dollars to be moved from TV On Demand to the free model. This is a core concept behind Chris Anderson's upcoming book (Free: A Radical Price
, July 2009). Check out his article about the future of free.
This battle has evolved over the last few years. When I was @ broadcast.com, we offered Free Audio Internet and later...pay for. It was, at best, a break even business (ad revenue VS bandwidth costs). It was important to us, as a startup, to have the content. We could leverage it to build the audience. That fed into the exit strategy of selling to a portal (like Yahoo!). Good strategy for the times.
NCAA.com is not a startup with an exit strategy, just a media property. So they need to make money on giving away the tourney online. As Mark Cuban often points out on his blog
, the difference between broadcasters and netcasters is that there is an incremental expense to netcasters for each user. Netcasters have to pay the outgoing bandwidth charges, unlike broadcasters that merely upload it once for all to pull down.
NCAA.com is swapping out commercials, so it makes incremental money for every view. State Farm is the named sponsor for this, getting a little button on all the website pages. Given the economic climate and the conservative ad market, I doubt that NCAA's sales team is getting a premium for their "eyeballs delivered". Hopefully State Farm's sponsorship covers the bandwidth and production fees, giving NCAA some razor of margin. Otherwise, we are provisioning NCAA to avoid Direct TV charges.
Takeaway: Free internet may be able to beat out Pay For (and better), but the business model must be for-profit-right-now to be sustainable and upgradable. I'm not sure the price of the future is (still) free. Unless you like learning new media consumption habits every year or so...
March 18, 2009
Today, I'm grateful. This feeling will inoculate me from a bad mood, uncooperative behavior and a lack of energy. Why am I grateful?
I have this feeling because I practice gratefulness every morning. It is my new morning devotional. With my morning cup of coffee, I create list of things to be grateful for. I'm very specific and don't contrive or include the trivial.
When I finish my list, I read it outloud. Finally, I take five minutes to close my eyes, smile, and contemplate this fantastic life I've been given. This practice has a powerful impact on me in every way: physically, emotionally and spiritually. I can't believe this hasn't been part of my morning routine my entire life.
What am I giving up to do this? Some newspaper time, idle net surfing and checking my email. Those morning habits don't contribute to my effectiveness like the practice of gratefulness.
This will not be my last post on this subject. It's my belief that you can't be hateful when you are grateful. When you have a bad attitude in a role (work, family, etc.), you've likely lost your gratefulness and need to refresh it to be effective. What are you grateful for?
March 16, 2009
At least once a week, someone asks me for some public speaking tips.
After all, effective speakers move people to action -- one of the keys to success in life. It is not easy, though, even if you master power point design
and a few hand gestures. When you have more tools and techniques for writing presentations, you also get self-confidence and poise. When you begin to master public speaking the act transforms from a "have-to" into a "get-to".
MPI's One+ Magazine (the leading trade publication for meeting professionals) ran my column on "Speaker Rehab"
in a recent issue. It's my basic advice on how to be the best possible speaker or presenter you can be.
March 11, 2009
Yesterday I had a speaking gig in Cleveland.
During the day, I found out that the Middle American Conference was opening it's 2009 NCAA conference tourney at the Quicken Loans center -- right behind my hotel. I love a good game, especially March madness. I bought a cheap ticket, wiggled my way to a floor seat and settled in for the Akron/Toledo matchup.
The game took a long time, and a few of the Akron fans behind me were really unruly and loud. One man behind me screamed at the Akron coaches, the kids and the refs. In that order. With about six minutes to go, Akron was trailing by a dozen points and the kids on the bench were hanging their heads. Lowly Toledo was about to pull an upset.
The jerk behind me screamed, "it is over!" and somehow I fell victim to his negativity. I decided that it was time to call it a night, so at 9:30 I made my way out of the arena to find a quick bite to eat. I've left games early countless times, and usually have a good nose for a blowout. This time I was wrong.
When I got back to my hotel room, I looked up the score online out of curiosity. Turns out the end of the game was a thriller (an overtime victory for Akron
When I got my coffee this morning, people in the lobby were talking about "how insane" the end of the game was. Yikes. I love nothing more than a thrilling game, and I missed it because I hit the exits too early. Instead of wallowing in this, I decided to derive a lesson from it: Don't leave the game until it is over -- even if the jerks are telling you that it is over.
This applies to your business life too. These days, the game looks like it is over for some of our customers and partners. Don't leave them, you might miss a thrilling turnaround and be rewarded for your stick-to-it-ness. Same goes for your company -- don't split just because your team is behind in the second half.
March 09, 2009
There's a great article on Motley Fool/Yahoo! today that might give you a new way of seeing today.
IS THE WORLD SPINNING ME?
I agree with the authors -- the world is not coming to an end and the sun will rise tomorrow. Are you really going to let the doomsayers (eg. media) bring you down with the Dow?
PS -- I wish Uncle Buffett would be more sensitive to the crisis in confidence. His comments today
didn't help anyone (but the media) and drove the market down. What was he thinking? It is as if he's on the sidelines, with nothing to lose.
There are two new records that take 'symphonic rock' to the next level.
David Byrne and Brian Eno's 2008 release (Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
) is a gem of an album. Byrne's lyrics are in top form and Eno's guitar tones are majestic and spooky at the same time. Check out the third track (I Feel My Stuff) for a Massive Attack meets T-Heads vibe.
The Animal Collective's 2009 release (Merriweather Post Pavilion
) is the best layered vocal album since The Fleet Floxes debut. Animal Collective have jelled on this release, combining analog synth tones and Brian Wilson quality harmonies. Check out the second track (My Girls) and you'll click to buy the album, I promise.
March 05, 2009
These days, I'm working hard to save my customers and partners money.
I'm not cutting my speaking fees or discounting my consulting, either. I firmly believe that when you focus on price, you start down the slippery slope to the no-profit zone. Instead, I am focused on reducing my costs to customers and partners.
For example, I've trimmed back any luxuries on the customer's dime. No more first or business class, unless it is a bargain. In fact, Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue are looking pretty good these days. No more upgraded hotel rooms, standard works fine for me. Yesterday I drove my car to the airport, because it will save today's customer $100.00 over a taxi or car service. The meal I had last night was under $20.00. Etc.
This sends a signal to my customers that "we are in this together". By cutting my costs to the customer, I'm helping them get by with less during these tough times. That is one of the most socially responsible habits we can develop over time.
For my partners, I'm cutting back on requirements that cost them money too. Gone are overnight packages (ground or regular mail now works fine). I'm happy to receive all communications via email, so very little paper or plastic needs to be bought or shipped. Additionally, I'm NOT asking any of my service providers to cut their prices either. I want them to remember my loyalty during this period for a long time. By looking out for their bottom line, I'm preserving my business eco-system.
I say all of this because we seem to be so focused on OUR bottom line, and as a result we've started to squeeze our partners and customers for every dime we can. If they don't survive, how will we? I truly believe in "The Law Of Interdependence" -- our success depends on the success of others.
How are you helping your customers and partners save it forward? Post your innovations under comments so all of us can continue to innovate in this area and make a difference.