Philosophy

Man walking down a street

To be aware is to choose what perspective you are taking. To be free is to be fluid in the perspectives you take and finding the right function for the moment. One moment you can be a designer, the next a compassionate listener, the next occasion may call for you to share a sharp tongue with the person who is oblivious to their insensitivity. Fluid.

I thought it would be fun to go through this short exercise. If a person, such as yourself, were to walk down the street you live on, what would you see?

Really pause for a moment and think…. what would you see? Personally, I notice yards and architecture. I love looking at what people do with their yard and homes. My dad worked in construction and my grandparents spent a lot of time in their yards. I have picked up some appreciation along the way for those domains.

manwalkingdownthestreet

If a botanist were to join me, she may point out the plants along the way. Conversely, a meter maid may be looking at the cars parked along the road. The point is, as different people walk down the same street, it is quite likely that each person would each cognitively process different elements of the same objective reality. Past programming and information stored in one’s head informs what data we see as relevant and interesting.

Now, there are some things that most people of this group see and take for granted. Traffic rules, street signs, numbers on houses and addresses, etc. But the real point is to think about the next level down. What would someone from another culture see? Honestly, I have no idea what they would say or think. For someone that has lived on in a house on stilts in the Maldives, the paved roads and concrete sidewalks would be rather odd and strange to walk on.

As we peel back the layers, we can begin to see the amount of possible perspectives and complexity of a previously simple aspect of reality. The myriad of perception opportunities is quite intriguing and breathe taking.

To be aware is to choose what perspective you are taking. To be free is to be fluid in the perspectives you take and finding the right function for the moment. One moment you can be a designer, the next a compassionate listener, the next occasion may call for you to share a sharp tongue with the person who is oblivious to their insensitivity. Fluid.

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Personal

“Strangeness” – A healthy sensation worth exploration

Fear not the strangeness you feel
The future must enter you far before it happens.
Just wait for the birth, for the new hour of clarity.

– Maria Rainier Wilke

I am very thankful to come across this today. Thank you Therese for sharing it on your post.

Often times I find myself loathing the question, “What do you do Brady?” I especially loath the question when I don’t know the person asking it. Part of my frustration comes from wanting to be able to communicate in a meaningful way to that person…. and that is dependent on knowing their level of exposure to the domains that I work in. My family to date has a vague idea of what I do, not because I haven’t told them but because most of what I do is so far outside of the realm of things they deal with. Who thinks about sales funnels, SEO, persuasive architecture, marketing budgets, google analytics, etc.

Starting this year I have taken on the title, Internet Profit Strategist. So now people know that I do something with the Internet, something related to money and something that is based in strategy. It is a starting point at least. 

I want to get back into the quote I shared above. I have resisted the “strangeness” of my work for sometime. I have not been able to see the big picture of my services as clearly as I see this keyboard. I know that I enjoy helping people that are in action, moving their business towards their goals of bringing a better & healthier product or service into the world. For me, I have seen how critical the strategic use of technology can be for success. It is here, with CRM’s, Internet Marketing, persuasion, strategic thinking, web development that I have placed my focus since 2007. In line with that, I am excited to be working with clients through the medium of building Lead Generating Websites at The Website Architects. For now, I am tempted to get confortable with my “strangeness” and see what future is entering though me. More to come. Please feel free to share moments of strangeness and clarity in the comments below or via email to me.

 

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Business Related Posts

The Gold is in the Dialogue

Goal Setting Blog PostIn December, a good friend of mine shared this article with me. I really enjoyed the post and personally related to the paradox of goal setting.

In short, Peter Bregman’s post pointed out some of the findings in a recent study conducted at Harvard, called: Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goal Setting

In summary, Peter pointed out that “they identified clear side effects associated with goal setting, including a narrow focus that neglects non-goal areas, a rise in unethical behavior, distorted risk preferences, corrosion of organizational culture, and reduced intrinsic motivation.”

Later on in his post Peter writes: “When we set goals, we’re taught to make them specific and measurable and time-bound. But it turns out that those characteristics are precisely the reasons goals can backfire. A specific, measurable, time-bound goal drives behavior that’s narrowly focused and often leads to either cheating or myopia. Yes, we often reach the goal, but at what cost?”

I was about to finish reading the post, then I noticed that the comments had exploded. As I read the comments, I found that the readers had further clarified and articulated several of the points in the post. Really, I found as much value in the comments as I did in the post itself.

So I thought I would post a reminder today that the comments and dialogue that come after a blog post or article may hold some great nuggets of information.

 

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Business Related Posts

The 2 Most Scarce Resources in the World

Last month I had the opportunity to attend Product Launch Formula Live with Jeff Walker in Phoenix. I recieved a lot of value out of the event. On day one, Jeff said something that really stuck with me. 

“Discipline and follow-through are the two scarcest resources in the world.” - Jeff Walker

I have been thinking a lot about that statement ever since I have heard it. It makes so much sense to me, especially being exposed to entrepreneurs and small business owners on a daily basis.

I thought it would be good to delve a little deeper on these two topics of follow through and discipline. In addition I believe there is a third resource that is required too. But first, lets look at Discipline.

Defined by wikipedia, discipline is the assertion of willpower over more base desires, and is usually understood to be synonymous with self control. Self-discipline is to some extent a substitute for motivation, when one uses reason to determine the best course of action that opposes one’s desires.

Jeff’s second rare resource was “Follow Through.” There are a couple ways to language “follow through.” We could use words like act or take action or phrases like “do the work” or “walk the talk.” I think you get the point. This area has to do with the act of getting those items done.

In my opinion, both of these are resources, while rare, are worthless without the existence of a third resource that we can generically refer to as a plan or strategy. What is the point of exercising discipline or follow though if there is not a thoughtful direction or plan.

As defined by wikipedia, a strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a specific goal. Strategy is all about gaining (or being prepared to gain) a position of advantage over adversaries or best exploiting emerging possibilities.

I think its obvious right? You need discipline to both create and follow a strategy. Real strategy takes work to find and create. There are constant distractions and “opportunities” that can alter or deter you from keeping true to your strategy and the plan. Secondly, without follow through, strategy is just a collection of thoughts and words on paper. Nothing actually happens in the world. All knowledge requires someone to apply that knowledge through doing … without it, nothing happens.

Manage  your resources wisely.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Books & Resources

Fastcompany Article Review: The Coursera Effect

This is a response to the article posted at:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3000042/how-coursera-free-online-education-service-will-school-us-all

10 second overview of the article.

– 2 Professors leave stanford to offer courses online.

– They raised 16 Million dollars.

– Over 1 Million people register for courses.

The questions this article brings up for me:

– Where is education heading?

– What is required to learn?

– What are the different categories and styles for learning?

– Do you really need to pay $1000’s to a university in order to watch a professor scribbling notes on a blackboard infront of 100 capable adults?

I was excited to read this article. I think education is next in line to start a similar evolution as the music industry and newspapers.  Obviously this is much bigger than both of these industries put together.

The Long Tale is a useful economic model to draw from in looking at this article. In short, the internet disrupts any information market that is entangled with carrying and distribution costs. For example, in 1980 you could only buy music at music retail stores or via post mail or yard sales. Now, an online store (like iTunes) can house a near infinite number of music selections.  The distribution and carrying costs are virtually zero for iTunes while a normal retail store is limited by the number of choices it can offer while also being limited to store hours, inventory and locations in reference to the myriad of consumers and their tastes. The internet has provided a boon of Long Tale marketplaces where the number of choices available have radically shifted to a near infinite Long Tale. This is now happening with education.

Long Tale of Music

The good and bad news for educators:

As people get access to everyday college education areas like accounting and history, the demand for the consuming classes will increase for them. As classes become more available, the price will also drop.  I think this will force a new type of education ecology to emerge. Here are some of the new types of educational phenomenons to emerge:

– Education will compete with entertainment.

– Degrees will become meaningless and demonstrated expertise will become cherished.

– Classes will offer fee based opportunities to complement the free courses

– A societal shift in competence versus credentials

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Business Related Posts

Enable Success

In my early days of being a service provider I had a really bad habit of making myself invisible.  I often just did what needed to be done, without having to be told, then let the business owner know afterwards when I submitted my invoice. I was an extension of them and their concerns and latest and greatest idea. My clients appreciated the fact that I didn’t need to be managed and that things got done.

Sometimes my clients would ask for something like a website, a crm solution or a new marketing sequence. I would take over the project and deliver a finished product a few days, weeks, or a month later. I handled the hundreds of little details, sub-contracted out the work, made the obvious decisions on their behalf, and only interrupted them with the pivotal decisions. One of the key values I brought to my clients was that I learned what their spoken and unspoken business objectives were. I became familiar with their values,  so I could act on their behalf.

Over the years I have grown to see how that is a limited value proposition for business owners.  Even more so today there is no shortage of ideas, projects, and opportunities for consulting where substantial business objective won’t be achieved.

From the perceptive of a substance abuse healthcare professional, Helping is doing something for someone that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling is doing something for someone that they could, and should be doing themselves. The result of enabling is that a possible critical behavior for success or health is being undermined.

So what should business owners be doing? Today I think business owners should be making decisions from a clearly communicated set of values and strategy. These values and strategy underline their competitive advantage in the marketplace. The problem I have experienced  is that real strategy and real values require discipline and rigorous thinking that most are not willing to do. Its also the kind of work that I cannot do for them.

When I silently execute for a business owner that hasn’t included his team’s input or factored in the long term strategy, or violates a core value, I am enabling a behavior that ultimately hurts the profitability of the company. Usually a behavior is perfect for one domain of the company like marketing or sales where the owner is a natural, but that behavior is completely the wrong process for making decisions pertaining to another part of the company like customer support or product development. The business owner succeeds because of their brilliance in one area, but is held back because of their failures in another.

Today I am always looking at what behaviors I am reinforcing in the client. I speak up when its appropriate. I always encourage that we work from a core set of values and strategy. As a team we are a unit with a singular focus for the company, the end customer, and the marketplace.

Now, as you will have probably noticed that I have slipped in a couple words here, that while small, are relatively complex. Those two words are values and strategy.

In upcoming posts I will delve into these more.

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Business Related Posts

Pragmatic Marketing Certification

Last Month I was lucky enough to complete the Practical Product Management course offered by Pragmatic Marketing.

This training company has created a powerful paradigm for managing the creation and ongoing management of a product. I believe they specialize in product management and marketing for technical software products. But really, nearly everything I saw there could be applied to physical products, services and even information products.

What I appreciated most is Pragmatic’s emphasis to both satisfy the customer and making decisions based on the data. The 2 day course I attended was really a 2 day course on how and why you can make the best decisions concerning your product by always bringing it back to what the customer tells you and strategic positioning of the product in the market place.

Here are a few ah hah’s for me.

1. Market Problems are the foundation for product offers. Finding the real market problem is an art and requires real, concentrated qualitative and quantitative research. It is easy to think you know the customer and deliver what they want…. but is another thing to actually deliver. I now know when I am not clear on the market problem or when my team is not clear on the market problems.

2. How you talk about features or product releases can shape everything from Sales to Customer Support. Additionally, product roadmaps are so much more than just a good idea. They are a key communication document that internally positions the product to be problem solving driven versus feature driven.

3. Product management is a very entrepreneurial role in a company. A PM needs to be able to manage executive buy in and stand at the intersection of market research, feature set management, design, technical development, marketing, sales and customer support.

I would strongly recommend the course to anyone that is responsible for a product or service. Learn more here.

I am proud to be Pragmatic Marketing Certified. Thank you Paul Young.

 

 

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Business Related Posts

Who is in the training business?

I have noticed a trend with Infusionsoft that has gotten me to think about a growing demand that most nearly every business should look at. With each quarter, Infusionsoft is increasingly becoming a training company. Traditionally they were a software company that offer a full featured marketing platform for small businesses. On top of that they offer technical support, consulting and more. Deep down they are geeks and their primary focus has historically been on software and companies getting results with their product.

Now I want to get to my point. Today, they really have a leg in the training business. At some point, the software becomes good enough and the next barrier to more clients and revenue becomes training. Your business is no different….we must train our customers. If they don’t know what to do, they are going to screw it up. Good training can make up for a lot of deficiencies in a product and poor training can kill a great product. So here are some questions worth asking yourself.

1. Do my customers know to use my product or services?

2. How do you know that they know how to use your tool / services correctly?

 3. Is your training organized by benefit and is your entire company aligned on those benefits from the strategic vision of the company to the gal who takes calls at the welcome desk ?

 

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Books & Resources

Book Review: 5 Dysfunctions of A Team

A good friend of mine, John Quigley, recommended I read a book called “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni. Similar to “The Goal” and  other effective and transformative business books I have read, this book’s concepts are delivered through the telling of a single story. Its an easy read, straightforward, entertaining and insightful. However, there is a great amount of depth to the book that becomes apparent as one looks to remedy the dysfunctions in the real world.

What I enjoyed most about the book is that it provides an arc or a foundation for building a great team. Similar to what I have read in Wisdom of Crowds, Wikinomics and Open Space Technology, groups of people have an amazing quality to really make remarkable things happen in this emergent and non-linear process. These dysfunctions, when addressed and remedied really allow for a clearing or space for a team to excel.

Here are the 5 dysfunctions that every leader and team member should be aware of in order to see optimum results.

Dysfunction 1: Inattention to Results – This is largely a function of team members being more interested in status and egoic interests.

Dysfunction 2: Avoidance of Accountability – This is shows up as low standards or low goals.

Dysfunction 3: Lack of Commitment – This is a result of ambiguity of job, direction and goals of the team.

Dysfunction 4: Fear of Conflict – The is evident when you see an artificial harmony within the team. There is such a thing as healthy conflict.

Dysfunction 5: Absence of Trust – This dysfunction expresses itself as members of the team being invulnerable.

Throughout the story, Patrick does a great job capturing the essence of each of these dysfunctions and how a leader can go about addressing these dysfunctions. After identifying each dysfunction, I would say that the next most important part of the book is the final chapter of the book, “Understanding and Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions.” Within this chapter are a list of exercises and resources for addressing each dysfunction.

Below is a really great YouTube video from the author with a short summary of the dysfunctions.

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Personal

Locomotive

locomotiveI do feel like the life I live is mine. I do feel that I have the keen opportunity to enjoy it. But really for me, pleasure is like exercise for the soul. Doing simple and enjoyable activities ground me and have me be related to what is important in life. Nature, art, literature, friends….these are all areas of life that deepen my appreciation. And…..at the most basic level, these areas source and support my drive. I am a locomotive looking for its track. I spin my wheels and know they are good for something. I am not here to breathe and take up space. I am a builder. I see systems and I see a broken wheel the size of the planet, and I want to fix it. I want a world that works for everyone. I happily invest my life for those opportunities. Today, my koan, my question is…where should I lay my tracks and where should I put this soul to use.

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