Your Personal Newspaper10 September, 2016 | created using FiveFilters.org
The Attention-Starved Reality
Sep 9, 2016 02:31PM
How do you stand out and sell in a world of infinite choice, easy
access and endless world-class products? We have too much of
everything. But we are limited in our ability to give attention to
We can only read one book at a time, use one product at a time
and talk to one person with full attention at any given moment.
The world has been inverted. Entire channels have been opened
up for everyone to participate and get started. The hard part is not
getting access anymore. That’s the previous advantage industrial
age companies and brands had.
You can put out whatever you like. If you want to make a song or
podcast, it’s easy to work it and get it published.
If you want to sell some of your line of products, you can open up a
BigCommerce store and start posting your wares with snazzy
pictures and catchy copy.
I am putting a thought out today by simply writing and pushing the
“Publish” button. It’s out there for the world to consume and use.
The product is the easier part today. The harder part is selling
within an economy of scarce attention and endless options.
While the opportunity is immense, we are constrained by what
makes business what it is – people. You still have to attract
someone to pay attention. Then move that person through desire
and intrigue. The selling is a human process that requires care and
connection with where someone is at to be able to appeal to their
And it’s a hard nut to crack on a mass scale as well within the
intimate part of the sales funnel where someone says, “Yes.”
It’s a game of process, consistency and acumen to dial into the
point of resonance. The world is indeed flatter. Everyone can play
now with products they want to sell. The question is whether you
will be strategic and personal in your approach to selling or simply
throw noise that gets ignored out into the world.
What’s your strategy?
Need one? Send me a note.
Reciprocate and Be Happy
Sep 8, 2016 03:00PM
One way to be frustrated and unhappy is to keep giving and
finding a lack of reciprocation. It can sound noble, but you can also
get burned out from a lack of reward which comes naturally
Healthy and fulfilling relationships depend on trading.
A vibrant economy comes from efficient trade.
Merit and achievement come from trading up with effort,
intentionality and good deal making.
You may not be clear in this area. You may not be happy. How
about taking a look at how you do business and life with this
simple focus by examining who reciprocates.
Then invest your best in the people that like to reciprocate. It will
make you much more happy than being drained by takers or those
that don’t partake in reciprocating.
Here’s an easy process to implement:
1. Look at the people in your life you want to build relationships
2. Think deeply about what they care about.
3. Give each person value first by being valuable.
5. Trade when they trade.
In step 4 above, if you don’t see reciprocation, determine whether
your act was real value or only valuable to you, not the other
person. Try again if you determine you missed on value.
If you did provide real value, then you likely have a taker. Restrain
yourself and leave the ball in their court.
Trading is healthy, not only for good business, but it is also for
sustainability. The last thing you want to do is build up resentment
and burn out.
Life is short, so invest in the best people.
Life is also long in how many opportunities there are to give. Best
to place your bets in the areas that reward you well.
What do you think? Who can you trade with regularly with your
The 3 Most Natural
Sep 7, 2016 02:57PM
Are entrepreneurs born or made? Yes.
They are both. I see those that walk that arduous journey strive
well, but if you don’t have the natural traits then it’s a lot more
work to be aware of your weaknesses.
Ultimately, entrepreneurship is about decision making. And your
natural instincts, especially under stress, will drive your next 100
decisions in a completely different direction than someone who is
wired different from you.
Some people are more wired to be workers. They are comfortable
taking direction and working within an offense that is well defined.
Workers are important around execution.
Then there are managers. They organize ideas and use resources
efficiently whether it’s people, technology or budgets.
But the entrepreneurs are a different breed. They are comfortable
with ambiguity and are thinking big while working small. The
challenge of dealing with uncertainty and risk requires a special
instinct around keeping the goal clearly in mind and making sense
of the ever changing landscape of uncertainty.
Can I turn someone into an entrepreneur? No. That’s a journey
that someone who is not naturally wired has to choose. It will be
But, I can tell you the kinds of business coaching clients that are
the easiest to work with. They have these 3 natural traits:
1. High Cognitive Ability. They think conceptually and
strategically. It’s not the day-to-day thinking, it’s the ability to
see the invisible and be comfortable with ambiguity. This is a
measurable quality. Thinking in terms of ideas, principles and
how today’s actions relates to a future vision keeps steadiness
in the journey towards something that has to be forced into
existence. These are not practical people. They are idealistic.
We have plenty of practical people that take the
entrepreneurs’ ideas and use them because they work. High
cognitive thinkers are unnatural and disruptive.
2. High Goal Orientation. High goal people are easy to work
with. They can handle many different goals and move them to
scale. Scaling is critical in the path and being able to see
what the most important priorities to deliver on is a natural
real-time instinct that high goal people have. They want to set
direction, not necessarily take direction. They are always
thinking about leverage and knocking out big goals. They
work asymmetrically in seasons of high intensity and rest.
3. Low Detail Bent. Entrepreneurs want to see how things
work and start, but they are looking to delegate. Technicians
hold on. Low detail people look for resources to get things
they know work done so they can move onto further
innovation, discovery and trail blazing. They can settle for
lower quality to move the bigger milestones. They don’t like
to waste time and value being able to move with action rather
than overanalyze something that is largely known.
These traits are inherent. We all have different brains and the way
we see the world and move in it is innate from how we are wired.
Over thousands and thousands of hours coaching owners and
executives, I have seen anyone with these natural bents move
towards innovating with much more ease than those that might
lack the hard wiring.
Are you on the entrepreneurial journey or considering it? Consider
taking this strengths test and let’s have a discussion to see why
you would or would not do well at entrepreneurship.
Think Big But Work Small
Sep 6, 2016 01:35PM
There’s no shortage of opportunities today. In fact, it’s cheaper
and more convenient than ever to envision and put an idea you
may have into play.
Imagine trying to make your idea happen in the 1960’s. It would
be both extremely expensive and difficult to get it out for others to
even take notice.
That’s not the problem anymore. You can get your idea started and
put out into the world. However, it’s that easy for everyone else
these days as well. You are inevitably playing in a crowded field.
The hard part is getting enough attention to even matter.
Everyone is a producer and everyone is a brand.
The dichotomy we face is how to go big in our ideas and keep that
ever before us while we test in small steps. All of your assumptions
have to be tested. You might assume a certain group will like your
idea. If they react with little enthusiasm, it’s time to reevaluate
immediately. And you can know this by putting a small test out
there that represents the big idea. You can keep the idea big with
small steps in the implementation to gauge how things will work in
When you see positive feedback, you can enhance your idea and
invest more time, money and energy.
The hard part is getting creative to solicit the reaction you are
looking for before going big.
The temptation to go big early may come from our love for the idea
vs. something that actually works to make people happy. That
becomes more about you rather than those that will benefit.
We live in a crowded world. And people have access at their
fingertips to whatever might appeal to their curiosities, pleasures
Thinking big and working small is a strategy that can help you
avoid risks out of the gate with good intentions.
How can you simplify and test your assumptions?
Sep 2, 2016 02:44PM
We are on a continuous journey of increasing efficiency. That’s
what you feel happening around you when your job disappears or
businesses come and go.
There are only customers and what they want. There’s only the
collective thinking from an enormous amount of talented people
compounding on top of existing technologies and platforms. These
are macro forces that are working towards change on massive
We didn’t have a world ten years ago where everyone had a smart
computer in their pocket with infinite computing power. Today, we
have a smarter citizenry that is plugged in and able to find
whatever answers they are seeking.
The wild west tends to get organized over time. Standardization
happens. A few platforms rise to the top. Consolidation is natural
to take advantage of economies of scale and allow network effects
within an ecosystem.
You can try and fight Google with a better search engine, but you
will lose. The game has been played and consolidation has
You can try and build your own platforms, but why not use the
ones that exist already and focus on the content as value instead of
Every industry is getting touched because we are all contributing
in how we do business, access information and connect with
others. And if you are not consolidating within your own industry,
then someone else will do it. Again, it’s natural.
It’s easier to plug in. It’s easier to get started and make your idea
But the hard part is standing out and being noticed because
everyone can participate and put their shingle out now for little to
There’s no need to differentiate on using something different or
isolated from everyone else. The greater value lies around the
human part of our experiences. Being human and making an
impact with insights, emotion, experience and connection is where
the real value lies.
Don’t waste your time fighting consolidation or getting enamored
with technologies and platforms. That time has passed on so many
Get on with the business of putting your work, heart and thoughts
out there and lead. It’s a much better strategy in a commoditized,
The Problem with Leveling
Sep 1, 2016 01:46PM
The Peter Principle sure can be observed frequently and
predictably, not only in hierarchies, but in new endeavors.
Just because something worked at a lower level of pursuit does not
mean it will work in the next level up. Common sense? Yes. But it
is a principle that repeatedly gets reinforced by the comfort zones
that those leveling up tend to carry with them into new
opportunities or roles.
The problem with leveling up is that blind spot of underestimating
the new game. We want the money, reward or prestige, thus, it is
why we push towards something bigger, perhaps in a larger
operation, new market or product development. Thus, we see the
problem of rising to the highest level of incompetence.
At some point, what worked in one situation or level does not work
in the next level. It’s a new game.
New games require new skills, mindsets and approaches. Just
because you can work at small scale does not mean you are
operationally sound to work at large scale. Or if your familiarity
with one vertical market has gleaned amazing success, it doesn’t
mean you can all of a sudden have the same conversation style in a
completely different market segment.
Leveling up is a natural pull that is attractive. More equals better
right? The enticement can be seductive to step into a new level.
Since you have already had some kind of success, then moving up
becomes the next step. But, before you push and drive, how about
taking stock of your own abilities and limitations. Assume you do
have limits. Will those be your achilles heel in your new challenge?
Ask the simple question, “What do rock stars in that next level do
different than I do?” It may be hard to be honest. But it will save
you an immense amount of heartache and disappointment.
Otherwise, the better strategy might be to stay where you are and
make it more efficient if you are not willing to pay the price of
thinking hard about what’s required in the next level.
Make Things Happen, Don’t
Aug 31, 2016 01:53PM
I am not sure there are many safe places to hide any more. You
can’t hang low collecting a paycheck hoping your bosses don’t
notice. And everyone’s getting squeezed.
I have already been in several conversations with business owners
this past week and we were talking about reducing overhead and
running their businesses leaner with less people. It’s common
sense thinking for an owner. They are in the business to serve
their customers and make money, not necessarily be a professional
The great news, however, is that all this change, all this speed and
all this access to tools allows anyone to make things happen.
Living in quiet desperation is painful and unnecessary. If you have
been practicing, like most people, the habit of waiting for
something to happen, snap out of it. That kind of habit is a sure
way of setting yourself up to lose.
Things happen because of the people that go out into the world
and make things happen, not waiting for something to happen.
It starts with an idea. And if you don’t have any ideas, then start
practicing thinking and sharing your ideas.
When you are clear and determined, start pulling the resources
towards your idea. Those are the people, apps, tools and other
things you need to make your idea work.
It’s not expensive compared to 20 years ago. You have more
resources available to you than ever before. But if you are waiting
around waiting for someone else with ideas to approach you and
invite you into a gig or opportunity, then you are missing out on
the opportunity to develop the skills you need to survive today.
The cheese has moved and the world is quickly favoring those that
make things happen, not wait for something to happen.
Try getting someone to follow you today on one idea. Then do it
tomorrow and every day. You will be getting in the game around
Managing the Ask
Aug 30, 2016 01:40PM
If you feel overwhelmed in life or seem to be putting out fires all
the time without much forward progress, then consider how you
I can understand that when you want to be helpful or valuable that
it is easy to jump at requests. Or sometimes, you may not know
that you are being asked for something because of your eagerness.
Someone may want something from you and you see it as helping.
Depending on your relationships and the frequency you are asked
for help, consider managing the ask with your own ask back.
Someone might say,
“Can you get help me put this presentation together?”
“Could you get this work done for me?”
The ask can come in many different forms. And the thing is that
there’s not a cost for asking.
But you can create one for those that might freely use your time,
attention or money by simply asking back.
“Sure, can you do me a favor first … ?
“Not a problem. Glad to help. How about you do this first and
then get back to me and let me know what you find.”
You can be simple, polite and free. You can lead by seeing if the
person requesting your resources is willing to pay a small cost to
value the request they make of you.
Why is this so important? So you don’t become resentful. You don’t
have to be subject to the whims of people. We live in a fast moving
economy and you have goals of your own and only so much energy.
If people can get something for nothing, surely they will. But that’s
not their fault. It’s simply deal making.
And you want to exchange value with the traders that are willing
to pay a cost, however small, to show a gesture of good faith.
How can you practice asking back to make better deals with
others and yourself?
The Goal is Not to Be a
Aug 29, 2016 02:28PM
Being a professional employer has a weird deal to it. You take the
risk, responsibility and social burden of growing a business.
However, this onus of responsibility is increasingly getting
questioned where efficiency is proliferating, thus we find the
middle class diminishing at a rapid rate. And the largest reason for
this squeeze is that those middle class jobs were inefficient in the
first place. They were information bottlenecks that a cubicle
factory produced and called value.
However, automation is changing the scene in a rapid way. Cloud
computing, artificial intelligence, machine language, predictive
analysis and infinite computing are right there for any
entrepreneur to implement. The overhead of office space, server
racks, sales organizations, and yes, white collar labor, is not a
requirement to get started.
When you get squeezed by market forces or a crisis, the luxury of
labor becomes a scrutinized cost. Business owners and managers
have to streamline and get more efficient. And the reality is that
they can change things up at any time. But they may have overpaid
in business operations until a crisis becomes a scapegoat. They
then have the business decision to embracing the reality that jobs
can be accomplished more efficiently with technology.
And when the business cycle does come back and turn, is there
good reason to add more labor when automation has taken root
and filled the gap?
The goal of an entrepreneur is to bring immense value to
customers. One tool to make this happen is to add labor towards
this end. But when entrepreneurs discover that they can do much
more with less because platforms and automation are ubiquitous
and cheap, then why would someone want to be inefficient when
they have found dramatic low-cost efficiency.
And what about the lot of the employee? Well, they have to figure
out how to bring value to others as well. There’s no free ride.
There are less places where they can be told what to do and what
to think by someone else taking the risk.
Instead, they can find customers and automate as well. It may be
scary, but by necessity, this is happening repeatedly by people
making that mindset shift. And the fact that it is being done so
regularly and en masse takes away the argument of employment
as a limited option.
Employment is a means, not an end.
Bringing value and doing it efficiently for a marketplace is why a
business exists in the first place.
It’s hard enough driving that value. But getting mixed signals in
your head and doing second things first can make the job much
Focus on bringing immense value with efficiency. If it happens to
involve employing others, so be it. But your burden is on your
customer first as an entrepreneur.
Don’t Hide Behind Spending
Aug 26, 2016 02:22PM
It is so fascinating to see how exponential growth from lower cost
in technology is flattening the world. There is unprecedented
democratization around bringing our ideas to market. And it starts
with an idea.
Many people that are trying entrepreneurship start out with
money. Dumping money into building something perfect is an easy
way to hide. It’s the Field of Dreams mentality of “Build it and they
The reality is that spending money on an untested idea is more like
“Build it and you will likely miss.”
There is plenty of technology and platforms to see if your idea
even has legs. The concept has to be first put out there to see if
you can get people to try it out.
Here’s a simple example. If you have some annoying problem
working, cooking or fixing, try putting your idea on Quirky. See if
your starting concept gets some other influencers. It was
extremely hard to make your idea get to some kind of physical
product because of the design, engineering, prototyping,
manufacturing, and many other steps in a go-to-market process.
Now, you can use a platform, connect your idea with the world and
see how a simple ember of an idea can turn into a bonfire of a
product that changes the world.
Don’t start selling your idea. Prove your idea first. Use platforms
that are near zero cost. Work hard at seeing if people will even buy
in. If you can see if people like and will buy something at a small
scale, with imperfection, then scaling with perfection is the second
step. Doing the second step first often kills otherwise good ideas
and it’s not a great entrepreneurial strategy when you have the
resources to help you be a prototyper. No need to be an idealist.
What can you test first?
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