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Sunday Musings #23

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photo(I like to try out pretty much any new “social” app, and LikeMind sounded interesting. My experience with it has been underwhelming so far, but, I grabbed this screen cap that got me all excitedpants. Long story short, I’m working on a new project and this quote from Mary Kate – “Let’s play Groupon roulette” – feeds right into the concept behind it. If you’re interested in learning more, email me. Should be launching sign-ups in the next month or so.)

Love the data, but bank on energy. That was the theory behind a recent post on LinkedIn by Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry. Here’s the part that jumped out at me: “In many ways, digital must be this generation’s greatest gift…But the pace of change also presents challenges: feelings of fear, distrust and uncertainty are pervasive. So, how can we respond? The answer might be surprisingly simple. A powerful force we’re all born with – Energy…the transformative potential of the energy each and every one of us is born with and take in and emit like the air we breathe. Think of it as ‘emotional electricity’ that powers and connects people, and their collective spirit, to achieve extraordinary things.” It’s an important factor in modern day business success and one that is typically overlooked, or at the least, overshadowed. I read a lot about early adoption of new tech, how-to lists for social media management, best ways to promote using XYZ new video app, and on and on. But how often do we get in depth about the emotional and intellectual skills necessary in a digital world that moves at an at-times-scary pace?

Pick up the phone. Love the grind. Cross-10. I find it wildly easy to get caught in a paralysis by analysis situation, particularly when attempting to launch something new (a project, a website, a company, a service, etc.). There exists several mechanisms for breaking through the stalls and blocks, and “Cross-10” is one of the best guiding principles, particularly when referring to startups. What it means is this – achieve ten “transactions” where time or money are being spent by customers in the process. Why is this notion so crucial? Because the opposite approach is one we see every day; secure hundreds or even thousands of early sign-ups for your product…or worse yet, sign-ups that merely allow you to tell potential customers when you are launching. None of these require any actual effort (time, money) from customers, so they are not true indicators of an effective business model. Moving away from product launches, pick up the damn phone. You want to make progress happen? Stop hiding behind emails and web surveys and call some folks. Look no further than my failure with BrandStamp for evidence. While there were other factors involved in its ultimate demise, I simply didn’t have it in me (at the time) to take it to the streets and interact with potential customers to really learn what they thought of the biz. Not like the Dealflicks guys did.

There is no real business lesson here. Just an awesome story about graffiti and existentialism.

Yeah but, what don’t you do? There’s special power in flipping the script, in nearly any situation, by focusing on what isn’t there. In a novel I just started, called Shantaram, an enigmatic character opines, “Civilization, after all, is defined by what we forbid, more than what we permit.” Have you ever gone out of your way to share what it is that you don’t do? The most effective cover letter I ever used (judging by the response rate and feedback) began with “I am not…”, flying completely in the face of conventional wisdom. It’s a great way to make a lasting impact on someone, as long as it’s played correctly, and a proven path to establishing trust.


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Growth obsessed startup co-founder (MusicBox) and strategist-for-hire.

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