Category: Books

AuthorBooks

I Shipped! – in draft form though it may be

Yep, the first draft of my book shipped to the first two reviewers. Pile of BooksAnd by “shipped” I mean emailed AND actually mailed hard copy. Woot!

It is junky. I’m embarrassed. But, it is out of my hands.

You know what the best part about it is?

I’m having some great ideas right now!

It’s a great reminder to get your product in the hands of someone else before truly creating the final product. Sure, they will have a lot of feedback for you, but something happens in your own brain as well. It gets freed up and remembers the intent and purpose behind what you were trying to create. It creates an entirely new set of ideas to make the draft better.

Scary though it may be, and a bit humbling, it will be worth it.

Now the re-writes begin!

Want to be informed when it comes out at the end of February? Sign up here!

screenshot of document filled with mark-ups and track changes
AccountabilityBooksGoalsPlanning

Track Changes – capturing the fine-tuning of creation

My book is just 1/2 way there. I write about habits, goals, planning and the like …and I missed my own August 2014 deadline. It wasn’t for lack of trying or regular writing. The ideas just needed to get clearer, the “killing the darlings” process is mentally tiring, and overcoming the lizard brain (quoting Seth Godin – “the part of you that controls you, makes you afraid, and pushes you because it says you’re a failure”) was surprisingly difficult. After all, who would want to read what I write?

As a non-writer person (lots of ideas and stories, but not great at explaining them), this is quite the process!screenshot of document filled with mark-ups and track changes

I’m worried about deleting all of these thoughts and ideas. What if I leave out something that was the main point? What if the life changing phrase is mistakenly deleted?

This is where the beauty of “tracking changes” comes in to play. I can save the tracked changes daily and start the next day with a new draft called “accepted changes.” Sure, I’ve now got 35 files stacking up in the My Documents folder, but it is a relief to track this mental and physical process of re-arranging, refining, and refreshing the content. 

Aren’t we lucky that we can change? And, that we can track it? The use of apps to track calories, bike riding, running, and debt reduction is a major signal to the power of tracking the changes we make in our lives. We get to see where we were, where we are going and get excited about where we may end up. It’s about growth, adventure, and new horizons while capturing the junky-ness of the journey.

Also helpful, is a morgue file of sorts – a document that I can copy/paste my unused quotes and notes just in case I need them later or …for another book. If anything, it provides mental relief to my non-writer soul. The thought is preserved.

There are quite a few writing gurus out there that have a lot to share about the writing process – what tools to use, what process to go through, and how to become a millionaire eBook creator. I’ll learn what I can from them more in due time.

For now, I’ve got to write, to change, to modify and to morph. And, I’m going to track it!

Picture of a boy sticking his head out of the sand on the cover of Anything you Want
BooksIdeasInspirationLeadershipMarketing

Anything You Want!

Just finished a great book. Remember? It is the book I ordered directly from Seth Godin’s blog post without even finding out what it was about, who the author was, etc. Now that shows Seth’s influence!

It is a cute little book. You can read it in an hour.Picture of a boy sticking his head out of the sand on the cover of Anything you Want

By Derek Sivers – Anything You Want!

Derek is the founder of CD Baby, an extremely profitable business that enabled any musicians to get started in the world of sharing their music instead of waiting for a big name to pick them up. He’s since sold the business…and the story about that is also in the book.

Why do I love his little book?

Derek is REAL. He made mistakes and shared them. He doesn’t pretend to be this power CEO that must hobnob with the big boys. He encourages all entrepreneurs to follow what makes them happy. And, that will be a different answer for each one.

He is open in sharing that you will have to make decisions along the way that may make you less money, but will make you more happy. It takes guts to run a business this way.

So many great little thoughts, but one I really liked was “Being, not having.” So often we think we need to make more, grow bigger, and have widespread influence. Instead of trying to grow big fast, focus on enjoying what you do and creating value for your customers. Figure out what you really want to spend your time doing – do you like being out and about all the time networking or do you like to keep it small and manageable and immerse yourself in the actual work? “To each his own” so to speak.

One of his business mottos was to do whatever it takes to please the customer. Derek shares the story of how he changed his feedback forms to include a space for customers to ask for whatever they wanted. Someone asked for some cinnamon gum. So, CD Baby had a worker pick up a pack at the store when they ran an errand. They included it in the customer’s order. Another asked for a squid. They complied.  How awesome is that! You think you are just filling space with some weird request to get a reaction and the company actually gets it for you!

I’d venture to say that those customers are still with him. (-:

Go buy the book! It is under $10 and worth the read. Plus, who wouldn’t like a book with this cover? A cute kid stuck in the sand.

Reminds me of a picture of my own, but I wasn’t so happy. (-;

Link to the book Anything You Want on Amazon

BooksCustomer RelationsInspirationMarketing

Oops, I did it again – why I buy what Seth buys

Yes, I did it again. No, this has nothing to do with Brittney Spears. Yes, it has to do with Seth Godin and books. A few months ago Seth mentioned that he had a new book out in his blog post.

Picture of a boy sticking his head out of the sand on the cover of Anything you Want

Poke the box.

I knew nothing of the book until reading the blogpost from my iPhone email. Yet, I clicked over to Amazon and purchased it without even thinking.

Yesterday, my RSS feed delivered another blogpost from Seth and he was touting another book – Anything You Want by Derek Silvers. Did I know anything about the book? No. But, I clicked over to Amazon and bought it.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1936719118/permissionmarket

Wow!

And look – here I am marketing this book and I know nothing about it. All because I trust Seth Godin.

Do you make products or provide services that make people say “Oops, I did it again?”

Book cover of the In Pursuit of Elegance book
BooksDesignNudge Blog

Elegance – may be something missing

Book cover of the In Pursuit of Elegance book

I’m just halfway through this book and am so excited about it that I have to post this right now!

This is a must for anyone that wants to convey a message, catch people off guard, make something truly remarkable – all of us, right?

He talks at length (but in an engaging way) about what he conveys in the tagline – “why the best ideas have something missing.” There is something about minimizing, removing, and simplifying that sometimes brings the most amazing results. Unexpected results. He calls this elegance.

As an example, he shares the Laweiplein experiment. Dratchen, a Dutch city, has a junction/busy intersection referred to as Laweiplein. Hans Monderman, a Dutch traffic investigator turned engineeer, designed this intersection. Basically, he took away all the signs, stoplights and sidewalks.

What…..

Yep, took them all away. And, in taking them away created what Matthew May (the author) states “great safety in danger.”

The awareness of the drivers went up. The awareness of the walkers went up. The awareness of the bikers went up.

Did anything go down?

Yes. Accidents!

There was something about having less, that forced drivers, walkers, and bikers to be more aware. They couldn’t rely on all the usual suspects (signs, lights and lines on the road). They had to rely on their own mind and judgement. They had to act smart and use their brain!

He shares another example where participants in a study were given a new camera ad in three forms:

  • Picture with no words
  • Picture with a few key pieces of info
  • Picture with lots of detailed information

What did people respond to best? The middle option – the one with just enough information. Many people call this the “goldilocks effect.” Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

Do I dare share one more example?

Did you watch the last episode of The Sopranos? I didn’t, but apparently it caught everyone off guard. The screen went blank at the end of the hour and everyone assumed it was a temporary blackout or other issue. It wasn’t. It was just an unexpected ending. At first people were mad, but then they started talking about it, trying to find the meaning and starting online discussions about all the implications.

What does this mean for you – a producer of ideas, products and services?

The psychology of elegance is an interesting thing. You must appeal to people. You must get them to select you over someone else, or in addition to another product. You must stimulate their interest.

So, here are three points made by Soman and Menon (researchers that performed the picture test above):

  1. Arouse curiosity by demonstrating a moderate gap in the observer’s knowledge.
  2. Provide just enough information to make them want to resolve their curiosity.
  3. Give them time to try to resolve their curiosity on their own.

This book goes into all kinds of topics related to elegance, psychology, marketing, engineering, painting, fractals, etc. Like I’m not even done with the book yet and so I’m sure that there are far more topics.

My summary isn’t elegant, but I’m hoping that I’ve accomplished #1 and #2 above and that you’ll go read the rest of the book – or at least go off and read a better review. (-:

Follow-Up

Just finished the book! The four main principles are:

  • Symetry
  • Seduction
  • Subtraction
  • Sustainability

Check out the book to learn the details!

Orbiting the Giant Hairball book cover
BooksIdeasInnovationInspiration

Orbiting the Giant Hairball

A few weeks ago, on of the directors of our division gave me a book that he thought I’d enjoy. He asked me to read it and give him feedback. He also said, “apparently people really love it or hate it – engineers hate it.” Well, if that isn’t motivation, what is?Orbiting the Giant Hairball book cover

So, book in hand I got on my flight across the country to my brother’s wedding.

And, I loved the book!

It is called “Orbiting the Giant Hairball” by Gordon MacKenzie.

It is about a creative guy that worked at Hallmark for MANY years. But, he moved around a lot and started a lot of great things within the company – an intrapreneur.

However, this book offers great ideas on taking action if you are an entrepreneur as well.

As an example, Gordon (the author), moved with a small group to a new work area. Instead of defaulting to the same desks and a Dilbert type cube farm, he asked for something different – to find furniture at thrift and antique stores.

After the “not sures” and the “you can’t do that” people died down, the right person gave him permission to move forward.

Each person ended up with their own unique desk, decorations and lighting.

The cost? A little less than if they had created a cube farm.

The cost for the employees? What is the MasterCard ad? – Priceless! They were motivated, they were focused, they were creative and ….other divisions wanted to do it too.

The creativity cost less than the typical model and productivity went up.

Gordon shares this story, and many others, in a creative array of book pages – some are plain, some have little doodles, and others are just plain written like they are a sheet of notebook paper. So, the guy practices what he preaches on creativity.

When you get a chance, buy a copy on Amazon.

Part of the table of contents of Orbiting the Giant Hairball

Excerpt from the Table of Contents

P.S. Guess I’m not an engineer. (-: