Categories
Books Ideas Inspiration Leadership Marketing

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

Categories
Books Customer Relations Inspiration Marketing

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?”

Categories
Customer Relations Marketing

Cookies and Comments

Categories
Nudge Blog

Meetings

If you’ve ever worked in a corporate or government environment, you know full well the impact of meetings on your ability to use time wisely.

Graphic with jokes about holding meetings

Even the Microsoft Outlook calendar defaults to one hour when you set up calendar invites.

There are a ton of resources out there about meetings – agendas, what to dos and what not to dos, etc. Yet, meetings continue to suck the time and inspiration out of people.

Just a few tips if you are planning a meeting this week:

  • Agenda – make one. Search Google for “agenda templates” and you will find plenty of examples.
  • Try 30 minutes – instead of defaulting to an hour, plan for 30 minutes.
  • Read Ahead and Action Ahead– give the attendees the notes, slides, action items, etc. before the meeting and make them deliverables for the meeting. Cancel the meeting if you find out ahead of time that people won’t be prepared.
  • Post action items and notes in a shared space– whether it is Google Docs, a Facebook Group, SocialText or something else – get what was discussed and agreed to out there for all to see. Plus, this assumes that you took the steps during the meeting to assign action and follow-up dates.

More meeting ideas?

Categories
Nudge Blog

Reverse Brainstorming

So, on one of my telework days, I had to take a required security training. While in the learning management system I also found another little tutorial on a different topic – reverse brainstorming.

Interesting concept – start the brainstorm with the problem and start finding ways to make the problem worse. Somehow through that process of thinking through the problem in this way, the opposites (the way to make the problem better) emerge.

Reverse engineering, reverse thinking, reverse approach to problem resolution…

Sometimes little changes in our work approaches can reverse the typical results – in a good way.

Categories
Books Design Nudge 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!