People Smarter Than Me

Micro Learning

Monika gets it. Learning isn't about how much and how fast you can cram into people's brains. Rather, the best learning occurs when you pair a student with someone with a perfectly matched skillset tailored just to them.  Better yet, the process occurs at the micro on one or small groups.

We call this tutoring. Previously, your search for an algebra expert or guitar master was limited to finding someone nearby. Not any more...

In Search of Expert Individual Tutors

Your project can work the same way. Why limit solving problems to those around you when there's a better way?

Change and Frustration

Liked this riff on new trends from Bronwyn McConville over on Triiibes...

Change: The infrastructure of massive connection is now real. People around the world have cell phones. The first internet generation is old enough to spend money, go to work and build companies. Industries are being built every day (and old ones are fading). The revolution is in full swing, and an entire generation is eager to change everything because of it. Hint: it won't look like the last one with a few bells and whistles added.

Frustration: Baby boomers are getting old. Dreams are fading, and so is health. Boomers love to whine and we love to imagine that we'll live forever and accomplish everything. This is the decade that reality kicks in. And, to top it off, savings are thin and resource availability isn't what it used to be. A lot of people ate their emergency rations during the last decade. Look for this frustration to be acted out in public, and often.

So, my add...

Massive Connection and Frustration equals more micro branding and more clutter than ever before. In other words, more and more people will "individualize" and it will be easier and easier to self promote...hence more clutter. Consequently, less and less room for average. Better choose the remarkable path.



Tom Peters Interview

This video is just over an hour long...but worth every minute.

One of my favorite takeaways...when asked about what advice he would give CEO's...Start by Doing Phenomally Good Work (from the Germans no less)

I put together a Google doc bullet point list of takeaways. Feel free to share.


Advertising Isn't Dead...It's Broken

The old model, selling people features and benefits, doesn't work anymore. There's too much clutter. Unless you're a gazillionaire, you don't stand much of a chance. However, you could change your approach. You could adapt to a new marketing order and use advertising for a completely different purpose. You could use ads as an opportunity to begin a conversation... instead of selling products. A quick rewind of recent advertising history might help put this into perspective.

Prior to radio and TV, if you had something to sell to people outside your immediate area, you bought print ads and billboards. It was a straightforward system, the more ads you bought, the more you would likely sell. Soon, competitors started advertising too. And, "what" you said about a product was overshadowed by "how" it was said...the advertising profession was born. Things started changing with the advent of TV. Slowly, as more and more companies could afford to advertise, we started to see ads which were designed to entertain instead of sell. Some companies figured it was better to get people to talk about the ad, not just the product. That required loads of creativity and was hard. But, those ads rose above the clutter. They convinced us that the people behind the products were interesting, imaginative and funny...that they were real people, not just big companies. Their ads created an emotional connection and started a conversation. Those companies won. Life was good. The internet (specifically, wide distribution of broadband) changed the game again. The cost barrier to entry was lowered to practically zero. Companies of all sizes and even individuals could get into the act. Viral marketing as we now know it was born. But, cheap led to a very low signal to noise ratio...lots of junk and more clutter than ever. Instead of working harder to start a conversation, companies abused the system and tried pushing old tactics in a new medium. And then, the death spiral became cheaper, which meant you could buy more ads, which led to more clutter and an increasingly ineffective mechanism. More and more people stopped paying attention.

Fast forward...If you think of customer conversations as the lifeblood of your business, you understand all this. You know how important it is for customers to go out and tell your story. Respectively, that's what you spend most of your time and money on...engaging with customers and reinventing your product and story to keep things fresh. And, as a new marketer you know that advertising is your chance to connect with people and stimulate conversation. You understand that it's not just a space to interrupt someone and sell them something. You've studied marketing history and know what not to do. So, you wouldn't waste time and money placing boring ads that look and sound like everyone else's. Instead, you would try this sort of thing.

Rising Above The Clutter...for employers

Need to hire someone? Place an ad in the local paper, or a few regional or selected national rags. Post an entry on Monster, HCareers or Call a friend, and if you have some extra bucks, a recruiter.

Or, you can create a job specific billboard like this one and get everyone you know to spread the word. Most companies, department heads and HR departments won't take the time to be this creative. Good for you...less competition.


Picture 1

Alltop is Guy Kawasaki's recent and clever idea to provide an on-line round-up of rss feeds by subject. They've created a channel for each topic (new ones added daily) to make it easy to scan the latest posts for each blog or rss enabled site...something you really can't do with let's say Google Reader. I find it an efficient way to research and explore. Give the Hotels channel a look.


Picked this up from Tom Peters' Thanksgiving post...

"Make no mistake, the keys to surviving and thriving, as individuals and organizations, will not primarily be the “out of the box” cleverness of our “strategic response,” but instead individual and organizational character as expressed by the depth and breadth of relationships throughout our individual or organizational networks."

It's his answer to the seemingly insurmountable, but doable, global economic crisis. Spot on. Ask yourself...are you the type of person or organization people gravitate toward and enjoy doing business with?

Even in tough times, the job remains the a loyal audience of raving fans, that is, focus on relationships...showing people you care.

Happy Thanksgiving

Best Answer...How to Grow Your Business In Spite of The Economic Downturn

As a follow-up to my recent Fuel The Story post, I submitted a similar question (How Will You Grow Your Business In Spite of the Economic Downturn) to the Linked In audience. I received some excellent advice. While Linked In asks you to choose a Best Answer, the better approach here is to share salient points from all of the answers...thanks to all who took the time to respond.

Dave Maskin

  • Utlilizing various aspects of Linkedin to get business exposure

David North

  • One of the most successful strategies for growth during a recession is to have genuine good relationships with your competitors. Some of them may go out of business and steer their business to you.
  • Work as hard as you and your entire company possibly can at two things; first and foremost serving your existing customers better than anyone else can, and then becoming better than any of your competitors at the things their customers value most.

Vikas Chandelia

  • focus on existing customers rather than reach out to new ones
  • A few approaches for retaining existing customers:-
1) Always see them as potential customer and not someone who has already paid for the job.
2) Execute well on whatever projects you currently have with them. This is likely to grow your business more than any other marketing gimmick.
3) Listen to the voice of the customer. Easier said than done! You never know when the next business opportunity arrives.
4) Finally, in this slowdown, if you can consider giving some discounts to the customer it will establish you as an innovative business which can go out to share the burden.

Natalie Kriegler

  • I will offer a broader range of "options" for our clients in terms of packages, which will include a range of services from what clients may percieve of in the first place to them as very basic and what in point of fact package-wise shall be very basic to/up to at the highest level, what is more of a customized package.
  • I will continue to be flexible if/when I feel it is necessary in terms of options, prices, services offered for all of our highly valued clients.

Julian Brachfeld

  • the most important thing is having a plan
  • brainstorm with coworkers or colleagues or mentors on what you can do to add value to your products or services

Cassie Williams

  • Most important, staying positive, and keeping my branding going forward

Vikram Jethwani

  • buy a firm that is under financial pressure and yet offers me value
  • bring down my costs, luxury overheads, and improve performance of myself and all my people

Mark Noske

  • Rightsizing
  • Diversification
  • Marketing
  • Pricing

Why The Resume is Dead

I've riffed about this before. Since then, I, was included in a group of business and HR experts who were invited to weigh-in on the subject by the Albany Times Union. I encourage you to read the interesting and varying perspectives (find them about halfway down the page on the Class conflict blog) on whether resumes remain effective. I found Brandon Mendleson's (the graduate student reporter who invited me) post a nice summary of the problem...and a pointer to the solution.

Static websites can't compete with 2.0 experiences in conveying what you might feel when using a product or service. Text doesn't work well without pictures. Sound and animation (video) brings a product to life. Why would you expect words in a word document to accurately portray your personal micro brand? To oversimplify, one dimensional tools don't work well in a three dimensional world...and, we're fast approaching the fourth dimension.

Blogging Is Important...

because it helps you tell a you an opportunity to express  why you do something or why you feel a certain way. Blogging gives you a chance to extend resumes, websites, interviews or sales you  a chance to add flavor and personality to an otherwise two dimensional brand.

Here's another explanation by Seth Godin and Tom Peters.