Wednesday, February 26, 2014

See it Do it - Time Management System

I recently lead a Time Management seminar loosely based on my Time Management book.

One of the best ways to learn is to teach and preparing for the seminar reminded me of many of the systems I need to re-incorporate into my life.

When I asked what people got from it.  One point people liked was See it - Do it.  Hardly needs explaining.  Often we see something simple like a bit of dirt that needs wiping or a dish that needs cleaning.  It causes stress to have things undone.  And if enough things are left undone, the chore of doing them all can be large.  So See it - Do it.  Simple.

The Risk Advantage - Embracing the Entrepreneurs Unexpected Edge by Tom Panaggio.

The main thesis of the book is entrepreneurs have an edge because they are willing to risk.  It is that risk taking that sets them apart.

There is a chapter titled Risk and Opportunity are Soulmates.

One thing I have always said is "Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap".   In my opinion, much of good entrepreneurship involved trying to mitigate risk.  This is done by research, and to some extent, capping the risk.

I have learned through some of my failed opportunities to also look at the downside.  Try to figure out ways to risk less if there is a downside.  This can be done through tax structuring.  It can be done by having fallback positions.

At the same time, entrepreneurs need to take action.  This is the Fail Fast part.  Sometimes people spend all their time researching and never end up doing.

I loved some of the quotes:

"The quickest way to shut up your detractors is to produce results"

"Fear of change is probably the biggest obstacle companies need to overcome to meet evolving marketplace challenges"

(it goes on to explain how to overcome this fear of change by inclusion, communication and participation)

"Don't confuse innovation with invention - the key to innovation is to make something better, which does not mean you have to invent something new"

Inspirational book.


I am heartened to see the obesity rate in children is falling.  Health is one of my core values.

And a simple video that everyone should watch on power poses.

And Josh and Victoria enjoying the snow.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

I am loving the snow.

I went to a YPO event where Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.  As the title suggests - he is a marketer with a specialty in social media.  He is also author of Crush It and the Thank-you Economy.

I just read the book so some of my comments are from the book and some from his talk (and he is an engaging speaker).  Jab, Jab is a combination of his previous 2 books with some new angles.

He reinforced much of what I know about social media.  Things like - the world is changing.  Social media can be very inexpensive.  Embrace it or die.

The title is a boxing analogy.  Many marketers try for the knockout punch all the time without doing the pre-work.  You need to prepare the customers.  I believe his approach.  Add value to the conversation most of the time without regard to selling.  Once you are in the conversation, you can try the knockout.

I actually practice this approach with my own social media.  I Tweet, Linkedin update, Facebook update mostly quotes from famous people.  Just reminding people I am there.  Occasionally I will then promote something (although quite rarely).  I do the same with my blog.  99% of it is just my thoughts on random things then occasionally I mention a company I have invested in or perhaps promote my own marketing book (blatant plug) - Zero to $2 Billion - the Marketing and Branding Story Behind the Growth. 

He talks a lot about how to get over the noise.  "Even digital marketing is diluted" these days so you need to rise above to get heard.

He reminds us that people love a story.  Stories create emotion.  Emotion sells.

And his book has story after story.  Examples of good (and bad) uses of social media.  It is easy to read.

If I had any disagreement with his point of view it is that he does not understand "efficiency of distribution".  One of his big angles is cut out the middleman.  I would agree except in many cases that adds considerable cost to products.  This is mostly because of shared overheads but partly because of efficiency.  For example, when I was running SYNNEX Canada, we would often ship 10,000 parcels per day.  It was critically important for us to drive efficiency into the process.  We would focus on the time to ship, the cost of every label, cost of shipping - all aspects of cost.  If we could save even $.25 per parcel, that was $2500/day!

But mostly it was about shared overheads.  For example, we could do a trade show, marketing event, mailing, sales call etc promoting many products at the same time.  Or if we were shipping a skid to Staples, our added shipping cost to add an extra toner to the shipment was zero.

A vendor of a single product line would have dramatically higher costs.  Yes, we made a margin but it was much less than the savings.  In most cases, our margin might be the same as it would cost a vendor just for shipping by Fedex (since our rate was so much lower).  So the vendor saved the cost of picking, packing, box, label etc.

And the customers had the convenience of buying many products from the same source.   Imagine a world where you buy your lemons from one place and your bananas from another and your milk from another.  Customers want the efficiency too.

The whole event/book made me wish I had products to sell again.

Very inspirational.

And no post is complete without grand children.  Josh and Victoria.