Tuesday, July 31, 2007

100 tips to improve your life

Recently, I have began reading a number of self-improvement websites or as some people call it, life hacking. In my effort to unleash Me 2.0 these blogs and sites are priceless. I have gotten many insights into being more productive, being a better Dad, how to beat bad habits and implement new good ones, and a number of other stuff I find interesting. Today, my rss reader was graced with a sweet collection of links that I just had to share. Entitled: 100 Tips to Improve Your Life


Monday, July 30, 2007

Why your business needs a blog….NOW!

Want to get from under the web radar? You’d like to expand the exposure of your website on the cheap, well you need a blog. Here’s why.

Every website needs a dynamic area and a static area.

This set-up creates a symbiotic relationship between the two. It’s kinda like having the institutional and the commercial areas of a city. The city hall and the downtown. Every city needs both and each zone needs the other. Together they add up to more than the sum of the parts. The Static being the brochure section, the mayor’s house, city hall. This area establishes who you are and what you do and your services etc. The other area is your happening, dynamic district. It’s SOHO, The Market, The Mall, Starbucks, Where the artists come and chat over coffee and crumpets , where connections are made and bonds are forged. Ideas are continuously disseminated. This would be your blog.

Once you have this set up, the blog does a number of things;
1. It rises your sites rank in Google hence people find you easier. This happens because Google targets key words as it relates to a certain topic, say “healthy living in Denver”. The more key words you have related to this topic of interest the higher you will rise over time in rankings. It’s that simple. It really isn’t rocket science :) all this SEO stuff just boils down to 2 words, keyword density. Density equals Mass over Volume. Have as much of the text mass of your site filled with a high volume of keywords. That’s how you become a heavy player.

2. It gives people a reason to continuously come to the site therefore keeping your brand… top of mind. Top of mind is prime mental real estate, as opposed to the back burner, which is equivalent to way way way beyond the wrong side of the tracks. You want to have people’s thoughts on auto-pilot to your brand/site/product when they think of a certain area of interest. All the big brands do this, they stay top of mind. The cheapest way to do this is with a web log that is refreshed frequently with relevant information.

3. You establish yourself as the ultimate font of information regarding your specific are of interest. Posting regular, recent and relevant info is the hardest part of maintaining a blog, but it is the most rewarding. This is what delivers the hits. Trust me.

The reason weblogs and the like have become so popular, is that they give your potential client a reason to trust you hence a reason to have you and keep you as a service provider. The blog has played a key role in personalizing the web. It is probably the most critical component for any small to medium size business to have as they seek to grow.

So go ahead, get going, start growing.

Friday, July 27, 2007

LNB #046: Just Say "No" (pt. 2) Beliefs

Face it. We suck at "yes" and "no" to the extent that we're doing work that isn't meaningful, takes up lots or time (or keeps us from the social lives we though our buisnsses woulc give us access to), we don't go on vacations and when we do, we can't unplug.

Some of you have asked me:

  • OK, Amos, how do I say "no"?
  • When do I drop the n-bomb?
  • How do I deal with the consequences?
  • I've rolled over so many times, if I said "no" it would speed up global
  • How do I deal with pressure...potential loss of business....loss of

We're going to cover most of these questions in this podcast series.

Problemmatic, is the fact our business training (particularly sales) is teaching us not to take "no" for an answer and "getting to a yes" even if that means pressure, manupulation or down-right lying. Any wonder that our college campuses will see a spike in date rape cases in August as students return to school. Women with a weak "no" and men who misinterpret a weak "no" as a "maybe."

Truth is, there's a connection between what we believe and what we say and do.

Materials to Consider
Simplify Your Work Like: Ways to Change the Way You Work So You Have More Time to Live...some of these suggestions are stunningly simple and effective

The Millionaire Next Door...what it takes to get your wealth may not be what you think

Chicken Run, an epic motion picture, chronicles the shift in belief of a group of chickens who don't believe they can fly themselves to freedom. Very funny.

Listen Now: 16:46

MP3 File

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Head of Life Sciences Initiative Not from the Life Sciences Discipline. Does It Matter?

In a post on Taking Down Words, they ask the question: "Does anyone else think it's weird that the guy who's going to be leading Indiana's life sciences outreach on behalf of the State has absolutely no life sciences experience?"

"David A. Boncosky, a Central Indiana real estate development manger and marketing executive, has been named director of Indiana Economic Development Corporation's life sciences initiative.

"The IEDC said his position takes effect Aug. 6 and that as director, the Indianapolis native will lead the IEDC's efforts to attract and retain high-tech, high-paying jobs in the state.

"'David is an experienced sales and marketing professional that has demonstrated a passion and ability for successfully negotiating deals,' said Nathan Feltman, Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the IEDC. 'He will play a vital role in further developing our life sciences economy.'"

Business acumen is great; however, subject matter expertise (or at least solid working knowledge) can't be underrated. Still, we're in the midst of a trend in putting CFO's in the top spot when playing executive "musical chairs." Take Thomson for example, a technology company that is run by their former CFO (note: not a techie).

Does this matter? I think so. Universities have, essentially two execute track: the university president and the provost, who is essentially the president of academics (the university's core business). Hospitals, too, have a medical director, responsible for medicine and treatment (again, their core business) and an president.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How to Choose a Domain Name for a Small Business » Small Business Trends

So you are ready to take the plunge, you want your website and you want it now. Be careful though about how you chose your domain name. It's gonna take a bit more than a GoDaddy account to get you the right piece of the wild, wild web.

How to Choose a Domain Name for a Small Business » Small Business Trends

Monday, July 23, 2007

CNN Weighs in on the Presidential Debates with YouTube

Although it was a little like Presidential Debate meets American Idol, the first CNN YouTube debate wasn't as dreadful as I'd feared. In case you've been living under a stone, the questions came from the electorate (they were very direct) and the answers came from the candidates (they weren't quite as consistently direct) and was moderated by preternaturally pretty Anderson Cooper (he's kind of vampire prince handsome). At the end, we--the plucky viewers--are supposed to write in with our votes for the "winner" at CNN.com.

Do you think this debate will change the face of the presidential election? Further, what impact do you think this new format (clearly a winner in its own right) will impact business communications? How?

Friday, July 20, 2007

LNB #045: Just Say "No?!" (part 1)

Let's face it: We're tapped out. We work longer than ever with less return. We spend more to get the lifestyle and wind up working longer and harder (notice I didn't say "more effectively").

How do we get off the treadmill?

A History Lesson
In the 1940's and 50's, the post-war business climate was booming (as was the population). By the 70's anti-discrimination laws were gaining ground, opening the workforce to women and men of color and white women. At the same time, the economy contracted and prices climbed. Then the 80's and 90's heralded the unthinkable: reductions in force among salaried workers. Now, people are becoming too afraid not to work late. Late in the 90's and into this century, we've seen an explosion in technology, which should have made our lives easier and our businesses more productive. However, that just hasn't been the case.

People just can't shut down.

As businesses start up, we bring all of this (and other) baggage onto the mix. As our businesses grow, so go the bad habits.


Listen Now: 24:05

MP3 File

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Antioch College Goes Down for the Count

I've been to Antioch (teaching a personal development workshop there that the students took to an alarmingly unworkable extreme--mostly because they didn't have any personal issues...it was everybody else that needed "fixing"). Well-meaning people one and all, their personal ideologies tended to reduce social and criminal misbehavior to external forces (the racist, sexist system), blame others for the failures of minority men and women and white women, and villainize white men (note: white women got a pass), corporations and the government. Listening to them talk about the "plight of the American Black," I couldn't help but feel that we were so doomed that without "special consideration" (and a heaping dose of pity), we didn't stand a chance. We, they explained, were to be excused for everything.

Before my time at Yellow Springs, I thought I was liberal. On the drive back home, I realized that I sho nuff wasn't.

No matter what our personal or political ideology, we need to be certain that the real world models of our ideologies will work. Having long been called the purveyors of spendthrift social experimentation, we would be well-served to carefully examine what went right and wrong at Antioch and not make those mistakes again.

A piece of George Will's Antioch Obit

Farewell, Antioch
By George Will
Sunday, July 15, 2007

WASHINGTON -- During the campus convulsions of the late 1960s, when rebellion against any authority was considered obedience to every virtue, the film "To Die in Madrid," a documentary about the Spanish Civil War, was shown at a small liberal arts college famous for, and vain about, its dedication to all things progressive. When the film's narrator intoned, "The rebels advanced on Madrid," the students, who adored rebels and were innocent of information, cheered. Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, had been so busy turning undergraduates into vessels of liberalism and apostles of social improvement that it had not found time for the tiresome task of teaching them tedious facts, such as that the rebels in Spain were Franco's fascists.

That illustrates why it is heartening that Antioch will close after the 2007-08 academic year. Its board of trustees says the decision is to "suspend operations" and it talks dottily about reviving the institution in 2012. There is, however, a minuscule market for what Antioch sells for a tuition, room and board of $35,221 -- repressive liberalism unleavened by learning.

Read the rest of the article...

Now, so you don't think I'm just talking about a liberal arts college that went terribly wrong, think a moment about your own business model. Does it address the needs of your customers in a workable way? Can you sustain your business this way? Wrongheaded is wrongheaded. And just like Antioch, I've seen numerous businesses with either no fleshed out business model or one that's unsustainable.

Monday, July 16, 2007

MSNBC.com Article: Survey: Some would use IM to fire people

I know of weenie bosses, but this one takes the cake. A survey found that upwards of 14% of bosses would instant message to fire people, specifically using an emoticon to do the deed.

Kind of a "You're fired. Have a nice day" thing.

Beijing Bans Billboards

I was just talking with some colleagues about the driving forces that impinge on marketing decisions. This article highlights one of those forces: government regulation. Marketing, I gather, is a heady business in China, with little of the organized licensing we have here. In a move to clean up the city's sky scape (of a certainty, in advance of the Olympics), the government has moved to remove billboards (both legal and unlicensed): all of them.

Read the Jason Leow article

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sure, Your iPhone's Nice, but Will It Blend?

OK, so stop already! Your iPhone can change the course of asteroids, stop global warming (or cooling or whatever). It can heal the sick and raise the dead while playing your fave tunes.

But will it blend?

Thanks for sending this, David. I laughed so hard I lost my latte!

Whole Foods, Wholly Effed-Up

John P. Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods Market, has been my hero. He's a vegan (and doesn't look like a prison camp survivor). He's instituted open book management, a style of management in which leaders give employees all relevant financial information and the training they need to understand it. They're also give their employees responsibility for the numbers they contribute to as well as a stake in how the company performs. At Whole Foods, they took this so far that every one of their 6,500+ employees were considered insiders by the SEC.

Sounds good so far.

Mackay, acknowledging that his company wasn't performing quite up to snuff, even paid himself only a buck in direct compensation. Very different.

But he had this little "hobby" that was a tad problematic. Seems, in his spare time, he was chiming in on Yahoo Finance’s bulletin board under the nom de plume of Rahodeb, a variant of his wife's name (ever the loving hubby). In his posts, over 1,000 which spanned over seven-years, he championed his company’s stock and, for spice, poked at competitor, Wild Oats Markets with his pixel stick (sometimes poking at Whole Foods as well). Not long fooled, other posters on the site would comment to his posts -- "John, er I mean Rahodeb..." Choice.

Problem was: Whole Foods found itself in the process of attempting to purchase said Wild Oats. Oh, and the F.T.C. found out...and the Wall Street Journal...and us.

Ew, mercy!

Friday, July 06, 2007

LNB #044: Where is a Mirror a Doorway?

Only in our fevered imaginations.

While on vacation, I observed my expensive (but not very bright) purebred cat checking out her temporary new digs. She touched everything in the hotel room and got poleaxed at the full-length mirror. Believing it to be a doorway to a magical new world, she began frantically digging for gold on the face of the mirror. Every few minutes all through the evening, she'd stop and gaze longingly at that mirror, expecting it to become something else.

Don't giggle at my simple beast: we do this all the time.

Expecting that mirror to really be a doorway, we...

  • Try to retain problem employees (when we know they'll never work out),
  • Pretend that our horrible jobs will be wonderful tomorrow (with exactly the same boss and business culture as before),
  • Expect that a flawed business partnership will turn itself around (when we know that a little more pressure should set off even more pyrotechnics),
  • and much more.

Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? Several reasons. We find it hard to tell the "stank nekkid truth" to ourselves and others, instead pretending that we can put lipstick on that pig and pretend it's Nicole Kidman. In other cases, we're too into it to be able to judge whether we've gone beyond what a reasonable person would take (or do). Getting another head involved can provide the perspective you need to see things more clearly. Finally, we get so invested in forcing and outcome and making it work that we lose track of the end-game--what we're really up to.

Now, where are you treating a mirror like a doorway to that glorious new (but entirely fictional) dimension in your business dealings?

Listen Now: 14:52

MP3 File

"It's Not the Book that's Finished..." Beverly Sills

One of the most miraculous people I've ever had the privilege to see in my early life was Beverly Sills, an opera star, who passed into Glory earlier this week. She was just as comfortable on stage at the Met as in a comedy skit with Carol Burnett.

Her life is a testament to doing what you love with grace and passion.

In an age of divas, she simply wasn't one. Look at her sing with her hands gracefully resting on her dear friend's shoulders while he played. I remember watching her every time she hit the airwaves (quite a departure from the funk and punk scene I so loved). I could never get out of my head how joyful she looked.

In her last concert she said "It's not the book that's finished: there's just a new chapter." I'm sure her new chapter is filled with the music of the spheres.

My surest wish is that I approach my business and my life with half the love and passion she lived her life with.

Sing sweetly into that good night, dear lady.