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Boss says: "Let's innovate!" Team typically goes through this process:

  1. Start: "Hey, we gotta research what the market wants!"
  2. Middle: "Let's build feature X, Y, Z -- because that's what we believe the market wants!"
  3. End: "We failed! We didn't understand what the market wanted! BOO!"

How does innovation happen?

  1. You can't plan for success.
  2. Only the market can approve your success.

WHAT?

Segway.

  1. Segway had the world's best innovators drawing up its plan.
  2. It was supposed to transform roads and commerce.
  3. Mr. Big Shot Innovator (Steve Jobs) said himself the product will rock the world.

It didn't. The well-built machine discovered a market that wasn't too keen on paying $6K for a two-wheeler whose top speed stood at 12 MPH.

  1. Drawing up the filthiest plan in the world won't guarantee you a place in the Innovators' Hall of Fame.
  2. Prominent inventions don't come by way of comprehensive "strategic" business planning.

Oh no; it comes by way of this kabillion-dollar practice:

  1. Throwing your invention out there.
  2. See if people likey-like it.

That's it.

Release a Stream of Innovations

The world's greatest innovators produce a ridiculous number of inventions in the fastest time possible.

They throw their projects on a platter, go around the room, and see which suckas stick with folks:

  • "Yes, I see that the market likes this and this..."
  • "I also see the market is not catching on to this and this..."
  • "Kabambo! I just innovated like a champion."

Comedians Innovate Better than Businesses

How do good comedians add stuff to their repertoire? Before they risk their reps with bigger crowds, they try new jokes on smaller crowds:

  • If peeps laugh: "Add to repertoire!"
  • If peeps smile: "Throw it away!"

Simple. That's how innovators become innovation-master-king-combo champions of the @^^%^ world.

  1. Publish quickly.
  2. Gauge response.

Win.

Bow to the market.

Posted on March 26

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We wait for the "perfect" time to "perfectly" complete our precious projects.

  1. But that precious time never comes, so we don't start until some external consequence scares us into action.
  2. Then, we start really sucking on the project.
  3. Sucking bad.

What we forget:

  1. Kicking ass at some project doesn't take XYZ hours.
  2. It doesn't take some miracle moment.
  3. It doesn't take crafting a nifty plan.
  4. It doesn't take being perfect.

What does it take?

Expending a humongous amount of hours sucking.

  1. Until you suck less.
  2. Then, suck even less.
  3. Then, suck even less than that.
  4. (and so on.)

That mindset drives you to constantly improve every nook-and-cranny of Project ABC for eternity -- as long as you find it still financially smart to do so.

Just suck less.

 

Posted on March 24

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  • "You WILL NOT REGRET opening this!"
  • "The greatest product EVER! Buy NOW! Buy NOW!"
  • "You can't go wrong! BUY! OH......yeah!"

And then salesman Charlie sits back, a couple weeks later, thinking to himself:

  • "What happened to all my sales?"

El bizo tipo: The stereotypical salesman doesn't sell.

What does sell?

Your friend.

  • The most influential recommendations come from our friends.
  • Friends = trust, credibility.
  • Word of mouth = marketing heaven.

Pitch as if you're talking to a friend:

  1. Write your letter.
  2. Ask: Would I write this mofo to a friend?

You'll make your pitch a kabillion times more credible than the typical sales letter. Hooray!

Write to a friend.

 

Posted on March 21

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You build a new product.

  1. You'll think the world will love it.
  2. You release it.
  3. People hate it.

Your company's reputation suffers. You cry.

What to Do Instead

Instead of releasing your product to the masses, test it on a sample population. That sample population will give you an idea if the masses will like your new innovative offering.

Who does that type of testing?

  • Movies do it with sneak premieres.
  • Big companies do it with product tests.
  • Fast-food joints do it with specials at several locations.
  • Web application shops do it with beta tests.

It's simple inferential statistics: you take a small sample to represent the larger sample. (That's how Nielsen predicts TV ratings.)

If the the sample population likes the stuff, what would that mean?

That'd mean the population at large would probably enjoy it as well! Hooray! And if you don't get great responses, you'll have sweet insights to tinker your product.

You'll Get Great Feedback

Since that small test population mirrors the population at large, you'll get insightful feedback on how to improve your product for the masses. For instance, you'll get answers to:

  • How can we improve our product?
  • What do you think about the selling price?
  • What did/didn't you like about the product?
  • Would you recommend this product to a friend?

Getting answers from your sample population helps you produce sumthin'-sumthin' to attract the masses more effectively. HIGH-FIVE!

How big should your sample size be?

Use this handy calculator. Make sure your test population mirrors the demographic market you want to target. That will help you infer if your product would really be a success toward your intended client base.

First, sample up.

 

Posted on March 19

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  1. You see: Competitor A.
  2. You think: "They suck! I could do it better than they could!"
  3. You try, but then you end up sucking.

Why?

Imagine this:

  1. Imagine armchair Charlie sitting on his couch.
  2. He's watching his 76ers lose another game of basketball.
  3. He thinks: "They suck! I could play better than they could!"

Sure, he might think so -- but experienced basketball players (or anyone who's played any sport whatsoever in their lives) know he's one dense dude.

  • Those NBA players needed decades of strenuous practice to be where they are.

Remember, we humans trick ourselves by being overconfident in our own abilities. That drives us to underestimate the competition.

Your Competitors = Better Than You Think

Katherine, a longtime loyal reader of Trizoko mentioned the American Idol analogy. Every year:

  1. Folks with a few years of music training try out for Idol.
  2. They think they could defeat artists with over a decade of training.
  3. What ends up happening? The less experienced folks never make it to Hollywood, and artists with over ten years of training ultimately make it to the Big Show.

Our false sense of superiority sucks us down, preventing us from doing what we should be doing:

  • Putting in our own time to rock at our crafts.

Want to beat your competitors?

Simply, do this:

  • Spend more lifetime hours rocking your craft than your competitors.

Sha-bing!

  • Kobe Bryant rocks because he's put in more practice time.
  • Yo-Yo Ma rocks because he's put in more practice time.
  • Tiger Woods rocks because he's put in more practice time.
  • And, Steve Jobs rocks at innovation because he's put in more practice time.

To rock at: ________, put in more practice time.

Posted on March 13

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You're selling a solution to solve The Big Pain of your client. You have two pricing options:

  1. Sell it for $1.
  2. Sell it for $10.

What price point would put your customer more at ease? Not the $1! OH NO! The client would feel more helped at the $10 price point.

What The Heck?

  • MIT researchers found people felt greater relief from a $2.50 pill than from an identical one they were told cost $0.10.
  • Why do people prefer named brands over generic ones? Because they feel brands have some 'magic touch' to it.
  • $500 dollar jeans? It has 'special' material.

We're all irrational creatures.

Pricing too low may strip:

  • how much people buy from you
  • how much perceived effect you have on people

Solving customer pains?

Comparing your products/services to competitors, and do this:

Price according to your impact.

 

Posted on March 05

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  1. Shoot for the stars.
  2. Land on the moon.

But, peep this. When you:

  1. Shoot for the moon.
  2. You'll land on @^^% ugly sticks.

WHY?!

We All Suck

  1. We aim for _____________.
  2. Then, we come up short.

Why do we suck so much? It's human tendency to become ridiculously overconfident in our abilities. That's called the Lake Wobegon effect, and it's a reason why:

  1. 80% of drivers think they're in the top 30%.
  2. 25% of high schoolers rate themselves in the top 1%.
  3. 74% of us think we're better-than-average music listeners.
  4. Most peeps believe they're the hottest sons-of-@^^% in town.

That overconfidence gets you every-frickin-time when you're aiming for your goals. That is, your overconfidence tricks you into believing:

  • "All I gotta do to succeed at ABC is to do XYZ. YEAYAY!"

(which drives you to end up sucking.)

Dominate Overconfidence

Do this:

  1. Look in the mirror.
  2. Slap yo-self.
  3. Then, tell yourself: "I must go above and beyond what I think I have to do to succeed at XYZ."

Start overdoing stuff to compensate for your presumptions:

  • To break a stack of 10 bricks, believe you're breaking a stack of 14 bricks.
  • To sing a good song, believe you're performing in front of world leaders at Carnegie Hall.
  • To give a good speech, believe you're giving the greatest speech in the world.
  • To complete a decent project, believe you're building a world-altering invention.
  • To teach your team new concepts, believe you're teaching a room full of 12-year-olds.

Be The World's Greatest

  • Shoot to be the world's best marketer if you want to be a good marketer.
  • Shoot to be world's greatest manager if you want to be a good manager.
  • Shoot to be the world's greatest programmer if you want to be a good programmer.

Shoot to be the world's greatest at: __________, if you want to be good at it. At the least, you'll likely end up good; anything beyond that would be one deliciously-sweet cherry on top. So, shout it loud, and shout it proud:

  1. Shoot for the stars.
  2. "I will at least land on the moon! KABAM!"

I will overdo.

Posted on March 03

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You have two choices:

  • Option A: Build a state-of-the-art, custom-built enterprise system that integrates the works (e.g. CRM, ERP, EAM, SCM, wiki, etc.).
  • Option B: Get something up quickly. Combine many smaller pieces of independent applications, and have them communicate with each other (e.g. through their APIs, etc.).

Mr. Techno-Wizzo tells you:

Option A:

  • takes frickin' long to build (years, if ever)
  • has a humongous chance for failure
  • its modules become obsolete quickly
  • you drain revenues fast while it's under development
  • painful to tweak things as your business changes
  • if you ever finish, you'll probably outgrow many of its features

Option B:

  • quick, and flexible -- can get something up freakishly soon
  • causes slight dents to your cashflow, as you get an application module up quickly to use
  • allows you to use best-of-class for every included application
  • interchangeable (e.g. a state-of-the-art applications can be integrated into the system easily and continuously)

Option B = winner! Yay! Yay! Yay!

Use Whatever You Can -- Quickly

Microsoft Excel?

  • You: "Oh no! I hate Microsoft! They-so-greedy! Bill Gates? More like BILLS Gates!"
  • Mr. Techno-Wizzo: "Look pimplebutt: No one cares. Use the sucker if it helps you get from Point A to Point B."
  • Mr. Techno-Wizzo: "If you outgrow it, then build an application to compensate for Excel's shortcomings."

You don't need fancy technology to stay on top of your game. Use what you can -- now. A startup that uses Excel to thrive with its customers will kick the ass of any aspirational startup that's building an entire state-of-the-art application to bring in business. While the latter is draining resources and time, the former is focusing on a plethora of other things to fatten its bottom line. Remember:

  1. Technology becomes obsolete quickly.
  2. You'll likely outgrow your technology in a few months.
  3. Taking too long to build something you needed months before = waste. BOO!

So, get something up quickly -- then revise, reconfigure, and deploy your application as necessary -- as you're moving toward your destination. Rule of thumb to tech-fabulous: "Hey! I don't even notice we're using state-of-the-art technology! WOW! KORUMBA!"

Deploy quickly.

 

Posted on February 27

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Savagely dominate ______ as fast as mutha-bluckin possible.

What happens?

  1. You drive your entire focus to rock the task at hand.
  2. You destroy 100% of distractions.
  3. You fully maintain your productive momentum.

Optimal You: Check

.

Work as Fast as Possible to Finish Everything

That includes:

  • brushing your teeth
  • eating breakfast
  • putting on your clothes
  • comprehending a book

And your work stuff:

  • finishing a project
  • communicating your points
  • responding to customer inquiries
  • completing an employee manual

Working as fast as freakishly possible exploits your subconscious magic hidden inside your brain to creatively dominate task-by-task-by-task. It's like you're roaming the neighborhood taking little pumpkins, and viciously beating each with a French sourdough. Result:

  • You get exponentially more done.
  • You strengthen your 'mental focus muscles'.
  • You free up more relaxation time! Yay!

And (AND!) You Boost Creativity

Just because you approach each task like you're a coked-up Stegosaurus on HGH doesn't mean you take quality lightly. Oh no. You tap your brain's creative subconscious side when you're trying to finish something as quickly as possible.

  1. The creativity in you starts shining like there's no tomorrow.
  2. You start producing stuff you couldn't previously imagined.

High-FIVE!

So, Say Nu-UH to Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking exponentially slows your productivity.

  1. The constant switch back-and-forthers drains your optimal focus every time.
  2. It's as if you're re-climbing Mount Himalukigagmaodoa every single time.
  3. The build-up in lost productivity will ruin any good progress.

BOOOOOOOO!

Sidebar: "How Do I Approach Big Projects?!"

You have a 6-month project.

  1. The wondrous prodigy in you would take five minutes to finish Version 0.00001.
  2. Then, that prodigy would continually refine and tinker with successive versions, building 'outward' to get those subsequent product releases.
  3. You constantly focus on finishing as fast as possible -- every single time.

So:

  1. Pick a task.
  2. Dominate it as fast as humanly possible.
  3. "NEXT!"

Done.


(Caution! Caution! Savagely dominating tasks one-by-one can take its toll if you don't recharge. So, take frequent breaks to refresh yo-self.)

Posted on February 22

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  1. You have 223 emails in your inbox.
  2. You have 45 things on your to-do list.
  3. You have 50 long-term goals.
  4. You have 40 books you still 'have to read'.

And what do you do?

  • "Oh, I'll get to them later!" you tell yourself.
  • "Oh, I'll get to them later!" you explain later.
  • "Oh, I'll get to them later!" you scream next month.

But do you get to them later?

NO-WAY-JOSE!


Instead, your workload gets even worse:

  1. You start piling on more to-dos.
  2. Your to-dos double.
  3. You do nothing to combat them.
  4. (Cycle repeats.)

That's how you created a monstrous mountain of unfinished stuff in the first place. Will your workload ever end? Nope. BOOOOO! "So what do I do? What do I do?!"

Simplify Your Life: One IN, One OUT!

The "One IN, One OUT!" process (inspired by one of you productivity peeps) works like this:

  1. You have 5 children.
  2. Your significant other wants another one.
  3. You tell your SO: "WELL, OKAY! IF YOU WANT ONE NEW KID, WE'LL HAVE TO DUMP AN ONE OLD! KAMBOOYSHAKAH!"

More precisely:

  • Creating a new long-term goal? Trash or finish an old goal.
  • Buying a new book? Trash or finish an old book.
  • New email in the inbox? Trash or finish an old email.

The "One IN, One OUT!":

  1. keeps your workload healthy and happy
  2. focuses you on the important stuff
  3. readies you to viciously destroy the bambooyshakah out of the new stuff

Muscles. Simplify your life. Dig the important stuff.

One in. One out.

 

Posted on February 20

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