Bookmark and Share
As humans, we love familiar territory. We're afraid of the unknown. If you imagine something then, it's easier for you to achieve it. I was reading personal development guru Steve Pavlina's blog, and noticed a great method to imagine anything you want: Imagine you're sitting in a movie theatre, and you're watching whatever it is you want to imagine. This gets more of your senses working, helping you imagine a little better. Here's how Steve imagines his upcoming day:
I imagine sitting in a movie theater watching the movie of my day on the big screen. The movie plays on autopilot (controlled by my subconscious) and I use my conscious mind to observe, react to, and notice my reactions to what appears on the screen. It's a lot like being in a real movie theater, where you might feel some emotion during an emotional scene, and then you have this meta-observation that you're noticing yourself feeling emotional while watching a movie. If this sounds too complicated to do all at once (again, it takes some practice), then just play the movie normally, and when it's over, try to recall how certain parts made you feel.
But how do you make your movie come to life? By using your senses of course:
Now you have your visualization of your next day as well as the feelings that you attach to various parts of it. Those feelings are your feedback, so use this feedback to improve your movie. Did you feel stress, worry, or anxiety at times? If so, go back and modify the script. Mentally modify those parts of the movie to remove the negative emotional triggers. Add soft music to reduce stress. Eat healthier food. Squeeze in a nice long walk. Do a complete rewrite if you have to -- remember, your day hasn't even started yet, so fix the bugs now before they go into the production build.
Keep on tweaking your movie until it's Academy-Award-worthy:
Secondly, notice which parts of your movie produced a positive emotional response, and see if you can make those even better. Use what you learn from observing your positive emotional reactions to improve the weaker parts of your film. Keep working on your original B-movie until you have an Oscar winner on your hands. Finally, be sure to end your film with an appropriate version of "riding off into the sunset." Make your day end well, and picture yourself feeling good about it. Clarify the feeling you want to have at the end of your day -- accomplishment, peace, victory, etc., and create a final closing scene that captures it. It could be something as simple as picturing yourself going to bed with a smile on your face. When you have a movie you really love, say to yourself, "save program." You're done.
If you're seeking business success in a certain industry, using Steve's approach to imagination to build your "movie" will certainly get you one step (make that five steps) closer.
Posted on May 07

Bookmark and Share
We just built our first Web 2.0 application, and knowing that many of you are diving into the Web 2.0 arena, here's what we learned:

Build the product as quickly as you can

We got the idea for the product last Sunday, and completed it this morning. It's a simple application built for our existing customers, as well as for our own needs. Going into the process, we knew from previous experience that your ability to complete a project is based directly on the deadline you set. That is, if you set the deadline to next year, you will complete it next year. Set it within a week? You'll complete it within that time frame.

Do it with as few people as you can

The more people you involve in building the application, the worst it gets. With more people involved, you'll create bureaucracy, barriers to final decisions, and delay deadlines that will waste time and deplete the energy you'll need to spend on building your Web 2.0 application.

Get the first working product out within a week

Sure, you might be building the next-generation email-organizer-messenger-to-do-list application that will change the freakin' world. But here's our suggestion: if you're going to be building a "big" project, first convert the project into tiny "mini" projects. That is, instead of building the whole enchilada, why not build the to-do list application first? With milestones, and short milestones at that, you'll build momentum. And, you'll have others to test it for you if it's a product they'll use; that way, you can adapt that mini-product and the rest of the "enchilada" product to their needs.

The product visionary and the product programmer should constantly work together

It's all about dialogue. The designer and the programmer should constantly work together. It's the immediate feedback that's invaluable to the building of your next-generation Web 2.0 application. And one final thing: Users of your site will notice that passion (or lackof) that you'll put into your Web 2.0 product. If the process doesn't excite you, it'll show in the final product. So, enjoy it!
Posted on May 06

Bookmark and Share
It's about enthusiasm. Here's the main block I love:
Temporary enthusiasm can actually be created relatively easily simply by acting more enthusiastic. Simply by acting more enthusiastic then you feel, you can literally create the same level of enthusiasm inside. I use this technique whenever I am in a social situation where I need some added confidence or energy. Think about how you act when you are enthusiastic. Smiling, moving around more and having more expressive body language are likely key characteristics. By making the conscious effort to behave more enthusiastically, you will start to feel more enthusiastic. After a few minutes you will probably create the kind of enthusiasm that your body language suggests. Our body language commands a lot more of our internal behaviors then we think. Most of us believe that it is our internal emotions that create our body language. The situation, however, actually works in reverse as well. Body language itself can create the emotions it represents. I wrote about this more here. Now that you have some ideas on how you can create enthusiasm, both temporary and long-term, what are some possible uses for this new skill?
See Scott's blog entry for the rest of it. Great read.
Posted on May 06

Bookmark and Share
Whatever you build, whatever you write, whatever you say, whatever you do...whatever passion you have in that moment...shows.
Posted on May 05

Bookmark and Share
Nearing completion of your business product? Peep this: it's wise that you don't wait to refine your business product until it's "perfect." The problem lies in time. Lots of time. Time that could be spent trying to serve your customers better on other aspects of the project.

You Need Immediate Feedback

Most importantly, if you don't release your products early, you won't get immediate and valuable feedback to revise your product. Ultimately, it's not you who buys your product. So, get it into the hands of potential paying customers, get their responses through trial and error, and go accordingly. When we do our projects for clients, we know the first release is just Phase One. Like Microsoft and Google, or the many other heralded Silicon Valley software firms, we know the initial product--even though we did our absolute best on it--will need maintenance and revisions. We can't decide for our customers what those revisions are, unless we know psychologically how they approach the product.

It's Rare Fortune 500s Get it Right the First Time

Microsoft didn't get its Windows operating system right until the third try. The same thing happened with its Internet Explorer--and still happening with it to this day (Fortunately, they're resolving the issues as I speak). If the "biggies" can't get it perfect with their tremendous resources, it's a seemingly impossible task for us to get it perfect in our first attempt. Software company founder and BusinessWeek writer Vivek Wadhwa explains the cycle-cycle-cycle of releasing initial software products:
Software is typically created by smart technicians with superior vision. They pick a problem to solve, have a revelation from the heavens, and work day and night to transform their idea into computer code. Customers are usually blown away by the first version of the program -- until they start using it. Then they discover the program's most obvious features are missing, it's buggy, and it's prone to performance problems. Then about a year later, the techies come out with a second version, which is loaded with new features -- but customers can't figure out how to use them. So the product goes back to the drawing board. Eventually a third version appears -- and it works.

Does this theory only apply to software products?

Nope. If you have a restaurant, it will probably take three (or more) revisions of your secret sauce to satisfy your general customers. If you're a writing a book, it'll probably take several revisions to get it "right" to your readers. If you're a comic, you'll probably revise your sketch according to audience reaction until you're ready for the big time. Of course, you can't satisfy everybody. And, know that there's a fine line between "want" and "need". A lot of times people say they want one thing, but won't use it. The key then is to trust your instinct. Yet, without immediate feedback, it's impossible to trust your instinct. The moral: Get your product out there! Quickly.
Posted on May 05

Bookmark and Share
As we said before, piling on product features to out-innovate others stands as the worst business innovation strategy you can do. Creative Technology reported big-time losses yesterday. How big? Try $114 million. Yeah, you read that correctly. Oh, and those are quarterly losses. The company banked itself on competing against Apple's iPod, but with one "clever" idea: integrate an FM radio into the iPod-like Zen Micro. Brilliant. (By the way, why does it resemble the iPod so much? Hmm.) Wait, but that's not all. Also included in the wonderful invention is a voice recorder. So, in short, you take an iPod--then slap on an FM radio and a voice recorder. Wait, an iPod with an FM radio and a voice recorder? What if...oh...some brilliant startup called iGotMoFeatures2.0 decides to take the iPod, slaps on an FM radio and a voice recorder....then brilliantly, to the foot of the device, adds a vacuum cleaner? You get the idea. Competing on product features is a mindless path. Let's hope Creative gets that, and does better next time-around. Seriously now.
Posted on May 04

Bookmark and Share
We're about to launch our first product to a group of clients, and it's been a long time coming. I'll tell you why: we did too much market research. Wait, let me rephrase that: we did too much traditional market research.

What's Traditional Market Research?

It's googling for what customers say they want. It's buying research reports. It's looking at market trends. It's looking at what people buy in the past, and trying to make a calculated decision on what they'll buy in the future. It'''s crap. It doesn't work. What people say they want rarely translates into what they need -- and more importantly, what they'll buy. Too bad we didn't know that earlier. We focused too much on our first product. We focused on building the next-generation business desktop, with all the bells and whistles--or so we thought. When we finally completed the dang thing, no one wanted it. It was too expensive. It was too complex. It provided no value to switch from their current providers. It was a costly, major mistake. During the product phase, we forgot one crucial step before the process. Instead of building, we should've done what we knew we had to do all along: sell!

The Best Market Research You Can Do

In most traditional product cycles, the company decides to build the product first--then try to sell it. Too bad that last part rarely happens--explaining the 80% rate of products that fail. What should you do then? Sell something. Before you have your product, sell that product. Sell what you intend to build. When you sell before you have your product, you conserve cash, resources, and time. You'll know for sure what people will buy, since of course, you'll already have their orders. This eliminates risks. Dramatically. Take a story from RightNow's Founder and CEO Greg Gianforte:
Gianforte started trying to sell that nonexistent product. Armed with a data sheet outlining what such a product might do, Gianforte sat in a spare bedroom and cold-called customer-support managers at hundreds of companies. After talking them through the sheet, he told them that the product would be released in 90 days and asked whether they would use that type of software on their Web sites. If someone said no, he asked why. Sometimes the potential customer needed a feature that Gianforte hadn't thought of. If he thought that he could deliver it in 90 days, he added it to the data sheet. Some might say that Gianforte was peddling vaporware -- the much-criticized practice of hyping the imminent release of new software that is far from ready. Gianforte disagrees. The key is not to promise anything that can't be delivered within the specified time frame. "You never want to lie to your customers," he says. What he did, he says, is "really sales as a method of market research. It allows you to determine very quickly, without much money, if you have a viable business idea."
It's the best market research you can do, yet so few do it: Before you build: Sell!
Posted on May 03

Bookmark and Share
What do I mean by cool? Those who can influence others. Those who have large followings. Those who lead. The "cool" people are your best bet to influence others. Remember, the general population doesn't buy because of your product features. They buy because of who else is buying. Those who start the buying? The "cool" kids.
Posted on May 03

Bookmark and Share
Simplicity doesn't end once you generate some cash. Even if you're a big company, famed former GM leader Jack Welch stresses simplicity:
For a large organization to be effective, it must be simple. For a large organization to be simple, its people must have self-confidence and intellectual self-assurance. Insecure managers create complexity. Frightened, nervous managers use thick, convoluted planning books and busy slides filled with everything they've known since childhood. Real leaders don't need clutter. People must have the self-confidence to be clear, precise, to be sure that every person in their organization -- highest to lowest -- understands what the business is trying to achieve. But it's not easy. You can't believe how hard it is for people to be simple, how much they fear being simple. They worry that if they're simple, people will think they're simpleminded. In reality, of course, it's just the reverse. Clear, tough-minded people are the most simple.
Posted on May 02

Bookmark and Share
Yeah, Apple's sexy. I mean, when was the last time it failed at something? From the iPod, to its PowerBooks, everything Apple touches turns to bright-shinin'-gosh-luvin'-gold. Yet, to understand Apple's success, it's imperative to study how they got that way. One of its first products was the Apple Lisa -- the computer with the first mainstream mouse attached to it. Whatever became of it? Nothing, much. It was a total disaster for Apple. Luckily, they had cash reserves to bounce back (The side moral: Don't put all your eggs into one basket). With failure--and here's the main moral of the story--comes understanding. Apple understood where it went wrong: the prices were too high. IBM cornered the business market by offering lower-priced computer models. The higher-end Apple Lisa couldn't compete. If you're buiding a business product that you think will change the world overnight, brace yourself because it might not happen. The key then is to learn from your experiences and mistakes. The more mistakes you have, the more equipped you'll be to achieve success. And with more mistakes, you'll boost your odds for that elusive success story.
Posted on May 01

WTH is Trizle?

Trizle helps you rock ___ with your business.


Get a complimentary subscription to our freshest articles through email or through your feed reader.

Don't Miss Out!

Subscribe to Trizle through email or through your feed reader.