I’m totally in love with Modern Seinfeld on Twitter (@seinfeldtoday). Each day I tune into the stream hoping for some more tweets which serve up 140 more characters of Seinfeld goodness. For the uninitiated, Modern Seinfeld is an ‘unofficial’ tweet stream in which each tweet is the synopsis for a fictional modern day Seinfeld episode. It really is the stuff of genius.
But it has another possibly unintended benefit. It’s also a short cut to an understanding of the world we live in. For anyone who has been asleep for the past 15 years, and missed out on the revolution, then all they need to do is tune into this twitter feed. 397 tweet reads later and they’ll be all over digital pop culture. Check out these doozies below as examples:
The other cool thing, is that the real Jerry hasn’t done anything ridiculous like asking them to take it down due to copyright infringement. Which is exactly what we’d expect from many old world media owners.
Deal making is very different to most other activities, sports and business pursuits. In life, it generally pays to incrementally work our way up. To earn the right to play a ‘bigger game’. But when it comes to making a deal – selling something big, raising capital for our startup or doing something that requires a commitment from someone else the opposite is often true. In fact, I think it is easier to go big than small. Easier to make that big deal. Easier to raise a large amount of capital. While this sounds counter intuitive, when we consider the ‘why’ the reasons become clear:
- It takes the same amount of time to meet the prospects
- It takes the same amount of time to prepare the offer
- People in charge of small amounts of money, tend to watch it more closely
- People in charge of large amounts of money are mostly the decision makers as well
- People in charge of small amounts of money often need approval to spend
- Small investments get caught up in detail and administration
- Big investments are made by those who need ‘big outcomes’ and are less risk averse
- Big investments are usually made with OPM – other peoples money
Granted, getting the big meeting takes more work, but the simple truth is that raising 10 or 100 times the money, rarely takes 10 or 100 times the effort. In fact, it takes no more effort, and usually less. So when you’re next out deciding who to go for, remember the above and go straight to the top. While all rejections are created equal, all deals are not.
We are often told we need to be passionate about our work, our startup or the product we are selling. And while it is true, it is also a little bit ephemeral. Today I heard a better way to describe what we need to do to sell our ideas from Brian Tracy – whose an old school business coach, though his approach is still highly relevant today. Brain says we need to be able to do this:
Transfer our enthusiasm.
I love it, and I’m going to use it as a way to judge myself after I present an idea or project to people in the future.
After SAMP your life will be one of travel, opportunity and space exploration
That would be a dream come true!
and then I replied:
No, that would be a dream worked hard at.
The simple truth is that dreams either get worked on arduously to become a reality, or they remain a pure fantasy.
I feel like I hear the term passionate too much when it comes to business and startups.
“I’m passionate about the internet.”
It’s a bit like saying, I’m really into electricity. The internet isn’t really a thing to be passionate about – it’s a thing that allows passions to be made into realities. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of entrepreneur podcasts and youtube interviews and what I’m seeing as their foundation lies in ‘interests’ more than passions. I’m seeing a long term interest in certain areas that have subtly influenced their direction over time. A sense of curiosity which builds over time and provides startup direction by stealth. They didn’t have a burning passion or overnight explosion of desire, but a slowly building yearning and curiosity for a certain type of technology or type of connection.
The Foundation interviews by Kevin Rose are a super forum for hearing the long story from founders. A little more about how they got there, than what they did once they arrived. It’s insightful and refreshing stuff. Two of these that stood our for me were the interviews with Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey.
Musk – Turns out he had a big interest in comic books as a kid. He read every single one in the store and their futuristic view of the world shaped his mindset and the ventures he ended up in.
Dorsey – Was obsessed with dispatch routing (omnidirectional messages from a single source) and maps (he filled his bedroom wall with them). Which again influenced the design of the twitter service.
The point is they didn’t turn up and say: ‘How can I take advantage of this internet thing with something new?’
Rather, they said: ‘Hey, finally I can build that thing I’ve been thinking about all this time.’
We are best served when we listen to our genuine long term bubbling interests, rather than what’s hot and bursts of passion.
The most outdated form of learning is memorising. Other than the ability to write and speak – it’s hard for me to see a future for memorising anything when I have access to the knowledge of the world, in real time, in my pocket.
So why do we still ask kids to memorise lists, States, Ex Presidents and the first 20 elements of the periodic table?
The really valuable part of computing power is the ability to process the data, the RAM. The hard drive (the storage) is less expensive and I’d say not as important. How often do we go into our files to find that presentation, spreadsheet or file from 2 years ago? – Almost never.
I think it’s a lot like our human brains, the real value is in problem solving, not rote memorising. Ironically personal computers seem to be moving back to the way they began – without the potential to store data locally. The data stored on our hard drive is quickly moving to the cloud and away from our computers. And it’s my contention that we should do the same thing with memorsing stuff and outsource that to the micro chip as well.
When negotiating with a supplier in business, it’s a natural desire to want to get the best deal. And when we think of deals, we think of the value equation: The product or service as a function of price.
If we take this approach and succeed the net result is this: The party we are dealing with gets their margin squeezed and they make less money from dealing with us.
This isn’t the best deal. In fact, it is not a very good deal for both parties. Low margin customers usually get sub optimal service, attention and effort put into their account. In startup land what we usually need is love and attention more than sharp supplier pricing. Which is why best business practice is to leave something significant in it for the other guy.