My regular readers will know that 2 weeks ago I released a video of a Lego Space Shuttle that we got into actual space. Quite frankly I was surprised at how much attention it got both on-line and in mainstream media (TV, newspaper, magazine & radio). It has had over 1 million views on Youtube alone. It really got me thinking about what tends to win attention in today’s connected economy, and although I don’t really know the answer, it feels more like simply joys and personal interest work better on line than commercial intentions or hard nosed value equations.
And while I’d much rather one of my businesses get this amount of coverage – it has lead to a lot of interesting business opportunities and offers. The attention generated has become its own asset. It has become a proof point in the people behind it and so it creates intrigue from others who want to simply do cool stuff.
So the question for startup entreprenuers is this:
What cool side projects can we do to generate attention around, so that our bigger ideas can attract the resources they need?
If you wanted to learn how to speak French and I could give you a choice to achieve one of the following two options, which would you choose:
- To get an ‘A’ on your report card.
- To be fluent in the language.
Without a thought you would choose the second option. The second option clearly has more value than the first option. Even though the first option, may include the second, neither two are interlinked by default.
It’s an interesting analogy we can use when it comes to business objectives, brand propositions, and why we are embarking upon our latest startup mission. Do we want a number? (the A) Or do we really want thing that the number describes? (Fluency).
What’s also interesting is that speaking any language well is a life vocation, native tongue or otherwise. The achievement is not marked via formal qualifications, and language is most recognised when it has been learned on the street. A lot like business acumen in today’s rapidly changing world. The reality is greater than the certificate.
While fluency might be far too arduous a task for many of us, it’s important to recognise what we are really striving for before we even start.
Felling a bit ‘listy’ lately, so here is one of 10 books that really helped shape my life and startup philosophy in the past few years. Of course this list is non-exhaustive and in no particular order.
- The alchemist
- Purple cow
- The intelligent investor
- A random walk down Wall st.
- 22 laws of marketing
- A whole new mind
- The clue train manifesto
- The cashflow quadrant
- The long tail
What books have shaped you?
Lately I’ve been totally loving the Youtube channel Big Think.
Basically it is some of the worlds leading thinkers, scientists, artists, educators et al, giving their views on important questions in a global society. Heavy kind of social, geo techno political issues. Often they are in short soundbites of under 5 minutes. For me it a nice TED alternative for bed time watching on my iPhone, or car listening (also via my iPhone which is streaming it from Youtube) – which makes me wonder is their a Youtube ‘radio’ app – where it streams only the MP3 file? If not there should be one. Gee, I might have to build it myself.
Check out Big Think – it is big awesome. Over.
While technology and lifestyles has shifted radically in the past few hundred years, the human DNA hasn’t evolved very much at all in the past few thousand. It’s one of the reasons why we are becoming obese. Our bodies are just not designed to have some much access to food, and so much automation and leisure time. Another interesting quirk of our DNA is the fear instinct. An instinct which is totally vital for survival, until a a few hundred years ago. In a pre-civilised world, failure could mean being killed while gathering food.
The problem with the fear instinct is that it gets in the way of us doing our best work in a modern world. It can stop us from proposing amazing ideas, and disrupting old outdated methods. The fear we have is not of death, but these days usually only of embarrassment or financial loss, neither of which will kill us.
This fear robs us of our best chance to make a difference, and generate the momentum we need. The best way to overcome this fear to remind ourselves that the fear we are facing is emotional and not physical. And almost every circumstance, what we are afraid of will not stop us from having a second chance.
I’ve been setting visual and written goals for a few years now. However last year was one of the more limited goal setting years I’ve had in some time. In truth, I achieved less than in previous years.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that some times the goals we set for a year, take a few years to yield, for our brain to work out the subconscious algorithm needed to make them happen. I’ve never had a year when I have achieved all the goals that I have set, but it is also true that I achieve more in the years when I have made more of an effort in creating, reviewing and refining my goals.
On occasions I have made a personal postcard and sent it to myself with my goals as the visuals. I’ve shared one of these below, and while some of it is personal, it’s more important to share the goodness than worry about what people might think. You will notice that some things on it are not specific, and can’t be ticked or crossed, while others are specific. I really believe that very specific goal setting can actually work. I don’t know why, it just does.
Some of the Ticks included:
- Traveling with my, now wife, to elope
- Starting a family (see baby pic – my daughter even looks like this picture I found on-line!)
- Going to New York & Rome
- Getting published articles in the AFR, the Age and Sydney Morning Herald
- Surfing Weekly
- Graduating from being a University Tutor, to becoming a University Lecturer
- Turning my Startup Blog into a Startup School
- Helping my father sell his farm
- Getting rentoid in the news multiple times (Just google rentoid)
- Travel overseas in Business Class
- Collaborate with rental Industry to become leading portal
Some of the Crosses included:
- Flying in a private jet somewhere
- Having 10 million+ in net assets
- Upgrading my home (Including pool & eco friendly house features, and grand design renovation)
- Running a marathon
- Opening a new office for rentoid
- Getting on the cover of a business related magazine
- Becoming known as a respected business thought leader.
Some of these goals that I am yet to achieve, but am still seeking, in fact some I am very close to…. if they eventuate I will let you know. For 2012 I want my goals to be more specific and I intend on sharing them here to be honest in public and make myself more accountable.
The one thing I know for sure, is that we don’t achieve any of the goals we don’t set.
You’ve heard this:
If all you ever do, is all you’ve every done. Then you can only expect all you’ve ever got.
It’s changed slightly, actually it has changed radically:
If all you ever do, is all you’ve ever done. Then you can expect much much less than you used to get.
This is because there are a nearly 2 billion people in the BRIC nations who are prepared to do what you do for around 10% of your price. And in a ‘web everywhere’ world people can find them. Yes this includes nearly all of us – Architects, Engineers, Accountants, Lawyers, Graphic Designers, Coders, Developers, Journalists – every single task that can be done remotely, and even some that can’t be.
For them 10% of your pay is a 50% pay rise. A pretty good deal from where they sit.
What to do – do more with the stuff that lives around the edges. Make meaning from the seemingly disparate. Add a creative edge by mashing things up in a new and interesting way. And demand the people near you take notice of your ideas. If they don’t, then find a better place to share your creativity.
The trick to the future is to organise the factors of production, not be them.