The thing that we are fortunate with today, is that it is easy to catch up. If we haven’t been paying attention to the world we make our living in, someone usually has been. And of those people who have been paying attention, these days they are often generous enough to share what they’ve seen. If we’ll take the time to invest a few minutes with a sharp mind, they can teach us what took them years to uncover themselves. I recently happened upon two Youtube videos which do just that – albeit in different ways.
Then & Now
This keynote from Seth Godin is the best I’ve seen from him. It really is a master class in how to do a keynote. It provides the most compelling story about our exit from the industrial era and shift to the connection economy. If by chance you’ve not noticed the structural shifts in our economy in the past 20 years, this 55 minute mind boggle will get you up to speed. Given you’re a reader of this blog and that can’t possibly be true, please share the link with someone who you think will find value in it. Click here to watch.
Tim O’Reilly is one of the great philosophers of our time. He knows how to see, he notices the long play, more than most I think. I often just type his name into Youtube and the word ‘interview’ after it. I then sort the Youtube search result by date to get most recent content. Every time I do this I find an astounding interview with him which provides deep and profound insight. That’s what I did yesterday and I found this gem. A discussion about the maker movement, and evolution in the web of things. The stuff that is coming in our technology world. Really leading edge thinking: Click here to watch. (or listen as this has no important visuals)
In today’s world we can know anything, on demand from the worlds best thinkers. It’s the first time in human history this has been possible. There aren’t really any excuses for a lack of knowledge in our topics of interest. These days knowing or not knowing, has little to do with access and a lot more to do with effort.
Marketing polymath Seth Godin was asked for his distinction between an idea and an invention on his blog today. I think it is important and worth sharing right here:
An idea is something you can write about in a science fiction book.
An invention is when you build something that people who read about it in the science fiction book said was impossible
Before we venture into our next startup and invest capital (Human or Financial) it is worth knowing which one we have.
Seth Godin has an interesting idea of being Famous to the Family. Which is similar to my definition of cool: the stuff that matters, to the people who care.
This short interview is a 5 minute investment worth making.
- Decide who your family is.
- Build them stuff they really care about.
- Enjoy doing it enough, to be able to continue without riches.
- Be patient.
I was asked to answer a few questions at a talk I gave last week at the Nationwide Networking Event. It was aimed at Small businesses with the topic about new media and the advantages of being small. I thought it was a nice snippet of ideas worth sharing here.
Q: What type of changes can we expect from media in 2010 and how do we need to prepare for it as business professionals?
A: Media will fragment further, it’s increasingly like fashion with new ideas appearing daily. The art of value, like with fashion is by going with the classics and choosing the right style for the brand you want to build. Match your environment, by being involved in the right channels.
Q: Where do you see the role of the blog in the future?
A: Increasingly important. Blogs are a trusted source, because bloggers become, or are an expert on their topic of choice. This is because all good blogs are topic specific. And people want to deal with experts.
Q: What can we expect from the evolution of twitter and our capacity to use it as a marketing medium?
A: If we use it as a marketing medium we’ve already lost. It’s a conversation…. Conversation can turn into business, but it is primarily a conversation. First we need to be a resource. A resource to others, from which we can build trust and valued relationships. These may eventually lead a business relationship.
Q: What trends are coming from America that we need to be aware of?
A: Trends are global now. We don’t have to look overseas to see it. Things arrive simultaneously. It’s not like it was 20 years ago where our friends return from sojourns overseas to tell us all about the cool things they saw, and we have to wait for them to appear in our market a few years later. Now it’s on our desktop the day it happens. This is been further facilitated by web tools such as Springwise, Twitter and Youtube.
Q: How do we (small business people) benefit from the changes in the media landscape?
A: Barriers to entry have been removed so anyone can play. But it requires a long term consistent effort. New media requires a low financial investment, and large human capital input. Where as old media requires a large financial investment with little human effort. At least now we have to choice. In addition large companies have been (so far) pretty bad at using new media. It creates an advantage for us.
Q: How can we better utilize technology tor reduce our costs and increase our profits?
A: Shift from being doers, to becoming project managers. Outsource where ever possible. It’s easier now with all the tools we have at our disposal like elance and skype. Why do we even need an office? Is it because we need to, or because we don’t trust the people we work with?
Q: Your blog has 50,000 readers a month, how did you do that?
Q: What is the meaning of micro brand building and how would it be relevant to soloprenuers?
A: Build your personal brand first. That’s the first part of micro branding, becoming known for something. Having a skill you can share with others. Then eventually cross fertilize to your business brand.
Q: What are the simplest things we can do to build a micro brand?
A: Have a tight focus area of interest. Share our lessons honestly and openly. Frequency of output.
Q: How do we protect our brands?
A: Not with IP and legal stuff…. Most of that is a simple waste of money. We protect it with customers, innovation and reliability.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to those of us that need clients and need them quickly?
A: Cold call. Not on the phone, but turn up and talk.
Q: What books have influenced you?
Q: What marketers / speakers have influenced you?
A: Steven Wright (comedian) he taught me how to flip my perspective for alternative solutions.
I know I am being a bit of a dog with a bone here. But we really need to put this ‘Free’ stupidity to rest once and for all. Sure it’s semantics, but this is what the Free model really is:
Delayed Revenue Model
If we have a so called ‘Free’ model, we are simply providing resources (at out cost) in order to extract revenue through alternative means later, or via a trade sale to incumbents who see value in what we have created. In both cases the ultimate goal is Revenue.
In many ways it’s riskier to go down the free track, simple because time and money are inextricably linked. If we don’t end up ‘Monetizing’ (another word I hate) then we are simply in the wealth transfer business.
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Here’s a list of brands for which I am personally brand loyal with. And to the right of each brand I have a given a reason.
Brand & reason
Qantas Domestic: They are the only full service domestic airline in Australia.
Ripcurl Wetsuits : They are simply the best quality, and the warmest. I will never, ever switch as the cost of getting it wrong is $600+ mistake. I also love the brand history.
Collingwood FC: I am a fan and I support the club, in this category performance wont create switching, but it does reduce my purchase frequency
iphone: I love it’s seamless funcationality and integrating so much, I find it hard to believe a better option will ever exist. I don’t even mind putting up with a few dropouts
Crumpler Bags: I love their design, and functionality, I also love the story of how they started and the fact the owners are from my local city.
Seth’s Blog: I know I’ll get a golden entry aroud once a week.
Twitter: It’s the only social network which suits my attitude & lifestyle. I like it’s brevity & immediacy.
Google Search: Works best. Would switch if better one came along. On occasion I now search on twitter for attitudinal & results based on timeliness.
Lavazza Coffee : Best tasting Roast & ground coffee after trying many others.
If we are fortunate enough to have a level of brand loyalty, then it’s equally important that we understand why we have it. In the case of Qantas, it’s more serendipitous than through providing a super product. Notice I’m only loyal with domestic travel, I’ll switch to Singapore or Cathay on international travel. Other brands like the Collingwood football club suffer from reduced revenue rather than losing market share. And Google, well they are only as good as their product where the switching costs are extremely low…. Once upon a time I was loyal Yahoo search…
The point for startups is simple. The reasons for brand loyalty are varied. Generating it is almost always related to having an awesome product. If our product isn’t awesome enough, then we need to ‘Awesomize it’. Only then will the brand story matter. Once we get loyalty our next job is to build a wall around it where switching costs are too high.
I took this quote from Seth Godins latest micro book Tribes:
“Do you beleive in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy”
This resonates with me because it will motivate us to find solutions that ‘non believers’ will be too inept, apathetic or bored to uncover.
Entrepreneurs ought launch something they beleive in conceptually, not just financially.