Why I already trust you

lost of faces

People often talk about earning someones trust. Which is a bit like saying, I think you’re a jerk until you prove otherwise. My approach is the opposite. I trust you from the outset. The moment we meet you have my trust. Occasionally this means I get burnt. Probably around 5% of the time, it turns out to be a bad policy. Which then gives you a clear indication of why I choose to trust first. Most humans are good, and will honour the trust given to them. Which means that 95% of the time it works out well.

The problem is that most companies make policies to account for the 5% of bad apples. The few that take advantage of things. They punish the majority to account for minority. A better option is to have a business model with the robustness to account for those we who do the wrong thing. By doing this we respect the humanity of our most important customers, the majority. They also happen to be the trustworthy ones.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

You’re too early for the market – so what

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 2.17.57 PM

So you’re a bit early… maybe you startup, or whatever project you have a deep need to undertake is far more important than that. Maybe it’s a gift to humanity.

When Gutenberg built his moveable type printing press around 1440 the market looked like this:

  •  7% of the population in Europe could read.
  • Reading glasses hadn’t been invented. (people didn’t know their eyes couldn’t focus that small!) 
  • There were no public libraries .
  • Schools for the public didn’t exist yet.
  • There were exactly zero bookshops.

Maybe he should’ve waited for Amazon to come along….. he did it anyway.

When Karl Benz built his first combustion engine car around 1882 the market looked like this:

  • No one knew how to drive an automobile
  • It was illegal to drive
  • There were no roads
  • It was slower than a horse
  • It was many thousands of times more expensive than a horse

Maybe he should have waited for the Autobahns to be built….. he did it anyway.

We can focus on what the market wants. Build them houses, sell them packaged food, and provide entertained where the good guy wins, or we can do a project for ourselves. When we do it for ourselves we only need to finish it to satisfy who it is for. And we might just make something the market really wants as well.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Here’s the thing about push notifications

It depends on the context

No one likes it when people are pushy… so the mere concept of a push notification as a name seems kinda wrong to me. The thing I’d really like when it comes to an notifications from an app is this: A gift of understanding. Unexpected, surprising, delightful from someone you like, trust and maybe even love. Information  which is completely relevant and delivered just at the moment I need it.

The fact that push notifications are mostly ‘all or nothing’, pushes most of us into the nothing option. It also leaves a gaping void in the ability to make real connections with people using software together (the makers and the users, yes we use software together). The question of; “Do you want to receive push notifications?” can only ever be answered honestly with a “Well , it depends what it is.”

If your software business can create a one size fits one push notice with relevance, then you’ll be a company which moves beyond being pushy, to one which provides gifts.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Read this before you pick your startup launch date

Big Launch

Your startup launch date does not matter. Feel free to click out and get on with launching.

If you’re still reading here’s something to remember for picking a date to start or do anything. If you’re worrying about choosing a date to get going, you’re probably not focused on what matters. If someone came to me and said I’m thinking of launching before Christmas I’d say great, do it now, it might even be better because not many startups are launching at this time. If you came to me after Christmas and said I’m launching now, I’d say great, everyone is ready to get back into the swing of things for the new year. In fact, if you asked me what the very best time was to launch or do anything, I’d say right now. I would give you that answer no matter what the project or time of year. Now is as good a time as any, in fact it is always the best time since the past is already gone and the future is later than now. Sure, there are certain circumstances this may not apply, like rocket launches, but lets assume for now we’re all deeper inside the normal part of the curve.

According to wordpress, the best time for me to write a blog post is 8pm Tuesday. But I publish a post the second I write it. I know there is some ‘better time’, but as far as I can tell, progress always beats perfection.

Startup blog says – get going now. If you’re solving a real problem, you’re audience will forgive your imperfect timing.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

Why working long hours is a hoax

breakfast at your desk

I can remember back to my corporate days when the hours people worked was a major point of discussion in the office. Management and staff would really pay attention to when people arrived at the office, and when they left. It kinda seemed like they didn’t really care if they were actually working, or just staring at a screen, but that they were in the office. The original ‘FaceTime’. Personally I think it is one of the most ridiculous things to emerge from office culture. You’d hear people explaining their office FaceTime regime:

‘I like to come early and leave early.’

‘I prefer to arrive late and stay late.’

I’d always counter this with my preference of coming later and leaving early. While they all thought I was kidding, it was the truth and I pretty much did just that. I guess I missed out on many career promotions because of it, but at least it helped me find my true path as an entrepreneur, author and running my own startups. I’m glad I’m not in that world and here’s my theory on the number of hours we work:

Reasonable time is enough time to achieve big goals.

It is not the hours we put in, but what we put into the hours. I’m living proof. I’d add that once you stop wasting your time in pointless meetings about upcoming meetings, and alignment sessions, it’s amazing what can be done. When you decided and then do, you basically invent time. An idea happens at 10am (remember I start late) and you implement by 11am, then finish by 12pm (remember I like to finish early). Do this and you’re probably months ahead of every company you ever worked for.

And in the words of the great Brian Tracy, the worst use of time is to do efficiently something which ought not be done at all.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation.

The one thing you should take without asking in business

Chairman Mao

When we’re driven by the desire to do more for our startup, customers, or even an employer, we often think about constraints.“If they’d just promote me, I’d do this, that and the other thing.” We hope for a stamp of approval that it’s Ok for us to go and do the thing the business so desperately needs.

But instead of waiting to be given authority, what we need to do is take responsibility. This will help us understand more about ourselves and those we work with than waiting ever will.

You should totally read my book – The Great Fragmentation. 

The 1 question we must ask before we ever send a business proposal

Business Proposal

If you’re in the business of selling, and you’re in the business to business game there is no doubt you’ve had someone ask you this:

Can you send me a proposal?

Happy days, right? No. In fact, this is the time that we must ask the question before we send them anything. And in case you’re are wondering, this is the question:

Sure. What has to be in it for it to be a ‘Yes‘? 

The reason we have to ask this, is that the proposal question is very often a friendly way of saying, go away, not right now, or we don’t have the budget. It is a nice way to say ‘No’. But let’s be honest that it is just a waste of time and resources for both sides. But if we ask the question instead, we can circumvent a lot of pain for both parties. After the question is asked, one of two things generally happens:

Situation 1: ‘Well, we can’t promise anything…..’ or any other number of excuses arrive. This tells us if they are serious about doing business with us. It forces them to tell the truth now. This is a good thing, very quickly we know where we are at. It informs the work to be done, or it cuts down a dead lead. Any good sales dog or startup entrepreneur hates wasting time on a false positive.

Situation 2: They open up with their real needs, tells us about some internal constraints, disclose budget parameters, or that there is a lot of work to be done to get their boss to approve it. It creates forward momentum, and a collaborative approach. It builds truth and trust which leads to transactions.

Time is our most precious resource. It’s better to live in the real world and have the courage to uncover the truth early.