This is still everyone’s favourite radio station

Ghetto Blaster

It’s not Rdio, Pandora, Spotify or iTunes – it’s still Wii-Fm.

What’s in it For Me?

I was reminded of this fact just the other week. I was talking to someone before I delivered a keynote speech. They told me they’d like to stay and listen as they needed a speaker for an upcoming event. We had a great chat, and exchanged details. After the talk I gave I never saw him, but to my surprise he sent me a text saying: ‘Great talk Steve, I’ll be in touch this week.’ A few weeks later I still haven’t heard from him. But because it was about me, it kept popping into my head every now and again. That’s cool, as we all know these type of conversations happen every day… we all have good intentions during such conversations but sometimes the day to day deadlines get in the way of opportunities.

I was clearly thinking about me. I was tuned into Wii-FM.

But just a few days ago, I was cleaning out my emails and I came across a number of things I’m yet to follow up on. Opportunities for others who are still waiting on me. So while I forget, I’m certain it pops into their mind and they’ll be saying – “Gee, Steve never got back to me on that. It’s a bit disappointing he has’t followed up.” It’s not that I don’t want to follow up, I just haven’t. And just like me, they’re also tuned into Wii-FM.

But have no doubt they are also are guilty of same thing. We all are. We all have our ‘oops forgot’ list. It’s no ones fault, we are all programmed to think about our world first, it’s a basic survival instinct.

For every opportunity we are waiting on, there’s probably more we can follow up on. We shouldn’t be ashamed if what seems like too much time has passed to actually do it. It’s better than never doing it. Maybe we can start the belated conversation with this little story, admit we are all human and start afresh.

New Book – The Great Fragmentation – out now.

Know who will miss you & act accordingly

Let’s imagine something horrible for a few moments. Let’s imagine that you die. That something unexpected occurs and your life is over. The plans you had, the lives you’ve touched would all be thrown into disarray. It is incomprehensible to imagine this, our own death. It’s as if we have this built in mechanism to avoid the mere thought of it. But if it did happen, what would happen at the company you work at? Deadlines would be missed. Some stuff wouldn’t get done. Co-workers would be sad or even shocked. Friends we’ve made would be devastated. There’d be a lot of upheaval, but here’s the over riding reality of you dying and if you work for a large company:

You’d be replaced in 4 weeks.

It’s even foreseeable that the process for replacement would begin the same day the news dropped.

Now let’s compare that to what would happen with your home and family. Lives would be devastated and irreparable. You would never be replaced and the pain of the loss would last a lifetime. Young children would be especially impacted. The hole could not be filled be anyone, anytime, ever.

So why is it that we work late? So why is it we put up with corporate bullying? So why is it we continue to work for jerks for career advancement? Why is it we give large portions of our waking lives to a faceless corporation?  Why would we give an inordinate amount of time and effort to an organisation when the ultimate reality is that we are disposable? The next time you have to make a choice to stay late, play the corporate game and over deliver to corporation  XYZ, and choose between the job and the family, maybe you should think about how they’d act if the unthinkable happened. Once you remind yourself of this you’ll know what choice to make.

It’s another reason why we need to listen to the call to run our own race, and create our own future and for independence. The people who deserve us the most, are those who couldn’t live without us.

 

The ultimate time management lesson

There’s a lot to know about time management, and even when we know it all, it’s pretty hard to implement. But if I had to impart a single thought on the subject of time management it would be this:

If the years seem to be passing quicker and quicker, it is because they are.

Yep, you read that correctly, each year we live is shorter than the previous year. That’s because everything we experience in humanity is experienced in relative terms. What we compare things to is what really matters. Our financial position, our height, our intelligence, our health… everything is compared to something. And so too are the years we live. The relativity of each year we live is a smaller percentage of the life we’ve already lived. This is why years seems shorter and shorter, and in relative terms, they are. For example, 1 year in a 10 year olds life amounts to 10% of the life already lived. While 1 year of a 40 year old is .25% of the life already lived.

For me this is a nice reminder that time is constantly running out. And we should make a concerted effort to get as much out of it as we can, even if that means we want more down time. The point is that we should make conscious choices on how we use our time, not just let it evaporate. I recently did a podcast on the topic of time management on the Beers Blokes and Business show. You can listen to it here.

And here’s one more doozy to close off with – you’ll never be as young as you are today. So get out there and make a ruckus.

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Office Culture – Coffee vs Education

The of two important cultural phenomenons got me thinking about office culture again. The love of coffee and the love of the internet. Both have a massive stake in western world office culture. Most people engaged in anything from small to large companies have omnipresent access to both. But the perception of each is vastly different.

But as far as I can tell the following is true:

Coffee: If you are at the coffee machine, making a coffee or buying one at the local espresso house in the morning no one looks twice. In fact it is respected and expected, part of the culture. A simple coffee fix is fair play in an office environment. Regardless of the fact that it is during work hours.

Internet: If you are surfing the web (excluding facebook) and potentially reading an article within your industry scope it looks bad. People see it as avoiding work or wasting time. It’s evident that this belief exists by the number of ‘click outs’ people do as others walk by. When in reality, this is a vital part of being effective and up to date.

What they both point to is the importance of culture. Both the macro societal one and the internal one. I’m starting to believe that culture is at the apex of company output. And the culture we foster determine the people we attract and the output we create. One thing I know for sure, is that in a rapidly changing business landscape I’d rather have an informed set of staff working for me, than a set of robots who are operating on the punch clock paradigm.

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The truth about digital offshoring

BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are the buzz word in business for good reason. In the good news for us small entrepreneurs is that access is no longer limited big players. The internet has made it possible to have a global work force from launch date, and the same cost advantages that multinationals have had since they started exporting labour to China and other parts of Asia since the 1960’s. Anyone can do it now.

Before you worry about the ethics of ‘off shoring’ there’s some stuff we should know. Exporting labour overseas is ethically sound. It is beneficial both to the recipients and the providers of such work (us). The average computer programmer earns around $1000 a month in India. In the USA and Australia it’s more like $7000 a month. Unethical? Not really. The $1000 a month versus the average in India of $85 gives new information workers in India and very high standard of living.

When we inject money into developing economies we are increasing the living standards not just for our employees, but for their economy in general. In addition we have the option to pay them above market rates to create strong loyalty. We have the option  treat our people well and create important cultural exchanges and relationships.

Other peoples time is what we must leverage for startup success. A simple business fact time immemorial. Only now we have both currency advantage and access. The issue of moving jobs overseas is a crock. We live in a global age, an internet economy. We all buy goods everyday from overseas. Geographical barriers simply wont exist shortly. So we should just get on board. Protectionist attitudes are outdated. No one is sending kids down mines with digital offshoring. If local people are getting put out of jobs, then they’ve been earning too much for what they’ve been doing anyway. Their outplacement is inevitable.

Startup Blog says:

• Outsourcing is available to everyone, not just powerful companies
• Off shoring improves living standards
• Off shoring is ethical and important culturally
• We must embrace it, or get left behind. There is no choice.

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The real cost of meetings

Why we still have so many of them is beyond me. We know they waste a lot of time. We know they probably cost us more revenue than they generate. So what if we actually tried to quantify the real cost of meetings. Especially those with a cast of thousands, or say 5-10 people. Let me break it down.

Cost of meeting with 10 people in it:

10 people with an average annual salary of $100,000

Total salary of human resources = $1,000,000

Weekly cost of the salaries = $19,231

Cost of $480 an hour. So a 4 hour meeting costs just under $2000 to conduct in pure wages. Not to mention the cost of stuff not getting done while the meeting is happening. Or the cost of another weeks wages while people go away and think about it, before returing next week with the same 10 people to make the final decision.

Here’s an idea. Put the $2000 in the middle of the table (the cost of the meeting in wages). If it finishes in half the time split 50% of the money between the participants. If it finishes in a quarter of that time, split 75% of the funds amonst the participants….

Startupblog says: the best decisions are those that get made. The decisions which have a chance of being wrong so we can cross them off the list. Having expensive meetings just elongates the process. Avoid them where possible.

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Message for the time poor

Here’s the only two snippets of advice which matter for the time poor. Forget all other advice which you have heard.  Especially, the long winded advice for time saving practices, which quite frankly the irony is not lost on me.

Advice snippet no: 1 – Never double handle any task. Touch it once. Do it once.

Advice snippet no: 2 – Cut stuff out of your schedule. Do less stuff, and learn to say no.

Do these two things and life will be better. That is all.

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