For those of us in Adland, Mad Men is a persistent reminder that not much has changed in our business over the past sixty years (with the exception of all the illegal and non-PC stuff, of course). Believe it or not, agencies are still run pretty much the way they are depicted on TV. Evidently, the great management and technology revolutions sidestepped Madison Avenue. Read More →
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Companies often advertise for “thought leaders” and “game changers,” but during the interview process, they usually reveal that they really just want to build incrementally on what they’ve already got. In a second interview with a major company, I realized that although they want to be recognized as an innovator in their industry, their major focus is on building the adoption for their current technologies across the company. I can do this, but I have the skills, insight, and passion to build the next generation. Is it worth continuing the conversation with them? Do I stand a chance of convincing them to innovate?
That’s a great question. It’s actually pretty rare for prospective employers to be guilty of outright false advertising. It’s way more likely that they’re “aspirational innovators,” meaning that they want to innovate. Someday. When the stars align and everything is perfect, they’ll take that leap. Unfortunately, that’s not quite your timeline, is it? Read More →
As product people who subscribe to a lean and agile methodology, we have a tendency to think in short bursts and only focus on the near term, because after all, things change. Our typical strategizing looks like this:
- Determine key priorities for the quarter
- Determine metrics for those priorities; i.e. when we complete the priority, how will we know if we are successful or not? Did we move the business forward?
- Focus on Priority 1 until it’s complete, and then move on to Priority 2
- Always be willing to adjust based on user feedback and product discovery (testing ideas, seeing what works, and failing fast to move on to the next idea)
However, the downside of this type of thinking is that you can lose sight of the bigger vision and of the long-term business goals.
In order make sure that we don’t lose track of the bigger vision and make sure that our quarter-to-quarter priorities help move the business forward in the right, I am proposing that we instate a “Look Back” at the start of every year, and check in with it in June to see how we are doing. Read More →
Every year it’s the same thing. We start out the New Year filled with good intentions, high hopes, and a formidable list of life-changing resolutions. And for an indomitable few, those resolutions result in positive changes and personal growth. But for the rest of us, life tends to get in the way.
Before we know it, January is over and February flies by (it’s such a short month!). Then the spring holidays come along. Then it’s summer, and… well, you know the rest. That pledge to “start tomorrow” just leads to the eventual realization that today is yesterday’s tomorrow. So, what can we do about it?
We can start today. For real. Right now.
What we need to do is go from “resolutions” to “real solutions.” And one real-life solution that really works, is easy to do, and can kick-start us into action, is to start reading. And my recommendation is to start your New Year’s reading with any one of the 13 inspirational and motivational books on this list. Read More →
This article originally appeared on Wyatt Jenkins Product Jazz.
Mobile is reinventing how people work by moving previously complex tasks to smaller portable devices. This work process reinvention is one of my bets on where to place your development resources in the next few years. Lets review the facts illustrating the changes we’ve seen recently. Read More →
It seemed like such a good idea at the time, didn’t it? Reading about holiday entertaining? Then you must want to see more recipes and decorating ideas. Checking out career success tips? We’ll give you a ton of career success tips.
Here at Budget Travel, I have yet to talk to a single partner or advertiser who doesn’t want to target users based on what they’re already looking at. Selling deals? Put a deal to Paris on a page about — wait for it — Paris! All of this makes sense…up to a point.
Back in the day (I’m talking 2002-ish), our sales team was keen on promoting a “home page takeover” or other home-page-based advertising executions to really give clients that WOW factor. After all, everyone comes to the home page!
Today (10 years later, if you can believe it), I still hear salespeople get all worked up about pitching a home page takeover. But no one goes there any more. Read More →
Last Saturday the New York Times’ business section ran an article (“Nurturing a Baby and a Start-Up Business“) about women with small children who launch high-growth tech companies. It profiled several women launching and running highly successful start-ups while they are pregnant or have very young kids and how their success is “dispelling the image of the tech entrepreneur as a single, usually male, wunderkind.”
The article goes on to say that the investing world remains skeptical about a woman’s ability to launch a tech startup and make it work while also raising young kids. Apparently some — but not all — venture capital firms are concerned that women with small children won’t put in the long hours and give the 150% required to make a fast-growth tech company work in the first few crazy years. Read More →
We’re pleased to welcome Sheryl Victor Levy to the blog. As a coach for businesspeople who don’t want to be left behind by technology, and as a digital strategist in her own right, she always aims to be a little bit ahead of the curve. She’ll be blogging for us about the ways that digital marketing, advertising, and media are changing just about every other aspect of business — and what you need to know to use this knowledge to your advantage.
Last week I attended the June New York Tech Meetup, along with nearly 800 other guests. Given that the group as a whole has some 24,000 members, these Meetups are always in demand. I had an extra ticket, and I received more than 25 emails in less than 24 hours asking about it.
The event consists of two hours of presentations by local startups, and then an after-party (which yours truly was way too tired to attend). I have to say, the evening was pretty cool. Read More →
You’ve heard of HiPPOs, right? They’re the Highest Paid Person’s Opinions, and there’s someone with them in every group.
Whether they come straight from the actual Highest Paid Person’s mouth, or just someone who sucks up to her, or the guy who’s super-charismatic and persuasive, there’s always someone who has the last word. “I think it should be like this,” they intone. And so it shall be done. Read More →
Jacqueline Dooley has been working in the fields of online marketing and search marketing for over a decade — we’re so happy to welcome her to the blog. In her posts, she’ll be laying out for us the basics of paid search, and the ways to make sure you get the most out of it. The post below appeared first on her own blog, Search. Click. Find.
Paid search is a do-it-yourself medium. It takes literally five minutes to set up an AdWords account, fund it, create your first campaign, and launch. And Google has been aggressively targeting small businesses by providing $100 coupons and vouchers through hosting companies and ISPs, as well as reaching out directly to small businesses.
For all of the above reasons, as well as the continued pressure to find new leads and generate new business, many of my small business clients are confused about how to move forward. They feel a sense of urgency to launch an AdWords campaign (everybody’s doing it!) but they aren’t sure how to approach it. Add to this that it’s so easy to get started with AdWords -– just register, plug in your credit card, and GO! — that the temptation to launch before you develop a thoughtful strategy can be overwhelming. Read More →
I was at a product manager’s gathering a while ago, and the topic of video came up. Someone threw out the idea of taking short-form video — say, 90-second clips, the kinds of video you watch on mobile phones and laptops — and having it available on internet TV, which one would navigate using a standard remote control. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” the manager said. Well, yeah, there’s actually a lot wrong with that. Read More →
User experience design (UXD), the science of structuring information and developing user flows, is breaking out of its native-digital niche, where it originated as a planning and architectural tool for developing website and apps. Now it’s a critical element in many different kinds of marketing strategies.
Understanding the full range of consumer experiences with a brand is a critical factor in building awareness, engagement, and advocacy — and in framing or evolving a value proposition that integrates and emphasizes features and benefits in believable and sustaining ways. Read More →
Jonathan Hills is a product developer and strategist who blogs for us about how traditional companies, particularly media brands, can reinvent themselves in the digital age.
When I began my career in digital back in the dark ages of the late 1990s, online video was something you rarely ran into. And if you did, it consisted of a postage-stamp-sized clip of blurry pixels that took about 10 minutes to stream via RealPlayer. Now, video’s everywhere. According to Comscore, over 180 million people in the U.S. watch online video every month.
With an audience that big, it’s not surprising that more and more brands are trying to grab a piece of the pie -– especially since online video advertising continues to grow at a rapid clip. So what’s the best way to build a viable online video product? Here’s a hint –- it doesn’t involve talking heads.
There are three things the Web really doesn’t need any more of. The first is group-buying sites/emails/apps. The second is photo-sharing apps. And the third is talking-head videos. Especially talking-head videos of website editors talking about something they’ve just written about 15 minutes ago. Read More →
This June brings the second annual User Experience Awards, which honors and celebrates outstanding UX projects and practitioners. To find out about the awards and the submission process, we checked in with the founder and president of Oxford Technology Ventures, Beverly May, who will be moderating the awards. If you have a project, idea, app, site, or software that you’d like to have considered, you still have a little time to get your ducks in a row — the deadline for submissions is May 1.
Why now? What changed about UX and design to make last year a good time to launch the awards?
UX has become more widely understood and recognized as a key differentiating factor in an ever-more-crowded digital marketplace. When there’s hundreds of thousands of apps, or dozens or even hundreds of competitors in your space, suddenly the product experience becomes very important for user adoption and retention. UX was always important, but it wasn’t as well understood as a separate discipline and approach, and its importance wasn’t as widely recognized and valued in terms of strategic differentiation. There’s been increasing recognition that a customer-centric design and product approach is really the only way to build high-impact, effective, useful, and engaging products and services. Companies who launch or, more likely, maintain legacy products with bad UX are increasingly putting themselves in a strategically weak position and are opening up the opportunity for a competitor with superior UX to gain considerable buzz and market share. Read More →
Conferences are a tricky thing. There are so many of them, especially in the fields of digital media, marketing, and advertising, that it’s hard to know which ones are worth it. But what about SXSW Interactive, which earlier this month unleashed a vast stream of tweets, articles, posts, press releases, and controversy, including the question of whether or not it even still matters and an example of a social good gone bad? If you’ve sat out SXSWi so far, you might be wondering if all the chatter means that it finally jumped the shark. Read More →
You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud or an evolutionary biologist to figure out that there is something about Facebook that resonates deeply in our psyches and in our lizard brains. New research is attempting to identify and document how this works — and what it means for the rest of us trying to connect with the public.
The fact that people accumulate friends and family members and then post and watch countless photos and videos feels very primal and tribal. As we build our social networks, we exercise the passive aspect of our flight-or-fight instincts, meaning that as we add “friends,” we’re constantly monitoring them for signs of friendship or aggression — and unfriending those who fail the test.
Read More →
- The venture capital firm Y Combinator is willing to fund startups that have no idea what they’re doing — literally: “If you apply for this batch and you seem like you’d make good founders, we’ll accept you with no idea and then help you come up with one.”
- From now through the end of April, Inc. magazine is taking submissions for its annual Inc. 500/5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies. To make the list, companies need to have made at least $2 million in revenue last year and at least $100,000 in revenue in 2008.
- Scott Belsky of Behance covers “Reactionary Work” and the four other kinds of work that fill our day. As you might expect, it’s the essential but hard-to-schedule Planning Work that usually gets short shrift. [The 99 Percent]
- And David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, has some ideas on how to fight back when technology keeps you from being as productive as you’d like to be. Spoiler: there’s no quick fix. [NYT]
- The clothing chain Uniqlo pays its workers a lot more than its competitors, and so far that strategy has paid off in equally high profits. James Surowiecki looks at the “false economy” of scrimping on payroll. [The New Yorker]
Today we’d like to welcome to the blog Jonathan Hills, a product developer and strategist who will be blogging about ways that traditional companies, particularly media brands, can reinvent themselves in the digital age.
For army rangers, casual campers, and budding serial killers, the Swiss Army knife is an attractive tool. Knowing that you have a single product at your disposal that can do a variety of tasks averagely well is quite comforting. It represents a highly portable way to get by in an emergency — which clearly has value. But given the option, it’s unlikely that a three-inch nail file would be your number-one tool of choice if you needed to skin an otter — or whatever people do when they’re surviving in the wild.
One of the biggest mistakes traditional media companies make when working on their digital product strategy is to fall into a Swiss Army knife mindset. It usually goes something like this: Read More →
Why did you want to speak at SXSW?
Content marketing is a concept as old as the hills, but it’s just beginning to appear on digital-marketing radar screens (thanks, social media!). It’s also my passion: I not only wrote a book on it, but also just published a research report about how enterprises are adapting to its challenges. Contrary to popular believe, it’s NOT free! Read More →
A work-in-progress list of links and other info to get the most out of Austin…
Great product people understand their users in a qualitative way — what their motivations are, what they use your product for, and what issues they have with your product. It’s a core part of being a product owner, particularly when you are looking to build something new. But when you are looking to optimize your site experience, you also need product metrics.
Qualitative research tells you “why,” but product metrics tell you “what.” It’s metrics that help product owners make decisions and, even more important, understand if those decisions were ultimately right or wrong. Read More →
(your resume in 140 characters or less):
Founder of The Accidental Creative, author of The Accidental Creative, arms dealer for the creative revolution.
Why did you want to speak at SXSW?
I’m as or more excited about meeting tons of sharp, visionary people at SXSW than I am about speaking! But anytime I get the chance to share how creatives can unleash that final 20% of their creative potential, I’m there. I’m excited to share the insights from my research and book. Read More →
Tomorrow, Wed., February 29, the presentation expert Joel Schwartzberg will teach his Hired Guns Academy class on how to Nail That Keynote: Adding Strength to Your Professional Talks, Appearances, and Job Interviews.
As a frequent coach for competitive public-speaking teams as well as individuals and groups of all sorts, Joel knows what it takes to get a message heard — loud and clear. In this three-hour class, he’ll give you what you need to know to craft presentations that stick, including the best way to use visual aids, some easy tricks to get rid of the jitters, and a clear explanation of why the words on the page are only one part of what makes speeches memorable.
To find our more about Joel and his approach, check out a few of his recent posts:
- Public Speaking: 10 Secrets Every Panelist Must Learn Before Hitting the Stage
- When to Bring the Funny — And When to Leave It at Home
- How to Succeed on Panels and Q&As: Make Yourself a “Point” Guard
There are still a few spaces left for his class this Wednesday, but don’t wait too long — space is limited. Looking forward to seeing you there!
- Should we be trying to learn from freshly shut-down companies the same way we try to learn from shiny new startups? [Washington Post]
- It’s “practically a religion” in lots and lots of offices, but does brainstorming even work? [The New Yorker]
- Leonardo da Vinci, failure. [Boxes and Arrows]
- Social media has had lots of successes, but that doesn’t mean that any of them came without spending real money. Writing in Inc., Hollis Thomases tallies up social marketing’s likely costs, using everyone’s favorite viral, that Old Spice guy, as an example.
- Why is the talent pool in IT, entertainment, and management so shallow, and why are the wages so high? Maybe it’s not that the raw talent’s so rare — it’s that it’s just really, really hard to identify it, and to train it once you do. [Marginal Revolution]
As I wrote in a a post last year, we’ve entered the era of using data to tell stories. Natalie Zmuda’s article in last week’s Ad Age, “When CMOs Learn to Love Data, They’ll Be VIPs in the C-Suite,” did a good job of explaining the other side of the data coin –- using data to inform and power marketing programs. Marketers haven’t been lacking for data; instead, the issue has been about how to contextualize the information and how to separate the truly important from the irrelevant. Read More →
We have a bumper crop of Hired Guns presenting their ideas at next month’s SXSW Interactive. Over the next few weeks we’ll be profiling them, so that you can get a taste of their ideas — whether or not you’ll be making it to Austin yourself. Today’s selection, Jeff Gothelf, will also be cochairing next week’s AgileUX New York City conference.
Fewer Secrets, Greater Impact
Sunday, March 11, 5:00
Presenter: Jeff Gothelf
Why did you want to speak at SXSW?
SXSW offers an international audience of creatives and technologists with whom conversations about the web, design and technology are always interesting and diverse — plus it’s one hell of a party. Read More →
- Hired Guns blogger Jeff Gothelf is cochairing the AgileUX NYC conference, to be held Saturday, 25 February — a few tickets are still available….
- The neighbors are a little unsure about the new house that Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, is building. (It’s 40% bigger than Zuckerberg’s, but the Wall Street Journal opines that by “billionaire standards, [her] mansion is nothing special”).
- Speaking of Facebook, it’s using you. [NYT]
- Stanford University’s online “Introduction to AI” course attracted 160,000 students from more than 190 countries, with a median age of around 30. And about 23,000 of them finished the course. [The Guardian]
- Have we reached the end of more-is-more when it comes to online content? Felix Salmon writes that “If we have reached that point — and I hope that we have — it’s a function of the way that the world of the web is moving from search to social.”
- Valentines for the curve-loving economic wonk in your life. [Freakonomics]
- What makes a company a good place to work? It’s not the free quinoa at lunch. The Vault takes a stab at answering for real.
- Hiring’s up, but it still lags behind the numbers from January 2011. [SHRM]
- A graffiti artist is one of the more unlikely stockholders standing to become much, much more wealthy because of Facebook’s IPO. [NYT]
- Flexing his mentorship muscles, the former CEO of Tyco, Dennis Kozlowski, has been encouraging his fellow inmate, the hip-hop star Ja Rule. to go back to school. [Business Insider]
- This five-year-old has some idea of what lots of logos stand for, but McDonald’s, Apple, and GE lead the pack in recognizability:
[from the Next Web. See also: The Top 15 Brands on Twitter]
Hired Guns blogger Todd Cherches was quoted in yesterday’s Crain’s NY Business, in an article (“Fountain of inspiration”) about possible reasons that the best ideas often seem to come in the shower:
Mr. Cherches’ activity of choice involves heading for the bath—–a direction made considerably easier by the fact that he runs his business from his Manhattan apartment and has no employees. “Showering blocks out everything and everyone, so you’re away from it all,” said Mr. Cherches…. “You’re creating a cocoon of solitude.”
For Mr. Cherches, it’s all about the “creative pause,” a term probably coined in the 1960s by Edward de Bono, a famed scholar of creative thinking. The concept refers to a time when someone stops thinking about a problem on purpose, engages in another activity, and often unexpectedly comes up with a solution without even trying.
- Michael Wolf believes that 2012 will be the year of artist-entrepreneurs, who can cut out the middleman through spunk, digital knowledge, and much easier ways of getting goods to consumers.
- It’s too late to use this advice for Christmas, but it’s not too late to use it to make your resume more winning: “What Clever Advertising Can Teach Us About Buying Gifts.” As Jordan Weissmann writes, “The trick for a good gift-giver, or good marketer, is to think like the person they’re trying to connect with. In one of the experiments, subjects told to think about the big picture when putting together a resume abandoned the more is more approach, and instead focused on a few appealing accomplishments. It worked.”
- New York’s American Museum of Natural History has begun a fully paid Master of Arts in Teaching program for aspiring science teachers. An open house for the program will be held on Saturday, 7 January.
- If there was one previously admired work habit that took a beating in 2011, it was the energy-sapping habit of multitasking. But even if you’ve already stopped trying to do a dozen things at a time, there’s always room for improvement in other areas: “7 Things Highly Productive People Do“. [Inc.]
And from The Hired Guns blog:
Get Your Blog On: Janice Croze, Cofounder of “5 Minutes for Mom,” on Success and Getting Noticed by Being Genuine
Janice Croze and Susan Carraretto, identical twins, launched 5 Minutes for Mom in early 2006 as a site to help promote small businesses (“mom and pop shops”) and the online parent community in general. Back then, web directories and blogrolls were the main method for growing traffic and creating community; social media hadn’t yet managed to make much of a splash. Pageviews came quickly, but not without a lot of hard work. Read More →
Lisa Schneider writes for The Hired Guns blog about the technological changes that everyone in digital organizations needs to know about, whether it affects their own job directly or not. Questions about technology or making the transition to a primarily digital career? You can either put them in the comments or ask them via Twitter.
Gone are the days (if they ever existed) when people outside the digital or IT teams could ignore the technology behind websites and applications. And while not everyone needs to know how to code, workers in management, editorial, marketing, and other areas all definitely need to know enough about the technology to understand its implications.
HTML5 is simply the next iteration of HTML. But what’s different, and why are people excited? Read More →
Here’s an obvious statement: the web (internet, computers, mobile, all of it) is changing. Here’s maybe a less obvious statement, but still nothing groundbreaking: the rules for how you build, maintain, and grow business on the web are also changing. This means that you need to adapt, to be prepared to change how you operate, and to be different from what you are today. What works today is almost certainly not going to work tomorrow. Read More →
- In what’s being seen as a play to fend off Facebook and Google Plus, Twitter has given itself some new bells and whistles. An international rollout will include personal profile pages and timelines, and new ways to find tweets you might be interested in. More from the Wall Street Journal (on what it means for the company) and Lifehacker (on the changes themselves).
- The CEO of the French tech firm Atos hasn’t used email since he got the position three years ago. Now he’d like to make the company’s 74,000 other employees do the same, at least for internal emails. Instead, they might use an in-house wiki and IM, along with other tools.
- Dan Pallotta looks at the horrors of lousy, meaningless business expressions: “You will gain tremendous credibility, become much more productive, make those around you much more productive, and experience a great deal more joy in your working life if you look someone in the eye after hearing one of these verbal brain jammers and tell the person, “I don’t have any idea what you just said to me.” [HBR]
- The plans for Apple’s supercollider-shaped headquarters include lots and lots of fruit trees, as well as gardens, a fountain, and an open-air amphitheater. [Forbes]
- The Freelancers Union’s Sara Horowitz talks health insurance with the New York Times’ David Bornstein: “Many people believe that there are only two options for health care: the current, for-profit, dysfunctional, system where costs are spiraling out of control, and a single-payer system. . . I believe there is another strategy where civil society (such as nonprofits, social-purpose businesses and other institutions) create a new support system to get their basic needs met. The reality is that government is subsidizing less and less. . . it’s unrealistic to think that government will be able to fund and operate a single-payer health care system in the next three to five years.”
- From Hired Gun pal, John Vorwald: Budget Travel’s newest list of the World’s Weirdest Hotels.
- “Fail fast” is such a common phrase that it’s a cliché, but what exactly does it mean in practice? The Next Web pulls together some examples of how a batch of startups used initial failures to succeed – at long last.
- In the category of too good to check: Fast Company reports on Cerveza Norte, a beer company that cares about its party-hardy consumers’ privacy. A beer cooler the company tested in a few clubs acts as a “photoblocker” that shines a bright light back when it detects nearby camera and cell phone flashes. The idea is that any photos of you going all Las Vegas somewhere dark will be ruined by all that light, keeping your dirty deeds off Facebook. Check it out in the video below:
- A cool chart breaking down the internet users around the world: less the 5% have access to broadband, although 30% have access to the internet in some form. [via Alltop]
- Does someone in your family have a wonky computer full of dusty software and an operating system that’s on life support? Lifehacker has a gameplan for using Thanksgiving’s downtime to make things better . . . . See also The Atlantic’s Forget Shopping, Friday Is Update Your Parents’ Browser Day!
- The Times tackles Google X, the secret labs where it dreams up some of its craziest ideas (yes, there are lots of robots).
- NPR on how technology can kill the white-collar jobs that were immune from earlier structural changes. Legal discovery was one of the earliest of the low-hanging fruit. As one researcher says, “… by one estimate, it lets one lawyer do the work of 500.”
De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats”: A Powerful Visual Thinking Method That Will Forever Change the Way You Think
Of all the different management, leadership, communication, innovation, and thinking tools, tips and techniques that I’ve learned over the years, nothing has affected me more, or has had more practical applications, than Edward de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” model.
De Bono, the guru of “thinking about thinking,” originated this framework that I now use, either consciously or unconsciously, literally every single day. It’s one of the best examples of how we can use visual and metaphorical thinking and communicating to solve real-world challenges. Read More →
Online display ads are most likely here to stay, but that doesn’t mean they are the only way to get the word out. In a recent talk at the Appnexus Summit, Reuters reporter Felix Salmon floated one idea for a different kind of ad — basically it would be an aggregated set of links to targeted content from all over. The selection would provide what’s often missing in current advertising: “a reason to want to look at your ad.” It may not end up being the future of online advertising, as Salmon claims, but it’s intriguing idea, given the many sites that have succeeded through various kinds of aggregation. Readers continue to want and need help finding the good stuff.
It’s no coincidence that the Counterparties blog, which Salmon runs, is modeled along the same link-heavy lines. Reuters’s home page runs a distinct Counterparties box at the bottom of its home page, and it’s easy to imagine this becoming its own sponsored ad unit in the future.
If you’ve got a head for marketing and your skills extend beyond pretty words and images to include being savvy with numbers, stats, and analyzing data of all sorts, then your career prospects ought to be very bright right now.
Ad and marketing agencies want people like you, and there just aren’t enough of you. As John Ebbert, the managing editor for a Web site devoted to ad technology, told the New York Times, “There is pain for hiring in digital at all levels.” Read More →
- Kelly Eggers has eight rules for networking effectively. The most important might be the last: follow up with your new contacts. “[Get] in touch — within 24 hours — to say you enjoyed meeting them.” [FINS]
- Hired Guns pal Scott Belsky, the creator of Behance, on how to harness your online creativity. [Moo]
- Still mulling over a Halloween costume? In an effort that Hired Guns blogger Noah Scalin would likely approve of, artist James Kuhn has spent every day this year turning his face into something . . . else. A few samples: Black Swan. Cowboy Clown. Head of Lettuce. [The Hairpin]
- From last spring, but still good: why companies like Dropbox have early adopters and America’s other “venturesome consumers” to thank for being able to get off the ground. [The New Yorker]
The least creative place you can be is most likely where you’re sitting right now.
Like many people, I spend the majority of my workday in one room, sitting in front of a computer. And while my office may be on the more creative end of the spectrum — filled with all manner of interesting objects — it’s still the least inspiring place I find myself on a regular basis.
Workspaces are places of familiarity, but if you’re looking for inspiration, you actually need the exact opposite: an influx of the unknown and a sprinkling of the completely random. And there’s no better way to finding these experiences than just simply getting out of your environment.
For a year, Skull-A-Day, my daily art project, was my excuse to spend part of every day away from my desk. Sometimes it was just going to another part of my office to make something by hand, but very often it required me to get out of the building entirely and spend a some time really paying attention to the world around me. Read More →
Sitting in a San Antonio bar with a business partner in 1967, the entrepreneur Herb Kelleher grabbed a (now-legendary) cocktail napkin and sketched out a simple triangle while posing this question: What if we were to create a small, local airline that connected these three cities? With that sketch, the idea for Southwest Airlines was born.
The next time you are trying to generate ideas, brainstorm a solution, or explain a complex idea to someone, why not use a cocktail napkin — or a scrap of paper, or a flipchart or whiteboard — and sketch it out!
Even if you don’t think you can draw, it’s not about artistic ability . . . it’s about getting ideas out of your head and down on paper so they can be shared succinctly with someone else.
Once, a new coaching client of mine, a regional vice president at an international pharmaceuticals company, was wrestling with a costly, complex, and incredibly challenging business dilemma that had been distracting him and keeping him up at night for months.
On my first meeting with him, I solved his problem in less than five minutes –- simply by means of a napkin sketch.
It’s not that I’m so brilliant — in fact, I really didn’t fully understand all the complexities of his situation (that actually might have worked to my advantage) — and I can barely draw. But my napkin sketching ability saved the day. Read More →
Kidneys and Eyes, the moving blog run by a mom and marketing executive who happens to be named Julia Roberts, was started to help keep friends and family up to date on her two kids, who were three and five years old at the time. This wasn’t just a place to post the occasional snapshot: both her children had been diagnosed with a rare form of polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition for which there is currently no cure or treatment. Read More →
- Your employees WILL leave you. How to deal with one of the facts of modern-day corporate life. [The Next Web]
- Why aren’t all those newly available jobs helping push down the unemployment rate? [PRI]
- 11 weird tips for being a great public speaker (OK, maybe they are more “unusual” than “weird.”) [Altucher]
- 10 steps to get more done at work, from Forbes.
- Steve Jobs “did what a CEO should: Hired and inspired great people; managed for the long term, not the quarter of the short-term stock price; made big bets and took big risks.” — Walter Mossberg
- The Metropolitan Museum recently emerged from an extensive redesign of its website, with new itineraries and lots more coverage of its holdings.
- Purdue University has dropped out of the running for opening an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island. This project, estimated at costing at least a billion dollars, is one that the Bloomberg administration is supporting through a promise of up to $100 million in infrastructure funding from the city — Purdue said it wasn’t enough, given the likely total cost. Roughly 26 other schools are still interested in the proposal, including Cornell, Stanford, NYU, and Columbia. [WSJ]
I was at the Business Insider Silicon Alley 100 event last night when news of Steve Jobs’s death hushed the room. People began to whip out their Macs and iPhones and stared at the news in disbelief while the glow of the very devices that Steve Jobs created washed over them. After the initial shock, the conversation quickly turned to the impact he made on the world and on individual lives.
Right now, with all the economic despair in the air, the European debt crisis gyrating daily, and Wall Street being occupied by the unemployed, it’s natural to feel paralyzed and out of control. And it’s easy to look at the loss of a leader like Steve Jobs and think that this really is the end of days for innovation in America. What’s next? Read More →
Are you a perfectionist like me? If you aren’t, I can almost guarantee your company or boss would like you to be one. This is a shame, because perfectionism is probably the biggest roadblock to innovation that you will ever encounter. In fact, letting go of perfectionism, or as I like to call it, preciousness, is the key to unlocking your creative potential.
Over the years we’ve been taught that it’s unacceptable to try out new things that could potentially fail because they will:
A. Waste Time
B. Waste Money
C. Get You Fired
D. All of The Above
So we’ve gotten into the habit of working safely within our comfort zones in order to avoid creating anything that’s less than perfect. This is fine for just getting by, but terrible for moving forward. Read More →