Must Read!Cathy Mosca posted this on 02/27/2009.
| Permalink | Comments (20) |
"Celebrate what you want to see more of." Tom Peters
I've just laughed out loud in the office reading about a recent piece of research from UK parenting group TheBabyWebsite.com. They trawled online telephone records for what they termed "most unfortunate names." Here are a few they highlighted: Terry Bull, Tim Burr, Pearl Button, Barry Cade, Justin Case, Mary Christmas, Barb Dwyer, Doug Hole, Jo King, Anna Sasin, Paige Turner, and my personal favourite, Carrie Oakey!
US-based researchers have also highlighted the likes of Annette Curtain, Anna Prentice, and Bill Board in the same vein, and warned of career choice implications if your name is Leslie Doctor, Thoulton Surgeon or Les Plack: currently practising as a doctor, surgeon, and dentist respectively!
Does anyone know of any people whose parents didn't think carefully enough when they named their new baby, or whose career choice has opened them up to more than a little smirking when they are first introduced?
My TPC colleague Vicki Setford has started things off by citing a gravestone near to her grandparents' grave in East London which commemorates the late Walter Pipe ...Richard King posted this on 02/27/2009.
We usually think of business strategy as some sort of aspirational market positioning statement. Doubtless that's part of it. But I believe that the number one "strategic strength" is excellence in execution and systemic relationships (i.e., with everyone we come in contact with). Hence I offer the following 48 pieces of advice for creating a winning strategy that is inherently sustainable:
• "Thank you." Minimum several times a day. Measure it.
• "Thank you" to everyone even peripherally involved in some activity—especially those "deep in the hierarchy."
• Smile. Work on it.
• Apologize. Even if "they" are "mostly" to blame.
• Jump all over those who play the "blame game."
• Hire enthusiasm.
• Low enthusiasm. No hire. Any job.
• Hire optimists. Everywhere. ("Positive outlook on life," not mindless optimism.)
• Hiring: Would you like to go to lunch with him-her. 100% of jobs.
• Hire for good manners.
• Do not reject "trouble makers"—that is those who are uncomfortable with the status quo.
• Expose all would-be hires to something unexpected-weird. Observe their reaction.
• Overwhelm response to even the smallest screw-ups.
• Become a student of all you will meet with. Big time.
• Hang out with interesting new people. Measure it.
• Lunch with folks in other functions. Measure it.
• Listen. Hear. Become a serious student of listening-hearing.
• Work on everyone's listening skills. Practice.
• Become a student of information extraction-interviewing.
• Become a student of presentation giving. Formal. Short and spontaneous.
• Incredible care in 1st line supervisor selection.
• World's best training for 1st line supervisors.
• Construct small leadership opportunities for junior people within days of starting on the job.
• Insane care in all promotion decisions.
• Promote "people people" for all managerial jobs. Finance-logistics-R&D as much as, say, sales.
• Hire-promote for demonstrated curiosity. Check their past commitment to continuous learning.
• Small "d" diversity. Rich mixes for any and all teams.
• Hire women. Roughly 50% women on exec team.
• Exec team "looks like" customer population, actual and desired.
• Focus on creating products for and selling to women.
• Focus on creating products for and selling to boomers-geezers.
• Work on first and last impressions.
• Walls display tomorrow's aspirations, not yesterday's accomplishments.
• Simplify systems. Constantly.
• Insist that almost all material be covered by a 1-page summary. Absolutely no longer.
• Practice decency.
• Add "We are thoughtful in all we do" to corporate values list. Number 1 force for customer loyalty, employee satisfaction.
• Make some form of employee growth (for all) a formal part of values set. Above customer satisfaction. Steal from RE/MAX: "We are a life success company."
• Celebrate "small wins." Often. Perhaps a "small win of the day."
• Manage your calendar religiously: Does it accurately reflect your espoused priorities?
• Use a "calendar friend" who's not very friendly to help you with this.
• Review your calendar: Work assiduously on your "To don'ts"—stuff that distracts.
• Bosses, especially near the top: Formally cultivate one advisor whose role is to tell you the truth. Regularly!
• Commit to Excellence.
• Talk up Excellence.
• Put "Excellence in all we do" in the values set.
• Measure everyone on demonstrated commitment to Excellence.
You'll find a longer version of this as a PDF—it includes two Appendices.
(Above, windblown trees near Farewell Spit, NZ.)Tom Peters posted this on 02/26/2009.
The best source of success is already with you
Ask yourself this question: How can our current customers help us unleash the latent profit in our business?
I believe this with great conviction: Almost without exception, the most lucrative source of latent profit for most companies is in their existing customer relationships.
Let's put this in the context of the tough situation the economy has put all of us in. Your customers have less money to spend, and your competitors, in their desperation, are doing everything they can to steal your business.
Now, ask yourself this question: How many of our customers are giving us all of the business they could?
If you are like most people, your answer to that question is somewhere between none and 20%. Yes, some of you may say that 50% of more of your customers are giving you all the business they could, but you'd be in the minority. Here's the bottom line; we all have significant untapped potential in our existing customer relationships.
I saw an example of this potential just this morning, while I was conducting a phone consultation with a team from a mid-size, business-to-business service company. Right at the beginning of the conversation they told me that the most important issue they face is the challenge of finding new customers in this tough economy. I asked them what percent of their existing customers are giving them all the business that is reasonably possible. Their answer: Fewer than 20% of their client relationships are fully developed. Sure, new customers would be great. But their quickest route to building their business comes from building on the relationships they already have.
We spent the next half-hour talking about their existing customer relationships, and which ones had the most potential to develop additional new business. It became clear to all of us very quickly that the biggest danger they faced was to get distracted by efforts to acquire new customers and shortchange the opportunity right in front of their face: developing existing relationships. They are now well on their way to creating and implementing a plan to mine business from current customers.
So, the first, most important thing you must do to thrive in 2009 is not to cut costs, fire people, or, heaven forbid, bury your head in the sand and wait for the recession to be over. The first, most important thing you have to do is nurture and develop your existing customer relationships.
Yes, you need new customers. But this isn't a question of "either/or," it's a case of "both/and," with existing customer relationships being the thing to attend to first, foremost, and disproportionately.
[This is part 2 of a 6 part series. Click here to read part 1. For more on the idea in today's post, you can listen to Steve Yastrow's 2009 Readiness Teleseminar, in which he presents Six Readiness Questions to help you thrive in 2009. Information related to this post starts at 17 minutes into the one-hour seminar.—CM]Steve Yastrow posted this on 02/25/2009.
For a presentation in Auckland on Friday I created a document centered around 21 "Basics." Upon reaching Queenstown on Saturday, as per my custom, I ended up expanding it to "Basics57." You'll find it below, and in PowerPoint format.
1. Action! "Bias for action." "Ready. Fire. Aim." "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
2. Failure. "Whoever makes the most mistakes wins." "Reward excellent failures, punish mediocre successes."
3. Execution! "The last 98%." Enjoy-master the politics or flunk out. The invisible "underbelly" is the key!
4. Great things, small packages. Germany's Mittelstand.
5. Not cool coolest of the cool. Basement Systems Inc. Jim's Group, 2,800 franchisees, masters of dog-walking.
6. Big 4. TP's "4 for 40," 4 things I've learned in 40 years. Decentralization. Execution. Accountability. 6:15AM.
7. Clarity around core values. For living, not for shareholders—best way for shareholders to win.
8. Organizations exist to serve. Period.
9. People first. "Life success company." "Put the customer second." "Cathedrals devoted to human growth."
10. "What do you think?" "Dream manager."
11. Quality obsession.
12. No corner-cutting in tough times.
13. Design-produce Brilliant/Memorable Experiences. Everywhere. Accounting Dept. as Cirque du Soleil.
14. Keep climbing the value-added ladder. Best Buy/Geek Squad. IBM Global Services.
15. Department as "PSF"/Professional Service Firm. From "overhead" to "principal engine of value-added."
16. "Insanely great." "Only ones who do what we do." "Radically thrilling." Words matter!
17. Emotions rule. Always.
18. Brand You. Declaration of Independence. "Distinct or extinct."
19. Design. Apple. Apple. Apple.
20. Innovate or die. "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
21. R&D imperative in tough times.
22. You are who you hang out with. "Hang out with weird, get weird. Hang out with dull, get dull."
23. Diversity for diversity's sake.
24. Nudgery/Multiplier power/Little = Big. Pronovost's ICU check list. Etching in the urinal.
25. Location power. The #1 underutilized invisible megalever.
26. "Business model." Microsoft. "This is how we make money in 25 words or less."
27. Obsessive-compulsive relationship development and maintenance. Measure it! Focus on the "underbelly"!
30. Decency. Thoughtfulness. Value is X10 in tough times.
31. Smile. Nelson Mandela. D.D. Eisenhower. Starbucks.
32. Give good tea. Ben Franklin.
33. Dance your way to a world-altering alliance in 96 hours. Edward VII.
34. "Thank you."
35. Apologize. Make the 3-minute call. "Three-minute call hour."
36. Comeback power. Comeback > Perfection.
37. "Kindness is free."
40. Enthusiasm. Energy. Exuberance.
41. Hiring #1. 2 per year/promotion power. 1st line supervisor power.
42. Pick "people people." Select-for-intangibles.
43. Resilience. "We'll lick 'em tomorrow."
44. Appetite for tough times. Tough times define your life.
45. Calendar management. "Calendars never lie."
46. "Hard is soft. Soft is hard." "0 for 15."
47. Women Are the Market. "Womenomics."
48. Women rule. Women are the best leaders.
49. Boomers-geezers have all the $$$$$.
51. Wildly "over-communicate," especially in tough times.
52. XFX/Cross-functional excellence = Lunch management.
53. Listening. Listening-as-strategy. Hearing > Listening. Become a student!
54. Know yourself—far easier said than done.
55. MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around. "In touch" power. Measure it!
56. Show up in tough times.
57. EXCELLENCE. ALWAYS.
Is there a celeb magazine that doesn't cover Jennifer and Brad and Angelina each and every week? With the next story more outrageous than its predecessor? That's the way it feels from the grocery check-out line.
Well, it seems to me that the Eastern press is covering the Great Recession the same way—every story using adjectives more dire than its predecessors. To be sure, bad news piles on top of bad news. And every other day, it seems, GM or Citi needs another $10 billion of your and my money.
And yet there's more to the story of America in 2009 than the lurid webs spun by Chris Matthews, Lou Dobbs, & Co. And more to the U.S.A. than Detroit and Manhattan and the bookends of PA Avenue in D.C.
The news is bad in California, to be sure. The state's budget deficit is catastrophic. Foreclosures occur at the speed of light. But there's more to California than that.
Though I'm in New Zealand, I email California friends and read the daily papers from SF and San Jose, my stomping grounds for three plus decades.
The panic in CA is minimal.
There's a ton, or at least a half ton, of news about start-ups and staggering new technologies; it almost feels like business as usual.
The world continues to turn in CA.
The same world that's stopped turning—according to the East Coast press, the Washington Post and the New York Times and CNN and MSNBC, all of which resemble an economics National Enquirer these days.
We're in for a tough slog. Could go on for years. Yet entrepreneurs and incipient entrepreneurs and university research scientists and any number of companies (Oracle comes to mind) continue to embrace the future—at warp speed, as they have for years. (Such full speed acts of creation, smaller in number to begin with, were effectively AWOL during the Great Depression.)
There seems to be grave concern but little panic in California—remember, about 40,000,000 of us live there, though you'd never know it from the press, which seems to consider Michigan the western boundary of the U.S.A. And there's significant, though not grave, concern and no discernable or incipient panic in New Zealand.
Yes, I think we're in for a tough, tough slog, and a long one at that. But the Panic-from-the-East may be overblown—and thence, to some extent, perhaps to some great extent, it has the makings of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I wish Mr. Obama would come to Stanford or San Jose. I wish Chris Matthews would return for a while to his beat at the SF Examiner. I wish Lou Dobbs would take a Zen class in breathing.
A friend sent me a Peggy Noonan column from last week. Okay, she lives in the East. But she made her bones as a Reagan speech writer—Reagan is the guy, most will recall, whose sunny disposition per se squelched the panic of the eighties. (That, and, I'd remind you, a whopping deficit.) My "a friend," Bo Burlingham, longtime superstar and spirit of Inc. magazine (and a liberal's liberal), all but ordered me to cast my eyes upon the column's final paragraph. I offer it below as the last words of this post:
I end with a hunch that is not an unhappy one. Dynamism has been leached from our system for now, but not from the human brain or heart. Just as our political regeneration will happen locally, in counties and states that learn how to control themselves and demonstrate how to govern effectively in a time of limits, so will our economic regeneration. That will begin in someone's garage, somebody's kitchen, as it did in the case of Messrs. Jobs and Wozniak. The comeback will be from the ground up and will start with innovation. No one trusts big anymore. In the future everything will be local. That's where the magic will be. And no amount of pessimism will stop it once it starts.
(The picture above, from a beach in Abel Tasman Park, is a stingray on patrol. Below, NZ's signature fern.)
Tom Peters posted this on 02/23/2009.
Gave a speech (no slides) for Westpac yesterday in Auckland. The Aussie-based bank was #100 in market cap in the world a few months ago. Now it's the world's #8.
FYI: Westpac is the same bank it was a few months ago—no acquisitions or other forms of expansion. Westpac didn't grow; the others have shrunk or evaporated.Tom Peters posted this on 02/20/2009.
Your business is bursting with profits
Ask yourself this question: Where is the latent profit in our business?
No business, in the history of the world, has created all of the profit it could possibly produce—including yours. There is always money left on the table.
That is especially true in tough times like this. Our world has changed, profoundly and quickly, and we have yet to adjust to our new reality. Many of us are so shell-shocked at what's been taken from us that we have yet to acknowledge what is left for us to take.
Your business is filled with unrealized opportunities. It is bursting with latent profit, just waiting to be unleashed. The real question is whether you will identify those opportunities and grab them. I am 100% convinced that the state of your business on January 1, 2010, has less to do with the Dow Jones Average, the unemployment rate, or the price of gas than it does with how YOU act in the meantime. (And it is in your best interest to believe this, also.)
As a first step, you want to identify the best sources of latent profit for you in this economic climate. To do this, start out by dreaming. Get in a quiet, undistracted place, and imagine it is one year from today. As you dream, imagine that 2009 was the best, most profitable year you have ever had. (Yes, this is a good dream.) Open your mind, and imagine what happened in your business to make 2009 so successful. If you open your mind, and let yourself think positively, you'll be surprised at the ideas that flow to the surface.
I did this exercise with a client a few weeks ago. Despite the economic situation, the CEO sensed that significant opportunity was lurking below the surface. I asked the CEO and his key senior leaders to imagine the company had an incredible 2009 and 2010, and to describe the company to me on January 1, 2011. Although the company produced $15 million in revenue in 2008, it didn’t take this team long to identify a very credible, achievable $30 million business in two years.
Where did we find this opportunity?Steve Yastrow posted this on 02/20/2009.
Tom spoke today in Auckland to the rapidly growing business-coaching company Results Group and its clients. He reports that while the economy is sagging significantly in New Zealand, the atmosphere is "a million miles from the despair and fear that seem to grip the USA."
Please let us hear from you if you were there, and if you'd like to get the PPT, here's the link.Cathy Mosca posted this on 02/19/2009.
Is it an unrealistic ideal in the current business climate?
Yet another survey on employee engagement (available with registration) was published in December last year, by YouGov commissioned by Engage Group). Polling 23,600 directors, managers, and employees, they found that employee engagement is seen as one of the top three factors that drive an organisation's success (it ranks higher than strategy) and 75% of board members believe that it improves bottom-line performance. In these times, when the news is full of redundancies (layoffs), re-organisations, and failing businesses, I’m not sure if employee engagement is high on the business agenda.
I believe it should be; the constant changes in these potentially traumatic business conditions are forcing businesses to constantly review and change how they organise themselves to be more innovative, productive, and customer-focused—in both the products they make and the services they offer. Becoming innovative and productive relies on having the right people engaged with what the organisation is aiming to deliver; with the capability and freedom to anticipate and respond to changing market requirements. These times are uncertain; engaged employees are more likely to not only cope with the changes, but also to contribute to how the business can survive (and maybe thrive).
It seems to me that, although we must pay attention to those people who are losing their jobs, we must also pay attention to the people who are staying in the business. Even before the current economic conditions hit, we found it difficult to "engage" employees; surveys reveal that only about one-fourth of the workforce is engaged and about the same amount are actively disengaged.
In my work I have seen pockets of excellence where employee engagement seems to be occurring, and many places where it is obviously not! I have been asking questions about what is happening where engagement is prevalent. A pattern appears to be taking shape in the responses I get; engagement is more likely to occur when managers purposefully include, and share power with, people within the organisation, co-creating a way of working together with their teams. There is a sense that the diverse range of people within the workplace community (not just the managers and leaders) are involved in, and feel accountable for, finding the solutions that are right for them, the business, and the future.
Is employee engagement seen as a priority in your organisation? And, if it is, how are you going about creating an environment that encourages engaged employees?
Ruth Smith posted this on 02/17/2009.
[Ruth Smith is a consultant working with Tom Peters Company in the UK (you guessed that from her spelling), and she's contributing to the blog for the first time. Welcome, Ruth!—CM]
800-CEO-READ specializes in business books, so it's no surprise that its founder, Jack Covert, and its president, Todd Sattersten, eat, sleep, and breathe business books. They took the time to sit down and battle it out about which business books are the absolute best of all time, in their extremely experienced opinions. Together they wrote The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You. Read their interview to learn how they made their choices and common themes they found throughout the books. Also, see the 800-CEO-READ website and blogs—there are at least three of them—Daily Blog, Excerpts Blog, and Podcasts Blog for further reading. Jack and Todd have been friends of tompeters.com for a long time. We're happy to now have them as Cool Friends, too!Cathy Mosca posted this on 02/11/2009.
I had a chance to preview Dan Coyle's forthcoming The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Anything. In short, I thought the book was a marvel—explaining pockets of amazing talent, such as Brazil and football-soccer, and, based in part on new findings in neuroscience, turning conventional ideas about teaching and learning on their head. I'll have more to say when The Talent Code appears, and Dan, I hope, will consent to becoming a Cool Friend. In a rather trivial (however, not to me at the time) way I had a chance to practice parts of what Dan discovered—and was stunned at the efficacy of his findings in this small case.
Susan and I arrived in New Zealand about 10 days ago. Although we've been here several times before, I've found that it invariably takes almost a week, or possibly longer, to more or less adequately adjust to left-side driving. With a little bit of luck and Dan Coyle, I slashed the adjustment time this trip by perhaps a stunning 75 percent, maybe even 90 percent.
My typical approach is to head for as large a highway as possible and practice, in a low-pressure context, the fundamentals of driving on the "wrong" side; I delay tough situations as long as I can and go to great lengths to do so. This time, due to a badly botched interpretation of directions leaving the airport, I started out in intense traffic in a constrained space that included several rotaries; this amounted to a half hour in hell. In retrospect I call it the "Brazil breakthrough." (Though I was in New Zealand—the Brazilians have a small-scale version of football-soccer that requires learning numerous clever-intricate moves in the smallest of spaces; it is one of the keys to their national success in the sport.) That is, I did a ton of sophisticated practice at slow speed (traffic) in a very short time, "for real," on a very small "field." Call it a hundred maneuvers at "learning speed" in thirty minutes with about two kilometers of accumulated mileage.
That was lucky—and powerful. But I took full advantage of my luck by applying three of Dan Coyle's rules-findings that I have used before, more or less, but now used with mindfulness and a vengeance. First, I talked constantly-continuously-nonstop-out loud-loudly to myself about every twitch of what I was doing-experiencing. Second, I did so with special fervor and completeness when I made mistakes. And third, in the case of mistakes, I tried to repeat the screwed-up maneuver, within the bounds of safety, immediately. The monologue went something like this, as I said non-stop and loud: "You complete jackass, look left first." "Oh that was great, bonehead, you just cut the guy off." "Look left-left-left, idiot." "Try it again, here we go 'round—okay, go around again and see if you can do it better. Okay, dude, better." "Having fun driving in the left gutter, turkey—okay, let's risk it a little and watch ourselves in the rearview mirror. That's it, better, better, whoops, better, better." And so on. And on.
The four high-leverage tactics—small field "game" with complex maneuvers, constant self-talk, self-discussion re mistakes, followed by more quick tries*—resulted in a miracle of sorts, and in a "life or death" "game" at that.
By the time you read this I may have been in a head-on accident and be dead—overconfidence is a constant and deadly threat. But if I'm still around, I will have had a fascinating experience, and a powerful one. And one with extraordinary implications.
Cheers from Golden Bay, South Island, NZ.
(*If there is a single key to Coyle's findings, it's "mistakes-based learning"—literally generating as many mistakes as possible as quickly as possible.)
"It" (the current economic mess) is 100% about psychology. Fixes must first and second and third and fourth be directly aimed at our inherent irrationality—times ten in periods of high stress, and at least as true of the "bestest and brightest" as of the rest of us.Tom Peters posted this on 02/11/2009.
Our colleague, Phoebe Espiritu pointed us to this interview with the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh (conducted in a bathroom, no less). The interview is close to 20 minutes long, but it's worth your time. Zappos is famous for its extraordinary customer service (their call center doesn't use scripts and they train for generosity), but according to Hsieh, "Customer service is not our No. 1 priority, our No. 1 priority is company culture." (Sound familiar?)
Each year, Zappos publishes a book about their culture, written, unedited, by their employees. They're not just talking about how much fun they have planning parades; this video description of the book includes employees talking about the level of empowerment they feel.
This may sound touchy-feely, but their gross sales in 2008 were over a billion dollars. How? Hsieh says they're not trying to maximize every transaction, they're trying to build life-long relationships.Shelley Dolley posted this on 02/10/2009.
The news on layoffs for January was as bleak as the previous months'. One could wonder when these job cuts are going to subside. But according to the Wharton School, it may not just be the economic downturn that is forcing the layoffs. They could be revealing the fact that the company was already in trouble. As the Wharton report indicates, "But the caveat is that layoffs are a proxy for the fact that companies which decide to do them are already in trouble. It is hard to sort the effect of the layoffs, per se, from the proxy effect."
We know that the automobile industry has been limping along for years. But some of the other companies in the news may have managed to shield from themselves, from their workers, and from the public that they were not strong operationally. Too often, companies become complacent and do not spend the time to do a little self-reflection and analysis of their systems, processes, and procedures. Many companies are running on antiquated thinking, systems, and practices. Tom has talked about Re-imagining organizations, and I think that now is the time for even the best companies to take a look at what's under the hood. Is the vision still on target, are the processes and systems designed to enhance customer experiences, are the talent performance systems attracting and retaining the right people? What do you think? How does your company assess itself? We go to the doctor for regular check-ups so that we can stay healthy and identify small problems before they become large problems. In business, there is no time to assess; everyone keeps running until they are winded and the next thing we know, there is a major collapse. I am sure that before a physical collapse or a business collapse there were some warning signs along the way, if someone had only looked.Val Willis posted this on 02/09/2009.
The leadership of today's organization is largely in the hands of baby boomers, my generation. It is a small leap of reason to say that we shaped, if not created, today's turbulent economy. The greatest generation gave us an economy that provided a solid foundation to build on. They moved beyond the war, overcame the great depression, and left us an opportunity—with the promise that "You can be anything you want to be." Being kind, I would say we haven't seized that opportunity. Being honest, I would say we flat-out failed to build a similar solid foundation for those who will follow us. We have made a mess. We are not the victims of changing economic conditions, we created them. We have maybe ten years to do something about it.
I have been researching the gap between the generations' impact on the economy of the United States and have not found an acceptable metric to quantify my conclusions. There are just too many variables. One thought hits me hard, though; the next generation may be the first in a long time (ever?) that are not be better off than their parents. I think we baby boomers own that.
Because this is a blog entry, not a white paper, let me offer a few bullet points that should start a little discussion:Mike Neiss posted this on 02/06/2009.
(1) I support the Obama pay cap for CEOs of companies on the dole.
(2) My choice would be to cap them at the rate of a 4-star general or admiral, with max seniority.
(3) If you sent all F500 CEOs and their #2s to St Elba, performance of their companies would not on average deteriorate. The "myth of the irreplaceable CEO" is just that—myth.
This from Golden Bay New Zealand: Believe it or not, I use my couple (okay, three) weeks away from VT Cold to read, as well as hike and hike and hike. This year's pick after 10 days: Fareed Zakaria's The Post-American World. Indian-born Zakaria is as clear-headed an analyst of the state of the world as you'll find. (Niall Ferguson is my alternate in this category.) The book is far from declinist literature, despite the title. As Zakaria begins, "This book is not about the decline of America but, rather, the rise of everyone else." ("Everybody else" is everybody else—not just China and India.)
While the recession, or perhaps depression, seems to relentlessly accelerate, I think there's little doubt that his analysis will stand the test of the current crisis. For those (neo-Marxists?) who think the current situation signals the end of capitalism as we know it, don't bother with this book. Zakaria is clear, per his data and analysis rather than polemics, that this extraordinary rise-of-the-rest is, in fact, fueled mostly by American capitalism.
This "must read" is indeed a "must read"—hopeful but not rose-colored by any means.
Picture above: Black Swans, two, no less, and God help us, in Waimeha Lagoon, Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington. Picture 2 (also Kapiti Coast): And some will rise above the waves!
Tom Peters posted this on 02/03/2009.
If you want to create something very good, it takes time, energy, and sometimes money. There might also be an opportunity cost (you could be doing something else rather than creating this) associated with that creation.
Should you give away that creation for FREE?
I'd say ... "Yes."
Here is a business case for doing just that:
10. Get feedback: The best can even get better.
Yes, I said give away your best work for FREE. Remember that even the "best" has room for improvement. When you give your best work for free, smart people will get to see your work. They may comment on your work, enhance your work, and maybe even, challenge your work. Your best work will get better when you get input from smart people.
9. Extend reach: Spread your ideas fast AND at a low cost.
There is an information overload out there. If you put out mediocre work, it will simply add to that overload. But, if you give out your best work, chances are that it gets noticed and it spreads fast. People like to talk about about "good" (and "bad") stuff. If you think about it, there is nothing to say about "mediocre" work—it's there everywhere.
Most people spread the "good" stuff automatically (even if you don't request that they spread this information.)
Giving away good stuff for FREE may be the fastest way to reach a lot of people.
8. Enhance your Personal Brand.
Give the best out to the world and you will create a positive assessment of yourself in the minds of people. That positive assessment will act as a stepping-stone towards building a powerful personal brand.
7. Amplify your Organization's Brand.
You will not only amplify your personal brand, you will also automatically amplify your organization's brand on the way. When people see something really good, they not only want to know who is providing it, but also what is the organization the provider is associated (or affiliated) with. You will do your organization a favor by giving away the good stuff for FREE.
6. Build Relationships Across the Globe.
You will have a hard time building relationships with people who are smart and share your interests across the world unless those smart people know that you "exist" and you have something "good" to offer.
Giving away something "good" is a quick way to increase your visibility. Do this consistently and a sub-set of these smart people will reach out to you and start building relationships with you.
5. Increase the Signal-to-Noise Ratio.
There is already a lot of noise online. If anything, that noise is going to increase in the next few years. While there are no simple techniques to avoid this noise, you can attack the problem by pushing a lot of "good" content out for FREE. An increase in the signal-to-noise ratio on the Web will boost productivity of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
4. Gain Mindshare.
There is so much noise out there on the Web. When you consistently produce good stuff and give it away (be it via your blog, podcasts, eBooks, books, columns, or any other means that you choose to use) people mentally bookmark you as a "good source" to keep coming back to. In other words, you earn your mindshare in the marketplace by giving away "good" stuff for FREE.
3. Make Your Next Project Even Better.
The feedback you receive for this work will also serve as a forward feedback for your next unpublished work. You will now be "listening" to the marketplace, and what you learn in the context of one project will have some bearing on how you approach your next project. It's really a 2-for-1 deal.
2. Lower the Cost of Sale.
Whatever you create—even when it is the best—won't be applicable for a specific situation for an individual or an organization. Ideas are plentiful, but it's all in the execution. So, when smart people and smart companies decide to implement your ideas, at least some of them will reach out to you or your organization for specific help. Giving away free (and good) stuff, you would have lowered the cost for that sale.
1. Increase your premium for those that are not FREE.
Not only will you lower the cost of sale, you will also increase the premium for whatever else you are offering for a fee. Buyers would have seen samples of your work via the "good" stuff you have offered for FREE. They don't have to guess the quality of your work anymore—so they will be more open to paying a premium for additional work.
Raj Setty posted this on 02/03/2009.
With the above points in the background, here are my quick questions for you:
a. Have you produced something spectacular in the last sixty days?
b. Are you giving that away for FREE?
c. If yes, congratulations! If not, why not?
We began the TP Wire Service as an experiment in February 2005 and went live that April. As we approach the four year mark, we've decided that it is time to pursue other experiments. We deeply appreciate the loyalty of our readers, but also understand that technologies have emerged that may be able to serve you as well as this wire service has. To all our community members that have suggested stories (especially Stephen Garner), thank you. We truly enjoyed working on the TP Wire Service project and hope that you found it useful. Today, in honor of Groundhog Day (keeping us mindful of change and fresh starts) is the last day of postings.Shelley Dolley posted this on 02/02/2009.
Okay, let the game begin. This is where we'll be posting Sally and Steve's back and forth as the game goes on. Let's see what happens.
sallyhogshead Okay, the gloves are off and I'm ready for "Super Bowl Smackdown" - live commentary with @steveyastrow at #tpsb43 and www.tompeters.com
sallyhogshead Quite the collection of advertising clichés in StateFarm spot: faux press conference, dream sequence, celebrity, mis-direct ending.
steveyastrow #tpsb43 This Audi chase ad may be exciting, but it is confusing, over done, and ... it includes car crashes! Car crashes in a car ad ...hmm
steveyastrow Hyundai is taking some risks by having multiple messages tonight - their Assurance program and the car of the year.
steveyastrow Remember Max Headroom from the '80's? In the future attention spans would be so short that TV ads would be 1 second. Future = now
sallyhogshead @steveyastrow Steve: What's your take on a $3M media pricetag for :30 (or $100k / second) during a recession?
sallyhogshead Always surprises to see CMOs spend top media $ without top-shelf creative thinking behind it. This pre-game work is rather sub-par.
steveyastrow Yes, I can't even remember what ads I saw in the pre-game, and I'm trying to pay attention!
sallyhogshead On average, Superbowl parties have 17 people. Will Twitter lower that number, by giving people a virtual party?
steveyastrow Yes, the audience is 100 million people, but 97 million are dipping chips in guacamole right now.
sallyhogshead I don't care if the media is cheaper, it's still a waste to have lame ideas in the commercials.
sallyhogshead I don't care if the media is cheaper, it's still a waste to have lame ideas in the commercials.
steveyastrow Sally, my take on $3MM for 30 seconds in a recession: Customers are so scrutinizing right now, spending 3cents each on 100 million people is spreading yourself too thin. They won't pay attention.
steveyastrow #tpsb43 This Audi chase ad may be exciting, but it is confusing, over done, and ... it includes car crashes! Car crashes in a car ad ...hmm
sallyhogshead Audi spot is great because it's so YouTube-friendly- you want to watch over n over. Highly crafted for Audi consumer tastes. #tpsb43
steveyastrow #tpsb43 Yes, if Iwatched the Audi ad 100 times on youtube, I might get it .... if.
sallyhogshead Hold on, deja vu, are we seeing two time-compression-technique spots almost back to back (Audi/Pepsi)?
steveyastrow #tpsb43 The Doritos ad was hilarious ... but will be the classic, "Who was that ad for?" conversation at the water cooler tomorrow.
sallyhogshead Recent study stated that a single Superbowl ad generates more sales than 250 regular commercials. I bet more.
steveyastrow #tpsb43 Sally, so why is reaching 100 million people at one time a good idea? Seems like a mile wide and an inch deep to me
steveyastrow #tpsb43 Sally ... but what are "regular commercials?"
steveyastrow #tpsb43 The bigger the audience, the more diluted, the more people watching who don't care about your message ... very few sales being made
sallyhogshead #tpsb43 Huge disagreement: SB is the ultimate shared experience in USA. Its power isn't the TV buy, but in the social currency afterwards.Erik Hansen posted this on 02/01/2009.
What we're talking about on the front page.
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
What we're talking about
on the front page.