Posted May 22, 2013 3:59 a.m. by jon
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
There's a certain urgency to the new book by Mitch Joel, Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It. Its sentiment has also been expressed by authors such as Gary Vaynerchuk: Business is changing and if you don't keep up, you'll be left behind. And that's putting it nicely.
What Joel is saying is that if we don't change, our companies will go out of business, and we ourselves will become unemployable. Scary stuff, yes, but the good news is the book has the answers to avoid these problems. Both Joel (and authors like Vaynerchuk) tell us what we already know and see around us, but might not understand the intricacies of: Technology is moving at a very fast rate. For instance, we acquire and learn one device, master one platform, just in time for it to be outdated, and as we scramble to keep up, there are others, millions actually, who are ahead of the curve, and are participating in what they see on the platforms, sites, and devices they have. Some companies are prepared to communicate with people on whatever the cutting edge is, but others aren't, and the size of each platform or device's audience depends on how fast tech know-how and innovation move together, and how communication savvy both sides are.
Whether it's a corporate head office or a massive retailer, where you put that physical entity has a direct correlation to your success. Here's a new spin on that theory: With people spending more and more of their time looking, reviewing, and shopping online, the new real estate is whatever screen is in front of the consumer.
How great does a brand have to be to earn a coveted place on the home screen of a consumer's iPhone? Recent data and research do not speak kindly to how well brands are integrating into these new neighborhoods and communities. In the Digiday news item "Saving Abandoned Brand Mobile Apps" (March 29, 2012), Giselle Abramovich reports that one in four mobile apps are never used again after being downloaded and that 26 percent of apps aren't used more than once. Do you think it is because are branded apps? Probably not. The likely (and brutally honest) answer is this: Most branded apps suck.
Now think about this on an individual level. Just as companies are challenged to stay relevant, so are our individual skills, experiences, and understanding about how business and people currently work. Think about what these things were to you 5 years ago. Now think about how they've changed. That process, according to Joel, will only increase. Resting too much on what we've done in the past might make it difficult to adapt to what is expected now. Without adaptability, we might slow processes down, become the weak link in the team, and may not even be hired.
According to Joel, the answer is to get "squiggly," which is sort of an intuitive, improvisatory sense. He states:
You will have to adapt to a world where your career can (and should) get squiggly. You wind up seeing, reading, and listening to a lot of content (both online and in traditional publications) that speaks to the coming years and what businesses should expect in terms of disruptions, predictions, new channels, and shinier and brighter objects. It's almost easier to say that everything we have known about business continues to change and that the only constant in our lives will be change. Fine. Dandy. Now what? The true adaptation for you (and your business) will not be about how smart you are with your marketing or whether or not you're doing clever things in spaces like Twitter or Facebook. True adaptation will come from how well you can get over what I call "the lazy" and move to a place where squiggly becomes your friend.
This book is an important reminder to look at the world, business, and ourselves in ways we might not be. Keeping up with changes is challenging, but with books like this, it becomes much easier.
KnowledgeBlocks Giveaway: The One Thing
Posted May 21, 2013 3:25 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
If I were to ask my husband to make a "to-do" list of the things he wants to get done over the weekend, the list would top out at around 20 items. On it would be anything from cleaning out the garage and going to the bank...to moving our garden to the east side of the yard and building a new set of stairs. Over the 16 years we've been married, I've been a witness to his inability to whittle that list down to something manageable many times, and the inevitable result that he gets none of those 20 things done because he is overwhelmed and distracted. He wants to get it all done, and is unsatisfied by anything less. I doubt my husband's method is rare. In fact, it's likely pretty common. We all buy into the myth that we must be uber-productive and any inability to multi-task is a glitch in our character.
But trying to do too much is a hard habit to break. Thank goodness we (and my husband) have The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. Not only will the authors help you establish a practice of whittling down that menacing "to-do" list to increase productivity, but he will also help you understand yourself better, making it easier to find and stick to your personal ONE Thing.
Keller and Papasan open the book with a Russian proverb: "If You Chase Two Rabbits You Will Not Catch Either One." And that is a fitting synopsis of the book's premise. But really, the book is populated with similar easy-to-remember catch-phrases that you can carry with you as you apply the ONE Thing process. Another is to "go small."
"Going small" is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It's recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It's a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It's realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.
Pretty antithetical to the message we usually receive about productivity, isn't it? But the authors back up their theory with a little physics. The chapter titled, "The Domino Effect," describes how the momentum of one small domino can not only knock over many dominoes, but also knock much larger dominoes. Why does this work? "Because extraordinary success is sequential, not simultaneous." Not only can small accomplishments add up to big results, a series of small results can actually add up to much more progress than if you were doing two tasks at once. "Every time we try to do two or more things at once, we're simply dividing up our focus and dumbing down all of the outcomes in the process."
I think nearly all of us have a friend or colleague whom we regard as being admirably focused. We long to be as disciplined, and we treat that person with a sort of reverence. The One Thing offers us relief from this envy: discipline and willpower are over-rated. "When you do the right thing, it can liberate you from having to monitor everything." Concentrate on establishing a habit, rather than trying to change your character.
Returning to my husband's inclination to overload his to-do list, even if he buys the argument that multi-tasking is bun, and he needs to concentrate on that first domino, how does he deduce what his ONE Thing is? The second half of The One Thing focuses on solving that conundrum, and it's this section of the book that is truly revelatory. The authors start by encouraging us to ask one "focusing" question:
What's the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Parse out that question, and you'll begin to see that the ONE Thing process is, well, two-fold. First, you must determine your "big picture" ONE Thing. Then, you will ask yourself: "What's my ONE Thing right now?" The answer to that question becomes your first domino. Is this a bit of a cheat? Doesn't the premise of the book become "The Two Things?" No, the authors explain: "Your big ONE Thing is your purpose and your small ONE Thing is the priority you take action on to achieve it."
The third section of the book steps you through the process of finding that ONE Thing you dream of, that thing that sometimes seems too big to achieve. The formula the authors present consists of Productivity, Priority, and Purpose. The section concludes with a chapter on how to implement the ONE Thing process in every area of your life. And the authors' enthusiasm is contagious:
So be prepared to live a new life! And remember that the secret to extraordinary results is to ask a very big and specific question that leads you to one very small and tightly focused answer.
To help you practice the ONE Thing approach, in addition to providing winners with a copy of the book, The One Thing, we will also send you a door hanger that will remind you and your coworkers/family that you are working the ONE Thing philosophy, as well as a mousepad/notepad on which you can practice the process.
Posted May 20, 2013 6:39 a.m. by michael
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
“What do people think of you? What do they say when you leave the room?” Maybe you don’t think you have a brand. Hopefully you don’t think that. As Dorie Clark demonstrates in her new book, Reinventing You, taking control of your professional future hinges on your acceptance and understanding of your current brand, and your ability to take control of where that brand is going.
OK—we can call it a reputation, if that makes you feel better. As Clark points out early on, we simply can’t afford to disregard the impact that our personal brand has on our success.
The idea that you can just keep your head down and work without any regard to office politics, for instance, has been thoroughly discredited.
Some might perceive a keen interest in one’s own reputation as tacky, but so what? If ‘too cool to care’ is your M.O., you might be risking your professional future. Even further, a lack of concern for your public image is a red flag to your manager—future or current—and if you’re a freelancer, it’s a warning to your potential clients. Companies and managers want to work with people on whom they can rely to be not only effective on the job, but also friendly and conscientious. If you’re not actively engaging your bosses (i.e. maintaining your brand), you’re risking being forgotten, or worse.
Reinventing You is a step-by-step manual for actively steering your career. The beginning is an assessment. Clark provides strategies for discovering the reality of your current brand, so that you can get an idea of what needs to change. This includes asking friends and colleagues to participate in focus groups, as well as using data from past performance reviews from employers. Especially if you’ve never done an assessment of your brand, you will learn a lot. One important thing to remember is that others’ perception of you is effectively reality. Whether you agree with the results of your assessment or not, it’s important that you take them seriously and use those results as your starting point.
After you have some idea how you look to the public, you’re ready to take aim on your destination and try your hand at living your future. Clark advises trying the work you’re interested in. It might not be easy to land your new dream job right off the bat, but you can get started on your new path by volunteering or shadowing in your target field. As Clark says:
To avoid costly mistakes—and wasting your energy—you can take a short-term test-drive.
This experience is often unpaid, but the most important part has already been stated: experience. It’s out there if you want it.
Throughout the rest of the book, Clark walks us through essentials like key skill development, finding a mentor, and one of my favorite topics, leveraging your points of difference. As a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ myself, I love bringing the crucial ‘outsider perspective’ to a project. In the current market, your diverse background is much more likely to be a benefit than a drawback. Clark demonstrates the benefits of transferable skills and your unique identity, and the importance of analyzing your skills through the lens of the current marketplace. Skills you’ve had and valued for a decade might no longer be valued, while other skills you perhaps have taken for granted might be more highly-valued than you thought. Don’t miss the value you bring to the job.
Your reinvention won’t be as simple as point A to point B. In fact, it’s almost certainly going to be hard work, and it doesn’t stop once you land that new job. Wherever you are going, Reinventing You will help you map your path and arrive to a newly-defined you with the skills and image to make your new career a success. The book even contains a self-assessment, re-cap questions at the end of each chapter, and group discussion questions at the back of the book. Start by reminding yourself that your future is too important to be left up to chance; then open Reinventing You and get started.
Posted May 17, 2013 8:38 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
For your weekend perusal, here is another installment of Friday Links
➻ Calvin Ried's coverage of the BISG’s MIP (The Book Industry Study Group’s Making Information Pay Conference) 2013: A New World of Big Data, Complexity and Collaboration for Publishers Weekly yesterday was a treasure of interesting insights:
BISG executive director Len Vlahos gave an overview of “The Digital Consumer” using data from its "Consumer Attitudes Towards E-book Reading Survey," in particular looking at the behavior of “Power Buyers” or consumers who buy at least one e-book a week. They represent about 17% of all e-book buyers, they are likely to be a women aged 55-64, and are “grown not born,” he said, noting that they buy physical books and e-book interchangeably and have grown into being “power” e-book buyers over time. Vlahos also noted that while 80% of Power Buyers shop at Amazon, 40% shop at B&N and 30% buy or use libraries/OverDrive to find the e-books they buy. And while dedicated e-readers continue to dominate, their dominance is slipping (and the use of iPads for reading is growing) and Power Buyers generally own tablets and e-readers (though they prefer dedicated e-readers for reading).
That is just one bit of the fascinating data provided in the Ried's coverage. But what does it all mean for those that write, publish, and sell books? What, if anything, does that data do to the way we move forward as an industry? If anything, it shows that we must continue to work together:
Ken Michaels, president of Hachette Book Group and chairman of BISG, closed the conference with a presentation on change and adaptation, noting that “the world is changing more rapidly than we realize.” In particular he noted that the former linear supply chain in publishing—the familiar publisher to distributer to retailer paradigm—has been replaced by a crazy and complex constellation of financial interests and sevices surrounding one central figure—the reader. He also used this new paradigm to promote industry collaboration, like BookStats.
“We see complexity as an opportunity,” Michaels said, “not because we can figure it out in isolation, but because we can participate togther in organizations like AAP, BISG, IDPF and others, without which we couldn’t educate ourselves about the best practices in this new world.”
And speaking of collaboration, this time internal, the BBC went inside HarperCollins in London to see how their covers come to life in a cool little video, Cover to Cover: How are book jackets designed?
➻ Taking a look inside another literary institution, Julie V. Iovine of the Wall Street Journal writes that The Library's Future Is Not an Open Book. It's a great overview of a paradigm shift taking place in libraries throughout the country and shows that libraries continue to be some of the most dynamic, forward thinking institutions in the country. The piece deserves a full read, but this excerpt should begin to give you the gist of the article:
Branch libraries have long served as community hubs offering book clubs and after-school story times. But central libraries, dedicated to the care and maintenance of weighty collections within ornately crafted and lofty spaces, are having to recast themselves. Thanks to the shift of emphasis to online resources over hard copies, the prevalence of mobile technologies and changing approaches to studying and learning, libraries have a different social purpose. "I used to be greeted by a sea of faces with questions like how to spell 'Albuquerque,'" said Amy E. Ryan, a career librarian since the 1970s and now president of the Boston Public Library. "That's all over. It's now about providing an experience."
That experience still includes books, but more importantly for our true education and the health of our civic life, it includes the serendipity of discovery, of the unexpected, of the other and the unfamiliar—something I think is less prevalent as algorithms dictate who and what we see and read in our lives online.
I also believe that if the world were a perfect place, libraries would become the central, not-for-profit wireless providers in their communities. There are a number of models that could be explored, and the for-profit businesses we have providing this public service now are 1: dead last in most customer satisfaction polls, and 2: lagging behind much of the developed world in providing hi-speed service and capacity. The best ideas they seem to be able to come up with is to charge their most loyal customers more and to tier their services, which explains the public's low esteem of them.
➻ As always, while the Amazon continues to be depleted, Amazon the company just keeps growing. In the news this week, Joanna Stern wrote about Amazon Introducing Amazon Coins—Virtual Currency for Buying Apps and Games, Greg Bensinger reports that Amazon Is Developing Smartphone With 3-D Screen, the Guardian's Ian Griffiths and Simon Bowers have Fresh questions for Amazon over pittance it pays in tax, and Dave Jamieson tells us about Amazon Warehouse Workers Suing Over Security Checkpoint Waits, all while Amazon employees strike in Germany. From Melville House's Kelly Burdick on that last point:
An Amazon spokesperson said the strikes will not affect shipments in Germany.
That said, the action is significant—it’s the first meaningful labor action against Amazon anywhere in the world and an ironic mark against Amazon, a high-tech company suffering from the “distinctly old world malaise of industrial action,” as the FT puts it.the action is significant — it’s the first meaningful labor action against Amazon anywhere in the world and an ironic mark against Amazon, a high-tech company suffering from the “distinctly old world malaise of industrial action,” as the FT puts it.
I would suggest that, if Amazon doesn't want to deal with the "old world malaise of industrial action," they should probably not rely on old world industrial labor conditions.
➻ Over at Salon, Ted Heller says Goodnight, sweet print, asking "Are words on paper gone forever?" At the same time Fast Company's Addy Dugdale tells us that Qantas Urges Passengers To Ditch Their Kindles For A Paperback Book
A collaboration between Hachette and Droga5 is attempting to get Qantas's passengers to turn their tablets and e-readers off, and turn instead to paperbacks.
Stories For Every Journey is a collection of bespoke books aimed at the airline's frequent flyers. Each of the 10 volumes has been written to allow travelers to devour it, front to back, within the flight time--longer flights allow the passenger to devour a meal, throw back a few glasses of wine, and settle down for some sleep, with enough time left to finish the book.
In the Christian Science Monitor, Donna Bryson explores A 'novel' idea for spreading literature in Africa: The cellphone. And taking a look at a fascinating new book from Simon & Schuster, Claire Kelley wrote yesterday that Jaron Lanier offers to save the book business, but even his own publisher doesn’t listen:
In her review of his new book Who Owns the Future?, Janet Maslin adds another descriptor, calling Lanier a “mega-wizard in futurist circles. ” But she could have also called him a “book publishing strategist.” In the final chapter of his book, Lanier lays out his thoughts on the future of books and offers a money-making scheme to save the book business:
It amazes me that traditional book publishers don’t understand the emotional value of paper… To survive, the book business has to define a product for the upper horn, for the rich… there should be hyper limited editions of books like this one, hand copied by monks onto handmade paper, using organic fair-trade inks, and sold only in VIP rooms at parties where almost no one can get in. Listen up, publisher, you are with these very words publishing the advice that could win you a fortune, but you are choosing to ignore a way to get through these tough times.
Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Who Owns the Future? was apparently unwilling to take the leap. Seemingly resigned to the inability of publishers to heed his warnings, Lanier offers possible outcomes once the book industry has been completely overhauled by Silicon Valley.
Man... with the physical book disappearing, maybe it's a good thing so many of us practice Tsundoku.
➻All of these links make my head hurt after a while, which brings me back to the ideas of Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity.
➻ You may too old for summer camp, but if you'd like to take two weeks away from home this summer to build new relationships and "a new online thing," check out the Summer 2013 Seth Godin Internship.
➻ Do you realize that we're floating in space?
ChangeThis: Issue 105
Posted May 15, 2013 7:33 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
by Jackie Huba
“While known as much for her voice as for her over-the-top wardrobe, few recognize Lady Gaga for her stunning business acumen, which has earned her legions of loyal fans worldwide.”
“Leaders must establish some key boundaries in some very key areas if they want to get results. And, thanks to brain research, we now can scientifically get a peek into why the leaders who do establish these kinds of boundaries get the results that they get.”
“Waiting for a mentor to appear like a deus ex machina is a loser's game. Some people luck out, but most don't. This manifesto is about how to make your own luck—how to proactively identify the people you want in your life as mentors, cultivate real relationships, and look beyond the obvious.”
“If companies want to innovate the way successful bold newcomers have, they have to unplug from the constraints of, 'That’s the way we’ve always done it,' and recharge, starting with the mantra, 'Let’s just not do that anymore.'”
“Achieving adherence is simple but not necessarily easy. It takes skill and creativity to continually nurture focus, competence, and passion with your team. This is why we call it the art of adherence.”
“Any company can market and promote that they are experts at cuddling customers, but very few ever get the formula for execution right. [...] They like to talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.”