Time for a meeting!
Is – apparently – at anytime…?
It would be great if we would consider meetings like we consider, say, street dust.
Do we really need it?
But in real life – from where we need to look at things – in there the meetings are a truism. Even though everybody would now what to do.
Just go for it – you know what to do!
VAT code Vs. social security number
If individuals were like companies, it would be totally socially acceptable to
- open a phonebook, take a random number and ask for an appoitment at their place
- arrive the appointment with laptop and ask for a cup of coffee
- show – from the screen – all the previous ones with whom you’ve “done it”
- tell that 90% of those whom you have “done it” have given you positive feedback
- tell about with how many others are you going to “do it” with in the future and how you’re interested in finding the way to “do it” with them right now
- give your card at the end and tell them to call anytime they would like to “do it” with you
So what’s the lesson here? A company doesn’t have to – and it’d be hard to even try – to be monogamous.
So “do it” with each other as much as you can!
Have a great spring time!
Spongebob Squarepants’ birthday parties are over
The childrens parties are over. You can take of the funny hats and suck the last drop of your juice from the bottom of your cup. The tables will be cleaned, the under aged guests will be tucked to sleep and then it’s time for the grown up parties to begin.
For grown up parties to be successful, we get the funny hats, the colourful drinks, perhaps a couple of straws and board games too. I think somebody brought some ice cream as well.
The difference between parties? We played Kimble at childrens parties whereas we play Monopoly at grown up’s parties. A race between different colour pawns becomes a race about who’s the fastest to build themselves as many cashflows as possible.
Wish you were here;)
What do you need bosses for?
The last time I came across one, job ads described the wanted person as “self-imposed, experienced, educated and hungry fellow who can work well under pressure”. And that’s understandable. One – perhaps irrelevant – question still arises from this: if that’s what you’re looking for, what do you need bosses for? Especially in jobs that revolve around knowhow and selling that knowhow?
If you have a self-imposed nature, a diploma and you’re all about handling pressure while staying hungry, what’s there left to do for a boss? Besides, you then already have the most important boss of them all – the customer.
Because the customer
Not so terribly long ago there was a time when Nokia was responsible of being a primus motor to a big part of the economy in Finland. Either by direct or indirect transfers of income. Directly by taxes and indirectly by other homeland targeted investing such as office furniture, H&R- expenses and someone more educated on the subject could maybe continue the list…
In those days I remember hearing that someone used a term in his presentation that thoroughly indicated in laymans terms what was the reason for a certain peak in a certain index of growth. That term was
Because the Nokia
Without going any deeper in analyzing the pre- or post-Nokia era, I’ll only say that Nokia matters. Notice the present tense.
Anyway, whether we’re talking about a mega corporation or not, any company is being held alive by its customers. The point of setting up a company in the first place is a customer and her needs. That’s why I’d update the term to say generically
Because the customer
You can bet on the fact that the customer is likely to follow her needs and aspirations and you just need to stretch yourself to be a part of that value chain. Even if it would mean a little pain from your side occasionally.
Jump into the deep end
Now if I was to say that I’m gonna learn how to snowboard by watching videos of other people doing it, would you believe me? Would you nod your head as in “yeah, I’m sure it’ll work out for you just fine” and tell me you would yourself start to do it too if only you had time from your other duties (read: truthfully, ain’t got nothing going on)…
Then, after three weeks of hard-core staring of snowboarding videos, I’d be off to the slope swearing and spitting because I’m constantly knocked over. What’s wrong with this scenario? The fact that I spent three weeks watching videos.
I believe it was Einstein who once said the most fatal disadvantage of man kind is the unability to understand the exponential function. I’d say that the silver medal goes to not being able to understand that a few bruises teach more effectively than two days of theoretical practices.
So I only have one question: how long have you been developing the thing you’re developing and you’re still wondering if you could show it to the people you hope will pay for it? Are you swearing and spitting in the slope or at home watching the videos?
Make sure you’re on the road leading to Rome
It’s an interesting phenomenon taking place when someone is being praised as “guru”. Suddenly – or not so suddenly – someone who was mainly a subject of different jokes because of what they were talking about, becomes a Someone who’s being quoted in morning meetings and used as a tool to sell conference tickets.
And that’s how it has been, continues to be and will be in the future too – that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong in gurus; we, who go to them to get advice, have the issues. Because I’ll tell you; nothing is more frustrating than to ask for advice from two people you respect only to realize they’re both giving the exact opposite advices.
Two kinds of people are destined to fail; those who listen to everybody and those who do not listen anyone
So choose your guru wisely and if you’re keeping several gurus, make sure they’re stories are at least almost in line with each other.
And remember to trust in you too.
So what would it cost to win?
Now you can also listen this post as a podcast!
If you ask me, an unspecified information is a nemesis of all action because it prevents the action taking place in the first place. For example; the word “help” doesn’t tell the Samaritan anything about what kind of help is needed.
If there’s a context that really makes things and communication either simple as a duck or complicated as rocket science, it’s definitely money. When a needed monetary amount – such as a hundred euros - can be announced, the setting is very simple for all the parties involved. When a needed monetary amount can not be announced, well, anything too concrete is unlikely to happen.
At the same time it seems in some fields it’s a borderline impossible to ask for the price. It is my understanding that both in business and in sports, people are trying to win by default. Winning is what people are getting prepared for. In both fields the cry for more money is also loud because you need money if you want to win, right? Doesn’t all this bring us to the conclusion that the right question is
What does it cost to win?
I think it was Seppo Räty who once said “gimme five hundred thousand and the javelin will fly 100 metres”. Pretty clear and guaranteed to motivate you, wouldn’t you say? When an offer of this kind is laid on the table, the guy with the wallet has the responsibility to decide whether to give the money or not. Or as an alternative, he can always propose a conversation regarding such things as “money can’t buy you everything” or “it’s immoral to motivate with money” but who would that conversation serve?
When the price is on the table, all the parties involved have a clear sense how things will move forward.
You can always go back home
Emphasis on the “go back” part. There’s no reason to stay at home because you know who’s not there? The customer. They’re always somewhere else than at your home. That’s why you need to get out and I don’t mean just out of the building but out of the thing you’re accustomed on doing. Believe me, that you can do already but is it enough? I don’t think so.
The customer isn’t at *your* home, they’re at their own home. And when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? You can always go back home if you happen to step foot on a soil you just simply can function on but you can’t tell which soil that is when sitting at home.
Travel and make profit out of it!
Value Added Injection
A business is a business when it affects on customers balance sheet, right? When you can offer either savings on cost structure or straight forward more sales, your on top of the game. The stars are there for you to pick them also when you can make the current way of doing things easier, faster and/or considerably more efficient.
Finland is full of companies that can do just those things and the new event Hub Tampere is launching – Value Added Injection – offers one smooth way to let other companies know about it. It offers an alternative for the constant babble about taxes. Just to put it into perspective: Google gives 21,4 million results for the word “vero”. What about “lisäarvo”? 44 200…so there’s a corner in which Google isn’t the master in avoiding taxes.
The first ever Value Added Injection will be on Tuesday, February 26th 2013 at 3.30pm @ Hub Tampere. Starring companies will be Webotas Oy and The American Studio of Acting and Stage Combat.
“and e net p of t of the rst quar s a l le iffere “
Rarely you encounter a sentence that is as irritating to read, right? Not only that “the net profit is a little different” but also there are letters missing in the message. There’s communication breakdowns happening here.
Music is intended to be experienced – listened – without any communication breakdowns, without any signal losses. Not only because it’s an art form but also – and first and foremost – because it contains time values which will lose their meaning as a part of the rhythm and keeps it all together. The same goes with any efforts related to sales and marketing. Any losses in the signal will invalidate the process.
Here’s an example of sound containing losses in the signal that appear as silence to the listener.
Versus the same sound clip without the silent parts.
I rest my case.
Let’s keep the signals intact!
I admit it; every now and then a random epidose of CSI is watched in my household. But you have to agree that it’s a damn entertaining show too! When you manage to watch it with that certain “eye” it both eases your braincells and helps to come up with new ideas. Fairly reasonable ones I might add.
Naturally the series is based on a strict format which helps to explain the events and give and take away tips about what really happened.
There ain’t a murder case they can’t solve in an hour and the final – though rarely so unexpected – solution is drawn from a series of other clues based on The Critical Clue. The cause of death. The cause of death is the original clue that offers a reason to investigate the following clues.
It’s the same as in business, right? When you make a sale, it gives you a reason (and a possibility) to make more sales. When you know “the cause of death of denial”.
The cause of death of denial is that precise part of value proposition that ensured the client and made the deal
And when you know the cause of death of denial, you can look for more common nominators as you make further sales. Before you know it, the routine for different situations has developed and you are able to offer the right cause of death of denial. And thus ensure the continuity and growth of revenue.
Have a profitable day!
A too big idea
I’ll admit it; I’m tired of hearing about “great ideas”.
On the other hand I’m not least bit of sorry because I think there’s no such thing as a too big idea.
There’s no such thing as a too big idea but there’s an over supply of distorted perceptions about how fast they will materialize
I’ve heard that in war, truth is the first casualty. I’ve learned myself that sense of proportion is the first casualty of imagination gone wild.
I encourage everybody to think big and plenty, but at the same time I suggest that you learn to love great distances.
Get inspired and have some pressure to get results!
An invalid sales effort
This is actually a trick sentence. As there are no invalid goals or fires put out in the wrong way, there are no invalid sales either if you made one.
A sales effort itself, however, is a flexible concept and you can execute an infinite amount of those without actually making a sale. Common sales efforts include cold (or warm) calling, pitching in a random place, giving your business card (it’s probably the most primitive form but anyway) etc. All these are made with the intention to positively affect or close a deal – slightly depending on the scenario.
Every so often, however, turns out that you get hung up while making a cold call, you make a pitch to a person who has no power whatsoever in the decision making process and your business card ends up in – well, where business cards tend to end up for some reason.
Part of all this is the name of the game. Thus even the best of us usually have a “killing rate” of less than a hundred. Another part would be – and should be – avoided because
An invalid sales effort is like an extra calorie; after you’ve had them you’ve gotta work twice as hard in order to keep everything together
I wish you effective sales efforts!
Back to basics
I believe it is today that the last ones of my kind will eventually return at their work and start remember what was on the table before holidays started. It is all of you whom I offer a memo to be used in your daily life.
I believe in positive net worth,
the valuation factor almighty and the essence of growth,
creator of welfare and continuity,
and in perseverance of entrepreneurship,
working for your ideas,
which was conceived by our will to create new,
born in the form of an innovation,
suffered under the times of nay-sayers,
was declared irrelevant, beaten down as useless;
it descented into development stage;
after an innovation meeting it rose again from the dead;
it ascended into top of the app download charts,
and is seated at the right hand of brand value, the almighty employer;
from there he will come to reward the creative and the brave,
I believe in sales work,
the holy financial situation,
the communion of mutual vision,
the forgiveness of mistakes,
the resurrection of the revenue,
and the sustainable growth everlasting
Be inspired and have joy in your lives!
The Productivity Rider
A noble bishop looked baffled at his dry sitting cloth.
I just thought I’d say something different than something about new year and tricks.
So what is a productivity rider? A rider in general is a document in which an artist of some name has specified for the promoter what kind of special requests artist would have. Depending on the status and imagination of the artist, the rider may include such things as a limousine transportation for 100 feet from the backstage to the stage itself, they’re very own sealed toilet seat, a set of pink couches, or in slightly easier cases a couple six packs of beer, fruits or a mixed version of a bowl of M&M’s with all the red ones being sorted out. Below is an example of Rihannas rider.
There are variations about how the promoter, the manager and the artist himself see the purpose of the rider. The artists opinion may very well be that the rider is only a tool for testing the accuracy and willingness of the service provided by the promoter whereas the promoter may see the rider as just an additional pain in the butt in the already hectic and challenging working environment.
Nevertheless, all parties tend to agree that one of the purposes of the rider is to help the artist to better “cease the moment”, to get the best possible vibe in order to give his best on stage for the audience who played good money for the tickets. And it’s understandable too; if your job is to travel all the time, sleep in different bed every night, handle the pressures of fame and if it’s going to last etc. etc. you might as well ask a thing or two to make the best of it while you have the luxury to do so.
So what would your productivity rider be like in whatever it is you’re doing every day? What more or less usual or unusual would you enjoy of before, during or after the day in order to maximize the vibe and and be more productive? What songs would you listen? What brand of coffee would you drink? What candies would you want an unlimited supply on your desk? Or would you ask for a bar so you could do chin-ups? Would you like to be able to play a couple of rounds of Solitaire every fifteen minutes without anybody giving you the heat about it? Would you like to watch a documentary about animals after lunch break? Would you like to have a glass of wine with good conscience?
I think the president Sauli said something about working hard in his new year speech and I think we can only give our best when both the body and the spirit have been nourished.
P.S. For those more interested on the subject, you can visit here and spy on what your favorite artists have asked for their backstage.
The most important vehicle you’re ever going to go in to
It’s not a car but let’s use that as a metaphor to get a hold of the idea.
Imagine yourself into a car and then accelerating until you reach the speed of 120km/h. The car may go a little bit faster even but with that speed you’re most likely to be on time.
Isn’t it so that the gas pedal is entirely under your control? And isn’t it so that the car will go as fast depending on the power its manufacturer has put into it? And isn’t it so that no matter what you do, you can’t go any faster than the car itself?
Then the most important vehicle. It’s a thought. Your thought. When you’re buying a car, there’s a good chance that money will be a factor regarding choosing what car you will buy but when it comes to a thought, there’s no such limitations. You can think small as well as big and there’s no difference in the price. There is, however, a world of difference regarding where you will end up to.
So your task is to think as big as you can. Don’t try to get a better deal. You know what you want. If you take a smaller thought to get where you want to go than you could…well…you know there was nothing and no one forcing you to make that choice.
A North Korean visionary
Meet Sung. Sung is from North Korea. Sung wants to have control over his own life and take the responsibility and because he has a business idea, he wants to set up a company. Sung also has a couple of friends interested in working for Sung. There’s just one bump on the road – Sung is in North Korea. Well, that’s it then.
It’s a fictional story but only because I didn’t read it from any media. There are probably lots of people like Sung actually out there.
If control and responsibility over your own life is something you want and you think setting up a business is the way to do it, go for it! You’re not in North Korea so stop whining. Even if you’d take a hit and fail, there’s no danger of being sent to a forced labor camp. You have the freedom of trying again.
Markets: Are you requiring a cultural change?
Every now and then one comes up with that major idea – at least one himself thinks so. You get excited (as you should) and you start to share the idea with the people around you and getting different reactions from them. Others say to you “cool!go for it” while others doubt “who on Earth is gonna buy THAT?”. Both reactions are necessary and the latter ones help us more in the long run.
A new major idea often comes with one – but ever so crucial – challenge; that for it to serve, it requires people to change their natural behavior and THAT means you need to create a cultural change allowing that change of behavior.
Some weeks ago I read about so called “cheating sites” and thir growing user base. A cheating site is an example of offering a cultural change environment. On those sites people are – I assume – browsing with exactly the same agendas. Whether that agenda correlates with the general moral code or not.
So if your major idea requires people to act in a way they normally wouldn’t or even in a way that’s reprehensible, crop the target audience heavily. Crop it so much that eventually there are only people who are already acting the way you would like them to. It is very very difficult to get people to act in a way that is unnatural to them compared to offering services to people who are already acting in that way.
Marketing: What it means when it’s the real thing
You know what you need to do if you want as much Bruce Springsteen fans to a certain location as surely as possible?
That’s right. You get Bruce Springsteen in that location.
Not some cover band who plays Springsteen very well but Bruce himself.
Almost too simple? Yes.
Authenticity of the show and moneys worth for the audience? Guaranteed.
Bet on the real thing and leave the flattering subsitutes aside.
Marketing: Shyness can kill you
A Hub member said long ago that an entrepreneur can’t afford to be shy.
That’s very true. If someone disagrees, in the following I’ll try my best to prove the thesis right.
Let’s think about privacy, shall we. If we would read about a malware spreading in the net trying to access our bank account information then most of us would probably miss a beat. Or if we think about a situation where our credit card would lost; again, horrifying.
At the same time, however, we live in a bliss where we think that other people know about our expertise as an entrepreneurs.
Our bank account and the information related to it is important to us but the thing that actually makes it relevant to anyone (= there’s money on the account) is our knowhow. This is why our expertise should be known as widely as possible and our banking information should be kept to ourselves.
In that scenario there could actually be something to steal on our account if the worst case scenario should take place.
Sales: Commercial is about being understandable
I’ve heard a lot of bad-mouthing about being commercial and I think there’s been a major misunderstanding regarding the whole concept. I think the people who are saying bad things about something being commercial have mistaken it for neverending commercial breaks between the show and “I’mgonnasellmyowngranny”- type of attitude.
Once again my example comes from the world of movies. What do you think which movie is more easy to market and to sell to the biggest mass possible; a movie directed by Steven Spielberg or a movie directed by Martin Scorsese?
Both filmmakers make excellent movies but one of them has a tendency to make them more easy to approach and less demanding to the viewer and there for they are more likely to be adopted by a bigger mass of movie goers.
Being commercial is being more easily approached
Sure there are a dozen of different hidden meanings in a more “artsy” flick and those hidden messages show the world form a whole new and more philosophical perspective than ever before but it’s hard to sell.
Something commercial is easily approached, easy to understand and easily consumed. Something commercial is not only easy to sell but also easy to buy. Without having to “get” the bigger catch behind it all – even if there would be one.
Be proudly commercial!
Creating value: looking forward all the time
We’ve all been in a workshop with the intention to create that oh, so magnificent and important sentence describing the purpose of the company. Though the sarcasm is obvious, the sentence describing the purpose is still very much relevant. When it’s done wisely. And when I say wisely, I mean smart and I mean the kind of one we can apply despite the changes in technology or society. I’m talking about a purpose sentence that doesn’t depend on time or place.
An example; the passion of the founders of a company is to move people from where they are to where they want to go. If that company would’ve been founded in the 19th century it’d probably be operating on railways and the purpose might have been “By train to wherever you wish”. It’s a semi-catchy one sure and there’s really nothing wrong about it, but what if the company wants to start making cars at some later point?
If the purpose would be “to move people from A to B” or “to move people to where they want to go” from the very start, the company can easily keep up with the developing technology. And if the passion really is to move people from A to B, the company will most likely do just that; different ways on different eras.
Cost structure: writing a great story is the cheapest part
I happened to watch a documentary about moviebusiness recently and one screenwriter got me thinking about cost structure. It was the other one of the two writers that wrote Back to the Future – movies and he said almost word for word like so:
Coming up with a great story and writing a great script is the cheapest part of it all – even if it would cost a million dollars
Everything is based on the story and naturally everything that is needed for the script to become a movie will cost separately. The better the track record on a factor of production, the bigger the price tag – of course.
I think the lesson here is the following; think – even though it would take a little more time – thoroughly about whether the story is the kind of one other people want to be in also. A story that nobody will buy will be too expensive right from the start.
Forcing is not an option, making irresistible is
It’s about the pay off. And not necessarily a monetary one. It’s useless to try and force a person to do anything but with the right incentives you can get him to do just about anything. RSA Animate has an awesome video about the discoveries made by studying what motivates a human being.
When we are in this framework, I can’t help but to think about the ongoing conversations regarding the foreign investments that are badly wanted in Finland and also the subject of the amount of monetary compensation people in leading positions should have.
This may be a little coarse analogy and you are more than welcome to express opinions for or against in the comments, but this is basically how I see it:
Trying to limit or altogether deny the amount of ones personal incentive to do something is like saying that you can’t entirely drain your bladder when you need to urinate.
Or would it be productive to tell a person that wants to loose 30 lbs that no matter what you do, we can’t let you to loose more than 10 lbs?
Keep smiling and keep it going!
The Stephen King – creativity
Because it would be a total waste of time anyway, I won’t introduce Stephen King any further. I’ve also lacking the experience of having read too many of his books due to the fact that he’s notorius when it comes to the details. In fact, the best thing I’ve ever read that can be credited to King is a quote regarding talent and creativity. It goes pretty much like so:
Talent and creativity are cheaper than table salt. Hard work is what counts. If you wrote or painted or composed something and you managed to sell it and you got the check and the check didn’t bounce and you got your electric bill paid with it; I consider you talented and creative.
So; talent and creativity, good. Talent and creativity completed with working your a** off for what you believe in, better. Talent and creativity completed with working your a** off for what you believe in AND selling it, the best case scenario.
Business out of paradoxes
Couple of years ago Danny Boyle directed a movie called 127 hours. He himself described it as “an action flick where the main character can’t move”. I encourage you to watch it because if any movie has some serious attitude of not giving up and making tough choices, it’s that movie. And it’s also based on very recent true event.
The definition of “an action flick where the main character can’t move” sounds like a clear case of paradox to me. How can that be possible – let alone entertaining – because that’s what movies are about. Then I came to think of it. There’s a company – a Finnish one actually – that’s making excellent business out of a similar type of paradox. Move from A to B by standing still. You’ve also used the product of that company and I think it’s actually the most commonly used vehicle in the world if measured by how many person travels with it during one day. I’m ofcourse talking about an elevator and KONE corporation.
Business out of paradox. Impossible? Not even close.
Out of what paradox can YOU make business from?
Any storyteller is a good storyteller?
All of you who were kids during the end of 1980′s must remember children’s audiobooks. They had C-cassette-narration combined with a book with a lot of pictures. And boy, were those entertaining. Seriously.
However, as one gets older in life, certain things seem of a little different level of significance. Things seem to be – despite their level of relevance – like demonstrations of different companies offering illuminating solutions. In other words, one starts to question all that they were so anxious to feed to us when we were around 7-10 years of age.
The basic need is this: we need someone to tell us what to think and how to act. That opens a whole spectrum of different markets because there’s so much we want to be lectured about. If we consider this from another – and an unusual - angle, we can propose a question
What is the difference between a priest and a consultant?
After all, they’re both hired to tell us how to get towards a better tomorrow. And they can be both wrong too.
A fire that was put out incorrectly
There’s a story about a fire chief arriving to the scene of the accident only to realize that voluntary fire brigade is packing up their gear and there are no signs of fire anymore. The fire chief glanced at the smoking building and walked to a volunteer.
“Were there any human casualties?”, the fire chief asked.
“Not a one, they’re just in a slight shock”, the volunteer replied.
“That’s good…because that fire was put out incorrectly”, the fire chief said.
When we see things that we need to achieve, we are rarely happy to just see those things accomplished. We also have a tendency of wanting to effect on how exactly those things will be achieved and we have our set of criteria for that. If we are – or we think we are – experts in doing something, there are very few ways other than our own fulfilling anywhere near 100% of that set of criteria.
As I did at the dawn of the Olympic games, I will again use a sports metaphor as we’re approaching the ending of the event. If it is needed to throw the javelin 90 metres, isn’t it all the same whether the technique is delicate or not if the performance otherwise stays in the limits of the rules?
The more important field of study?
If someone asked you what’s your favorite field of study, what would you say? The spectrum of options includes i.e. history, biology, geography, economics, psychology, philosophy, astronomy, technology, mathematics, physics, cultural studies and theology. This list is by no means definitive but it does give you a thing or two to eliminate in order to form an answer.
If science would be a house where every field of study would represent a different room, the sight seeing could be as follows…
Psychology? They can “answer” a question like “if a low-carb diet tells me to avoid bread, is it good for my mental heatlh”.
History? People in that room know who was the president (of any country) in 1972.
Biology? Those people can tell which coloured eyes yours and your partners child will have.
Philosophy? They can tell whether or not it’s righteous to hope your child has that coloured eyes that it is you happen to wish for.
Geography? They know not only (as do you) how high is the highest mountain, but also how much coast line does the United States of America have.
Astronomy? If you’re wondering how many galaxies there is in the universe, go and ask them.
Technology? They can tell if something is or isn’t possible to manufacture.
Mathematics? Go ask them if you’d like to know the odds to have a six when you toss the dice.
Physics? Ever wondered what’s the atom mass of a carbon atom? Ask them.
Cultural studies? What can be considered as the inception of gothic metal? They know.
Theology? Is there a God? Make them work for the answer.
If we consider the everyday life (that is the most topical for us after all), it seems economics is the winner. Those people “can tell” the answer to questions such as “should I buy a house”, “what will be the interest rate of my credit card in December” and “should I or should I not buy Nokia’s stocks”. The quotation marks around “can tell” tell us that obviously it’s an educated guess.
In fact, if it’s not history we are stuying, it’s always an educated guess. What’s relevant is the question whether that we are guessing for is crucial or not when it comes to our sense of comfort.
The bottom line is that questions and fields of study that try to answer them are plenty. What’s your favorite question?
Like world class sports on paper
It’s clear my typing finger is constantly itching at the dawn of the Olympic Games. My mind is ever so eager to come up with different metaphors about the similarities between sport and business and the latest is the hypernym level thought
Entrepreneurship is like world class sports on paper
As an entrepreneur you live in the world of constant – more or less serious – competition and all the records are meant to be broken. It’s funny, though, that it doesn’t seem to be as secondable to aim for maximum profits in business as it is to aim for maximum amount of wins in sports.
In sports people are competing with themselves and as a “side effect” with other atheletes. Business and being an entrepreneur can be seen in a similar way. When it comes to ideas, the more, the better and the larger group of people it could benefit is the same as throwing the javelin more often, further and with a cleaner technique.
Although unlike in sports where the Olympic Gold Medal is a price to the individual and the nation he or she stands for gets merely honoured, in business the four year product development stint can end up creating value for all of the human race. I’d say not a bad outcome.
So; more practicing, more ideas, more testing of those ideas and raising your own bar as often as you can. How do you know you can’t go over it if you haven’t tried?
An amazing product is not enough
First things first; the product has to be wanted. That’s the basic premise. Without an interesting product, we have nothing. That’s, however, only half of the equation. The other half is finance.
I’m sure we’re all equally tired of hearing which EU-country will fall next and take all the others with it if it won’t be funded by using more or less complicated financial instruments. I’m not taking sides in that field, I’m just sharing some of the thoughts it has given me in the framework of business.
For a long time, I saw things from the perspective of “if one does not have money to buy 1 € milk, the milk stays at the supermarket”. The operating environment is, however, constantly changing. So it is starting to be very clear that besides that one has to be innovative regarding the products, one also has to be innovative with funding solutions. It is not enough anymore to have an innovative product development team, you also have to have an innovative financial team. That kind of thinking already brings us the possibility of buying a house before we have all the money to fully pay for it and puts a smartphone in our pocket before a single euro has changed hands. It can even dress or feed us. We (well, some of us) are paying our place in Heaven for all of our working life time.
It all comes down to a very simple concept called “credit” and the aim that we all have some working capital (the money in our pocket) at all times. When that’s secured, we can be creative. When I put the words “creativity” and “working capital” in the same sentence, I must admit there’s a slight “standing in the upright position” phenomenon happening with the hair on my arms. But let’s think about the following:
When do you define you have money?
Is it when you shake your wallet and hear the coins jingle? Is it when you open your wallet and see that 5 euro bill? Maybe when you pay that last invoice in your online bank that brings your balance to zero and your 2000 euro credit limit steps in? Do you have money when you can clearly see the 80 cents in your wallet but you need a cartridge of milk that costs 1 € and you’ve already used all of your 2000 euro credit too? In fact, we have a tendency of defining whether we have money or not based on whatever it is we happen to want on any given moment.
In almost everywhere, the everyday life revolves around the question “when do we have money” rather than “how much money do we have now”. “Nobody has money” but despite that we see the economy functioning (even so-so) and products and services changing hands.
A lot of opinions can be stated about the financing industry but if you take a minute to think it over, the world would be a very different kind of place without it. How many iPhones would’ve been sold if tie-in deals wouldn’t exist?
An amazing product is not enough.
Either it is or it isn’t
I guess black and white thinking is out of fashion even though black is always in. It seems being black and white creates a feel of narrow mindness, intolerance and so forth. It’s a shame because being black and white helps you to focus your energy to the right place.
Let me express a literal demonstration and offer an explanation. Since the Olympic Games are about to start, I will use sports as a framework and javelin as a more specific type of sport. The rules are very simple in javelin; don’t step over the line and throw as far as you possibly can. If you didn’t step over the line, all we need to do is measure the how far the spear flew to determine whether the throw was succesfull or not. Let’s say that you needed 87m to win. You threw 87,01m. You won and that’s it. There are no obscurities.
What if you had thrown 86,90m? You lost and that’s it. Again, no obscurities. Due to the very clear set of rules, we know exactly what has to happen next. More practicing.
Since the nature of the rules can be described as black and white and therefor the outcome leaves no room for ambiguity, we don’t need to set up a conversation about whether we succeeded or not. Let’s just assume that winning is what we are always trying to do. Now we can concentrate our energy into practicing. Practice makes perfect. It’s so simple it’s annoying.
This is not a drill
A song and it’s lyrics caught my attention a couple of days ago. I don’t know the name of the song (it’s a Finnish one by singer-songwriter Erin) but the last lines of its chorus are (roughly translated, tried to include a shadow of the rhyme):
“I guess you know, that life is a loan”
Aaaanyway. Anybody with anykind of loan knows how the creditor sees the situation. He wants the loan to be paid. You do not practice anything with the help of a loan. You took it because you really truly wanted something.
I think the lyrics say it like it is; we’re all living on borrowed time so you better make something out of it.
Life is not a drill.
If it doesn’t violate the known laws of physics, it’s about passion
American theoretical physicist describes three kinds of impossibilities in his book Physics of the Impossible. What’s interesting is that only the Class III impossibilities will also remain as such – impossibilities. What’s even more interesting is that Kaku only mentions two of these “nevergonnahappen” – classified goals. The other is a perpetual motion machine and the other is precognition.
The reason behind why these two could not happen is that it would require a fundamental change in way the human race currently understands the laws of physics.
This is what it’s all about everyday – without having to oppose any natural laws. In order for something to happen, no matter how apparently small scaled it would be, a fundamental change is required to get us out of the idea that things would be fantastics as they currently are. The will to change them won’t do the trick – alone. We need passion!
How many of you have found themselves from a situation where you’re asked for something concrete? Or you’ve heard yourself saying you need something more concrete? I know I have – up to a point where it gets frustrating.
What do we really mean when we want something to be more concrete and how much of it is possible to offer? How concrete do you think Stephen Elop was when he said the word “success” when asked about the future of the company he’s in charge of?
The world is build on visions and it’s held together by the people believing in those visions. The credibility of the vision determines the prices in the stock market and the interest rate for a country when it’s trying to get credit from the bond market. How concrete can a vision be – especially on a level of a nation?
You know what I think? I think that more than some fancy gadget, people want a visible change of action. Some action oriented proof of things being better tomorrow than they are today. People want to see something happening instead of listening endless discussions about the fact that something should be happening.
“Insert your favorite ‘make-a-change-quote’ here”
Get inspired and have a great Midsummer!
Quick’n fast or surely but steadily
Our time is in love with solutions that work easily and fast. And that’s only understandable; life is short and one wants to make the most of it. It also seems that hard working isn’t exactly the leading trend today. It’s natural – regardless of the times – that we’re interested in finding the shortcuts; the more “cost-effective” solutions. Costs representing besides money, also time and effort. After all, we’re all after the Holy Grail that leads to a situation that could be described as “maximum outcome with minimum effort”.
There’s nothing wrong in this. There’s just one little (but crucial) “blind spot”. That is the tendency of giving Mr. Happy Coincidence a major role in the scenario.
Now, I don’t have the address of Mr. Happy Coincidence so that I could send him a registered letter to make sure he knows he’s invited. However, I CAN come up with a plan that relies on the meeting of Mr. Hard Work. I can tell from experience that I will meet that guy no matter what – whether he’s invited or not – and with him we’ve gotten stuff done. A lot of stuff. Without exception.