Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Not So Sweet Center

I wrote a blog post about a year ago titled "The Moldy Middle" which went into detail about how companies that target the statistical "mean" are doomed to fail primarily because they try to be all things to all people, and end up becoming irrelevant to anybody.

Recently, Seth Godin posted a blog about this subject entitled "The paradox of the middle of the market." In this blog, Mr. Godin actually says it is OK to seek out the middle because he believes that this is where "profits meet scale." Now, Seth might be right for a short period of time, but over the long haul all the things that he lists will come to saturate a organization and eventually paralyze its ability to respond to any changes in the market.

I respect Mr. Godin immeasurably, but find it hard to believe that he still believes that there is a monolithic "mass market" of middle of the road anything. Oh how the old ways die hard even with enlightened individuals.

News flash: There is no middle of the market! It does not exist and if you want to succeed in the "new" economy, you better figure this out really soon! GM did not, Chrysler did not, and most airlines still cannot (except maybe Southwest and JetBlue). You have to live by the motto "Differentiate or Die!" if you want to ever reaching your true goals of sustainable profits. Actually, you have to focus on fringes (Differentiate or Die!) in order to get recognized. As soon as you reach your goal of being just vanilla is when the competition starts eating your lunch (i.e. Sears, K-Mart, Xerox, Mercedes, etc.). As soon are you target the middle, you become average, and NO ONE likes that!

Remember, it is NOT important to be the largest. It IS important to be the most profitable.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Some time ago I read a great book concerning leadership by John Maxwell titled, "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership." On this father's day, I thought it appropriate to list these laws and encourage anyone (moms too) who would like to develop into a fuller, richer, and more developed individual, to read this book. Leadership is not necessarily about leading as much as it is about helping others achieve their goals and future potential. Here is the list:

1. The Law of the LID
Leadership Ability Determines a Person’s Level of Effectiveness
2. The Law of Influence
The True Measure of Leadership Is Influence – Nothing More, Nothing Less
3. The Law of Process
Leadership Develops Daily, Not In A Day
4. The Law of Navigation
Anyone Can Steer the Ship, But it Takes a Leader to Chart the Course
5. The Law of E. F. Hutton
When the Real Leader Speaks, People Listen
6. The Law of Solid Ground
Trust is the Foundation of Leadership
7. The Law of Respect
People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger Than Themselves
8. The Law of Intuition
Leaders Evaluate Everything with a Leadership Bias
9. The law of Magnetism
Who You Are Is Who You Attract?
10. The Law of Connection
Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand
11. The Law of the Inner Circle
A Leader’s Potential Is Determined by Those Closest to Him or Her
12. The Law of Empowerment
Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others
13. The Law of Reproduction
It Takes a Leader to Raise Up a Leader
14. The law of Buy-in
People Buy Into the Leader, Then the Vision
15. The Law of Victory
Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win
16. The Law of The Big MO
Momentum is a Leader’s Best Friend
17. The Law of Priorities
Leaders Understand That Activity Is Not Necessarily Accomplishment
The Law of Sacrifice
A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up
The Law of Timing
When to Lead Is As Important As What to Do and Where to Go
The Law of Explosive Growth
To Add Growth, Lead Followers – To Multiply, Lead Leaders
The Law of Legacy
A Leader’s Lasting Value Is Measured by Succession

Friday, June 5, 2009

45 Lessons Life Taught Me

Part and parcel of being an entrepreneur is the ability to extend your wisdom and experience to other people. In this vein, Regina Brett, a 53 year old writer of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland Ohio put pen to paper and wrote an article of the 45 Lessons that life taught her. It has been the most requested article she has ever wrote, and I have transcribed it below for your enjoyment. Thank you Regina!
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood (with you).
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How History is Made - Quietly

Yesterday, I was able to be a part of making history. No, it was not the cure for cancer, or discovering warp drive, or teleportation (those WILL come later). The “history” was the placement of the world’s first device that can restore a man’s hair naturally, without drugs, surgery, or negative side effects.

Why is this important and how does it make history?

Due to the fact this is first machine that can combat the reasons why men go bald with an all natural, non-invasive, scientific approach makes it unique. It combines three technologies to first destroy DHT (a testosterone that deteriorates the hair follicle and their blood vessels and causes hair loss), second to rejuvenate the hair follicle, and lastly increase blood flow to the hair follicle. Essentially, it makes your scalp “think” it is 25 years old (or younger), or back when you used to grow hair naturally. But the technology is NOT the important thing here.

Nor is the most important thing that now men (and some women) can now regain the confidence that comes with a full head of hair in this every competitive environment for jobs, security, mates, and recognition. While this is SUPER important for the company’s ultimate success as a marketing message, it is not the MOST important feature in making history.

No, what is significant here is that a handful of entrepreneurs with very little fanfare, little money, but a lot of grit and determination brought to light a new technology, in a new sales channel for a different way to combat a problem that until today was handled with drugs or surgery. Their differentiation is that they offer an all natural, use proven science, and have no ill side effects. This company will be wildly successful due to the fact that there is such a pressing need for this “fix.” The amazing thing about it is that so few people were there to witness its birth!

I wonder how many other companies are being born yesterday, today or tomorrow unnoticed that will experience the same phenomenal success that will become so obvious 3 to 5 years from now?

If anyone is interested in seeing this “revolutionary” product, it is at Milk+Honey Salon on 3rd Street in downtown Austin. Ask for Elizabeth at 512.236.1115.

The Profit Prophet

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Man's View of Women

I am an electrical engineer by training and like to think of myself as well versed in how people in general act and work together. Recently, as a male I have observed something about women that I have never been able to completely explain, but always wanted to write about. This is not a sexist thing, just some observations as to why as men we are perplexed and ever so curious about women.

Women have no respect for logic; they can openly disagree with themselves and still be right; they can carry on complex relationships with us, with or without our participation; there is nothing in the world more fragile than an unbreakable woman, or more inflexible than a woman who does not know what she really wants; they are born able to read minds and will always find our inability to do so as a member of the opposite sex a disappointment; women will dream, wax and wane indeterminately about the absolute perfect male companion, boyfriend or husband and almost without fail choose the absolutely wrong guy initially and then ask “what went wrong?” when it does not work out; they will also see a mistake they make as a learning experience and can easily explain away any foible or as a woman’s prerogative; and finally, women are a contradiction in terms. This is a statement that does not make sense, no matter how hard we try to figure it out, and it is also one that goes a long way in explaining why women are all so glorious, mysterious, wondrous, and beautiful and why we cannot stop (why we should not ever want to stop) falling in love with them, even at our peril.

To any women out there that are offended, I am sorry, I mean no disrespect and actually like women in general and in a very few and rare cases, loved personally as well.