Friday, May 30, 2014

Creating Value - 7 of 10 Einstein Life Hacks

Now this is one Einstein quote that I absolutely LOVE.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

It should be intuitively obvious that value creation is at the core of any business strategy, but it is amazing how many companies can't articulate their true value to the customer.

If you ask the question, the most common answer is a list of features and their benefits.  

Without meeting a recognized need and making things better, at a reasonable price, it is simply impossible to succeed.  

In online product sales, many equate low price with value.  For me, price is a factor, but much more important value components for me are convenience and quality of life.  

Take buying an airline ticket.  The default listing is in price order, low to high.  It is not a mystery why the average price of a ticket sold online is lower than any other sales channel.   I don't want the cheapest ticket if it requires 3 or even 2 changes of planes.  In fact, I am willing to pay more for a non-stop, even though most airlines have cut those substantially from non-hub cities like Tampa, where I live.  

Do you want to sell me something or provide a service to me?  You need to understand what I value.
  • I value my time 
  • I value convenience 
  • I value simplicity  
  • I value honesty and fairness   
  • I value peace in my life  
  • I value integrity
  • I value innovation
What do you value?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Making Mistakes - 6 of 10 Einstein Life Hacks

If there was ever a life hack that I have down pat, it is this one.   Fortunately, nearly every time I make a mistake, I "get it" the first time and do not repeat it.   
[Note the caveat of "nearly".  Nobody is perfect.  Not even Einstein.]   
Where mistakes become problematic is when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.  There is a law of nature that prevents new things coming from the old.
To try something new, you have to recognize that the old is -- well, OLD.  And that it may even be flawed.  
Status quo means "the current state of affairs".   If it is working for you, then by all means, stick with it.  But if you are stuck, then changing direction and trying something new is the order of the day.



 “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

 Albert Einstein


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Imagination - 5 of 10 Einstein Life Hacks

In 1971 John Lennon captivated us with his hit, Imagine.  And while I don't share his view of imagining that there is no heaven, I do love his vision of the world being able to some day live as one.  Clearly he didn't live to see that, but the Imagine Peace foundation run by his widow Yoko Ono is having a significant impact.   He left a legacy, based on his imagination.

Einstein said that “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Imagination is way more than just dreaming.

I would add that without imagination, you can't connect the dots that we talked about in my first post in this series.  By its vary nature, connecting the dots is an exercise in seeing the unseen (aka using your imagination).  

The spiritual view of imagination is faith, as faith is believing what you can't see.  

If you can imagine it, you can figure out a way to make it happen (or at least to make a movie about it or write a book about it or paint a picture about it).

What are you imagining?  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Focus in the Present - 4 of 10 Einstein Life Hacks

As a woman, I can definitely tell that this life hack was written by a man.   OK, Einstein, but still a man.

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

I am a firm believer in the value of focus and living in the present.   

You might argue that these are one and the same, but I would argue that without being in the present, you cannot effectively focus on anything.  If you dwell on the past, it is like trying to drive through your rear view mirror.  If you are too far ahead of yourself, you will miss what is right in front of you.

Spencer Johnson wrote a great allegorical novel about this very topic.  

Buy it.  Read it.  Nuf said.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Innovation is Priceless - 3 of 10 Einstein Life Hacks

Einstein said “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”   He attributed his brilliance to that perseverance.

Actually I don't think it is perseverence that made Einstein great.

You can work all day, all year, all term - name your timeframe - and if you keep using the same thinking that was used to generate the problem, it is impossible to come up with a solution. 

You need only look toward Washington DC to see that truth in practice.

Innovation is not the same thing as invention.  Yes, inventions require innovation, but true innovation is exactly what Einstein was talking about in the captioned photo above.  Thinking differently is what makes all the difference in the world.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Not to be outdone by the Ukranians, the French come back strong

The French came back strong today, and I can only believe they are more enamoured with JoJo than the Ukranians. 

Or perhaps they like Einstein more or are simply more intellectually curious.

Or maybe getting a new President is more distracting than the Ukranians originally thought. 

They are now asleep, so it is time for the Chinese and Russian entrepreneurs to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee, aka Einstein Life Hacks.

JoJo has let this go to his head. 

He got more visits on a weekend than I ever have.  He is now considering writing his own blog.  But there is that keyboard things to deal with.  

We both thank you for visiting!

Merci de votre visite
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World politics be dammed, JoJo is trending in the Ukraine

Move over CNN.....   nearly half my blog views in the 5 minutes since I posted today's "Einstein's Life Hacks" blog have been from the Ukraine.  Perhaps they are bored with presidential politics? 

JoJo is cuter than Billionaire Petro Poroshenko. 

But JoJo is definitely not allowed to eat chocolate.  That takes thumbs to open the wrappers.

I'm thinking that after the Einstein Life Hacks, I will write about how cats are definitely NOT like great entrepreneurs.

Stay tuned.

Be Curious - 2 of 10 Einstein Lifehacks

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It is often said that curiosity killed the cat. 

My cat may not represent the norm, but he eats, takes a quick bath, sleeps, does his "business", then repeats it all over again.   Every once in awhile JoJo can be caught "playing".  But curious he is not.  Fortunate for us, as I would hate for his curiosity to become the death of him.

One of Einstein's life lessons (aka life hack) is to follow your curiosity.  He claimed to be  “passionately curious.”  I believe his curiosity is what fueled his brilliance.

One of the traits that I look for in my team is what I call "intellectual curiosity".  It is much less deadly than the feline variety.  In fact, as an entrepreneur, unlike the cat, you will actually die without it. 

The intellectually curious person is always trying to learn something new.  And I'm not talking about Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire type of learning, but real, deep understanding of a given topic or concept.  Usually they are well read, or at the very least are TED aficionados. 

I am with Einstein in being passionately curious.  And deep down, JoJo may be curious too, but acting on it would cut into his naptime.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Value of Experience versus Education - 1 of 10 Einstein life hacks

Information vs Knowledge  
© Gaping­void LLC

The Value of Experience versus Education was actually a paper that I wrote first semester of my freshman year at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma in my English class.  My teacher was Ruth Givens. 

I was so convincing (to myself and later to my parents), that I ended up leaving ORU without a degree and headed home to get down to business and get a job.

As shown in this great graphic on knowledge vs experience, the really important thing is that experience helps you "connect the dots".

Einstein said "“Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.” 

My life and my career validate this premise.  Of course, if I had wanted to be a Chemist, I would have had to get a degree in Chemistry (perish the thought!).  If I had wanted to teach, I would have needed a degree in Education.  Some professions simply require that piece of paper.

What I learned was that in the business world, the piece of paper was just a "tick box" on an application.   And since 1975 when I left ORU, I only filled out one application in my entire career.

At the time I left ORU, I wanted to work in accounting (what was I thinking?).  I went back to Milwaukee and landed at Miller Brewing Company.  Although I doubt that Oral Roberts would have approved of the beer served on tap in the break room (really!), it was a great place to get my feet wet, learning how to connect the dots between accounts receivable, accounts payable and the tax departments.  Later I moved into manpower planning and IT and met my very first mainframe.  Since I had to do keypunching to get information into or out of it, I can't say that we were very good friends.

Each step that I took in my career provided the pieces and parts necessary for the next job offer.  I moved from Miller to a food brokerage company, then to a travel agency.  That was my start in the travel industry, where I have remained until today.

Tomorrow we will talk about curiosity, Einstein's next life hack.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Loving NOW - #25 of #25 Traits of the Fearless Entrepreneur

The most successful entrepreneurs take action. They completely understand the importance of NOW.

I think that the real problem with most entrepreneurs is that they are corporate escape artists, which means that they grew up in Corporate America.  NOW is not a common premise in that world. 

Meetings and conference calls are the order of the day.  And often motion (or scheduling the next meeting or call) is confused with action.   

I was recently asked if action is natural for me or a challenge that I have had to overcome.

My answer?  Action is as natural as breathing.  

It is not uncommon for me to have a thought about a new business (or product or service) pops into my head and out of my fingers within hours, pops a business plan, designs, logos and a website.

I do NOW very well.  ;)

Does action come naturally for you?  Or are you still confusing motion with action?

Be fearless.  Take a look at what you need to do to progress your idea into a business or your business to the next level and do it NOW.

As for me, I need to go and figure out what my next series will be!

Stay tuned.


Did you miss the beginning of the series?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Be a freak - #24 of 25 Traits of the Fearless Entrepreneur

click to order on Amazon

I am reading Chris Brogan's new book, the Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth. The book's tag line is Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits and World Dominators.

While I don't consider myself a weirdo, early in my career I frequently felt like a misfit.  And I definitely want to dominate the world.  Not in a bad way.  I just want to make an impact.  Make that a BIG impact.

Chris' book has tons of practical tips about how to celebrate the things that may have made you feel like a misfit and to focus forward and channel your talents and energies toward being a world changing disruptor.

For me, when I was in Corporate America, I just couldn't stomach the status quo.  And I couldn't stand incremental change, when it was possible to both innovate and differentiate with the same resources.  It seemed like such a waste to me.

I've made a lot of money over the last 18 years leveraging that discomfort as a strategic consultant to my industry.

But in the end, I can't find satisfaction telling others not to accept the status quo and advising them to truly leap frog the competition when it comes to innovation.  Despite paying my firm boatloads of money, most of them continued to hold on to the status quo with a vengeance, or went back to do more research, presumably to help lower their risk.

Now, I have to just deliver the solution.  Simplify the challenge.  Save people time.  Good thing is that I've already built it and am just putting the finishing touches on now.  

Yes, I've chosen to be a freak.  World domination here I come!

Did you miss the beginning of the series?

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