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16 posts categorized "Idea Garage Sale"

May 12, 2007

Idea Garage Sale: The Technology Bin

These are a couple of leftovers in the tech bin that I've found, used and/or just wanted to share:
  • Review Basics:  Online, secure reviewing platform for video, images.
  • CircleUp:  Email or IM a question to a group and get back a single result with everyone's answer.
  • ScanR:  One of my favorite apps.  Turns your camera or cameraphone into a scanner and business card reader.
  • Jott:  Love this one too.  Call a number, leave a message, and get it converted to a text email sent to you or to someone else.
  • iPolipo:  Schedule meetings automatically, share your calendar selectively.
  • TimeSnapper:  Automatic screenshot journal.  Answers the question: "What the hell did I actually do today?"
  • PlaceSite:  Local wireless platform that could work in conferences or small groups.
  • Gaboogie:  Conference calling service that calls you and your attendees.
  • Fidg't:  Uses Flickr and LastFM tags to visualize your network.
  • ProfileFly:  Ties all your contact, profile, and bookmark links together on one place.
  • Pando:  Share large files through email and IM.
Also, check out this Google Document with a bunch more links from the ABA Techshow Presentation.




May 11, 2007

Yet More Stuff from the Link Closet

More Idea Garage Sale stuff for you:
  • Should law firm partners open up their email (including sent emails) to associates as a learning tool?
  • Does your business have a plan?  Try PlanHQ.
I have more links coming tomorrow, and some tech links later today!  Enjoy.

June 20, 2006

Carnival of the Leftovers, The Legend of Curly's Gold

After hosting my Spring Idea Garage Sale, and realizing there was still some more stuff sitting around my bookmarks folder, I’m back with a final installment of the Carnival of the Leftovers.  Like a box of kittens, these ideas and links are Free for a Good Home:

Share Your Best Ideas

If you want to build your idea, share it. If you're afraid someone will steal it, then how will you sell it? If a copycat could take you out, then nothing can turn your idea into a gravy train.

Customers Really Aren’t Stupid:

I've had several customer service jobs. I've recently come to realize that the customers aren't stupid. It may seem like a disproportionate chunk of the people you see every day are complete idiots, but the fact is that they've got more going on in their lives than, say, renting a movie. So if they don't know the late fee policy at your rental store, it's because they haven't spent the time to learn the policy, not because they are too stupid to understand it.

I feel stupid for not knowing this already:

When rinsing your toothbrush, flick the bristles facing down towards the sink rather than facing up towards the mirror. You will never have to clean the toothpaste off the mirror again.

Take a Hack Day:

Today at noon, however, Yahoo got serious about Hack Days by making it Yahoo-wide. Every Yahoo engineer is invited to participate, and other employees are joining in as well. Anyone with an idea is encouraged to gather a team up and spend a day coding. Tomorrow (Friday) at noon, the hacking stops and everyone will get together to review what’s been built.

Choose Your Seatmates Wisely:

We show ourselves in moments of system failure and panic and change and difficulty and crash-landings, not calm. Does true self emerge only (or especially?) when tested? Lessons about others come, perhaps, from their response to great fear or significant peril or the opportunity for sacrifice either taken or not. My colleague had failed that test before, but it was this final failing grade that made it clear: I could no longer work with him. He got his pool time; we gave our speech. I walked off that stage and never worked with him again. I knew I needed different seatmates for the rest of my flight.

Five Ways to Sell Know-How:

1.  Package it – Given the nebulousness of selling intangibles, Harrison coined the term i-Stuff. To shed i-Stuff of this stigma, one idea is to package it with manuals and other tangible material that helps define what the know-how is. People understand exchange of funds for tangible goods, so to the extent to which you can make the intangible seem tangible helps bridge the gap. If you don’t have a unique name for you know-how, name it, make it a “thing” that people can talk about. A three-letter acronym can be good, but another thing to think about is a name that communicates the value-proposition of the know-how. What problem does it solve? What benefit does it impart if you have it? From what I’ve heard, it can be difficult to sell know-how because your buyer may have trouble admitting they don’t know what you know. By packaging it, you give them a way to pitch it to their boss without making it sound like the valuable part they’re buying from you is the knowledge. Help your buyer save face.

Ten Steps to Guarantee Failure:

8.  List why it's impossible - Now we are getting into the mental game of failing.  This is quite possibly your greatest weapon against achievement because it destroys hope and optimism.  So as soon as possible, set aside some time to create a long list of how impossible your goal really is.  No matter what your target is, I am sure you can come up with plenty of reasons why it's impossible.  Be creative, make up some if you have to (i.e. "It's impossible for me to lose weight because I was kidnapped by space aliens and injected with a fat-serum.")  Bonus:  You get extra points if you can come up with an excuse using UFOs, ghosts or the Bermuda Triangle.

What I Did Wrong when Starting My Business:

I charged below market rate for my services.  This was because I did no research and had absolutely no idea what the going rate was for an outside consultant.  I was so totally thrilled that anyone would hire me that I was prepared to pay THEM.  The embarrassing thing is that my second client actually offered to pay me more money without me even asking.  Is that humiliating or what?  Lesson:  Research the market for your product or service.  Be realistic about where your pay scale should be based on your experience.  Then charge it unapologetically.

An Exemplar Example of the New Law Firm:

At Exemplar our interests are aligned with the client and we have an incentive to get them to their destination as safely and promptly as possible. We have a pricing committee of professionals who are dedicated to understanding value from the customer's perspective. They make sure that the intake process is effective at getting the right information so that we understand how to design our services around exactly what the customer wants. What's more, centralizing the pricing function in an organization is critical to providing a consistent customer experience. This also allows us to communicate, learn, and correct any errors in the process that would not otherwise be discovered if attorneys priced individually.

If Law Firm Offices Were Built for Productivity, Instead of to Impress Clients:

The office should be a hang out: a pleasant place to spend time. If you're meeting your friends for dinner after work you should want to meet at the office. As Philip Greenspun bluntly puts it: "Your business success will depend on the extent to which programmers essentially live at your office. For this to be a common choice, your office had better be nicer than the average programmer's home. There are two ways to achieve this result. One is to hire programmers who live in extremely shabby apartments. The other is to create a nice office."

Schmooze or Looze?

Give favors. One of my great pleasures in life is helping other people; I believe there's a big Karmic scoreboard in the sky. God is keeping track of the good that you do, and She is particularly pleased when you give favors without the expectation of return from the recipient. The scoreboard always pays back. You can also guess that I strongly believe in returning favors for people who have helped you.

Ask for the return of favors. Good schmoozers give favors. Good schmoozers also return favors. However, great schmoozers ask for the return of favors. You may find this puzzling: Isn't it better to keep someone indebted to you? The answer is no, and this is because keeping someone indebted to you puts undue pressure on your relationship. Any decent person feels guility and indebted. By asking for, and receiving, a return favor, you clear the decks, relieve the pressure, and set up for a whole new round of give and take. After a few rounds of give and take, you're best friends, and you have mastered the art of schmoozing.

If There Could be Only One:

I’ve thought about this a bit and I’ve decided if I could only have one marketing tool or activity, it would be business cards.  A business card, with a compelling message about your offering, is the most effective marketing tool you can have…if you can only have one. 

Beyond simple contact information, you should have a statement about your key benefit.  Make your card a mini postcard about your most compelling offer.  Use both sides of the card and get creative. 

Business cards are the most underused marketing tool available.  You can carry them with you anywhere. And they’re inexpensive enough to give away to everyone you meet. 

Everyone you come in contact with should walk away with a card or two to remember and refer you when a need arises.

Hire the Right Clients:

Would you just hire anyone because you needed help? Even someone that you can’t stand being around? Even someone that doesn’t have the skills to get the job done? If no, then why would you just take any job? Even a job you can’t stand doing. Even a job that won’t let you flex your skills. Even a job that will embarass you when it’s all over. What’s the point? To stay in business just so you can take on another job that you don’t want to take on?

Make Yourself Scarce:

While there are almost half a million lawyers practicing in the United States today, there are (gasp!) more than 125,000 in school right now. No matter what you believe about lawyers creating ever more work for ever more lawyers, there's no question that with so many of them, they're hardly scarce.

Carry Your Files to Court with an Octopus

Here’s One of the Coolest Tech Toys I’ve Seen This Year:

scanR is a service that helps you capture information contained in paper documents or whiteboards. scanR lets you use your mobile camera phone or digital camera to scan photos into legible, searchable digital PDF files and send them via email or fax.

The Best Blanket Ever?

June 14, 2006

Idea Garage Sale and Spring Cleaning

As I'm finally getting settled into my new place, I'm no longer surrounded by boxes and piles of "things" that need to be put away.  I still have, however, piles of ideas, bookmarks and links that have been residing in my head or my "to blog" folder. 

So, like I've done before, I'm throwing them up here in a kind of Carnival of the Leftovers, Part Duex:

Some quick thoughts:

On Interstate 44, all the way from the Oklahoma Border to St. Louis, why is it necessary to have mile makers EVERY 2/10'ths OF A MILE?  You can actually see the next mile marker as you are passing the previous one.  Stupid.  Seriously, how much money did it cost Missouri taxpayers to do this? 

Why must we walk in circles?

And if we're walking in circles, let's at least make a cool map.

Cool Idea Number One:  Start a Swing for the Fence award.

Cool Idea Number Two:  Bathroom Bingo:

During the tour [of the otherwise unspectacular church building] we were also shown the restrooms. As the pastor opened the door to the ladies room (it was empty), we stepped into an oasis. Plush walls and carpets, gorgeous faucets, changing rooms, and a spa-like atmosphere gave a new meaning to the word "rest-room." The men's room was almost as impressive, but with slightly less floral patterns.

The pastor said they chose to spend a significant amount of money on the restrooms instead of anywhere else in the building because they were convinced that the return on investment would be higher than anywhere else. He's probably right.

Cool Idea Number Three:  Name Tags that Do More.

Speaking of Ideas (from an amazing essay):

Pay attention to the idea that won't leave you alone -- this is taken from Paul Hawken's Growing a Business. Sometimes an idea catches hold of you and you find you can't put it down. Pay attention to that! Just start working on it. Can't get yourself to do anything on it? Move on. Find yourself waking up out of bed to write down new ideas about it? That's a good one to choose.

If you keep your secrets from the market, the market will keep its secrets from you -- entrepreneurs too often worry about keeping their brilliant secrets locked away; we should all worry much more about springing a surprise on a disinterested market (anyone remember the Segway?). To quote Howard Aiken: "Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats."

Immediate yes is immediate no -- does everyone immediately tell you your idea is great? Run away from it. If the idea is that obvious, the market will be filled with competitors, and you'll find yourself scrambling. One good test: when the New York Times Magazine puts out its annual "Year in Ideas" issue, is your idea in it? Then don't do it. You're already too late.

Burning down the professional service firm?  The Phoenix of Professional Service Firms.

Open up your own firm's Idea Market:

Rite-Solutions has created an internal idea stock exchange where employees can suggest the company invest in new technology, enter into a new business channel, implement a cost-efficiency initiative ... etcetera. Submitted ideas become mock stocks and employees read an “expect-us” (not a prospectus) detailing how the idea can benefit the company. These ideas-turned-stocks are then listed in the Rite-Solutions “Mutual Fun” board where every employee is given $10K in stock market fantasy funds to buy, sell, and trade in the ideas they believe Rite-Solutions should focus on.

Find your firm's Innovation Fulcrum:

What's the number of product or service offerings that would optimize both your revenues and your profits? For most firms, it's considerably lower than the number they offer today. The fact is, companies have strong incentives to be overly innovative in new product development. But continual launches of new products and line extensions add complexity throughout a company's operations, and as the costs of managing that complexity multiply, margins shrink. To maximize profit potential, a company needs to identify its innovation fulcrum--the point at which an additional offering destroys more value than it creates.

Goal Granularity:

The second key takeaway was the impact of the goal granularity to successful collaborations.  Said another way: collaborating around a shared mission can be much less effective than collaborating around a shared project goal.

Corporate Lawyers, are you ready for this world:

Capitalism normally does a good job of aligning the needs of buyers and sellers. Make a better widget and the world is yours. Capitalism is built from certain legal and financial building blocks. Contract law, tort, competition law. Property rights. Stable currencies to enable exchange of value over time as well as space. Freedom of expression is part too — the message “better widgets! over here!” is an essential part of “the market”.

But I feel we’re not there yet. We’ve created many new “ownership” and “transaction” technologies over time. Limited-liability corporations, partnerships, co-operatives; equities, debt and derivatives.

We just don’t have the mechanics to deal with a networked world and mass-participation in that network. Municipal networks are controversial because the only co-ordination mechanism is the force of government and the state. This is crude and dangerous; we contaminate the network with the power to tax, and the centuries of fighting we’ve undertaken to limit and mollify that urge.

Legal technology vendors, are you ready for this one:

In the summer of 2006, twenty-somethings will be busting out of graduate school [or law school] powered by a brand new set of productivity tools. Think about the jump from typewriters to word processors. Think about how, in the 1980s, our parents had to struggle to learn to use spreadsheets like VisiCalc and Lotus 1-2-3. We are on the verge of experiencing a jump in the capabilities of office tools that is just as significant as the jump that occurred when the first PCs landed on people’s desks. Why is this jump so big, and what does it have to do with the class of 2006? What are these people capable of? Well, to begin with, for most of them, the internet has been around since before they started high school.

The average MBA graduates in 2006 are not just knowledge workers. They are capable of being highly networked internal entrepreneurs and innovation creators. Their ability to connect is not just about email, BlackBerries, text messages and voice-mails. They are intimately familiar with all those tools, but ultimately, expertise with those one-to-one connectivity tools is just the price of admission.

What makes these new graduates so effective is their ability to work efficiently with large virtual teams and their amazing ability to maximize the power of their personal networks.

Real Estate Lawyers and Agents, are you ready for this one:

Take a few more bricks out of the anticompetitive walled garden real-estate agents have built around their unearned 6 percent commissions. The Times reports today on the imminent and much-anticipated launch of Zillow — a site from the founder of Expedia with big backing that will provide more open data on home prices — and throws in other sites aiming to break up the real-estate gang: Redfin, which will allow online bidding and negotiation, and PropertyShark, which takes listings in 15 cities. Add these together and you have the means to knock agents out of pricing and listing and negotiation.

Great Advice:

From Mike McLaughlinSadly, too many of us fail to create compelling and understandable descriptions of what we actually do for clients.To keep options open for serving a wide range of clients--across industries and business processes--consultants risk a loss of clarity in their marketing. The result: no one knows what they do.

From Kathy SierraRisk-aversion is the single biggest innovation killer, and of course it's not just Microsoft that's been infected. Taking risks is... risky. But if not taking risks is even riskier, then WTF?  ...  Blogging has not made this easier... if anything, the idea that a gazillion bloggers and commenters (or even ONE loud one) will seize any opportunity to find fault with your ideas and attempts can dampen one's willingness to be brave. So here's my quarterly reminder to all (me included) that if you're not doing something that someone hates, it's probably mediocre.

From Scott Ginsberg: BE the change you want to see in the world. Be brilliant at the basics. Be the first one. Be the only one. Be unforgettable. Be interesting. Be a sleeper. Be that guy. Be the world’s expert on yourself. Be better than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow. Be confident enough to be humble. But be somebody who reminds everybody of nobody else in the world.  AND DON’T wish it was easier, wish you were better.

From Pamela SlimDon't be influenced by either side of the feedback pendulum.  Try not to get too excited when people are giving you raving accolades.  In the same vein, try not to get too upset when they give brutal criticism.  You need to have a very clear sense of yourself and remain focused on what your business is and how it will add value to your customers.  If you try to please those that think you are great, you can get paralyzed trying to live up to an impossible standard.  If you try to please your detractors and "fix" what they think is wrong with you, you will come from a place of unworthiness.  Learn from all feedback and keep a steady course towards your long-term vision.

From Marcus BuckinghamFind out what you don't like doing and stop doing it.

Here's another favorite quote:  "When you're done with square one, pick it up and take it with you."  Horse trainer Linda Parelli (found  here)

Anyone else got some ideas they want to get rid of?  Tag them :

Now, back to the basement, I've got a bunch more stuff to give away.

February 22, 2006

Pickle Your Great Ideas

Here’s another idea from David Seah that I absolutely love:  The Pickle Jar.  Here’s his explanation:

I’m sometimes distracted by too many project ideas. When the ideas pile up, my productivity sinks because I keep thinking about them, and multitasking slows me down. To keep focused, I evolved a mind trick called The Pickle Jar that, despite its hokey name, actually works for me. It got me through my thesis, when writing was the last thing I felt like doing.

The Pickle Jar is an actual glass jar that once held pickles. Next to it is a square pad of paper, about 4 inches on the side. To get unrelated thoughts out of my mind, I write down a brief synopsis down, fold it twice, and put it into the Jar.

The physical act of writing down, folding, and then “pickling” the idea for later consumption is weirdly cathartic. Since I’m no longer in danger of forgetting the thought, I can relax. The act of formulating on paper has also satisfied the urge to follow up on it. The size of the paper also prevents you from writing too much…there’s just enough room to get the essence of the idea down.

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September 06, 2005

Carnival of the Leftovers

Since my Idea Garage Sale, I’ve accumulated a bunch more stuff I’d like to get rid of.  In a nod to my ReThinking friends, I’m hosting my first (and maybe only) Carnival of the Leftovers.  In no particular order, here are the things on my mind and in my ‘to blog’ folder:

As I work on my site’s redesign, I need to keep in mind this info from A Day in the Life of a Persuasion Architect:

If you are truly focused on persuading folks on your site put the time and effort you are tempted to put into navigation and focus it on the 'active window'. Navigation is important, just not as important as everyone seems to think. The shortest distance between your customers and conversion is not the navigation, it's the embedded links in the active window.

The Anonymous Lawyer’s Firm Marketing Message:

We can charge what we charge because we're better than the guys in the yellow pages. But that means we're not generalists. We're specialists. We have people who spend every day of their lives executing the same deal, over and over again, for different companies. He's the guy you want executing that deal, because he will do a better job than virtually anyone else on the planet. But you don't really want him telling you how to optimize the way you put your sprockets together on the assembly line, because that's not where his expertise is. And we as a firm don't want him spending time learning all about your sprockets, because that's not where the best use of his hours is. We want him to do your deal, and then do six more deals this quarter, make 7 happy customers instead of just one, and have people lining up to get us to help them do that same deal too. 

If they’d have had a Masters in Business Imagination when I was deciding on graduate school, I wouldn’t be a lawyer today. 

Granting importance to others is a matter of paramount importance to your own future happiness.

Do you love your customers or who you want your customers to be?

Sean D’Souza suggests to niche your niche:

Your brain refuses to focus when it doesn't have specifics.  So when you say: You help small business owners, you aim at all kinds of business owners. All kinds of business owners have all kinds of problems.  But let's for a moment suspend the thought that you want 'everyone' as your target audience. Let's, just for an instant, believe you want to target business owners who've been in business for five years or more.

Punishing Children with Praise?

Recently, I found myself at a crafts activity sponsored by a local library in which children were invited to create snowflakes out of pipe cleaners and beads.  A boy of about four or five sitting near me showed his mother what he had done, and immediately she gushed about how wonderful it was.  Then, since I was the only other adult at the table, he held his snowflake out so I, too, could see it clearly.  Instead of offering an evaluation, I asked him whether he liked it.  "Not so much," he admitted.  I asked why, and he began to explain, his tone suggesting genuine interest in figuring out other possible ways he might have used the materials.  This is exactly the sort of elaboration and reflection that are stifled when we slather our kids with praise.  They tend to stop thinking and talking about what they've done as soon as we pass judgment on it.

Counter-Branding How To:

1. List the attributes of the master brand. In the case of 7-Up, the master brand was "Cola: sweet, rich, brown." Everything else was either a fruit flavor or root beer and all of those put together were relatively insignificant. "Cola" overwhelming dominated the mental category "soft drinks."
2. Create a brand with precisely the opposite attributes. To accomplish this, 7-Up lost their lemon-lime description and became "The Uncola: tart, crisp, clear."
3. Without using the brand name of your competitor, refer to yourself as the direct opposite of the master brand. 7-Up didn't become UnCoke or UnPepsi as that would have been illegal, a violation of the Lanham Act. But when you're up against an overwhelming competitor, you don't need to name them. Everyone knows who they are.

Let’s Hear David Allen Answer this One

If you only have X amount of time, is it better to perform at an average or below-average level across the board or be real good at a few things while sucking at the rest (which, by the way, has the parallel discomfort of inevitably having some people ticked off at you)? Which would you choose?

Maybe, He’d Suggest a Checklist.

Or He’d Park those Tasks on a Downhill Slope.

Is this why legal jobs get outsourced to India?

“America does well in industries that advance quickly, in which research and development -- and not manual labor -- are the key factors of success. In this way, cotton is a bit like software and jet engines -- constantly innovating. The United States is losing out to developing countries in a different set of industries: the ones that don't change that quickly and succeed best with plenty of low-wage workers.”

Instead of billing 2400 hours per year because your firm requires it, do it because it makes you feel good.

But you may get canned anyway.

When communication is effective and cheap, two things happen.  One is that the top doesn't need to have the middle to be able to talk to each other.  the second is that talented people can co-operate and find each other more easily.  So dumb retards that you would have had to put up with before are now people that you can bypass and go and talk to someone interesting instead.   

I wish I’d known this before joining that blog network:

I think anyone who tries to make money DIRECTLY through blogging is statistically JUST BEGGING to have his ass kicked by the market. A few bright sparks may get away with it ocasionally, just like a pretty waitress in Los Angeles occasionally gets discovered in a restaurant and is starring in a movie a year later. Nice when it happens, certainly, but I wouldn't place a bet on horse with those odds.

"Indirectly", however, is another story...

Stop bragging about your firm, brag about your clients:

Your users don't care about how fabulous you are. How fast your product is. How many awards you've won. If we want to inspire our users, we have to care about how fabulous they are. How fast they are. How many awards they might win as a result of using our products or services.

That's what sociologists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists tell us. It's what biologists and anthropologists tell us. Self-interest is hard-wired into the brain. That doesn't mean people aren't capable of thinking of others...but let's face it--when your user makes a list of the people he cares most about, you're not in the top ten.

And then reward them at unexpected times:

Intermittent, unexpected treats are more powerful than regularly scheduled expected treats.

Can we steal this for the LexThink instruction guide?

I hope you aren’t overwhelmed or frightened by any of the ideas. You can’t address all of them right away, some ideas will be thrown out, and some will be altered and enhanced. However, I hope that you never discard an idea because you want to play it safe. You haven’t accomplished your current success by playing it safe. Espousing the methods that got you to where you are, i.e. being bold, new, fresh, exciting and remarkable will help you grow even more. Safe is actually risky because safe is invisible, easy to catch, easy to beat and the path failure. In a competitive market, safe is death. Take some bold moves. Do things others won’t. Champion a cause, help as many people as you can in your pursuit of that cause, invite others to participate and your bottom line will take care of itself.

Or this?

But every bit of knowledge we acquire, whether from the butt-crack idiot savant who maintains the computer network or the woman who sorts the mail in the mail-room is something that can add immediate perspective or be something we can draw on later as part of an overall tack. And by opening yourself up to these kinds of non-traditional information, you have a chance to find out something about yourself and the intellectual or emotional baggage you limit yourself with, that is, the Third Base skill set.

Even if the phone isn’t ringing, you still have five appointments this week.

Speaking of Fives, here are five rules of creativitythings to do if you’ve only got five minutes and implementing the daily five minutes.

Here’s a Personal Lie Remembering Service, and some tips for remembering (and recapturing) lost clients.

Larry Bodine suggests we Market as Hospitals Do.

And ‘Stan Stankowski’ has some great rules for new associates.  Here are just a few:

4) Associates who are in their seventh and eighth years are not your friends.  They are not anyone's friend. They are mean and devious. This is a result of being too expensive and old to lateral and a constant fear that they will not make partner, coupled with the pressure of a wife and three kids and a mortgage. It isn't their fault. Really.

8) It is impossible to overestimate the value that a wide variety of free beverages brings to your firm. Do not work at a place that makes you buy them.

10) You know that really keen causal dress policy? The one that was implemented because our "clients dress that way, and we want them to feel comfortable"? Here is a clue. For the first few years, your client is the partner you work for; if he or she wears a suit every day, do you really think it is wise to wear jeans on Friday?

Dealing with the Stress of Infinite Opportunity.

Here’s why you can overbill those corporate clients.  They are used to it because they do it to themselves:

There are many studies about the dismal rate of success for projects.  One that I use a lot comes from the Standish Group which tracks information technology projects.  The findings are that 23% of the projects were outright failures, 49% were over budget or didn’t meet the deliverables and 28% were deemed successes.  94% of all projects are restarted and average $2.22 spent for every dollar budgeted.

But don’t forget to charge the clients for those copies:

When I asked him why the hotel charges a per-minute rate for using the business center, he said his hands were tied: it was corporate policy. What a terrific way to disappoint one's best customers. How could smart and well-paid executives possibly think that $.69 per-minute charges to use a PC ($1.99 per minute to use a printer) would do anything but create a poor word-of-mouth experience? Is this level of nickel-and-diming worth the ire of countless customers?

Want more female customers?

Moral of the story: The women’s market is an investment.  If you want to more effectively sell to them, and get them to invest in your business in return, you have to be in it for the long haul and serve their information-gathering, buying ways.  By developing into a comprehensive and relevant local information source and coming up with creative ways to reflect the people in and around your store/brand (as per those images and testimonials you are now displaying), you'll stand out in a woman's relationship-driven mind.

Don’t be Debbie Downer, Esq.

Well, that’s it for now.  I may host another edition of the Carnival next month.  Thanks for reading.

April 15, 2005

Cleaning Out the Link Closet (Day 2) - Personal Productivity Edition

I’ve been hoarding links in my “Productivity” folder in Onfolio.  These are primarily for my personal use, but I thought I’d share them here:

Cultivating Burning Desire and What’s Your Time Horizon from Steve Pavlina

No: How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life from Marketing – The Bold Approach Method

The Perfect Day from Jason Womack

The Antidote to Worry from Curt Rosengren

The Clean Sweep Assessment

 The Josh Kaufman “Personal MBA” Program

My Equation for Serious Productivity – 2005 from Marc Orchant’s Tablet PC Weblog

Goal Setting: The 90–Day Challenge from Working Smart

Todd’s Entrepreneurial Rant: Unplug to Connect from Todd Smart at BeTuitive

 

 

April 14, 2005

Cleaning Out the Link Closet (Day 1)

Here are several links, each deserving its own post.  Check them out and write your own:

My friend Arnie Herz has an interesting take on Law Office Design.

Evaluating Sexy Ads from the Retail Store Blog (pictures semi work safe).

Using the Internet to Communicate and Collaborate from Ben Cowgill’s Legal Ethics Blog.

It’s the Feed Stupid from A VC.

The Sport of Business from Mark Cuban:

Every day some stranger from any where in the world that you have never met is trying to come up with a way to put you out of business. To take everything you have worked your ass off for, and take it all away. If you are in a growing industry, there could be hundreds or thousands of strangers trying to figure out ways to put you out of business. How cool is that.

The ultimate competition. Would you like to play a game called Eat Your Lunch. We are going to face off . My ability to execute on an idea vs yours. My ability to subvert your business  vs your ability to keep it going. My ability to create ways to remove any reason for your business to exist vs your ability to do the same to me. My ability to know what you are going to do, before you do it.  Who gets there first ? Best of all, this game doesn’t have a time limit. Its forever. It never ends. Its the ultimate competition.

Definition of “Churn” from Andy Haven:

"Churn" is the propensity for a customer to switch from one brand to another within a category, or for a worker to switch from one company to another within the same industry. It's worse than simply losing a customer or an employee, because you're not just down one unit, you're actively contributing to a competitor.  It's a net comparative loss of at least two units, if you catch my drift; you're down one and your competitor is up one. Plus the fact that you're out whatever investment you put into your customer or employee.

For example: to attract , train, house, equip, water, weed and polish a good, new associate for 3-4 years,  a firm these days probably has to spend between $200-$400k above and beyond what they're able to bill them out for. If they then lose that associate to another firm, they've "churned" them to a competitor. So not only have they lost a worker, but they've paid $200k to train someone to go work at a firm that could take business away from them. And they've paid $200k for someone to take all his/her networking connections with them.  And they've paid $200k for someone to go badmouth them all over the place at their new digs. You get the picture. It's bad on both ends.

Blogging Your Way to a New Job from Debbie Weil  (link from Kevin O’Keefe)

December 23, 2004

Fun Stuff 2004

I didn’t know what to get everyone for the holidays, but Mark Hurst did.  He is the author of the Good Experience Blog, and for a special Christmas treat, has compiled all of his “Fun Stuff” entries from his newsletter here

Each entry is guaranteed to generate a smile. 

October 11, 2004

Idea Garage Sale -- Follow Up

I've pretty much cleaned out my "idea closet" with my garage sale and I hope that everyone found something worth taking.  Reader (and friend) Yvonne Divita added this comment to one of the garage sale posts:

This 'idea garage sale' is a winner. It deserves a blog of its own...with several authors...with encouragement for input...I see some marvelous things coming out of it. Your cookbook reference to generating ideas is another great way to get the mind thinking "out of the box"...let's find a way to start thinking "out of the book" because we too often rely on books to instruct us on how to do business. (as a writer it pains me to say that, but it's true.) So, what kind of "out of the book" ideas can we come up with? I'll start...first, get comfortable in your own space. You can't begin a business if you're still struggling to fit yourself into the space society tries to assign you. Create your own space, and fill it with your energy and your expectations. Watch how fast it fills up with useful 'stuff.'

Any interest out there?