Archive for 2012

On Fantasy

December 31st, 2012 — 5:30am

A lottery ticket can provide it’s owner with a fantasy of becoming rich. A story can provide it’s reader with a fantasy of becoming powerful, or important, or loved. A real-life hero can provide her admirers with a fantasy of becoming what she is.

Fantasies can be a useful source of motivation, planning, and advance decision-making. A vision is a fantasy with a plausible plan for getting there.

Action-less focus on a fantasy diverts time and energy away from productive action. Such escapism appeals to us because it avoids the conflicts, especially our own deep fears, we must face to make our fantasies come true.

Leaders of organizations, and leaders of their own lives, are those who abandon escapist fantasies and engage in a process of confronting those conflicts.

Given enough time, anyone willing to face conflict can make real any fantasy that doesn’t violate the laws of physics or the laws of the land.

Because time is our strictest limitation, it makes sense to start right away.

First Giver

November 26th, 2012 — 1:01pm

Give your customers an attentive conversation before you ask them to do anything for you.

Give your followers hundreds of quality blog posts before you ask them to buy your book.

Give your enemy a message of good will, don’t wait for him to make the first move.

Give your customers a truly valuable product before you expect them to make you successful.

Give your co-workers respect before you expect it from them.

Give your spouse the caring he or she needs before you ask for what you want.

Give your employees a great place to work before you ask them to treat your customers like royalty.

The world is eager to give back to those who are generous and trusting enough to be the first giver.

Samuel Allerton’s Advice

October 3rd, 2012 — 12:29pm

Near my home there’s a beautiful mansion and formal gardens called Allerton Park. It’s the former estate of Samuel Allerton who made his fortune in the livestock trade in Chicago. He wrote this letter in 1878 to his children. I always pay attention to the distilled wisdom of a person’s life.

To my dear beloved children, Kate and Robert,

Now it is one thing to make money and another to keep it. For every man that has it, there are men laying for fools who have it, to cheat and to get it from him.

When you go in business, go slow until you fully understand it and make yourself a master of it. Speculators are smart men who will make plenty of money on paper and pretend to be a great friend, but you must act on your own judgement or your money will be gone. Never go into anything you can’t get out of and have money left.

Capital constantly increases if properly invested. A man must always live on his income, never spend all his income; never enter into a new enterprise to the full extent of your capital. Keep a certain amount safely invested to ensure an income at all times.

Money is a necessity and a great blessing when properly used, but if spent in dissipation and to the detriment of the world it is the greatest curse that a man can have. Most fathers are afraid to give their sons money unti they have grown to manhood for fear they might lead a thoughtless and dissipated life, but I have confidence in my son that he will lead a thoughtful life remembering that the only true course of happiness is to shun evil. Keep the truth (which is everlasting) and manly courage on your side to do the right. Never wrong man or woman intentionally and lead a life that will fear nothing or no one.

A Few Recent Lessons

September 27th, 2012 — 5:30am

A few things I’ve learned or been reminded of lately:

Intentionally digging into the details is one way to get new insight when you’re drawing a blank on a tough problem. Studying an individual case can lead to breakthroughs in understanding.

An experiment with measurable results is a great way to bring closure to theoretical debate about what works better.

It’s easy and useless for marketers to say what they want their customers to do. It’s hard and valuable for marketers to grasp what their customers want them to do.

Giving attention to what customers are promoting might be a better way to get their attention than asking them to pay attention to what you are promoting.

The Core of Marketing Anything

September 10th, 2012 — 6:00am

Three questions.

What, really, do our customers come to us to get?

Why, really, do they come to us instead of our competitors to get it?

How do we tell a true and compelling story about that to potential customers?

Back to top