Sunday, November 27, 2022

Black Friday Deodorant is 50% off!

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

OK, I am now guilty of jumping on the Black Friday / Cyber Monday bandwagon. I did it without really thinking about it - seems like everyone does it, so why not us?

My buddy (and alumni) Jon Stark pointed out via his blog that doing a Black Friday SUPER DISCOUNT can do as much harm as it can do good. Probably more harm than good.  

Jon says: predictably offering discounts trains customers to do a bunch of things that you probably don’t want them to do, like:

* Mistrust your normal prices
* Focus on cost instead of value
* Delay their decision to make a purchase
But the thing I like the least about predictable discounts is that it gives off a whiff of “the stench of desperation.”

Oh man, the stench of desperation. Jon's words hit me, hard.

Jon says: If you are confident of the value you provide to your ideal buyers and you aren’t desperate to make a sale, why would you drop the price? I’m not saying there are never good reasons to offer a discount - there are - but for a business like it needs to be done strategically and in an unpredictable way.

OK, so here is some Black Friday / Cyber Monday deodorant:
We put a countdown timer on our Black Friday page:
It is truly a THANK YOU to our global community, for HELPING US us to grow. Even our FREE members help us - they propel ALL OF US forward. [We love the millions of eyeballs each month - as do our sponsors]. But come midnight on Cyber Monday, our 50% OFF PAID MEMBERSHIP deal does indeed turn into a Pumpkin.
One thing that WE DO all year long, is reward our paid members for telling their friends. If someone becomes a paid member from a referral, we give one month FREE to both ($25 and $25). And, if someone has the knack for promoting us AT SCALE - I usually say something like: "So, you wanna do this full-time or what?" 😁

So, on this Sunday before Cyber Monday, I am both proud - and also somewhat embarrassed. I am both happy and also a little sad.

I am glad that we did the Black Friday / Cyber Monday dance with everyone on planet earth. But, I am so feeling that we might have gotten some of the "stench of desperation" on us. We want our community to trust our prices, 365 days a year. We want our community to focus on THE TOTAL VALUE that our paid membership delivers. We constantly say that we are not trying to be GROUPON, and that we are not trying to be like Costco or Amazon Prime.

The word stench made me Google the word deodorant. But a subclass of deodorants, called antiperspirants, prevents sweating itself, typically by blocking sweat glands. And, other types of deodorant allows sweating but prevents bacterial action on sweat since human sweat has only noticeable smell when it is decomposed by bacteria.

And there it is. It is not the sweat - it's the bacteria. The sweating is fine - it is the nasty bacteria that causes the stench!

OK, land the plane Tommy.........

Black Friday / Cyber Monday does not cause the stench of desperation (if there is one...) just as sweat has no odor unless there is nasty bacterial activity that decomposes sweat on the skin.

There can be no "stench of desperation" if customers clients, members are happy, satisfied, and feel the value of the relationship. Members telling their friends. That is everything. Speaking of friends - as Chandler Muriel Bing, the fictional character from the NBC sitcom Friends would say: (and now "Could they BE any more successful???" with Matthew Perry
Coming Soon! 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Thanks for everything

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Thanks. Thanks a bunch. Oh, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

We use expressions with thank you and thanks to respond to something politely and to show we are grateful for something. Thanks is more informal than thank you. We often add other words to make the response stronger:

I appreciate your help. I am grateful for your help. I am so very grateful for your time. I greatly appreciate your help. Thank you for such a wonderful contribution. Thank you for taking the time. Thank you for taking the trouble to help me. Thank you for the help! 

No response is necessary to a "thanks" - unless a question soliciting a response is in the thank you. Accept the thank you with a smile. Unless you want to use the thank you email as a segue into continuing the conversation - there is no need to respond. 

How do you reply to a "thank you" professionally?

I appreciate your message. Your message means a lot to me. Thanks for the kind words. Glad I could help. It's great to know I've made a difference. It's my pleasure! No need to say thanks; it's what I do. 

The phrase any time is also used as an informal response to a person expressing thanks. Similar to you're welcome, for example, when someone thanks you for helping them, you might respond by saying "Any time! Glad to help!"

What emotion is thankful?

Gratitude is one of the many positive emotions. It's about focusing on what's good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have. Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted, like having a place to live, clean water, friends, family, even access to the Internet. 

An attitude of gratitude means making the conscious habit of expressing appreciation on a regular basis for big and small things alike. We may be grateful for our relationships, health, business, material items, food in our kitchen, running water in our homes, and our overall sense of well-being. 

People who are thankful often have the same agenda, but they have a different attitude. It is not one of self. It is one of humility. They recognize the importance of others even over their own. Being thankful for what you have is conceived as virtuous, while acts expressing gratefulness to those who have benefitted you is often regarded as morally praiseworthy, if not morally expected. 

A recent survey showed that an employee's job satisfaction, motivation, and feelings of self-worth are all tightly linked to a supportive boss and rise and fall according to how much support they get. 

"To add value to others, one must first value others." ~ John Maxwell

"Leaders don't inflict pain, they share pain." ~ Max Depree

"To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace." ~ Doug Conant

In 2023, we are making the conversion to an employee owned business. Our people are invited to become fractional owners, if they wish to do so. In the USA, only around 31% of employees feel fully engaged with their work. Sometimes it takes a little something extra, and that bit of magic can be difficult to describe.

As we enter into the Thanksgiving Week, I am very much aware that everything I have, everything I own, everything that I get to enjoy - I owe to others. My customers, my vendors, my staff - they are the reason for my current status in business and in life. And of course - my family

There are a few rules that I have in business. One is that profitability = freedom. It is very hard to be generous, it is very hard to pay it forward - if you are broke. The other rule is to teach everything you know. By doing this, you make it better for the next generation. You can leave things better than how you found them. None of us lives forever, but together - you (all) can build something that does. 

As a parent, the only thing you want to hear from your kids is this: "I'm healthy, I'm happy, and I appreciate all of your support. I know that I can always call you about anything, anytime. I love you." 

There is a concept of "work - life balance" where you don't live to work, but you work to live. I understand. I get that most workplaces are not, well, not fantastic. Today, the news is full of stories of layoffs, and poor working conditions. Bosses treating people shabbily. It is hard for me to understand how this still exists. By now, you would think that business leaders would have figured out that passionate productive people produce profits! 

As I head into Thanksgiving week, I am full of appreciation, gratefulness, gratitude, and thankfulness. I am going to be putting up an away message on my email. I am going to say that I will not be checking emails until Monday, 11/28. And that, will be a lie. 

When you love what you do for a living, when you love your profession - you GET to go to work. You GET to check emails. You GET to hang out with your friends and family. You know, hanging out with your vendors, sponsors, clients, customers, your workers, your contractors, your staff. You know - hanging out with your family. 

Hey, they made Thanksgiving a national holiday here in the USA - by an act of Congress - in 1942. 

That might be one of the best "Acts of Congress" ever.

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" (1914) by
Jennie A. Brownscombe

Sunday, November 13, 2022

You can't buy Time - Marc already did

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

I am sure you have heard the expression: "Data is the New Oil"

In a famous roundtable with Microsoft mogul Bill Gates, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said of time: "It's the only thing you can't buy. I mean, I can buy anything I want basically, but I can't buy time."

Well, I guess this is not true, since Time, the pre-eminent weekly newsmagazine of the 20th century, was bought by Marc Benioff, the billionaire co-founder of the software company Salesforce, and his wife, Lynne. [ Full Disclosure: I know Marc and he is one of the good billionaires. We are big fans of Marc and Lynne - top givers to great causes. ]

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, bought The Washington Post in 2013. 

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, acquired a majority stake in The Atlantic magazine through her organization, Emerson Collective. 

WHY... do billionaires buy magazines?  We'll come back to this.

In 2006, British mathematician and marketing mastermind Clive Humby said "Data is the new oil." For years, big tech like Facebook, Amazon, Salesforce, Google and even Netflix scooped up incalculable data on all of us. Their business models quickly turned toward becoming the largest attention merchants in the world. They dig and poke and prod us and gather our information, and they do it not to make our lives better, but to keep us on their platforms long enough to sell us things. In response, we have become obsessed and we have addicted ourselves to absorbing it all.

The rich get richer. Their companies get billions in record earnings. And we get billions of wasted hours. Who do I see to get my wasted time back? Time = Life. 

Data is no longer the "new oil" but our TIME is the new oil. More free time in our days is what I (and I guess Warren Buffett) would pay top dollar for.

We need more authoritative and filtered data in our lives leading us to trustworthy sources so we can make fast, accurate decisions. In the business world, we need companies to focus on implementing solutions that don't just focus on operational efficiency but also on our happiness. 

We need our tech leaders to focus on the end result for humans, not just their bottom line. Imagine if social media platforms used similar interests and personality traits to suggest new friends, then helped them to plan shared experiences. Would they lose revenue, or would it generate productivity by saving us time - and helping us to build deeper and more valuable personal relationships? 

We need better data to give us (humans) more time to - live. Trustworthy, highly filtered data will lead us to quicker, smarter decisions for living our lives - and less FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). In turn, this will allow employees to spend more time keeping customers happy, brainstorming better and coming up with more innovative ways to work and spending more time with people closest to them - like family and friends.

Data may once have been the new oil, but being oversaturated by largely biased, unfiltered data has stolen our time and left us less healthy, and even less content. Now, we personally need to prospect for that time, and we need tech companies to reevaluate our time as our most precious commodity. 

WHY... do billionaires buy magazines?  They want your eyeballs at all times because that is where the data comes from. Eyeballs on the dead tree (paper) version of Time magazine, or - either one works for the data harvesting of our attention. 

I am now the proud owner of - as in Chief Data Officer. Think Home Depot for your lifelong data journey. Marc Benioff bought Time, and I bought to help you and (any) business to give back / get back your time. After all, we (me, you, Warren Buffett) have better things to do with our time, right? 

"OK, Google: where is the nearest dog park?"

Monday, November 7, 2022

Yeah, but is it a Topia?

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

The New York Megalopolis

Eutopia is a realistic concept of a good place or something that is attainable. The word utopia, on the other hand, is a place that does not exist. The idea is that in a so-called perfect world, people must put aside their personal interests for the good of the larger group.

A utopia typically describes a community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its members.  

This week, we are hosting (virtually) the annual Zoomtopia - the Zoom users conference. You can attend virtually or live. You can fly to San Jose, California, sure. Or you can attend from your home. Or - you can attend Zoomtopia from the New York Megalopolis. 

A megalopolis is a very large city, or an urban area that consists of several towns and cities. Historians and geographers generally use the word megalopolis when they're talking about a chain of cities whose total population exceeds ten million. The NEW YORK MEGALOPOLIS is the region made up of the cities between Boston and Washington, D.C. 

London, Japan, Dubai, are all now considered to be a megalopolis. Today the world has 28 megacities. Ah, but few are as amazing as the New York MEGALOPOLIS. 

This week, many of the members of the NYDLA (and now, the NADLA) will buy a plane ticket, and fly to San Jose for Zoomtopia. A good ol' fashioned LIVE event, with handshakes and food and adult beverages.

But many will attend Zoomtopia from their homes. And many will attend Zoomtopia from virtual (dare I say) party zones. I happen to live 30 miles West of Time Square, NYC. You know - the center of the known universe. There are 55M+ living in the New York Megalopolis. Some of those 55M+ will attend Zoomtopia from our office on the 29th Floor at 900 3rd Avenue. 

There are 579M+ living in North America. 55M+ of them live in "my" megalopolis. Some live in a Florida megalopolis or in a California megalopolis. We can now attend events (or attend school) LIVE LIVE or LIVE (Virtually) or simply watch the curated and edited recordings. 

Zoomtopia will be LIVE LIVE, and then also LIVE (Virtually) and then you can watch the two days of Zoomtopia via the archives, on demand, at your convenience. 

One again, a utopia typically describes a community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its members. The ability to live, learn, work, play, teach, train, coach, mentor from ANY location, in real-time or via archived recordings, is pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. 

Tip of the hat to Larry David.